Microsoft has announced Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, the second generation of its hybrid tablet and laptop. The kickstand now has two positions including a 45° angle to make it easier to use on a lap or desk and has the Surface brand printed on it.
Surface 2 is the successor to Surface RT. The back of the device now has a bare metal colour, though the front is still black. The screen is still 10.6 inches, but it now has a higher resolution of 1920×1080 and nearly 50% better color accuracy.
The device has been upgraded to a 1.7GHz quad core NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, 3.5MP front camera, 5MP rear camera, USB 3 port, 25% more battery life and twice the memory bandwidth and Wi-Fi performance. It comes with Windows 8.1 preinstalled and now includes Outlook RT along with the other Office RT apps.
Surface Pro 2 looks the same, but it has been upgraded to a 1.6 GHz 4th generation Intel Core i5-4200U with Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz, USB 3 port, 75% more battery life. It is 20% faster in CPU workloads and 50% faster in GPU workloads.
Surface 2 will be available in two models including 32GB for US$449 and 64GB for US$549. Surface Pro 2 will be available in four models including 64GB storage with 4GB RAM for US$899, 128GB with 4GB for US$999, 256GB with 8GB for US$1,299, and 512GB with 8GB for US$1,799.
Accessories were also announced including Touch Cover 2 with gesture support and higher sensitivity to avoid dropping keys, Type Cover 2 available in black, blue, pink and purple with backlit keys, Power Cover for 2.5x battery life and Music Cover with buttons and sliders to compose music.
There is also a docking station that adds three USB 2 ports, one USB 3 port, another mini-DisplayPort output, and a gigabit Ethernet port. These devices and accessories can be pre-ordered from 24 September 2013 and will become available in stores on 22 October 2013.
Buyers of Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will also receive a year of free international calls and free Wi-Fi at any hotspots through Skype and 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years. Watch a 4-minute video of highlights here or watch the full video here.