Surface 2 release date arrives

News 22 Oct, 2013

Microsoft has released the next-generation Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 devices in the UK.

The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 devices are now available to buy in the UK, as Microosft pushes ahead with its tablet making ambitions.

However, high street retailer Argos may have jumped the gun by putting the Surface 2 on sale before its official release.

The device, which went on sale today, was available to buy through the retailer's website and pick up in store days before its release.

According to a report on The Verge, it was just the 32GB and 64GB Surface 2 models that went on sale early, not the Surface Pro 2 or their accompanying Touch and Type covers.

In a statement to the publication, Argos said it withdrew the product from sale shortly afterwards.

"We fully comply with embargos issued by our suppliers and have withdrawn the Microsoft Surface 2 from sale with immediate effect," the statement read.

"We are working with Microsoft to investigate this error as a matter of urgency."

Surface 2 launch

At the Surface 2 launch event in New York last month, the company kicked off proceedings by treating attendees to a sneak peek at its next generation Surface Pro, which comes with a starting price of £720 ($899).

The device is available in 64GB or 128 GB configurations, with 4GB of RAM.  Users also have a choice of 256GB and 512GB versions, which come equipped with 8GB RAM.

The business-focused Surface Pro 2 features a whole host of enhancements over its predecessor, according to Microsoft, with its performance, battery and screen specs all receiving a boost.

“We improved the performance on this product by 20 per cent, if you thought it was fast before it is lightning fast now,” said Panos Panay, vice president of Surface at Microsoft.

As such, the Surface Pro 2 will be powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 Haswell processor,  which Microsoft claims will boost its battery life by around 60 per cent over the previous generation.

 “It is the most productive, professional tablet in the world,” he added.

The reworked device comes equipped with a range of ports, including a quicker USB 3.0 ports.

The vendor then went on to treat attendees to a first look at the replacement for the Surface RT, which Panay described as a “real revamp” compared to its predecessor.

The device will run the Windows RT 8.1 operating system, is “thinner, lighter and faster”, claimed Panay, and will be compatible with the 100,000 apps offered through the Windows Store.

The 10.6in Surface 2 features a NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor. This, Microsoft claims, should provide users with a battery life of up to 10 hours of video playback.

"This is the fastest product I've used relative to a personal tablet," he added.

Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations, with prices starting from $449 for the device.

Both devices will be available to pre-order on 24 September.

To sweeten the deal, users that opt for either device will benefit from free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries, as well as unlimited access to Skype Wi-Fi hotspots, for one year.

Surface 2 buyers will also benefit from 200GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage for two years.

Surface 2 accessories

Another feature that was widely tipped to make an appearance on the next generation devices was the Surface docking station, which Panay demonstrated onstage. The new addition means both devices can power two monitors at a time, and connect to a range of other PC peripherals.

However, this feature isn’t expected to make an appearance until early next year, and when it does, looks likely to set users back by around $199.99.

The company also showcased its new Power Cover accessory, which features an in-built 30wh battery, and is compatible with the original Surface Pro, as well as Microsoft’s next generation devices.

Again, this accessory has a projected release date of early 2014, and is expected to retail at $199.99.

The Redmond giant has also outlined updates to its Type and Touch Cover offerings, with the former now featuring backlit keys, while the latter is reportedly lighter and thinner than the original version.

The Type 2 Cover is available in Cyan, Magenta, Purple and Black and will have an estimated retail price of $129.99, while the Touch Cover 2 will be sold for $119.99.

The next-generation devices will have some significant ground to make up, as the response to the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets from consumers and business users has been mixed to date.

This is a situation Microsoft will undoubtedly be hoping to reverse with the release of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.

Now Microsoft has revealed what's in store for next-generation Surface buyers, take a look over our earlier wishlist of Surface 2 features to see what, if any, got a look in this time around...

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Couple of points to note. Surface RT has good battery life on a par with the iPad. I think your article author is thinking about the Surface Pro (which runs full Windows on an i5) in the reference to 'paltry 4 hours').

Keyboard. You don't *need* to buy a touch or type cover at all. Surface has a USB socket and you can plug in any old USB keyboard if you need something physical to type on. That can cost as little as £5 if you're on a tight budget. But you've probably already got a compatible one lying around you can reuse anyway.

Yeah, I was also going to say, I think you're mixing up the RT and the Pro. The battery life on my RT is exceptional. Coupled with the superfast charging time, I think it betters the iPad ( I've been really impressed!

And while using the Touch cover isn't as accurate as a mechanical keyboard, it is super handy - and for me the size makes it much more attractive than the type cover. Its basically just like having a screen cover on....but I also have a keyboard. People who need to do more serious typing have the option of the Type Cover. But I'm very glad there's the choice!

Ditto on the RT battery life. I get more than 10 hours as a rule. With the Office Suite and a mouse-enabled OS, I have ditched my iPad. I am also not sure but that the smaller "mini surface" will defeat the productive benefits of the Surface, i.e., a screen dimension large enough to allow for a full keyboard.

MS is not gonna sell the Surface at a loss because then it would be screwing over its OEM's, who can't sell anything at a loss.

I agree. The Touch Cover is pure genius and actually quite easy to type on. Durability is just fine --no moving parts, see?

