When we covered Microsoft
’s unveiling of the second generation of its Surface devices
, the Surface 2
and Surface Pro 2
, we were impressed with the hardware and the in-person experience, and now those devices are available from the Microsoft Store and at several third-party retailers in 21 initial markets.
The Surface 2 runs Windows RT 8.1
and boasts an NVIDIA
Tegra 4 chip and a 10.6-inch (1920x1080) 5-point multitouch display. It has 2GB of RAM, 32GB (or 64GB) of onboard storage, 5MP/3.5MP rear and front cameras, stereo mics and speakers, USB 3.0, microSD card reader, and HD video out, and it ships with Microsoft Office 2013 RT. The whole package will run you $449.
The new flagship Microsoft tablet, though, is the Surface Pro 2 which features the same display (but with 10-point multitouch) and rocks an Intel
Core i5 (Haswell
) processor and up to 8GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, two 720pHD cameras, a microphone, and stereo speakers. There are also plenty of ports, including USB 3.0, microSDXC card reader, cover port, and a mini DisplayPort. It also ships with the Surface Pen.
The Surface Pro 2 offers features not unlike a good laptop, and it’s priced accordingly; the device starts at $899, but the fully-loaded version with the large SSD storage and maximum RAM costs $1,799.
Surface Pro 2
Both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 come with 200GB of SkyDrive
storage, which is nothing to sneeze at, as well as free landline Skype calling and unlimited Skype WiFi for a year.
Microsoft also debuted seven new Surface accessories alongside the new tablets, which include the Touch Cover 2, Type Cover 2, Power Cover, Docking Station for Surface Pro, Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers, Car Charger with USB, and the Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition.
Microsoft Arc Mouse Surface Edition
Though by and large rather pricey, the new accessories do appear to offer some fine features. For example, the Docking Station--which offers a mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0, three USB 2.0, Ethernet, and 3.5mm audio jacks--when paired with the Wireless Adapter gives users a powerful and flexible desktop solution at work or home. That Surface Edition Arc Mouse would be a rather tasty addition to such a setup, too.
One of the criticisms levelled at Microsoft’s Surface lineup from the get-go is price, and the second-generation Surface tablets are still definitely not cheap. Even with rather powerful specs on the Surface Pro 2, for example, $1,799 is a lot of cash to drop on any 10-inch device. The starting price of $899 is still steep but more palatable, though, and the $449 price tag for the Surface 2 isn’t bad at all, especially considering that you get Office thrown in gratis