Microsoft has no problem admitting that its original Surface tablets failed to meet expectations, but rather than give up on its tablet pursuits, the company has decided to keep on truckin’, and is doing so with Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro.
I’m sure it’ll come as a surprise to no one, but Microsoft’s latest Surface tablets boast better everything, from the processor to the display to the battery-life. On the Surface 2 in particular, NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 SoC has been adopted, a move that Microsoft claims increases the tablet’s performance, and perhaps more importantly, battery-life, now rated at about 10 hours. Also notable is a serious resolution boost, from 1366×768 to 1080p (effectively 97% more pixels in the same 10.6-inch display).
Like the original, Surface 2 is an ARM-based device (as the Tegra 4 chip would imply), so it will make use of Windows RT in lieu of the full-blown Windows 8 OS.
Another improvement with the Surface 2 is that it will launch $50 cheaper than the original, settling in at $449 for the 32GB model. For those in need of more storage space, a 64GB model will also be made available (and likely cost $100 more, as the original Surface pricing went).
The Surface 2 Pro, like the original, is designed to be a notebook replacement – a hybrid, if you will. Unlike the regular Surface, Pro runs the complete Windows OS, and offers performance that will prove suitable for most mobile warriors, backed by Intel’s latest Core i5 processor. Thanks to the use of these CPUs, battery-life is rated at 60% higher than the original Surface Pro.
Starting at $899, the 64GB and 128GB models will include 4GB of RAM, while the 256GB and new 512GB models will bump that to 8GB.
In addition to the Surface models, Microsoft has announced its latest lineup of Surface accessories, including the Touch Cover 2 ($119: thinner, lighter, improved accuracy) and Type Cover 2 ($129: backlit, stronger design). Slated for a 2014 release is a docking station for both the original Pro and this new one. With it, Surface Pro can connect to an external display, Ethernet, speakers and a power supply, while 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 3.0 can be connected to this docking station for use. Once available, the docking station will retail for $199.
All-in-all, the Surface 2 Pro looks to be a great option for those looking to go the tablet / notebook route, as it has the power and features that a lot of people are going to be looking for. Surface 2 is a little more questionable, because while it also has the performance goods that those looking at ARM-based devices would want, its success hinges entirely on the success of Microsoft’s app store. Time will tell if things are going to improve on that front.