These points are fucking ridiculous.
The battery life of the surface RT is between 8 and 10 hours. Don't compaira computer (surface pro) and a tablet pc (ipad / surface rt)
The keyboard is optional, you can plug any usb keyboard or mouse on the surface and with its integrated stand it's like having a computer on the desktop

Even though I have a type cover (which I love) for my Surface Pro, after
playing with the touch cover at Bestbuy my conclusion was it is also
great, as I didn't make any mistakes typing out a notepad test letting
everyone know that it types well.
STOP STOP STOP comparing the
Surface Pro battery life to a toy (iPad). If you want to compare it to
anything compare it to a laptop or Ultrabook, because that's what it is
albeit in a tablet form factor, and it compares quite well to those
devices with battery life especially if you tweak power settings. Yes,
they can and will improve battery life, but it's by no means terrible
when put against comparable hardware. I can get a LOT more REAL work
done within that 4 or 5 hours than I could on my iPad's 10 hours. By the
way, I sold my iPad 4 64gb AND my laptop because I never used them
anymore after getting my Surface Pro. I would say #1 improvement should
be Haswell, even though I can play WoW, Portal 2 and even TERA perfectly
fine on my SPro. #2 would be Wintab or some kind of fix for the present
issue of the lack of pressure for the pen in applications like
Photoshop. That is coming though, so they say, within the next couple of
months or weeks. #3 can be battery, and as far as I'm concerned once
these 3 items are addressed this hardware will be absolutely PERFECT.

I have both the Surface RT and the Pro and have touch as well as type covers. The odd thing is I prefer the RT with the touch cover over the Pro with the type cover. The thinness and lighter weight of the RT as well as its long battery life and quick recharge really appeals. I also like the thinness of the touch cover. When I fold the type cover behind the Surface Pro it feels a bit awkward with my hands gripping the mechanical keys. I always fear I am going to break the keys.

Surface Pro 2 needs to be as light and thin as the RT and it needs to have wireless display (WiDi) so that I can broadcast my screen to a second monitor, television, or projected wall screen without hassling with cables. It would also be helpful to have a place to store the stylus without fearing it will get knocked off it's magnetic connector.
It would also be nice to bundle the touch cover with the Pro for no added cost and offer a Pro version for less without the keyboard. The same could be done with the RT. They could even produce a cheaper version by not bundling Office with the RT (although that is my favorite part of the RT).

The problem is they are comparing surface pro to the ipad. Surface pro are comparable to laptops and ultrabooks. Surface rt is comparable to ipads and it does provide 10 hours as well.

Does anyone know whether software written in access 2002 as a runtime .exe file can be loaded to and would work on a Microsoft surface tablet here is an extract of Correspondance I have had with the developer that might help your answer "I have not tested on either machine. However, despite my intensive research as to whether the business version supports Microsoft Access (They say it runs Microsoft Office but MS Access has in recent times changed to be an SQL server based database program) I have not been able to establish for a fact whether run time versions of MS Access will run. I am sorry that I cannot say more for sure. I also appreciate it is hard to even get a demo of Surface whereby you may see if access runs.

The surface pro is a good concept, but its benefits are lost in the miasma RT identity confusion and MS's idiotic ad campaign. Personally, I would be surprised if the surface line does not submerge next year

I have a Google Nexus 7 and love the portability of the 7 inch form factor. I also intend to get a Surface Pro when the second generation comes out (if there are actual improvements such as battery life.) My only issue right now is trying to imagine having the Surface Pro (not the RT) in the 7 inch form factor and potentially hindering the full windows experience in the process. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if Microsoft should consider only making 7 inch versions for the RT and not the Pro. Otherwise, they might get a lot of customers who are disappointed in the 7 inch Pro experience (I am only speculating here). Microsoft could probably do without that right now.

To other commenters: what are your thoughts on this? Will a 7 inch screen make sense with the Pro version of Surface? Should they restrict the smaller screen size to the RT instead? I can imagine still owning a cheaper tablet such as the Nexus 7 (considering it is only $200) alongside a larger and more powerful Surface tablet (to use when I want the whole windows experience and more processing power.)

Up until buying the Nexus 7, I had always owned both a basic desktop PC and a basic laptop (and sometimes an e-reader as well). It seems to me that the Surface will actually replace my home desktop PC (at least for the purposes I use it) and even effectively replace my laptop. Also owning a cheaper tablet such as the Nexus 7 would be the icing on the cake for when I just want to read books and prefer the extra portability and extended battery-life and convenience that comes with that form factor.

I am getting kind of excited just thinking about all of this. Hurry up with the next Surface! I'm ready to embrace the innovation!

That was horrible to read. I wouldn't think that better availability is something everyone wants nor the kick stand angles sure it would help but to be in the top 7 I don't think so.
Obviously better battery life sure why not a normal SD card slot and a standard hdmi out port or extra usb ports even a 256gb version (releasing in japan soon).
If they can address the battery life alone and make it 7-8 hours of decent use I would buy it right now.

I checked out the Surface Pro. It really is quite nice. Now, with Haswell coming there's a great opportunity to really make it pro. Put in a 1tb Samsung SSD, please.