They’re here! The new Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, along with some very beneficial new accessories. The new Surface Pro 2 physically looks almost identical to the earlier version of the tablet, a nicely manufactured device that includes a few new features to make it stick out from the crowd. The improvements are a great way to help people in both their work and social lives, enabling users to play and get work done.
The Surface Pro was already a very good device. The Surface Pro 2 is a significant upgrade on top of that strength, with improved overall battery-life – delivering almost a full workday of life – helping overcome a common complaint among owners of the first version. The Haswell Core i5 Surface Pro 2 does provide speed improvements, which is always a good thing.
The subtle, but very beneficial dual-stage kickstand works very well for desk work and also when travelling. The new peripherals launched to go with the new Surface are very beneficial, especially the Surface Docking Station (no more cables) and Power Cover (with integrated 30W battery). The other big innovation is the touch covers, felt-like protective covers for the tablet that integrate keyboards, something that Microsoft says makes the Surface 2 stand out from the iPad. With a keyboard, the device is really a full-featured laptop.
All in all, Microsoft’s hardware enhancements and Windows 8.1 have helped improve the overall feel and use of the Surface tablets, addressing some consumer complaints about the software, notably the lack of a Start button and the inconvenience of using the standard desktop interface. The Surface 2 is thinner, lighter, faster and only runs new Windows apps. The Surface 2 Pro lets you run all types of Windows programs, but now with better battery life.