Microsoft launches new Surface tablets in New York

Microsoft has launched two new tablets - the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 - at an event in New York, click here to find out all about them...

23 Sep 2013


The next generation of Microsoft's Surface tablet family has been unveiled at a launch show in the city that never sleeps.

Between them the new 10inch tablets, launched at an eagerly anticipated press show in New York, boast speedier processors, higher resolution screens and improved battery life over their predecessors.

Microsoft Surface Sept 2013

(Credit: Microsoft)

When Microsoft launched the Windows 8 operating system last year it released two Surface tablets - the Surface Pro running the full version of Windows 8, with the Surface RT running a scaled back version. Both the Pro and RT versions of the tablet have been upgraded today.

'Significant updates' for Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2

The new Surface Pro 2 runs the latest Intel Haswell processor and the full version of Windows 8.1 - the new update of the Microsoft operating system.

Meanwhile, the Surface 2 is powered by Nvidia's ARM-based Tegra 4 processor and runs Windows RT 8.1, which is designed specifically with mobile devices in mind. It's one of the first devices to be powered by the Tegra 4.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said: "Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 each benefit from significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution, and to the kickstand, now with dual angles, so it's more comfortable for you to use your Surface on your lap or at your desk.

"Enhancements in Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro make Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 even more powerful and customisable."

No mini tablet but RT gets a full HD screen

Both new Surface devices pack a 10.6inch screen, but what we didn't see was a seven-inch addition to the family. The tech press had been getting in a right tizz over the possibility of a Surface mini model to compete with the iPad mini. For now those rumours remain just that.

Both tablets also boast a redesigned kickstand, with Microsoft saying it allows for more comfortable use on your lap on the sofa or when sitting at your office desk.

'Faster and smoother' Surface 2

Microsoft says people can expect apps to run "faster and smoother" with the Surface 2, while battery life has been extended to up to 10 hours when watching video.

Those who like watching movies will be glad to hear Microsoft has upgraded the screen to full-HD on the Surface 2 as well as the Pro. A 1080p display was previously only available on the first generation of the Pro model.

Another thing to be upgraded on the RT Surface model is the camera. Amateur photographers brave enough to hold a tablet up in front of their face can enjoy a 3.5megapixel front camera and a 5MP rear one.

But despite packing in a better screen and camera, Surface has slimmed down on its predecessor and also weighs-in lighter.

Surface Pro 2 a 'true laptop replacement'

Surface Pro 2 AP

(Credit: AP)

Microsoft calls the Surface Pro 2 a "true laptop replacement" which is capable of running "virtually all your Windows software including the full Microsoft Office suite, as well as apps from the Windows Store."

The Pro 2 is certainly no slouch. It's been beefed up with Intel's new Haswell processor and with the fourth-generation Core i5 under the hood, people buying Surface Pro 2 can expect increased performance and up to 60% longer battery life than its predecessor.

Microsoft has also given people the option of fleshing out their memory to up to 512GB of storage and as much has 8GB RAM.

Surface Pro 2 Purple

(Credit: Microsoft)

Accessories and free Skype

A host of new accessories were also unveiled including a docking station for the Surface Pro 2 which Microsoft says "takes you from laptop to desktop in an instant". When hooked up to the docking station the tablet can connect with an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply.

Other accessories included three new keyboard covers, including a power-saving version, a docking station for the Surface Pro 2, and a USB car charger.

If you're thinking about going for one of the Surface models you'll also get free Skype calls to 60 countries for a year, calling to landlines in more than 60 countries for one year, and unlimited Skype Wi-Fi at hotspots for a year. Microsoft is also throwing in 200GB of free cloud storage for two years.

The tablets will go on sale in the UK on October 22.

What do you think of the new Surface tablets? Let us know below...