Everything you need to know about the new Surface Tablets

surface 2 and pro tablets available to buy everything you need know microsoft

Check out our review of the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet.

Microsoft has announced two new tablets, the Surface 2 and the Surface 2 Pro, along with a dizzying range of accessories. Although it was coy about the finer details at first, all the information has since arrived in a great big wave, making it hard to keep track of what’s out when, what the specs are, and how much it’s all going to cost. Get ready, then, as we tell you everything there is to know about the new Windows tablets and all the associated toys.

We’ll start with the tablets themselves, then move on to the accessory range.

Surface Pro 2.

Promoted more heavily than before as a laptop replacement, Microsoft’s Panos Panay even claimed it was faster than 95 percent of laptop computers out there. Does the Surface Pro 2 have the specs to backup this bold claim? Let’s find out.

Specifications

  • Screen: 10.6-inches, 1080p
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 Haswell
  • RAM: 4GB or 8GB
  • Storage: Either 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, or 512MB flash memory. The latter two come with 8GB RAM, the former with 4GB.
  • Connectivity: USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, audio in/out, Ethernet.
  • Battery: TBA, but claimed to be 60 to 75 percent longer than the Surface Pro.
  • Operating system: Windows 8.1

Surface 2 Pro with Pro PenWhat else?

With the Surface Pro 2 you get 200GB of SkyDrive storage free for two years, plus a year of free voice-to-landline calls through Skype, and free Skype Wi-Fi at selected hotspots around the world.

The design of the tablet hasn’t really been altered, although it’s now branded solely as Surface on the rear panel, and the slightly dodgy angle created by using the kickstand on the first Surface Pro should be avoided with the introduction of a two-stage stand. Microsoft’s Explore Surface 2 page shows the Surface Pro 2 coming with the Pro Pen stylus, just like the original model.

How much?

The basic 64GB Surface Pro 2 with 4GB of RAM costs $900, all the way up to a whopping $1800 for powerhouse 512GB/8GB RAM model. 

Surface 2

Notice Microsoft has dropped the RT branding? It’s no surprise given its reputation, but the tablet still runs the OS, just the latest RT 8.1 version. Microsoft is beginning to get its marketing department into order regarding RT, as the Surface 2 is labeled as the, “Most productive tablet for personal use,” meaning it’s making it very clear RT is for regular users, and the Windows 8.1 Surface Pro 2 is for business types. Nailing the point home in the press release is talk of how great the Surface 2 is for gaming, entertainment, and social networking.

Specifications

  • Screen: 10.6-inches, 1080p.
  • Processor: Nvidia Tegra 4.
  • RAM: TBA.
  • Storage: 32GB or 64GB, plus a microSD card slot and 200GB of free SkyDrive storage for a year.
  • Connectivity: USB 3.0, HD Video Out
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Operating system: Windows RT 8.1

What else?

Surface 2 Front Stand

The Surface 2 comes with all the same Skype calling freebies as the Surface Pro 2, and the same two-stage kickstand, while the design is similar to the original, except it’s now available in a sleek silver/white color. It’s ever-so-slightly thinner at 8.9mm and weighs a little less at 676 grams, thanks to Microsoft using two pieces of magnesium in its construction instead of three. There’s a pair of cameras, a 5-megapixel camera on the rear and a 3.5-megapixel cam on the front. Both can shoot video in 1080p.

Windows RT 8.1 now comes with Outlook RT bundled in with the RT version of Microsoft Office, plus there are apparently now 100,000 apps ready to download from the Microsoft Store, up from 10,000 when the original Surface was released.

How Much?

If you want the basic 32GB model, it’s yours for $450, but we’re still waiting to hear how much the 64GB model will be.

When can I buy them?

Pre-orders for both tablets begin through the online Microsoft store and its retail equivalents on September 24 at 8am EDT. If you have a Best Buy near you, then they’ll also be offering the same option. Here’s the list of where Microsoft will be selling the new Surface tablets on September 24: America, the UK, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. China will follow in November.

