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, up from the 1366×768 screen of its predecessor. The tablet will also come with NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 system on a chip and 4GB of RAM, up from the Tegra 3 and 2GB of RAM included in the original Surface tablet. The new Tegra 4 processor grants the tablet a single USB 3.0 port, making it the first Windows RT device to support the latest USB technology.
Though the tablet weighs less and is slightly thinner, its design is nearly identical to the original Surface. Microsoft also added a new color option for the Surface 2, revealing a silver version of the tablet to go along with the black that’s been available since the last generation.
Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft’s Surface team, called the new Surface “the fastest device I’ve used relative to a tablet.”
“When you use [the 100,000 apps available on Windows RT], you’ll realize how powerful this product is,” he said.
Panay demonstrated the power of the new tablet by having Julie Larson-Green, the head of Microsoft’s devices division, playing “Halo: Spartan Assault” from a USB 3.0 wireless game controller while several Microsoft Office applications ran simultaneously.
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 more important, citing the use of Skype to video chat with friends and family.
As with the Surface Pro 2, the Surface 2 feature an improved kickstand offering two position levels for flat-surface viewing.
Microsoft notably cut the price of the original Surface by $150 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 original Surface did when it launched. A 32GB Surface 2 will retail for $449, while a 64GB version will cost $499.
The Surface 2 will be available through retail outlets on Oct. 22, with pre-orders beginning 8 a.m. Tuesday.