Surface Pro 2: Haswell, more RAM and a 'refined' kickstand


Pictured Above: Surface Pro with Type Keyboard

Back in January, Microsoft released the Surface Pro; a tablet that was designed to be your do-all, go-anywhere device. By blending a powerful laptop with the flexibility of a tablet, the device appeared to be a home run for usability and portability. Couple the tablet with detachable keyboards and a stylus, and the Surface Pro should have been a huge hit with the consumers.

Alas, while the Surface Pro looked great on paper, it had a lukewarm reaction with consumers because of short battery life, and the device did not master any single trait. But, just like we already reported that Microsoft is building a Surface RT 2, Microsoft is also building another iteration of the Surface Pro.

The next generation of the Surface is already well underway with many expecting it to arrive around the launch of Windows 8.1. With the Pro being the flagship of the Surface lineup, you would expect Microsoft to up the specs from the previous iteration and that’s exactly what they have done.

While we do not have any information on the launch window, Neowin has learned about the specs that will power the Surface 2.

The Surface 2 will run Intel’s latest line of chips, a Haswell-based Core i5, Neowin has learned from several sources. In addition, the RAM will receive a considerable bump, being doubled 4GB to 8GB. Finally, while the device will look similar to the current Pro, Microsoft has "refined" the kickstand that ships with the device. What the refinement is exactly, we don't have a clear picture yet; it could be a more robust stand that is stronger or one that offers alternative viewing angles, but this is speculation at this point.

Coming with the new Pro will be another media campaign that will again try to raise awareness about the device. Now, we know a new media campaign will launch around the time of the Surface release, but we don’t know if Microsoft will stagger the release like they did with the RT/Pro (RT arrived in October and the Pro in February). Expect Microsoft to take a modified approach to trying to educate the mass market on the benefits of the device when compared to the initial launch and focus more on the features and less on dancing.

The big news, and mostly expected bit of information is the Haswell upgrade, the chip that is designed for efficiency should help to boost the battery life of the Pro, which was one of the weaknesses of the first iteration of the device.

As for price? We are still digging around on this, but we have been hearing whispers to not expect much to change on the Pro side of the equation. That’s not to say that it won’t be lowered/raised but the first Pro already offered a great value, when you consider all that is included, when compared to other market offerings.

All things considered, the Pro 2 is turning out to be more than a modest upgrade over the original Pro. While the exterior will look similar, the specs underneath will drive a serious performance bump.

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114 Comments

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Albert said,
a 'refined' kickstand. and that's a selling point. lmao.

Isn't every improvement a selling point, hence the term "selling point". Don't troll, it's not nice.

xendrome said,

Isn't every improvement a selling point, hence the term "selling point". Don't troll, it's not nice.

At least it's just not a color change, now that's a lamo moment.

lol. haven't you bunch of any-boys heard. gold _is_ a selling point.

but i've to admit a kick-stand goes right up there with the best. just like my granny's walker. lmfao.

tablets won't unseat laptops or get rid of them until they do what a laptop does now. Laptops are for serious power users. tablets can only do so much.

Tablets will become more and more a niche in the PC marketplace--squeezed between increasingly more powerful smartphones and traditional laptops. It is and will continue to be an excellent portable gaming device with its touch-centric attributes and petite form factor.

I hope this time around they will release it worldwide.. When will Microsoft learn its not a zoo out there, people do live outside of US

Will it come with a 4G sim card slot?

Personally, I have no need for a Surface Pro because I love my desktop PC. However, I would be interested in the RT and I would have bought one if it had a 4G sim card slot (the RT has better battery life and is actually a tablet, not a notebook laptop). I don't want to buy a USB wifi dongle to use the Internet when wireless is not available.

Wow, Surface Pro 2, from what I read on Paul Thurrott site, it doesn't come with LTE/Wireless support. One thing that made the iPad into corporate environment is their 3G/Wireless support because it allowed executives to check their email on the go. Then a trickle down effect happens and employees starts receiving them as well.

RommelS said,
Wow, Surface Pro 2, from what I read on Paul Thurrott site, it doesn't come with LTE/Wireless support. One thing that made the iPad into corporate environment is their 3G/Wireless support because it allowed executives to check their email on the go. Then a trickle down effect happens and employees starts receiving them as well.

While I wouldn't argue against them having it as an option, I don't think the vast majority of customers care about built in cellular connectivity. It costs WAY too much money monthly to make it worth subscribing to.

mrp04 said,

While I wouldn't argue against them having it as an option, I don't think the vast majority of customers care about built in cellular connectivity. It costs WAY too much money monthly to make it worth subscribing to.

MS could at least make it as an option. In addition, large corporations would allow for you to have a device that has that capability as long that you have a business option for it, and the majority of them do.

RommelS said,

MS could at least make it as an option. In addition, large corporations would allow for you to have a device that has that capability as long that you have a business option for it, and the majority of them do.


I want inbuilt data, I hate fussing about with tethering. Her in au I get 2GB per month for AUD10.00. That is far from expensive and worth the cost to avoid the pain of tethering.

CygnusOrion said,
Now if they can price the 128GB at $399 and the 256GB at $499 they have a real chance...

Yeah right, at that price they are giving it away. This is real hardware, not some weak arm based tablet.

CygnusOrion said,
Now if they can price the 128GB at $399 and the 256GB at $499 they have a real chance...

Yeah and Ultrabooks can cost just $300, too!

Oh wait, Intel charges $200 for the CPU alone.

8GB and a stand that lets me use it in my lap would seal the deal for me. I chose an Asus UX31A for the time being.

scorp508 said,
8GB and a stand that lets me use it in my lap would seal the deal for me. I chose an Asus UX31A for the time being.

8GB and Hawell fixed ALMOST all of my gripes with the Surface. If only they'd make a proper keyboard dock I'd buy this one. Take a look at the Lenovo Helix to get a good idea of what keyboard dock should have and improve it a little.

What I want

Proper hinge which turns it into a real laptop,
Backlit keyboard with good travel
Large trackpad
Trackpoint preferred but not required
Lots of ports on the keyboard
Extra battery in the keyboard

mrp04 said,

8GB and Hawell fixed ALMOST all of my gripes with the Surface. If only they'd make a proper keyboard dock I'd buy this one. Take a look at the Lenovo Helix to get a good idea of what keyboard dock should have and improve it a little.

What I want

Proper hinge which turns it into a real laptop,
Backlit keyboard with good travel
Large trackpad
Trackpoint preferred but not required
Lots of ports on the keyboard
Extra battery in the keyboard

Sounds like you want a laptop...

Osiris said,

Sounds like you want a laptop...

Yeah mrp04, save money, some gripping and buy yourself a laptop, a transformer, or high end asus, etc...

I almost pulled the trigger during Labor Day sales on the current Pro. Not enough free hard drive space for me. If they can get 256gb in there at a decent price, I may pull the trigger.

I love the battery life I get for my VivoTab RT with an extra keyboard battery, and I love the build of my wife's Surface RT. Now I'm just waiting for the Pro to come out with a long-anticipated extra keyboard battery. If there is also a usb dock avail, I'll be the first to order the i5 with 256gb. Bye-bye desktop, you will be history!

I've been a Surface Pro owner since launch and it is a very capable PC. I used it everyday and get 5-6 hrs of normal use out of it and the speed is great is is pretty much the exact same specs as my home desktop pc.

8-10 hrs and 8Gb ram would be pretty awesome but I'm not sure it would be worth upgrading over. Maybe if they had widi or miracast built in the hardware plus 256GB HD and a few other tweaks like a more powerful 3d card for the same price it would be worth it.

But like I said the Pro is a really great device as is and I do not regret at all buying gen 1 hardware

If the battery life is 6hrs + I may be interested in this. I like the Surface pro in theory as a tablet that is also your laptop and your workstation, but for me the 4hrs of battery was the kill factor.

@mac said,
If the battery life is 6hrs + I may be interested in this. I like the Surface pro in theory as a tablet that is also your laptop and your workstation, but for me the 4hrs of battery was the kill factor.

Yeah the battery life is definitely poor. It didn't bother me so much because I'm always near a power source but I think it would have been better if you could charge it over USB or something. Having to use the AC adapter for power really made it even less portable.

@mac said,
If the battery life is 6hrs + I may be interested in this. I like the Surface pro in theory as a tablet that is also your laptop and your workstation, but for me the 4hrs of battery was the kill factor.

I think the surface 2 will meet your expectations on that, I think those expecting 10hours are in for disappointment unless they've managed to get a 49Whr battery in there rather than the current 42

@mac said,
If the battery life is 6hrs + I may be interested in this. I like the Surface pro in theory as a tablet that is also your laptop and your workstation, but for me the 4hrs of battery was the kill factor.

MS would have been better off releasing a Keyboard+Battery combo as well to provide an extra 2-3 hrs of battery when connected to a Surface device. Although I have not yet used either Surface devices, reading all the reviews and feedback, that accessory would have really benefited the devices' adoption.

Kunal Nanda said,

MS would have been better off releasing a Keyboard+Battery combo as well to provide an extra 2-3 hrs of battery when connected to a Surface device. Although I have not yet used either Surface devices, reading all the reviews and feedback, that accessory would have really benefited the devices' adoption.

And per MS's earlier statements, it's still possible they can create this accessory and they should. It would work (assuming) for both the Surface Pro and Pro 2.

Looking solid so far. Hope they're putting as much effort into the Windows Store for Apps as they are on this Surface 2 hardware.

Maybe if they stop disrespecting their developers as of late! In all seriousness though for as much as their Store is hurting for apps, they haven't been doing a lot of positive things for developers. Seem more gripes in the past couple months than anything. TechNet, MSDN, access to RTM builds, etc.

the problem was never with the design or hardware, its the lack of quality apps which cements the platform. There is no software incentive, no real HQ apps that make or break this platform. MS needs to fix their app store and start getting proper developers involved with this problem

- Kaboose - said,
the problem was never with the design or hardware, its the lack of quality apps which cements the platform. There is no software incentive, no real HQ apps that make or break this platform. MS needs to fix their app store and start getting proper developers involved with this problem

I disagree. On the Metro side Fresh Paint, One Note MX, Bing News/Bing Sports beat anything the competition has to offer. Also media apps like Netflix and Vevo are quite a bit better than they are on the iPad as far as interface and speed. IE11 also bests the competition when it comes to touch browsing with their hold to hover click allowing use of advanced html5 web controls and pages/web drag/drop etc.

You also have full Windows so apps like Adobe Illustrator, Blender for use with the Stylus.

The problem facing Surface Pro is that it is expensive, the apps and experience are great.

- Kaboose - said,
the problem was never with the design or hardware, its the lack of quality apps which cements the platform. There is no software incentive, no real HQ apps that make or break this platform. MS needs to fix their app store and start getting proper developers involved with this problem

No quality Apps?

It runs all Windows/DOS software going back to 1981.

It runs all current 32 and 64bit Windows software.

You can run BlueStacks (Access to all Android Phone/Tablet software)

You can run a Linux VM, a WinXP VM, etc.

You can run OS X in a VM (or dual boot), (literally have a full Mac in a tablet)

Then you can also run all the new generation of Windows 8 Apps.

How is this 'lacking' Apps or software?

Mobius Enigma said,

No quality Apps?

It runs all Windows/DOS software going back to 1981.

It runs all current 32 and 64bit Windows software.

You can run BlueStacks (Access to all Android Phone/Tablet software)

You can run a Linux VM, a WinXP VM, etc.

You can run OS X in a VM (or dual boot), (literally have a full Mac in a tablet)

Then you can also run all the new generation of Windows 8 Apps.

How is this 'lacking' Apps or software?

not entirely true, if its x64 windows it does not run old windows apps or 16-bit dos programs... they removed the 16-bit support in x64 versions

Exactly Mobius. Does matter neufuse, there is an app for that.

Its getting harder and harder each day to throw the Store under the bus as well.

neufuse said,

not entirely true, if its x64 windows it does not run old windows apps or 16-bit dos programs... they removed the 16-bit support in x64 versions


Which can be fixed by his other example. Virtual Machines.

ZipZapRap said,
Call me when the Pro is as thin as my RT.
I'm hoping that's a change that shows up. It is possible since haswell's heat generation is supposedly considerbly lower than the ivy bridge.

Inside information:
It will be lighter, slimmer, kickstand will have 2 positions (Steve Ballmer asked this because he used it a lot on his belly/stomach). Type Cover will have a built in battery to which will double the Surface's autonomy.
Release Date: December 2013

PS: Next version of Skype will have real time translation.

Believe or not this will be 100% what you will see.

Everyone pretty much expected Haswell to be in the next device, so no shocker there. If the price doesn't increase sounds like a decent system. I've held out and this might just make me get one down the line.

Nice that it will come with Haswell, but I am thinking about skipping this gen of Surface because of Broadwell. I'm hoping with Broadwell, MS will be able to make Pro even thinner.

Jack of all trades, master of none springs to mind for me. If I am going to use the keyboard I'd be better off with a laptop, at least then it would stand up on my laptop and probably be more powerful. If I wanted a table I'd get something that is designed to be a tablet and has good battery life, instant on etc. I was really looking forward to the surface but my work one is sitting gathering dust.

I love the concept of these tablet/laptops, however i feel the manufactures are stepping backwards, I would prefer something with some decent screen real estate, a nice 17" surface and they would have me sold. But seems they keep making them smaller and smaller.

Now if only this had a considerable graphics chipset, the Surface Pro could replace my desktop PC completely. Perhaps one day...

Would be nice if more accessories came for the device. Like a dock that will make it easier to use dual screens, USB, and other things. Universal docks are made but diff companies, but I find those don't always work as they should. Kind of an issue here at work and a main reason why the few we have currently are being used along side normal laptops.

I'd like to see devices like this sport the ability for a PCIe dock link which could then allow a true graphics card to be used when not mobile.

Dot Matrix said,
Now if only this had a considerable graphics chipset, the Surface Pro could replace my desktop PC completely. Perhaps one day...

The 4600 is nothing to scoff at.

Dot Matrix said,
Now if only this had a considerable graphics chipset, the Surface Pro could replace my desktop PC completely. Perhaps one day...
Haswell's graphics capabilities are supposedly pretty solid. Won't be running everything at high quality, but most popular games should work fine.

episode said,

The 4600 is nothing to scoff at.

Still not good enough for a desktop replacement. Unless of course he only plays games from the App Store at 1080p.

JHBrown said,
Still not good enough for a desktop replacement. Unless of course he only plays games from the App Store at 1080p.

You can't run everything maxed out, but you can run everything at good to very good settings.

Kaedrin said,
I'd like to see devices like this sport the ability for a PCIe dock link which could then allow a true graphics card to be used when not mobile.


Oh my god that is perfect!

Do it now Microsoft!

Enron said,
Hope the storage options are 128GB and 256GB or more.

I have a feeling, and in order to make the price seem not that high, that 128GB could be the new base model pro 2 comes with and starts at the $799 price. Though if they do go back to the original $899 if the rest of the specs are true, 8GB RAM, long battery life, 128GB SSD then that's one heck of a deal for this type of device IMO.

I skipped the first gen, but this is looking pretty decent. Now if only there could also be a Surface mini lauching at the same time, at long last I woud have my perfect pro/consumption combo...

Honestly, better CPU and more RAM is a no-brainer. And anyone who has used the device, could come up with the need for a better kickstand.

Awesome cheers, just didn't want this to be one of those terrible "articles" that posts a whole bunch as facts and then reveals "Analysts predict"

I am realy curious to see the device, as well as the RT one. I don't feel that I need to replace my current Surface RT (because most new features will come anyway with Windows RT 8.1), but still if the kickstand has been refined, this could be really interesting, considering the global quality of the current gen.

SekaiStory said,
Could they pull an Apple and announce it days before release?

I can't believe they've waited this long to get Haswell in it.

episode said,

I can't believe they've waited this long to get Haswell in it.

Maybe they waited this long to have units close to release for when they do announce it and not wait months like before? One hopes anyways.

episode said,

I can't believe they've waited this long to get Haswell in it.

You might have heard about Haswell all year long, but Intel OFFICIALLY introduce the 4th Generation CPU this past June only. In fact, majority of OEMs are still selling Ivy Bridge processors with their current line-up, but they are slowly releasing machines with Haswell.

Not only that, but none of the versions that were introduced in June were the mobile BGA version of Haswell with the HD5000 series Iris Pro graphics architecture. All of the Haswell releases to date are on the older HD4600 series, which you do not really want on a newer tablet.

Technically the true "mobile" version of Haswell has not been released yet so far as I can tell, so you can't buy devices using it.

RommelS said,

You might have heard about Haswell all year long, but Intel OFFICIALLY introduce the 4th Generation CPU this past June only. In fact, majority of OEMs are still selling Ivy Bridge processors with their current line-up, but they are slowly releasing machines with Haswell.

And you really think Microsoft didn't have preliminary chips long before June? There were some Haswell devices available within a week of the announcement. Motherboards mostly, yes, but everyone knew the specs.

episode said,

And you really think Microsoft didn't have preliminary chips long before June? There were some Haswell devices available within a week of the announcement. Motherboards mostly, yes, but everyone knew the specs.

can you please use some common sense. If it preliminary, do you really think that Microsoft will use this for enterprise and consumer consumptions. They may be using it internally, but it doesn't mean that it is ready for use. In fact, I am sure that those preliminary CPUs that you are talking about went into multiple revisions.l, thus making it not the best candidates for testing it for a new device.

GP007 said,

Maybe they waited this long to have units close to release for when they do announce it and not wait months like before? One hopes anyways.

I hope so. I think that a lot of people had forgotten about it by the time it came out.

I hope they keep the wacom pen with the pro 2. Even though it took some time to get a proper driver, I still love using mine.

Only real gripe I had about the Surface Pro was using it on my lap with the keyboard. Why when I actually get a touch laptop...I will be looking at something that will allow me to use it on my lap with the KB. Also, something with more space would be nice. Hopefully the SP2 will include larger storage.

techbeck said,
Only real gripe I had about the Surface Pro was using it on my lap with the keyboard. Why when I actually get a touch laptop...I will be looking at something that will allow me to use it on my lap with the KB. Also, something with more space would be nice. Hopefully the SP2 will include larger storage.

What if, and just a big guess on my part, the 'refined kickstand" is actually something that will, in some fashion, allow for use on your lap like a laptop? If they can manage to work that bit out I think it could change things overall for many people viewing it as a possible next purchase.

Thinking the same thing, and while this is more like it, most everyone I know is waiting on detachables to get pricing and specs right...a tablet when you want media and a real laptop when you need it.

techbeck said,
That would be great. As of right now, its impossible to use with the KB without a solid flat surface.

Agreed. I realize that they were *probably* assuming that at that point it would just be used as a tablet without the keyboard, but sometimes you just want the keyboard and, though I haven't tried it, I definitely can understand it not being ideal on anything but a flat surface...

Hopefully this one gets an update that helps with that, as it would I'm sure be a much appreciated improvement by many people.

I think it should... The Surface Pro (v1) has a 256GB version now... I would imagine they would only be doing a 128GB and 256GB+ storage now.... *Crosses fingers!

techbeck said,
That would be great. As of right now, its impossible to use with the KB without a solid flat surface.

Maybe it has to do with thigh length, but I use the Surface Pro fairly regularly with touch cover on my legs. I just hook the stand over my knees and it works fine. I wouldn't want to type e novel this way, but for basic email and such it's fine for me.

norseman said,
I think it should... The Surface Pro (v1) has a 256GB version now... I would imagine they would only be doing a 128GB and 256GB+ storage now.... *Crosses fingers!
Lets hope a 512 exists. I think I could live with 256, but I want to make this my primary workstation so 512 would be welcome.

techbeck said,
Only real gripe I had about the Surface Pro was using it on my lap with the keyboard. Why when I actually get a touch laptop...I will be looking at something that will allow me to use it on my lap with the KB. Also, something with more space would be nice. Hopefully the SP2 will include larger storage.

Hopefully Lenovo refreshes the Helix soon and drops its price a little. That is the best Windows 8 hybrid design.

GP007 said,

What if, and just a big guess on my part, the 'refined kickstand" is actually something that will, in some fashion, allow for use on your lap like a laptop? If they can manage to work that bit out I think it could change things overall for many people viewing it as a possible next purchase.

I occasionally use my Surface Pro on my lap with the TypeCover; I would not want to do it for hours for reasons similar to using any laptop on my legs (beyond cooking my legs with most laptops), generally due to neck strain, but I can do it for a few minutes. The TouchCover was too bendy to use comfortably (and I never liked the that keyboard anyway), but I have not had a lot of trouble typing on my legs while sitting.

techbeck said,
Only real gripe I had about the Surface Pro was using it on my lap with the keyboard. Why when I actually get a touch laptop...I will be looking at something that will allow me to use it on my lap with the KB. Also, something with more space would be nice. Hopefully the SP2 will include larger storage.

I don't want any babies so I will gladly use any tablet or laptop on my lap.

max22 said,

I don't want any babies so I will gladly use any tablet or laptop on my lap.

Laptops aside I don't think tablets, even the x86 ones, get that hot anymore.

the surface pro has a 42Wh battery,so check out these haswell benchmarks from anandtech

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7117/haswell-ult-investigation

a 13 inch macbook air has a 54Wh battery,but by doing some math,they determined what a 42.5Wh version would get

web browsing 11.24 hours
video playback 8.20 hours

the surface pro currently

web browsing 6 hours
video playback 5.28 hours

so we're going to be looking at a pretty nice boost. i'd wager 8-10 hours of browsing,and 7-8 hours of video playback.

The Surface Pro also has to drive a much beefier processor, a much higher-res screen, a touch-screen, and an active digitizer. MAYBE you can expect 8 hrs of browsing given the MBA numbers, but even that is pushing it.

tanybeen said,
The Surface Pro also has to drive a much beefier processor, a much higher-res screen, a touch-screen, and an active digitizer. MAYBE you can expect 8 hrs of browsing given the MBA numbers, but even that is pushing it.
The processor was the same as the 11 inch MBA; not beefier. The screen is higher resolution, but it is also smaller, which should help. The rest is just a "yep".

vcfan said,
the surface pro has a 42Wh battery,so check out these haswell benchmarks from anandtech

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7117/haswell-ult-investigation

a 13 inch macbook air has a 54Wh battery,but by doing some math,they determined what a 42.5Wh version would get

web browsing 11.24 hours
video playback 8.20 hours

the surface pro currently

web browsing 6 hours
video playback 5.28 hours

so we're going to be looking at a pretty nice boost. i'd wager 8-10 hours of browsing,and 7-8 hours of video playback.

Thank you this looks about right. Not my dream of 20 hours but still good!

max22 said,
Thank you this looks about right. Not my dream of 20 hours but still good!
For what it's worth, I generally get around 6-8 hours of real use out of my Surface Pro, which I tend to use for software development on the road, which means that I leave on WiFi and am using it constantly. I tend to keep the brightness very low (less than 25% is more than bright enough for me) and I never turn on Bluetooth.