Microsoft tries again, announces the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2


September 23, 2013

The Surface 2 now comes in silver, but it still runs the limited Windows RT

The Surface 2 now comes in silver, but it still runs the limited Windows RT

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The original Surface was Microsoft's first big attempt to marry its own sexy hardware to Windows 8 software. Neither the Surface RT or Surface Pro, however, appeared to sell well at all, with the company ultimately writing off US$900 million in unsold Surface stock. How do you recover from such a setback? Well, if you're Microsoft, you wash, rinse, and repeat the same thing all over again, as the company today announced a second batch of Surfaces with some much-needed upgrades.

At today's event in New York, Microsoft pulled back the curtain on the Surface 2 (the new branding for the RT model) and the Surface Pro 2. They both look almost exactly like their predecessors, while sporting a few key upgrades on the inside.

Surface Pro 2

The most interesting upgrade is the Surface Pro 2's shift to a 4th-generation Intel Haswell processor. This should give its battery life a big boost over its predecessor's sketchy four or five hours. Microsoft estimates a 75 percent improvement in uptimes, but we'll have to wait for some extended hands-on time to draw any solid conclusions on that front.

Otherwise the Surface Pro 2 is a lot like its predecessor. Same 1080p display (though it does supposedly have "46 percent more" color accuracy), same somewhat bulky and heavy body. It does have an adjustable kickstand, now letting you prop it one of two different positions (the traditional position and a new position that's supposed to be better on laps or other uneven surfaces). The new Intel engine also gives it 50 percent faster graphics and 20 percent more zip overall, according to Microsoft.

Surface 2 (RT)

Though Microsoft describes the Surface 2 (again, that's the new ARM-based Windows RT model) as a "revamp," it also sticks with most of its predecessor's traits. Its big upgrades are that it's lighter and thinner, and picks up a sharper display (it jumps up to 1080p) and a new Nvidia Tegra 4 processor. It also gets the adjustable dual-position kickstand.

The Windows RT version of Surface's biggest problems, though, had little to do with display resolution or processor speed. The Surface 2 will have the same limited app selection as its predecessor, relying solely on the Windows Store for all of its software. Microsoft boasts of 100,000 available apps, but our experience with the Windows Store paints a picture of a selection lagging far behind the App Store and Google Play.


Microsoft also threw in a few new accessories for the Surface lineup. The most intriguing is the Power Cover. It's a variation of the original Surface Type Cover (that's the one with physical keys), only it holds a 30w reserve of battery power, which it can use to prolong the Surface's uptime. The new Haswell-based Surface Pro 2 might not be in quite as dire a need of the Power Cover, but it could be a must-have accessory for the original Surface Pro (it's compatible with it too). Microsoft says it will boost the original's uptime by 250 percent.

There's also a new slide-in docking station. Surface Pro can already dock on its own, but the station ups the ante in that department. It adds a few extra USB ports (three USB 3.0, one USB 1.0) and an ethernet port to the mix. You can power two monitors with the docking station.

The Type Cover and Touch Cover from the original Surface also saw updates, aptly named the Type Cover 2 and Touch Cover 2. Each keyboard is 1 mm thinner than its predecessor, comes in a variety of colors, and has backlit keys.

The new Surface 2 lineup launches on October 22. The Surface 2 will start at US$450 (a $50 drop from its RT predecessor), while the Surface Pro 2 will stick with the original's $900 starting price.

Sources: Microsoft [1] [2]

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica. All articles by Will Shanklin

Does the $9megabucks write off mean there is someone selling super -cheap Surface Pro 1's out there?


Like I said before. $350 Acer with the purchase of an iPad & have no limitation.

But I would consider buying a

Dell - XPS 18 18.4" Portable Touch-Screen All-In-One Computer 4GB Memory 500GB Hard Drive


Flipider Comm

Price seems to be an issue with second generation too.

Seth Miesters

My daughter bought the RT and returned it. She loved the design etc. 2 major drawbacks where IE and IE. You can't load any other browser. IE was sluggish on simple sites.

Here is a big one, IE doesn't hover when you use the touch screen. Explanation: if you have a site that has a dropdown menu when you hover over with a mouse, ever since the Ipad2, you if click the menu (tap the screen) the browser changes the input from a click to a hover. And you can see the menu. But IE decided not to implement that, not only on the RT but on any touchscreen computer, so you have to use your mousepad. Or load another browser.


They should just drop RT, Intel has done well with Haswell and will do better in the future. MS just doesn't adapt well to anything including new architectures.

Also, the price is a bit steep for something running Windows, why not just buy a cheaper Android device or just get an Apple product? They aren't the top dog anymore, they should charge like they are.


I will probably buy a Surface Pro 2 but I will wait until the market crashes again and pick it up cheap.

Jon Smith

I like the Power Cover idea. What a cool ASUS (TF101 anyone?)

My Biggest question though is this: Why Bother with contuing to try and sell us RT?

Anyone that wants a Windows tablet wants one because they're sick of not being as productive on thier iOS or Android (yes both) tablets and want everything a PC does, with the option of touch and tablet form factor.

