Preview: Microsoft Surface 2

Preview: Microsoft Surface 2

Microsoft has announced the second generation of its Surface RT tablet

Microsoft's second generation Surface tablet includes a full HD screen, updated internals, and a new two-stage kickstand.

The biggest upgrade on the Surface 2 tablet is its new 1080p display. With a resolution of 1920x1080, it's a significant upgrade over the original Surface RT's 1366x768 display.

The biggest design change on the Surface 2 is a new two-stage kickstand, which can be set at two different angles. The new angle, pushed back further than the original one, makes it easier to use the Surface 2 on your lap, Microsoft says.

The Surface 2 is slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor. It comes in a new silver colour variant.

Interestingly, Microsoft has replaced the Windows logo on the back of the tablet with Surface branding.

The Surface 2 two retains a full-size USB port, but it has been upgraded to USB 3.0. Microsoft has also improved the front facing camera (3.5-megapixels) and the rear facing camera (5-megapixels): both are able to capture full HD 1080p video.

The Surface 2 is only available in Wi-Fi models, so there's no 4G option available.

The Microsoft Surface 2 tablet is powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, has 4GB of RAM and comes with 32GB or 64GB of internal memory. There's also a microSD card slot.

Microsoft says the device has improved battery life, now offering up to 10 hours of video playback.

The Surface 2 comes pre-loaded with the Windows RT 8.1 operating system and includes a full version of Microsoft Office 2013 RT.

Microsoft will also offer free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries for one year, unlimited Skype Wi-Fi for one year, and 200GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years with any new Surface 2 purchase.

Microsoft has also unveiled a range of new accessories for the Surface 2. A redesigned Touch Cover 2 ($139.99) is thinner and lighter than the original Touch Cover and now has backlit keys and updated sensors.

The Type Cover 2 ($149.99) also has backlit keys, and Microsoft says it is quieter when striking keys. It will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Purple and Black variants.

Microsoft will also sell a car Charger with USB ($59.99) and a power cover that extends the battery life of the Surface 2 by up to 50 per cent.

The Microsoft Surface 2 tablet will be available in 32GB and 64GB models and will sell for $529 and $639 in Australia, respectively.

The Surface 2 and new Surface accessories will be available to purchase from Tuesday, 22 October through Microsoft's online store and though Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi retail stores and other authorised Surface commercial resellers.

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