The Surface was Microsoft’s first major foray into the hardware world since the release of the Xbox 360. Unlike the Xbox 360, the Surface wasn’t very successful.
With the recently-announced Surface 2 tablets, Microsoft wants to change that and respond to “consumer feedback” (complaints) about the first generation tablets.
So do the Surface 2 tablets live up to the hype? Here’s everything you need to know about the new Surface 2 tablets:
Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8.1
The Surface Pro was basically an Ultrabook inside a tablet case. It was a powerful device that featured a full HD screen. Unfortunately, it was also priced at $1000 – way more than most people are willing to pay for a tablet.
With the Surface 2, Microsoft will lower the price and add some cool new features. The Surface 2 will have all of the following improvements:
-Windows 8.1 (duh)
-Virtual Private Network (VPN) support, which is great for businesses
-“Stronger security features”
-Features that make it “easier for IT administrators to manage”
-$899 price tag
-USB 3.0 port
-Fourth generation Intel x86 Core i5 CPU (Haswell)
Surface 2 with Windows 8.1 RT
Microsoft will continue attempting to sell Windows RT tablets in spite of the fact that nobody wants to buy them. Just a year after the launch of Windows RT, all of Microsoft’s OEMs have abandoned the troubled OS and taken huge losses along the way.
Microsoft will attempt to address some of the complaints about Windows 8.1 RT by adding the following features:
-Windows 8.1 RT, which comes with a bunch of UI improvements and the ability to actually customize your Metro UI (thankfully)
-Remote lockdown and stronger security features
-VPN support, just like the Surface Pro 2
-Better connectivity options
-Priced at $449 with bulk discounts available for hospitals, companies, schools, etc.
As you can imagine, the Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8.1 will be catered towards business users and power users. Meanwhile, the Surface 2 will be sold more as an entertainment device for the average users.
Both the Surface 2 tablets are designed to be significantly faster and longer lasting than the first generation Surface tablets. They also come with some cool new accessories.
New Surface 2 accessories
Some of the biggest hype around the Surface 2 release comes with the Surface 2 accessories, including a new backlit ‘Remix Cover’ that is designed for music lovers. There are actually eight new Surface 2 covers in total, including:
-Power Cover: Comes with its own battery that adds 10 hours of additional battery life to your tablet. Unfortunately, it also costs $200, which is more than most will pay for a tablet cover.
-Docking Station: The docking station is cool. It’s outfitted with three USB 2.0 ports, a solitary USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet port, a 3.5mm audio input/output port, and a miniDisplayPort. It also charges your Surface tablet. Basically, this lets you easily use your tablet as a PC.
-Remix Cover: The Remix Cover is easily the most unique cover in the new Surface 2 lineup. The Remix Cover, as pictured, features music sliders, looping buttons, and other basic audio engineer buttons. However, the Remix Cover is the only cover currently unavailable for preorder, and Microsoft wants you to enter the Surface #RemixProject Contest in order to get one.
-Type Cover 2 and Touch Cover 2: The first Surface came with two types of covers: the Type Cover and the Touch Cover. The newly designed covers for the Surface 2 are thinner and feature some cool new colors. Apparently, Microsoft has also added a bunch of new sensors (1092 sensors compared to the original 80) designed to improve the tactile feel of the covers. That’s a good thing.
-Wireless Bluetooth adapter for Surface covers: If you want to use your tablet from across the room (like say, it’s hooked up to a projection screen or TV), then you may want to invest in the wireless adapter expansion for your Type and Touch cover, which adds a Bluetooth adapter to your cover and allows you to use it from across the room.
-Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition: This alien-looking device connects to your Surface via Bluetooth 3.0 (freeing up a precious USB port). The style and design mimics that of the Surface. This one costs $70.
-Car Charger: Charge your Surface while driving around. Microsoft really wants you to be able to charge your Surface 2 anywhere you go.
The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 are now available for preorder on the Microsoft website. Microsoft is advertising the Surface 2 tablets as “the most productive tablets ever.” So if you want to, you know, do actual work on your tablet instead of playing Angry Birds, then maybe consider a Surface 2.