Though it can hardly claim to have revolutionised the tablet market, Microsoft’s original Surface was nevertheless an intriguing device. Blurring the line between tablet and notebook, it seems to have done well enough for the software giant to come up with two new models to fit into the ever-improving tablet landscape.
It would be fair to say that the Surface series is aimed at slightly more professional use than your typical tablet, but from the look of the specs, Microsoft certainly hasn’t cut any corners when it comes to all-round capabilities. The Surface 2 is a 10.6” full HD model with an impressive (1920x1080p) display powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor alongside 2GB of RAM, a 10 hour battery life and either 32GB or 64GB capacities. It also offers a full-sized USB 3.0 port, a 3.5MP front and 5MP rear camera that are both capable of recording video at 1080p, with improved low-light performance to make face-to-face conversations a bit clearer. It ships with Windows RT 8.1, which comes with improved personalisation, search, multitasking and of course the full Windows Store experience, as well as being pre-loaded with Office Home & Student 2013 RT and Outlook 2013 RT.
The Surface 2 Pro improves on the more basic model and apes its predecessor by aiming to be a full-on laptop replacement, with a built-in keyboard and Intel Core i5 processor, as well as claiming a 60% battery life improvement over the original Surface Pro. It offers a similar display to the Surface 2 alongside 720p front and rear cameras, and true to form it’s capable of running virtually all Windows software, including the full Office suite. It comes with either 64GB or 128GB of storage with 4GB of RAM, and is also available in 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8GB of RAM.
Microsoft also announced six accessories for the new Surface tablets including three covers – “Touch Cover 2” for those who want to keep things as slimline as possible, “Type Cover 2” for improved lap-typing experience and “Power Cover” which offers a similar experience to the Type as well as boosting battery life by 50%. There’s also a docking station, in-car charger and the Arc Touch Mouse Surface edition for greater control. Microsoft is sweetening the deal on both tablets by offering free Skype calls to landlines for one year, unlimited Skype WiFi at one of over 2 million hotspots worldwide for the same amount of time, and 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years.
The Surface 2 starts at £359 for 32GB, with the Pro 2 a rather eye-watering £719 for the 64GB model, and both should hit the shelves on October 22nd.