On Monday morning Microsoft once again took the stage to introduce us to their new lines of Surface. After a rough year 1 Microsoft showed they are not backing down from what they believe are devices that can work for people. As a SurfaceRT user for a year, and yes a happy one, I was glad to see the new products coming to life.
Let’s start with the new edition of the SurfaceRT which is now simply called Surface 2. A year ago I wrote that the SurfaceRT name was a mess, and I am glad that Microsoft has seen the error in their ways. The new Surface 2 is a nice upgrade from the original model. It has a faster processor, a 1080p screen, and many new features that are part of WindowsRT 8.1 that will launch on the device. I actually believe that the biggest upgrade to the original SurfaceRT is not the new hardware of the Surface 2 (which is nice), but the baked in operating system. One of the biggest features of Surface is that a secure system with long battery life can run the full Office suite which is integral in many people’s personal and business lives. Last years SurfaceRT launched with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote. One huge missing application was Outlook. That has now changed. OutlookRT is now shipping with the Surface 2.
Now onto the device that has me very excited. That is the Surface Pro 2. You can call it a tablet, you can call it a laptop, or you can call it an ultrabook. I don’t care what you call it, I am going to call it the best computing device ever made. A 10 inch HD display running on the latest Intel Haswell processor with up to a 512GB SSD with 8GB RAM. This machine is a beast in a small frame. There are other laptops that have these specs, so why do I think this one is great? It fits in a tablet frame with accessories available that put it over the top. You have a choice of three keyboards (which work on both new versions of Surface). The one that has me the most intrigued is the power keyboard which when connected will give you even greater battery life. Then you have the docking station that can run all of your peripherals including two HD monitors. This truly is a powerhouse in an iPad size. You can run everything from Word to Visual Studio to Photoshop all on this little monster. Now it will cost you as it starts at $899, but this device is not meant to compete with low end machines. Microsoft has built a top end ultrabook, and it is priced as such.
When these devices launch in October, go and take a look for yourself. Just one word of advice until then, if you read someone talking about these products in the same vein as an iPad or a Nexus 7 just assume they are clueless and go find someone who actually knows something.
I will be discussing the big Surface news and more tonight (Wednesday September, 25, 2013) on the Surface Geeks podcast with host David McCabe 9:30 Eastern time. Come watch live and join the chat at surfacegeeks.net.