With the holidays before us, it's to be expected that major electronic companies will be rolling out their latest and greatest. Microsoft is no exception. On Monday, September 23, they announced the release of their newest tablets, the Microsoft Surface 2 and the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, claiming the Surface Pro 2 is faster than 95 percent of all laptops today. While Microsoft s previous tablets, the Surface RT and Pro, didn't seem to make waves, we are interested to see how the new Microsoft tablet is better.
The modifications are exciting. The differences are a huge upgrade from the first installation of the Microsoft Surface tablet. The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will both still feature VaporMg Casing and a 10.6-inch screen, but now with half the reflectivity of competitors. And the display resolution of the Surface 2 will jump up to 1920 x 1080. This is a dramatic jump from the 1366 x 768 resolution of the Surface RT. Microsoft has also added a ClearType full HD display to the Surface 2, giving it a lighter, thinner and faster screen with 56 percent more color accuracy. This upgraded display was previously only found on the Surface Pro.
A nice addition would have been the ability to connect to mobile broadband, but both the Surface 2 and Pro 2 are only equipped with Wi-Fi. The Surface 2 will run off Windows RT 8.1 and the Pro 2 will run off Windows 8.1. The full Office Suite will come at no extra charge, and everything can be synced and restored to a new device by using the Skydrive backup. Also, the Windows store now has 100,000 apps including Facebook and Flipboard. A demo at Monday's event showed how strong MS Office is. They ran four apps at the same time and easily transitioned from Office to playing Halo.
Microsoft wants people to know this is a business product. There is now a docking station so both the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro can be used as a proper workstation. The docking station gives you three USB 2.0 ports, a 3.0 USB port, an Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm audio in and out jack. It has the full power of a PC in tablet form.
Some new features on both include: an updated two-stage kickstand that works at two different angles, improved word prediction and extended battery life. Both will come with 200GB of Skydrive for two years, and they both come with Best of Skype for one year, which includes free international calling and free Wi-Fi access. That will come in handy seeing as the Surface 2 now sports a 3.5MP camera five times better that the Surface RT s camera. Additionally, the camera is designed to work well in low light conditions.
In other great news, the Surface 2 and Pro 2 will have ridiculous amounts of RAM and storage. You can get 64GB-512GB of storage and 4GB-8GB of RAM. Whoa. No tablet comes close to this, nowhere near this. Microsoft has made a tablet that runs like a laptop, minus the keyboard.
Speaking of keyboards, the new Surface tablets not only have optional updated Type Covers, but they are compatible with the Type Cover that the current Surface tablets use. The new Power Cover has a 30wHr battery that clips on like the Type Cover and gives 2.5 times the battery life over the original. You get the same typing experience as the Type Cover and a 30 percent power boost.
There s also an updated Type Cover 2, which comes in a variety of colors: magenta, cyan, purple and black. The Type Cover 2 is backlit, which is a great addition as many laptops don't even have backlit keyboards. Type Cover 2 is also 1mm thinner than the old Type Cover, but key switches are better and it has 1092 sensors; the original Type Cover had only 80.
The Surface Remix Project is a new music kit that can click into the Surface Pro, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 It works in conjunction with a new music remix app, and it allows you to remix or write your own songs using loops, electronic instruments, vocals, beats and more. Most of the time, the music industry uses Apple products in production, so we'll have to wait and see how this new accessory measures up.
While we aren't holding our breath for an epic tablet from Microsoft, we are excited about these new changes. This heavy-duty tablet can withstand substantial usage from business professionals or techy gurus, and we still can't get over the available 8GB of RAM. One more exciting thing; there's rumor that a Surface Mini will hit the shelves before the holidays. It wasn't mentioned at Monday's event, but it may be one more thing to add to your gadget wish-list this year.
Pre-orders for the Surface 2 and Pro 2 start the morning of Tuesday, September 24, 2013, and both tablets will be in 21 markets starting October 22, 2013. The Microsoft Surface price has been an issue of contention since it first appeared on shelves, and we're sorry to say it's not looking like much has changed. The Surface 2 will be more comparable in price to many other tablets; however, the Surface Pro 2 will definitely stay on the higher end of the price spectrum. Those hoping for a break in cost will definitely be disappointed. But, you have to consider that buying the Microsoft Surface or Surface Pro 2 is a tiny step down from buying a laptop.