Microsoft has unveiled the updated Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 Tablets along with some new accessories for the devices.
Among the improvements, Microsoft promises improved processing, battery life and a sharper camera. The tablets will run Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro.
The Surface 2 comes in 32GB and 64GB models that start at $449. The Surface Pro 2 starts at $899 and is available in 64 and 125 GB configurations with 4GB of RAM and 256 GB and 512 GB with 8GM of Ram. You can pre-order the tablets now from Microsoft with an estimated shipping date of October 21.
Among the new accessories offered are new Touch and Type Covers and a new Power Cover. The Touch Cover has updated gesture controls and is now more rigid.
The Type Cover is now backlit and will be available in four colors, while a new Power Cover extends the battery life of the tablet since it comes with its own power source. Also available is a wireless adapter for typing covers that will let you type from anywhere in the room.
A lot of Surface users had asked for a docking station and now they’ll have one that will permit you to connect both the original Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 2 to desktop PC peripherals.
With the docking station you can connect an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply. the docking station also features one USB 3.) port and three USB 2.0 ports. It won’t be available until early 2014 and should cost around $200.
You’ll also be able to pick up a car charger with a USB port for $49.99.
And there’s a special edition Arc Mouse that’s been updated to match the look for the Surface.
The kickstand has also been re-designed to be more comfortable when resting on your lap.
While the original Surface Pro was generally well received, the Surface RT faced heave criticism for being a poor imitation of a PC. Microsoft is no doubt hoping these changes will boost sales.
As the owner of a first generation Surface Pro, I’m interested in the docking station and the keyboard changes. I have to say, I’ve been generally quite pleased with the device as a PC, though I find the lack of available Windows 8 apps to be a huge drawback to using it as a tablet and I still keep my 7-inch Android around for many of those functions.