The Surface 2 launch event was really mostly about the Surface Pro 2, Microsoft's 10.6-inch Windows 8 tablet, but also included the Surface 2, which lost the RT portion of its moniker as it transitioned to its second generation. The Surface 2, nee Surface RT, runs the Windows RT platform and Metro-style (only) apps.
Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 addresses some negatives, but leaves some in place. For one, the price was a big negative, and remains at $899 for the 64GB version and $999 for the 128GB version. New storage tiers at 256GB and 512GB will cost you $1,299 and $1,599. The lower two tiers will come with 4GB of RAM, while the upper two tiers will sport 8GB of RAM.
The original Surface Pro will still be sold, with 64GB of internal storage and its current $799 price.
Microsoft has addressed the battery life negative. With its new Haswell CPU, Microsoft said the device will get 75 percent battery life. Considering real-life measurements of four to four-and-a-half hours, that means the Surface Pro 2 should reach seven hours of battery life.
Ah, but that's not all, as Microsoft will finally release a keyboard accessory with an embedded battery. Microsoft claimed that the the Surface Pro 2, when connected to the Power Cover, would get two-and-a-half times the battery life of the tablet by itself. That would amount to close to 18 hours of battery life, making it a full workday device.
During its presentation, Microsoft claimed the Surface pro 2 was "faster than 95 percent of laptops today." We doubt, however, that means you will be playing upcoming games which stretch a PC's limits, as the graphics is naturally integrated, not discrete.
The Surface 2's upgrade includes a Tegra 4 processor -- NVIDIA's latest -- which is also being featured in the HP Slatebook x2 and the upcoming Asus Tranformer Pad (2013 version). There will be other improvements, and the current version will continue to be sold at its $349 price point. The new Surface 2 tablet will start lower than last year, at $449.
Pre-orders for both devices opened at 8 a.m. ET on Sept. 24.