RT is flogging a dead horse imho. Concentrate on the PRO and ditch the cheap kiddie version. Leave that crap niche to Apple and Google.

Chris Winter

I love my Pro. I can't really see the appeal of the RT - old or new, but I understand a few may wince at the cost. That's hard for me to grasp - the power of an upper-mid spec laptop with tons less tonnage! Now I can pick up one with double the RAM and up to 512GB?! I imagine that'll push the price beyond my personal threshold, but I'm about ready to sign off on a 256. And that new power cover. And that dock once it ships.

Seriously, why do people cry about a $1000 full OS computer and then act like a nearly $1000 iPad is no big deal. And I'm an iPhone nut since iDay. I still want an iPad - but this is a computer...

Vince Pack

I really don't put much value in empty comments where people rate a product that they have yet to use. I own a Surface Pro and it serves me well. Do I own an iPad, Yes (Second Generation, 64 GB). Have I owned an Android tablet, Yes (Toshiba Thrive). But both had failed where this one has succeeded. When it comes to portability, it bets both of these hands down. Apple tries to stress that the iPad is a business device. I have tried to fill the work gap with the iPad and it is a sorry excuse of a work device. It is a consumer device for surfing the internet and utilizing basic apps. The Thrive was better but only in that it provided the ability to use a USB, HDMI out, micro port, and the ability to input an SD card. It had flexibility but lacked in the ability to utilize power hungry software. Both have their place as a consumer item but the Surface Pro has filled the gap where both of these types have failed. I have found it to be powerful, flexible, and capable of all the functionality of my laptop (18" Toshiba Qosmio). So yes, I have pretty much tried all variations of portable devices and this one has performed very well. It succeeds as well with regard to how Microsoft has tied in the Windows 8 OS, with the Windows Phone and Xbox as well. Now I do not have to worry about my contacts and information being different on each device. Comparing the Surface to an iPad is a laughable comparison as Microsoft has choose to take the time to create a device that can do more that run simple apps, check messages/email, and surface internet.


The power cover also has a proximity-sensitive backlight, so the backlight only comes on when your hands are over the keyboard - pretty cool feature.

I have the RT and love it. It's not a full OS computer, it's a tablet. I can find apps and games for everything I need and as a companion device to my laptop it makes a great home tablet/secondary device for productivity. Every photo I take of the kids is instantly available on the tablet, laptop and my parent's PC via SkyDrive.

It works well with X-Box too ("smart glass" and streaming content).

My only gripe about the Surface Pro is the form factor, it's too small for me as a computer. I have a Lenovo X-1 Carbon which is the perfect size, is a full laptop and weighs less.

I must admit MSFT are getting things right, when you have the phone, Win8 tablet and laptop (and x-Box!) it all works together seamlessly and is a great productivity experience as well as a good consumer one. It's even stable, reliable and the updates aren't too intrusive either!!


Microsoft should make something resembling a premium product if they want to command a premium price.


I love my Surface Pro 128. I will by the Pro 2 as soon as I have the chance. Droid and iOS devices are toys compared to the Surface Pro. Put a fancy screen on it, shrink it, whatever. At the end of the day, the others just give you a very large, pretty mobile phone. The Surface Pro allows me to run full on business and drafting software on the go.

I also think that most reviewers just sort of tick the "lacks apps" box to bulk out their articles. I have looked at my wife's (and girlfriend's, for that matter) android and apple devices and explored the "wealth of apps" that these devices have to offer. Call me jaded but most of the apps are hyper derivative and offer little value or novelty. I do not want to go into a store and have a choice between 300 similar looking stop watches, why would I want to do that over the internet? I reckon that there is a lot of app developer push for going with droid there must be at least 300 guys out there trying to sell me the same stop watch. . .


don't go away mad microsoft, just go away

tampa florida

These look like beautiful premium devices. They deserve to be paid for their work no? Imagine having such devices even three years ago. And to correct a post above: Touch IE can do hover. You tap and hold.

Ken Heslip

No thanks. Still not interested.

I have a lightweight laptop which offers me full power and a keyboard. Works great for doing everything I need for my job.

I have a tablet (iPad) for surfing the web, reading news, watching video, and checking stats (e.g. sports, stocks, weather, etc.).

Ken Dawson

There are lot of peoples here are just afraid of new things and thinking different ways, I had an iPad, iPad2, and changed for surface pro 2 since april, I have only positive things except my battery is not for enough (around 4hours), and the rest is just awesome, please don't compare a surface pro with other tablets, and if you think windows still slow and what ever that's mean you didn't use a windows product since the last few years, I say good work to MS team, maybe I didn't planned to buy surface pro 2, so maybe the next one. And now checking which Windows phone is best to upgrade from my Lumia 800...


O love the guys who say the Pro Surface isn't the answer. Then they tell us they already have a laptop. Then they tell us they have an IPad. Then they tell us they have a smartphone. They just don't get it do they ?

David McCarthy

@David McCarthy -- nor do they want to "get it".

Knock yourself out. Buy 10 of them.

I'm still not interested.

Ken Dawson
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