As expected, Microsoft has just taken the veil off of its next high-end Windows 8.1 tablet, the Surface Pro 2, in New York. The new tablet retains almost all of the physical characteristics of the old one. It’s still a 10.6inch screen built into a similar looking plastic body, which is slightly lighter and slightly thinner than before. The primary external change , though, is an extra setting for the kickstand to support it better when you’re trying to use the Surface Pro on your knee.
Now it will sit propped up at 55 degrees, if you wish.
To tackle the battery issue, Microsoft has armed the new Surface Pro with an Intel Haswell processor that it says will improve performance by 20% and battery life by 75% – which would take it to around seven or eight hours on a single charge by my reckoning.
More importantly, though, there’s a new keyboard cover which comes with a second battery inside – like the ASUS Transformer range – and a proper desktop dock for quickly attaching a 4K monitor and keyboard when you’re sat down. And these look likely to work with the original Pro too.
I still like the original Surface Pro, even if I have gone back to a more traditional laptop & tablet set-up rather than one-device-fits-all. The sheer amount of processing power Microsoft has packed into these things is almost worth the high asking price – don’t ask how much this will be in South Africa, the original Pro isn’t even here officially yet.
Still, not everyone agrees. Microsoft had to write down nearly a billion dollars of unsold Surface RT tablets – the ones that run ARM processors – recently due to lack of demand. Mind you, that hasn’t stopped it trying again. There’s a Surface RT 2 announced today as well, if you’re interested.