Microsoft announces Surface 2 with 1080p display, Tegra 4

Microsoft announced its ARM-powered Surface 2 tablet at a press event in New York early Monday, confirming earlier reports of the device receiving primarily internal upgrades along with a thinner and lighter body.

As Neowin reported on Sept. 9, the Surface 2 will feature a 10.6-inch 1080p screen, an improvement from its predecessor's 10.6-inch screen that had just a 1366x768 resolution. The tablet runs on NVIDIA's 1.7GHz quad-core Tegra 4 system on a chip, up from the 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 found in the original Surface. The new Tegra 4 processor powers a single USB 3.0 port, making it the first Windows RT device to support the latest USB standard. Battery life has also improved thanks to the new processor, with Microsoft claiming the Surface 2 typically lasts 10 to 12 hours on a single charge, up from the Surface RT's roughly eight hours.

Panos Panay, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Surface team, called the Surface 2 “the fastest product I've used relative to a personal tablet,” which he credited to both the new hardware and improvements made in Windows RT 8.1.

“The [tablet] runs three to four times faster than you've seen in the past,” he told the event's audience. “We take the full pixels [and] bring them to life – no latency, no lag, full speed. If we're going to have you and ask you to be productive, we have to make sure we give you the best device possible to do so.”

Panay demonstrated the tablet's power by having Julie Larson-Green, head of Microsoft's devices division, play “Halo: Spartan Assault” from a wireless USB 3.0 Xbox controller while four Microsoft Office applications ran simultaneously on the Surface 2 in the background.

“When you use an app on here you realize how powerful this product is – and we've increased those apps, and [the Windows Store] is coming to life,” Panay said. “As with anything, the power of this product will come out through these applications.”

Though the tablet weighs less and is slightly thinner, its design is nearly identical to the original Surface, except for its new color. Unlike the Surface RT, which came in black, the Surface 2 will only be available in silver, though the bezel around the screen will remain black.

Both the front- and rear-facing cameras received upgrades for the Surface 2, with Panay calling the back camera “phenomenal,” though he said the front camera is just as important, citing the use of Skype to video chat with friends and family. While both cameras were 1.2 megapixels on the Surface RT, the front camera on Surface 2 is now 3.5 megapixels, and back camera is 5 megapixels. Panay said a new sensor was placed near the front camera, allowing the tablet to dynamically adjust lighting in a photo or video.

As with the Surface Pro 2, the Surface 2 features an improved kickstand offering two position levels for better video angles and flat-surface viewing.

Microsoft notably cut the price of the original Surface by $100 within eight months of its release, but the Surface 2 won't see the same reduced price, though it will still cost $50 less than the Surface RT's launch price. A 32GB Surface 2 will retail for $449, while a 64GB version will cost $549. Microsoft is also providing 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years as well as free international Skype calling and hotspot access for one year to anyone who purchases a Surface 2.

The Surface 2 will be available through retail outlets on Oct. 22, with pre-orders beginning 8 a.m. Tuesday through Microsoft's website.

Images via Microsoft

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25 Comments

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A smartphone and laptop are more than capable of handling my company's computer needs. We don't need an expensive niche product in the mix.

TsarNikky said,
A smartphone and laptop are more than capable of handling my company's computer needs. We don't need an expensive niche product in the mix.

Thanks, I was wondering what your company would do with this info, now I can rest easy...

Still need to see Tegra4 in action in person to see if it's worth upgrading from original Surface.

Not too impressed with the limited service access though. Feels like a "that's how they getcha" type thing.

What is the price for "Skype Everywhere" and 200GB SkyDrive after 1yr.

Or is this the carrot they will dangle to keep users perpetually upgrading hardware for no good reason?

deadonthefloor said,
Still need to see Tegra4 in action in person to see if it's worth upgrading from original Surface.

Not too impressed with the limited service access though. Feels like a "that's how they getcha" type thing.

What is the price for "Skype Everywhere" and 200GB SkyDrive after 1yr.

