Microsoft Vice President Panos Panay on Monday introduced the company’s next great tablet / laptop hybrid, the Surface Pro 2. Panay said Microsoft has been working on the device for eighteen months now, culminating in what he claims is the company’s best work yet; there are seven different accessories to go along with it, too, and a new two-stage kickstand, confirming rumors we’ve hear in the run up to today’s announcement.
Compared to last year’s model, Panay explained that the Pro 2’s display has 50 percent better color accuracy, which is obviously important for professionals (graphic designers, etc.) doing work on the device, while the overall performance has improved by 20 percent since the first model. Additionally, Panay claims the Pro 2 is faster than 95 percent of laptops on the market today, so your purchase is good to go for the long term—at least until the next Surface Pro model. Graphics are also improved by up to 50 percent, Panay said.
On the battery side, Panay explained that the device’s new Haswell chip increases the Pro 2’s life by a whopping 75 percent; probably the biggest complaint people had with the Surface Pro was battery, and it definitely sounds like that has been addressed in a big way. So not only has performance increased, but battery is also much better over last year’s model. Better yet, Microsoft also introduced a new Power Cover to go along with the Surface Pro 2, which extends the device’s expected life by another 2.5 times, according to Microsoft.
Meanwhile, further along on the accessory side, Microsoft also introduced a new Surface docking station, which really emphasizes the Pro 2’s professional capabilities. The dock itself as three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, Audio In, Audio Out and Power; dock users will be able to power a separate monitor with a resolution of up to 3,840 x 2,160. Support like that will no doubt appeal to those video editors. In fact, Panay made it a point to highlight just how powerful the Surface Pro 2 will be for video editors, demonstrating that the device is capable of editing 6K raw data.
Microsoft is also improving its original accessory, the consumer favorite Type Cover. Like the previous iteration, the revamped accessory comes in an array of familiar bright color, but this time around the cover is 1mm thinner for a more ergonomic experience, and faster, too. With travel being shaved off key switch, it’s supposedly easier to use, and quieter, which I supposed will be nice for those who use Surface in a classroom or library. The keyboard, amazingly, is also backlit, which lights up intelligently thanks to a built-in proximity sensor.
Pre-orders for the Surface Pro 2 will begin Sept. 24 and 8 a.m. ET, and be available in 21 markets on Oct. 22. The device starts at $899, and comes in 64GB/4GB RAM, 128GB/4GB RAM, 256GB/8GB RAM and 512GB/8GB RAM.