Both will be released on October 22, so Microsoft’s giving itself a full month to prepare. 

What about all these accessories?

Microsoft has gone accessory crazy with the new Surface tablets, as it has refreshed the existing keyboard covers, and introduced various new toys to go with them. Here’s what else you can spend you money on when purchasing a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2.

Touch Cover 2 and Type Cover 2

You have a choice of the touch-sensitive Touch Cover 2, or the Type Cover 2, with its more traditional keyboard fitted. Both now have backlights, and the Touch Cover is thinner than before, while the Type Cover 2 is quieter and more rigid. Both will be available for pre-order on September 24, when the Touch Cover 2 will cost $120, and the Type Cover 2 $130. The latter will be available in cyan, magenta, purple, and black colors, although only the purple and black versions will be released straight away.

Power Cover

Think of the Power Cover as the Type Cover 2 with an extended battery pack. It’s compatible with both Surface tablets, and will add 50 percent to the average life of the tablet’s battery. It’s coming in early 2014 and has been priced at $200.

Docking Station

Surface Edition Arc Touch Mouse

This is only for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. With the tablet slotted into place, it becomes a capable desktop computer with four USB ports (one of which is USB 3.0), an Ethernet connection, and the ability to drive two external monitors. Like the Power Cover, it’ll be out early next year for $200.

Mice, dongles, and chargers

Microsoft completes its accessory range with a special Surface Edition of its Arc Touch Mouse, which matches the design of the tablet, plus a car charger, and a wireless adapter so you can use a Touch Cover or Type Cover when it’s not connected to the tablet, by way of a Bluetooth connection. They’ve been priced at $70, $50, and $60 respectively. Only the car charger will be unavailable on September 24, and is instead expected in early 2014.

Finally, Microsoft has confirmed it will continue selling the original Surface RT at its reduced $350 price.

Will you be ordering a new Surface tablet as soon as possible, with a clutch of new accessories too? Or has Microsoft’s pricing put you off?

 

Computing

The next Microsoft Surface Pro could have a redesigned kickstand hinge

A Microsoft patent could provide additional details on the hinge of the next Surface Pro. The patent describes "secured device portions" and the inner workings of a hinge mechanism for a device in space-constrained environments. 
Computing

Need more from your conference white board? The Surface Hub 2 should have it

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Computing

Struggling to pick between a MacBook Pro and Surface Pro 6? This guide can help

Unsure how to choose between a Windows and MacOS laptop? There are plenty of options out there, with some better than others. We pitted the MacBook Pro vs. Surface Pro 6 to see which is the best, whichever operating system you prefer.
Deals

Here are the best Chromebook deals available in March 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
Mobile

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.
Mobile

Google hit with another fine by the EU, this time for $1.7 billion

Google has been fined for the third time by the EU, this time for breaching antitrust laws by requiring third-party websites using its search function to prioritize its ads over competitors.
Product Review

There’s almost nothing bad to say about the Mi Mix 3, but you still shouldn’t buy it

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is good-looking, really well made, packed with features, and is a powerful, modern, desirable smartphone. But you probably shouldn’t buy it. Why? Nothing wrong with the device itself, but Xiaomi itself is mostly to…
Deals

Get your hands (and ears) on Apple’s new AirPods — here’s where to find them

Apple's new AirPods with wireless charging are the latest version of the much-loved wireless earbuds. Unfortunately, they aren't widely available yet. Here's where you can find them right now, and where they will show up soon.
Mobile

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.
Mobile

Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat may be coming soon

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods might be new and improved, but they aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, with attractive features. These are the best AirPod alternatives on the market today.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Mobile

The latest Google Doodle lets you create Bach-like music of your own

Google is celebrating the life of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, and to that end the company has released a new Google Doodle that allows you to create Bach-like melodies and harmonies of your own.
Mobile

Amazon’s new Kindle has an adjustable light and costs less than $100

Amazon has taken the wraps off of a new Kindle model, which boasts a number of great features and comes at a very affordable price. Perhaps the best thing about the new Kindle is that the device has an adjustable.
1 of 2