Or is this the carrot they will dangle to keep users perpetually upgrading hardware for no good reason?

what limited service access do you speak of?

duddit2 said,
what limited service access do you speak of?

The 1st year free of their online service portfolio.
limited access being outrageous benefits for a seemingly short time.

If my annual MS bill starts to exceed my other bills, I will have to opt out of computing all together and go live in the woods.

Wow, these are great upgrades. I was *hoping* they'd weigh in at $350, though. I plan to buy one for each member of my family for Christmas. Wish they did quantity discounts!

Skwerl said,
Wow, these are great upgrades. I was *hoping* they'd weigh in at $350, though. I plan to buy one for each member of my family for Christmas. Wish they did quantity discounts!

they are releasing a surface mini soon, might be around the $300 range.

They have priced themselves out of the game for a lot of people. They need to have the option to buy one without Office - and then make it easy to upgrade to Office from the store if required for say $50-75. Cut Office, Skype and Skydrive storage. Bring it down to $300-350. That will make it an easy purchase for so many people vs and Android alternative or iPad. Sure for those with sense $450 is a great price for everything on offer, but too many people are concerned with initial upfront cost and won't see the added value here.

Get people to buy in, then sell them extras. Child's play, no?

TheShark said,
They have priced themselves out of the game for a lot of people. They need to have the option to buy one without Office - and then make it easy to upgrade to Office from the store if required for say $50-75. Cut Office, Skype and Skydrive storage. Bring it down to $300-350. That will make it an easy purchase for so many people vs and Android alternative or iPad. Sure for those with sense $450 is a great price for everything on offer, but too many people are concerned with initial upfront cost and won't see the added value here.

Get people to buy in, then sell them extras. Child's play, no?

Office is free, its not a hidden charge on the hardware. MS are not getting paid for office on these models, so reducing the price by removing something that you have added for free wont work out too well.

Caleb said,

lol. Panos means diarrhea in Russian.


and diarrhea attributes also windows 8.x / metro / surfeces motto: "Fast and Fluid".

Caleb said,

lol. Panos means diarrhea in Russian.


Well, in all seriousness.. the biggest sandwichbar chain in Belgium is called Panos. Not kodding.

Torolol said,

so, why the previous one are not mentioned as "768p" ?

because there is no such thing as 768p?

The p is stupid to start with since all screens today are progressive scanned basically.... the whole p and I came from the video transport not the display itself....

and 1080p and 720p are just that, video formats... not display formats.. we just happened to make screens fit the 1080 vertical line resolution.

neufuse said,

because there is no such thing as 768p?

The p is stupid to start with since all screens today are progressive scanned basically.... the whole p and I came from the video transport not the display itself....

and 1080p and 720p are just that, video formats... not display formats.. we just happened to make screens fit the 1080 vertical line resolution.

768p does exist, for PAL based TV's, at least here in the UK there are plenty of 'HD ready' TV's with this resolution.

Also, the 'p' while I know it's annoying to read that over and over, there are still TV's being sold as interlaced, not to mention TV top boxes like the SkyHD box that only offers 720p and 1080i.

And again, I disagree with the video format thing, a TV can be made to be interlaced, progress or both, this is till an important detail.

What does annoy me how Neowin goes from saying 1366x768 to 1080p, this is where marketing has ****ed things up.

Tony. said,

768p does exist, for PAL based TV's, at least here in the UK there are plenty of 'HD ready' TV's with this resolution.

Also, the 'p' while I know it's annoying to read that over and over, there are still TV's being sold as interlaced, not to mention TV top boxes like the SkyHD box that only offers 720p and 1080i.

And again, I disagree with the video format thing, a TV can be made to be interlaced, progress or both, this is till an important detail.

What does annoy me how Neowin goes from saying 1366x768 to 1080p, this is where marketing has ****ed things up.

The point you missed here is that a TV being either I or p is nothing to do with the panel and everything to do with the video processor of the TV. Now given that all computer screens are just that - screens (panels) then they are neither I or p, as this would be decided by the video card sending the signals to the panel.