Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2: Microsoft refreshes its hybrid tablet/laptop range

Ambitious launch shows that the company still intends to compete with Apple in the tablet market

Microsoft has announced a “fundamental revamp” of its Surface tablets, with second generation models offering improved battery life and processing speed, as well as addressing criticisms of previous models.

The original Surface and Surface RT (a cheaper, lower-powered device that used a similarly downgraded operating system) were launched in June last year but failed to sell well, leading to a $900 million writedown by Microsoft for unsold units.

The new tablets look identical to the previous generation, offering a tablet form factor, optional covers that can be used as keyboards and a new kick-stand to prop the device up on laps or desks. The kick-stand can now be adjusted to two different angles – an improvement on the previous models that could only be set at a steep angle, making the ‘laptop’ aspect of the device impractical.

The new tablets have been designated the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2, although despite removing the ‘RT’ tag attached to the lower priced model it still runs the stripped down-version of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8.1 RT.

Windows 8 RT was heavily criticized for its inability to run 'legacy apps' (older software that included well-known programs such as Photoshop) despite looking identical to Windows 8.

A recent update to the Windows operating system, Windows 8.1, solved some complaints voiced by users (including the absence of a traditional desktop-and-start-button environment) but the operating system is still unfamiliar for many.

The new Surface tablets both have full 1080p, 10.1-inch HD screens (previously only available on the pricier tablet) and upgraded processors. The Surface 2 uses Nvidia’s Tegra 4 1.7GHz processor whilst the Pro 2 has Intel’s fourth-generation Haswell i5. Battery life on the Pro 2 is said to be 75 per cent better than the previous generation with 20 per cent better graphical performance.

Customers also have more memory and storage options to choose from. The Pro 2 will be available in 64GB and 128GB versions with 4GB of RAM, or with 256GB and 512GB of internal memory and 8GB of RAM.  The cheaper Surface either comes with 32GB or 64GB of storage and 2GB of RAM.

As well as updating the internal hardware, the new Surface tablets also come bundled with Windows software. Surface 2 gives users the full Office suite (though last year's models also did that), "best of Skype" for a year (which includes free international calling), and 200GB of cloud storage via SkyDrive.

The lower priced model will be sold for between £359 and £439 whilst the Pro 2 will retail between £719 and £1,439.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Lead Developer - ASP.Net / C# / MVC / JavaScript / HTML5

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking for a Lea...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

    £45000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Engineer is requi...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Technician

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a small IT consultancy...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral