Microsoft announces Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 with slew of new accessories

At a Surface event in New York City today, Microsoft announced the next generation of their Surface devices and they did not disappoint. While we would consider the upgrade only incremental in nature, the company has announced a massive set of accessories which help complete the device.

Not only this, the company has announced amazing ranges of the devices as well as availability in October for many countries around the world.

Surface 2

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Despite the original Surface RT receiving poor reviews and mediocre response from the market, Microsoft announced the second revision to the device today which renews their commitment to ARM based devices.

The Surface 2 (the RT has been dropped from the name) features a 10.6-inch, 1080p screen (which was one of the largest complaints about the device), a 1.7GHz NVIDIA Tegra 4 SoC and USB 3.0. The cameras on the device got an upgrade too, with the front camera now clocking in at 3.5 MP and the back at 5MP.

Microsoft says the device will last 10 – 12 hours on a single charge which is an improvement from the previous Surface device that only got eight hours. Even better, the device is slightly thinner and lighter while still looking almost identical to the original Surface RT. It’s also available in white now, which will be a welcome change.

Surface Pro 2

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On the Surface Pro 2 side of the story it’s very incremental. The Pro 2 features a Haswell chip — something many wished it launched with — for improved battery life, additional RAM and a new kickstand that supports two positions for better “lapability.” The only other notable change is the Windows logo on the back has been removed in favor of simply “Surface” written in place.

It’s a modest upgrade but a welcome one for many, with battery life now expected to be much more than that of the first device although it’s not clear what Microsoft is claiming it will be able to do yet other than saying it will be 75% better. Additionally, Microsoft confirmed in a Reddit “AMA” that there will be an LTE equipped version available in early 2014 for customers that are looking for data on the go.

The Pro 2 will be available in 64GB/128GB with 4GB of RAM or 256GB/512GB with 8GB of RAM which is an impressive range of options. Microsoft calls it the “most powerful, professional, and productive tablet ever made” which is definitely true.

Accessories

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First up, there’s the Power cover for those looking to get even more battery life out of their devices during the day and don’t mind a little extra bulk. It’s a cover that mashes a keyboard and a battery into one. We don’t have many details on that just yet, but it’s not due for release until early 2014 at this stage.

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There’s also the crazy new Surface Music Kit, which looks like a ton of fun to use. It’s essentially another keyboard style snap-on but it works in tandem with a music app that Microsoft has created to help you remix music and essentially become a DJ from the comfort of your own tablet. This one is probably one of the more exciting accessories we’ve seen in the tablet space for a while. More on this one soon.

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For those at work looking to use the Surface Pro as a complete PC replacement, that’s now one step closer with a docking station that was also announced. It allows you to slot the Surface in and push from the edges to dock, which gives you instant use of an external monitor, ethernet, speakers, USB and other ports. This simple addition will help convince corporates that the Surface form factor is the way of the future. Unfortunately, it too is not available until 2014, but will certainly make many who were holding off very happy.

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There’s also two other small new accessories. A wireless adapter that allows any typing cover to be used without plugging it in (sounds awesome for when the Surface is plugged into the TV) and the car charger for Surface as well.

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On top of all this, the existing accessories have received an update too. The Touch Cover 2 is lighter and thinner while the Type Cover 2 is now backlit and available in four colors. All around a nice upgrade and we’re happy to hear that the company managed to squeeze a backlit keyboard into such a small form factor!

Availability

The Surface originally only launched in the US and only later expanded to other countries but that is not the case this time.

Starting October 22nd, you’ll be able to get a Surface 2 or Pro 2 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Impressive list, no? China will be getting the Surface in November.

For those in the US, the pricing according to WPCentral is:

Surface 2

  • 32GB – $449
  • 64GB – $549

Surface Pro 2

  • 64GB – $899
  • 128GB – $999
  • 256GB – $1299
  • 512GB – $1799

And guess what?! You can pre-order from tomorrow to get your device on day one. Microsoft’s done a great job on this one, we’re excited to get our hands on one.


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