Microsoft’s Surface 2 series is a definite improvement

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Microsoft’s Surface 2 has been unveiled to the world and it’s looking a lot better in terms of hardware compared to the first generation of the tablet.

Most of the rumours concerning the Surface 2 were on the ball, as was reporting on peripherals for the product line. The Surface 2 is a subtle rebrand of the Surface RT and will run Nvidia’s Tegra 4 system-on-chip, upgrading from the Tegra 3. The Surface 2’s display is being upped to a full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, the device itself is slimming down and losing a little weight and Microsoft also claims a 25% improvement in battery life. Lastly, USB 3.0 will be supported. About the only niggle is that the Surface 2 will be running Windows RT 8.1 and will still be somewhat limited in what applications it can run. Microsoft will be pre-loading the devices with Office Home & Student 2013 RT and Outlook 2013 RT, which is something.

The Surface Pro 2 is a slightly bigger beast, boasting one of Intel’s Haswell processors and four storage options. The 64Gb and 128GB Pro 2’s will ship with 4GB of RAM while the 256GB and 512GB versions will come packing 8GB of system memory. Microsoft is claiming an even larger battery-life improvement for the Surface Pro 2, in the region of 75%. The Surface Pro 2 will be running Windows 8.1, naturally.

There were also a few surprises in the form of covers and docks for the two new tablets. Updates of the Touch Cover and Type Cover were announced but the Power Cover is also a thing now. The Power Cover will feature a battery designed to lengthen the powered-on time of the Surface 2 devices, extending the uptime of the tablets by up to two and a half times. A new type of Touch Cover, called the Surface Music Kit, features a touch-sensitive mixing desk in place of a keyboard.

Last on the list is a docking station being released alongside the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro. The station will add four extra USB ports (3 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0), a miniDisplayPort and a gigabit Ethernet port as well as audio input and output jacks.

Both the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 are slated for a 22 October launch in the States but there is no word on just when it will be seen this side of the pond. The Surface 2 will be starting at $449 (R4,450) while the Surface Pro 2 kicks off at $899 (R8,890).

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