Microsoft gave its Surface RT tablet a complete makeover, adding a better screen, a new kickstand, and longer battery life.
While Microsoft revamped both of its Surface tablets ahead of the 2013 holiday season, it's the Surface 2, which is still running Windows RT, that underwent a complete makeover.
The updated tablet features a slightly slimmer body, an updated 1.7GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, and a higher-resolution screen than the original Surface.
Both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 share the same 1,920x1,080-pixel-resolution screen now, and it's been color-tuned for greater accuracy.
Microsoft dropped the RT from the tablet's name, but the Surface 2 is still running Windows RT, a version of the operating system designed for mobile devices (as opposed to laptops and desktop computers).
While the Windows 8 Surface Pro 2 still comes in a slatelike black, the Windows RT Surface 2 is now a lighter color, more of a silver/magnesium (and the bodies of both are made of mostly magnesium).
The Surface 2 has a new thinner body. Also, the back kickstand now says "Surface" instead of "Microsoft."
The built-in kickstand now adjusts to two different angles, making the system easier to see from different positions.
Surface 2 also has improved front and rear cameras (3.5MP front, 5.0MP rear) for Skype and other Webcam use.
There's a slim volume rocker on the side of the Surface 2, along with the headphone jack and a small speaker grille.
The Touch Cover is about one third thinner than the original version, but at the same time, more rigid for easier typing.
In our hands-on time with the new Touch Cover, typing felt faster, with less latency and with great accuracy, especially when typing quickly.
Microsoft also revamped the Type Cover, which has a full separate-key keyboard, with a thinner design and new color choices. Both the Touch Cover and Type Cover are now backlit, as well.
Both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will be available starting October 22. The Surface 2, with Windows RT, starts at $449, but the previous model Surface RT will still be available for $349.
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