Microsoft announce Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro


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.

Move over knickers, M&S launches web book

Marks & Spencer is probably one of the most trusted and respected of all the retail giants, and have now branched into the computer industry with the launch of its first own brand laptop, entitled the MSNB-2009, a 10” netbook. Stylishly designed by M&S, the retailer has partnered with manufacturers Elonex to produce the laptop.

The MSNB-2009 is a perfect example of how retailers are extending their product lines and looking at current demands which seems to be highly related to the increasing need for small and lightweight laptops – at budget friendly prices.

So what does the new M&S netbook have to offer in terms of function, power and performance and does it measure up to the more tech-orientated competitors out there? Boasting an Intel® Atom™ Processor with 1GB of RAM, the MSNB-2009 has a 6 Hour battery life which means it is ideal for use on the go. The laptop also has a160GB hard drive allowing you to store a substantial collection of music, films and photos. It also features a Windows operating system and a PC output (VGA) which is ideal for preparing documents or presentations and them delivering them via an external monitor, TV or projector. The net-book also of course, has wireless capability in addition to a full QWERTY keyboard and 10” WXGA screen resolution meaning that you can browse the internet clearly and avoid distorted or overly compressed images.

The MSNB-2009 has a 10 inch screen and weighs a dinky 1.3 kilos, making it the ideal laptop to throw in your bag and take anywhere on a daily basis for work or personal use.

So how does the netbook measure up in the style factor? Well, Marks & Spencer of course have incorporated their own unique style flair from an aesthetic perspective and the laptops are noted to be sleek, streamlined and sophisticated in appearance. Catering for all style preferences the net-books are available in Midnight Navy, Shocking Pink and Jet Black.

From a female perspective, I’m sure the MSNB-2009 is a product which will appeal more to women than men as with its high-gloss finish, unique seamless touchpad and a vibrant LED-backlit display, this gadget definitely seems to be geared towards the modern and tech savvy woman who likes quick and easy access to the internet and the ability to work on the go – in style. However it does seem that the MSNB-2009 boasts all the necessary functions and capabilities to suggest that it is more than just a pretty face.

The MSNB-2009 10” laptop is available exclusively instore and online at Marks & Spencer for £279.