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Microsoft Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 tablets revealed

Microsoft has refreshed its Surface tablet range with two new models: the ARM-powered Surface 2 and x86 Surface Pro 2

Microsoft has launched two new Surface tablets, refreshing its line-up for the first time since introducing the range last year. The Surface Pro 2 replaces the existing Surface tablet while the Surface 2 replaces the Windows RT-powered Surface RT.

As the more powerful of the pair, Microsoft has overhauled the Surface Pro 2 with new features designed to appeal to businesses. It will run the full version of Windows 8.1 thanks to an Intel Haswell 4th Generation Core i5 processor, which Microsoft says boosts performance by 20% while improving battery life by up to 75%.

There haven’t been many physical changes, with the Full HD display gaining a little more colour accuracy and the kick stand gaining a second locking position to make laptop use a little more comfortable. The stylus makes a return, with the same pressure sensitivity as before.

Surface Pro 2

Instead, Microsoft hopes that Surface Pro 2 owners will buy the new docking station, which adds three USB ports, one USB3, mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio in and outputs and an Ethernet jack, effectively turning the tablet into a desktop computer.

The Power Cover replaces the existing Type Cover with backlit keys and an integrated battery that effectively doubles the Surface Pro 2’s battery life.

Microsoft Surface 2

The Surface 2, meanwhile, continues to run the cut-down RT version of Windows, although it will ship with the impending 8.1 update. It may be limited to full screen Metro apps, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from giving it a significant overhaul, starting with the processor.

Surface 2 is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 CPU, which should provide a welcome performance boost over the original Surface RT. It has a Full HD 1,920×1,080 ClearType display, and will be available in silver for the first time.

A two-stage kickstand should make it more comfortable to use as a laptop, but thankfully doesn’t add to the weight of the device. Microsoft has actually managed to make it thinner and lighter than the Surface RT, yet increase battery life up to ten hours. The solitary USB port has been upgraded to a faster USB3 port, too.

It will come bundled with Office RT 2013, which will include the Outlook email client on Windows RT for the first time.

We’re told the Surface 2 will start from $449 and the Surface Pro 2 from $899 in the US when they launch, although there’s currently no indication as to when that might be.

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