Surface RT 2: Tegra 4, 1080P screen, and more

Over the past few days, Neowin has been able to uncover many of Microsoft’s upcoming plans for its Surface products. These plans include the specs for the Surface 2, a new battery powered cover, called the Power Cover, and a new dock for the Pro line of Surfaces.

Microsoft has other products in the works besides these devices including a rumored Surface Mini and, of course, the Surface RT. In this post, we will shine a bit of light on Microsoft's upcoming Surface RT 2 plans.

The story of the Surface RT is a bit complex as Microsoft introduced the RT with the general availability of Windows 8 but since its introduction, the tablet has not been selling all that well in the market. This was likely because the device was priced too high and to make the product more appealing to consumers, the company slashed the priced by $150.

If you are curious about what the features will be for the upcoming Surface RT 2, likely to be called just the Surface, the device will be equipped with a Tegra 4 CPU, 1080P screen, two-step style kickstand and we are also hearing the RAM will get bumped to 4GB too. We are not sure if the RAM bump will be like that of the Surface Pro 2 that may include models that have either 4GB or 8GB.

These updates will result in a modest bump to the specs to the Surface RT and will help keep the tablet running Windows RT 8.1 with ease. These updates are clearly a evolutionary step for the Surface RT family and is by no means a complete re-write of the device.

We will be curious to see what the price point is when Microsoft releases the device to see if they stick with the $349 price or if they return to the initial MSRP of $499.

As with previous leaks, we do not have a timeline for release but considering the last RT shipped in October and Windows 8.1 hits GA in that month as well, we would expect Microsoft to put the product on store shelves around the time.

Paul Thurrott has also chimed in with a few more details that compliment our information.

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61 Comments

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Lord Method Man said,
Tegra? Why not Titan??

Please tell me you're joking, I want more than an hour out of a tablet when playing games thanks!!

I really like nvidia in general, but my previous experiences with Tegra 2 and my current Tegra 3 based Surface RT, makes the Tegra 4 based Surface 2 very scary.

Personally I will be between the Nokia tablet and Surface 2.
If we follow the rumors Nokia's tablet will be 10.1'' 1080p display, Snapdragon 800, 2GB Ram and HDMI out. And supposedly will be a lot thinner, way more compact and lot lighter too comparing with the current Surface RT.

The original Surface RT also had a very weird portrait view. I am not sure if it was due to its low resolution display, the display size, or the way Windows 8 mishandle portrait view. If it was the display size 10.6'' causing the issue then I expect the Nokia 10.1 tablet to be far better in portrait mode than the Surface.

The negative for the Nokia is that no one has confirmed a USB port and kickstand yet (if I am not mistaken).

Very exited to see both, if the prices are right, then next month we will have a very pleasant decision to make between the two.

Why is Microsoft spending so much time and energy on what is becoming more and more a niche in the overall PC universe? Improvements in smartphones and laptops keep encroaching on the tablet niche.

I am going to say the Surface 2(RT) will be priced the same $349.00 or lower with the old version going for $199.00. If MS pushes what the Surface can do then it will blow away those Android devices this quarter.

If they can improve the overall responsiveness and sluggish behavior of my current Surface with a new model I'll upgrade for sure. I want a pro but I'm unwilling to pay the price and I don't care for the 3rd party x86 options so far. Besides it's a pure consumption device for me so I'm not sure how much I'd gain from going x86 to begin with.

I thought Tegra 4 was 32bit? Why would they put 4GB of RAM in a 32bit machine?

I was hoping the Surface 2 would come with a pen input along with the 1080p display. If not, I'll stick with my original Surface until gen 3.

I really hoped it would be powered by the Snapdragon 800. The Tegra 3 failed to impress with its decent GPU but below average CPU.

Now, bring it on!

I thought the same, but S800 isn't necessarily better than T4. They're comparable and each handles a few things better than the other. There won't be too much difference amongst them in the end.

I hope we don't find out soon after release Tegra once again disappoints.

Nice to see 1080p becoming standard.

I think the two step kickstand may be a failure again. Everyone has a preference and one slightly different viewing angle isn't going to solve it.

The power connector needs to be better, bit too fidgety.

It should be fine this time. T4 is a modern SOC, T3 was outdated already when it came out. T4 doubles and even quadruples some of the T3 benchmarks. It should have enough horsepower to drive 8.1 without problems.

Xabier Granja said,
It should be fine this time. T4 is a modern SOC, T3 was outdated already when it came out. T4 doubles and even quadruples some of the T3 benchmarks. It should have enough horsepower to drive 8.1 without problems.

Well my Surface doesn't have any problems handling the Windows RT 8.1 Preview so I would say that even Tegra 3 has more than enough horsepower to drive Windows RT 8.1 without problems.

You might want to look in to the next xps 10 . the current xps 10 has a snapdragon cpu in it and a keyboard with battery in it so the next one should just be an upgraded version of it.

It's wise to wait for the second generation of a product to be sure all the "baby" related illnesses that maybe associated with launching a new product have been "cured".

I'll probably order a few of these (I have a big family) and the second gen Pro for sure.

They should price it at $350 or $400 if it has 4GB RAM.

If they price it higher than that it will be DOA.

I hope they learned from first generation mistakes.

sri_tech said,
They should price it at $350 or $400 if it has 4GB RAM.

This is RT, on ARM. 32-bit. You can't have more than 4gb, even if you needed it (Which for the foreseeable future on RT, you won't.)

MS needs to build Win8 marketshare. That measn selling MANY of these things, so there's a big user base, so devs take it more seriously, so the ecosystem thrives. To sell many implies being humble with price: instead of making %150 profit, make %30-50 and be happy you're making that + app sales while you're engrossing your user base. Greater profits can come later when you make premium upgrades.

1080p screen, 2-stop kickstand and 4GB for $400 with a touch-cover: I will upgrade EVERY year and gift or sell the older models cheaply to family and friends.

Same thing for $500 or more: PASS. $100 is a big difference for something that doesn't cost them even $300 to manufacture.

Agree. Microsoft should sell the RT at breakeven price (so about $250)... and then make their money from the apps sold... as they gain market share.

Microsoft needs a new business model for RT & Windows Phone.

Sell the OS to OEMs for a penny so they can compete with Google, and then make their money on "services" and apps. This will help them compete for OEMs, developers, and market share.

Obviously, they don't need to use this strategy with Windows OS--just RT & Windows Phone.

I would buy it if I was in the market for a tablet... but Microsoft can't expect me to buy a new tablet every year. Sorry Microsoft, I'll buy a new tablet in about 2 years... bear with me.

Keeping the hardware up to date in their products doesn't imply they expect people to buy a new tablet every year.

Every hardware company continuously updates their stuff, always has.

dbam987 said,
Surface RT 2 + that dock == Take My Money
Pretty sure the rumor was confirmed that the dock is for pro only. I think that's a bad move personally.

MrHumpty said,
Pretty sure the rumor was confirmed that the dock is for pro only. I think that's a bad move personally.

Depends on whether or not they've added the Pro's extra pins to the RT2.

Dells xps 10 already has a dock like that. I would wait to see what the next version has for specs. The current xps 10 has a snapdragon processor in it.

And this news is coing out of nowhere.... 1080p screen? There was another news (from a benchmark result) saying that the screen would be the same.

It's all rumours... Let's all wait until october 18....

neonspark said,
last shot for tegra. IMO they should move to snapdragon for tablets instead. Nvidia just can't keep up.
Agreed, you have to imagine MS made a multi-generation deal to get pricing down.

neonspark said,
last shot for tegra. IMO they should move to snapdragon for tablets instead. Nvidia just can't keep up.

To be blunt, I think Microsoft needs to start designing its own ARM chips like Apple does. Whenever Windows RT and Android OEMs release tablets they're dated within months.

Whenever Apple designs their own chips, they're dated within months too, but because they don't release another "A" series, they don't sound it. But the technology they use (eg A-9, A-12...) is still progressing with or without Apple.

greenwizard88 said,
Whenever Apple designs their own chips, they're dated within months too, but because they don't release another "A" series, they don't sound it. But the technology they use (eg A-9, A-12...) is still progressing with or without Apple.

The benchmarks tell another story. The core technology may be dated, but the performance typically still leads the tablet pack.

Anthony Tosie said,

The benchmarks tell another story. The core technology may be dated, but the performance typically still leads the tablet pack.

I think we need a tegra 4 vs snapdragon 800 benchmark article so people get an idea of where the two SoCs fall in relation to each other. Right now I think that lots of people believe that because the Snapdragon 800 is newer to the market than the Tegra 4 that it's so much better though I don't think so, without seeing any benchmarks though.

Anthony Tosie said,

The benchmarks tell another story. The core technology may be dated, but the performance typically still leads the tablet pack.

The CPU performance is higher on tons of Android tablets/phones. It's the GPU performance where Apple sometimes lead for a few months, but Apple does not design the GPU at all, it's just Power VR stuff. Apple choose to dedicate a higher percentage of the SoC to the GPU.

NoClipMode said,

The CPU performance is higher on tons of Android tablets/phones. It's the GPU performance where Apple sometimes lead for a few months, but Apple does not design the GPU at all, it's just Power VR stuff. Apple choose to dedicate a higher percentage of the SoC to the GPU.

To be fair, GPU performance is noticed right from the start in the core UI by users. CPU could lag a bit in loading some things but if it's not that great users are fine with it, if a game plays like crap though? They'll toss a fit.

neonspark said,
last shot for tegra. IMO they should move to snapdragon for tablets instead. Nvidia just can't keep up.

Having said that, Intel is definitely making a lot of progress and they may yet come a time when ARM won't have any "real" advantages over x86. Lenove chief has sort of confirmed this recently.