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Hands on with the Microsoft Surface 2 (pictures)

Microsoft gave its Surface RT tablet a complete makeover, adding a better screen, a new kickstand, and longer battery life.

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Dan Ackerman
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1 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Meet the Surface 2

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.

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2 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Updated screen

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.

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3 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

A RT tablet, without the RT name

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).

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4 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Design refresh

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).

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5 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Slimmed-down Surface

The Surface 2 has a new thinner body. Also, the back kickstand now says "Surface" instead of "Microsoft."

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6 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Two kickstand positions

The built-in kickstand now adjusts to two different angles, making the system easier to see from different positions.

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7 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Camera upgrades

Surface 2 also has improved front and rear cameras (3.5MP front, 5.0MP rear) for Skype and other Webcam use.

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8 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Simple controls

There's a slim volume rocker on the side of the Surface 2, along with the headphone jack and a small speaker grille.

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9 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

New Touch Cover

The Touch Cover is about one third thinner than the original version, but at the same time, more rigid for easier typing.

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10 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Typing on the Touch Cover

In our hands-on time with the new Touch Cover, typing felt faster, with less latency and with great accuracy, especially when typing quickly.

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11 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

A new colorful Type Cover

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.

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12 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pricing and availability

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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