Earlier this morning, Microsoft came through with their promise that there would be new Surface tablets unveiled. Sure enough, the Redmond-based company debuted what they've been working on for, according to them, around 18 months. Of course, anyone who was a betting person probably would have guessed that the Surface 2 would have been an iterative update, and not some kind of major revolutionary change. They would have guessed right, but Microsoft did make some changes, and those changes are good.
But, are they good enough to warrant a purchase?
Late last year, right around the first of December, I asked all of you if you thought you'd be picking up the Surface Pro, the original tablet-sized beast of a PC. Back then, the Surface Pro was all the talk of the town, because Microsoft wanted it to replace your computer, but unfortunately the rest of the world hadn't caught on to that state of mind quite yet.
Now, though, we're just about into the year 2014, and maybe people are a little more welcomed to the idea of ditching their traditional laptop or Ultrabook, and going with something a bit more tablet-y. It helps that Microsoft, this time around, has brought to the table a truly powerful device, and one that won't, theoretically, see the battery die on you in just a matter of hours.
For me, and probably a lot of other people, that's exactly why the original Surface Pro wouldn't work as a laptop/computer replacement. While I have my current work machine attached to a power source quite a bit, I try to have it disconnected for as long as I can because I hate to be tied down. That's why I have a laptop. And that's why I need a laptop with a battery that lasts "a long time."
For a point, my battery meter tells me I have 98 percent remaining, and I should be able to continue working for about nine more hours, undisturbed. That's fantastic in my book, and that's about where I expect my battery life to be these days. Back when the Surface Pro launched? Nope. Just didn't cut it for me.
Oh, and I couldn't use it on my lap comfortably. That was an issue, too.
But! Microsoft's changed all that! It's like they heard all my desperate cries of despair about the original Surface and fixed all of them, just for me. (That's so nice. Seriously, thank you.) They've updated the kickstand, so it will work better in your lap. They've also included a new processor, one that's focused not so much on boosting power (it's plenty powerful, mind you), but one that's more about the battery life.
Running it down, the Surface Pro 2 features a 10.6-inch 1080p display, a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, and it will come with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM (your choice, based on model). You'll be able to pick one up in many different variations this time around: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of built-in storage. It'll also offer a microSD card slot, for those who still need more. The Surface Pro 2 will also come with a 720p camera on the back, and a 720p camera on the front. It'll also boast Wi-Fi, a full-size USB 3.0 port, and 3 USB 2.0 ports. It'll have a Mini DisplayPort, too, for good measure. As you probably already guessed, the Surface Pro 2 will be launching with Windows 8.1 right out of the box.
The battery is said to have received a 75 percent increase over the original Surface Pro, and basically that just equals a huge boost in battery life. Indeed, Microsoft stressed that you'll be able to use the Surface Pro 2 "all day." That's just all around fantastic news in my book. As long as it's true, anyway.
Now, there's the Surface 2, and that can't be ignored, because this is another chance for Microsoft to give Windows RT a piece of great hardware. For instance, the new Surface 2 boasts the same 10.6-inch 1080p HD display as the Surface Pro 2, and has a 1.7GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor under the hood. Microsoft says it will offer up 10 hours of video playback. You'll find a 5-megapixel camera on the back of the Surface 2, and a 3.5MP camera on the front. It'll come in two variations: 32GB and 64GB, and will offer up 2GB of RAM. It'll have a microSD card slot, and it's supposed to be thinner and lighter than the original Surface with Windows RT.
So, here's where you get to chime in. I'm curious if you skipped either one of the original Surface models, all in the hope that Microsoft would deliver something better in the future. Is this the something better you were waiting for? Or, are you skipping the Surface tablet altogether, and going with something else? Let me know!