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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Meet the Surface 2

Updated screen

A RT tablet, without the RT name

Design refresh

Slimmed-down Surface

Two kickstand positions

Camera upgrades

Simple controls

New Touch Cover

Typing on the Touch Cover

A new colorful Type Cover

Pricing and availability

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.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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).

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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).

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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