Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2: a professional-grade computer in tablet form

23 Sep 2013

At an event in New York City, Microsoft has unveiled updgrades for its Surface hardware range starting with the Surface Pro 2: “the most productive tablet ever built”.

These are the words of Microsoft Surface vice-president Panos Panay who introduced the next-generation device at today’s press event. Running Windows 8.1 Pro, Panay claims it offers “the full power of a PC in a tablet form factor”.

Surface Pro 2 offers a number of enhancements on the original Surface Pro. It sports the same ClearType HD display as before but with 46pc more colour accuracy and less glare. It speakers have been boosted thanks to Dolby and graphics performance has been increased by 50pc.

The performance of the Surface Pro 2 offers a 20pc improvement on its predecessor, leading Panay to claim that it’s faster than 95pc of laptops out there today.

To demonstrate the power of the Surface Pro 2, Panay explained how the RED Dragon Camera (which was used to make Game of Thrones) can transfer raw 6K data direct to the Surface Pro 2 for processing.

Powerful and productive accessories

The device incorporates fourth-generation Intel Core i5 Haswell processors, which in itself offers an improvement in battery life. Overall, Panay claims the Surface Pro 2 achieves 60pc more battery life than the Surface Pro.

On top of that, there’s a Power Cover offering two and half times that boosted battery life by adding a 30wh battery to the product. This cover clicks on to the Surface Pro 2, lending a book-like appearance complete with fabric covering.

Even the kickstand has been improved for the Surface Pro 2. The original Surface Pro’s kickstand locked at a 22-degree angle, but consumers made Microsoft aware that more flexibility was needed, and this has been built in to the Surface Pro 2 with dual angles.

Type Cover 2 - Microsoft Surface

Type Cover 2

For the typing enthusiasts, the Type Cover has also been upgraded. Type Cover 2 is 1mm thinner and has backlit keys. Available in purple, pink, blue and black, the second-generation cover is more rigid to make laptop typing easier and has also been built to be quieter when striking keys.

Panay also unveiled the Surface Docking Station, complete with one USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports, a MiniDisplay port, Ethernet, audio in, audio out and a power supply. Compatible witht e Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, the device simply slides in and clicks into place and, from this station can quickly connect to PC peripherals and even power a second monitor.

Surface Docking Station

Surface Docking Station

Pricing and release

Prices for the Surface Pro 2 start at €899 with a choice of 64GB and 128GB devices with 4GB RAM or 256GB and 512GB models with 8GB RAM. Pre-orders start 24 September and the device will arrive 22 October on and through select third-party retailers in 22 initial markets, including Ireland.

Treats included with a Surface Pro 2 purchase include free Skype calls to landlines in over 60 countries for one year, unlimited Skype Wi-Fi at more than 2m hot spots worldwide for one year, and 200GB SkyDrive storage for two years.

The Surface Docking Station has an estimated retail price of €205 while Type Cover 2 (compatible with Surface2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2) is expected to sell for €135. Both are expected for release in early 2014.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.