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November 13, 2013

What’s new in Surface Pro 2

We’ve really enjoyed all the positive feedback we’ve received on Surface Pro 2. Keep it coming! We love the product and we’re glad that you do too. We’ve also seen a lot of comments about how it’ so much faster and better, along with questions about what exactly we did to improve it so much over Surface Pro. We thought we’d take a little time to share with you what we did to make a great product even better and deliver all the performance that you expect from a high-end laptop with Surface Pro 2.


We started by adding more memory and storage choices:

  • You can choose from 4GB or 8GB of low power DDR3 (LPDDR3) RAM, configured as high performance dual-channel RAM. More RAM lets you run more apps at once, and helps memory intensive apps (such as creative graphics suites) run faster.
  • We also added more storage options—choose from 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB of internal flash storage (solid-state drive or SSD). Plus you get 200GB of additional SkyDrive storage for two years (see for the details).

Next, we set out to extend the Surface Pro 2 battery so that it lasts throughout the day.

Extra battery life

To improve the battery life, we switched to the 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor (previously codenamed Haswell), which draws less power and has several low-power states.

However, we didn’t stop with a processor change. Our engineering team made numerous design changes that add up to a 75 percent battery life improvement over the original Surface Pro, without increasing the battery capacity, product size, or weight. Yep, 75 percent. The internal lithium-ion battery lasts up to 7 hours on a single charge. And yes, this is active use, seven hours tested by browsing the web or watching videos.

Here some of the changes we made:

  • We redesigned the motherboard’s power delivery circuitry. We’re using more efficient high-power switching voltage regulators with dual-mode low power leakage characteristics.
  • We worked with Intel to architect new Turbo control modes, so that the Intel Core i5 processor delivers higher performance at lower touch temperatures.
  • We improved the overall system efficiency when Surface Pro 2 drops to the Active Idle state, in between short Turbo bursts.
  • We worked with solid-state drive (SSD) vendors to optimize their embedded file system software for improved Active Idle power consumption.
  • We optimized and fine-tuned the drivers for optimal battery life, including the Wi-Fi and graphics drivers.

The Surface Pro battery is a long-life component designed to meet more than 1200 full charge and discharge cycles, and the embedded firmware manages the battery charging to avoid shallow topping off cycles, which can have a negative effect on long term battery capacity.

Fast and furious

In order to replace a laptop, Surface Pro 2 is furiously fast; 10 to 20 percent faster than the original Surface Pro, depending upon the amount of RAM available. And what about graphics? The Intel HD4400 GPU is 50% faster than the original Surface Pro. This performance improvement is across the board and especially apparent in graphics-intensive apps.

We also improved the speed of the internal buses, so that communication between the CPU and internal subsystems delivers full performance.

Cooler and quieter

Another area that we focused on was making Surface Pro 2 quieter and the case cooler to touch. To do this, we improved the accuracy of the thermal sensing and cooling regulation. This way, the cooling fans run less often, and with fewer revolutions per minute (RPM) – and a slower fan is a quieter fan.

Crisper, richer, and much more accurate colors

The Surface Pro 2 display is Full High-Definition 1080p, with ClearType Display Technology. The 0.7mm glass cover is optically bonded with an integrated touch sensor. The high contrast ratio of the display provides one of the lowest front reflections on the market, which means less glare and eye strain.

The colors on Surface Pro 2 are crisper, richer, and much more accurate. To do this, we carefully measured the colors on Surface Pro 2 and created a display primary matrix with color look-up tables (LUTs). This process, known as display color characterization, remaps the colors you see onscreen so that you see a true representation of the original colors.

Initially you’ll see the color improvements in apps that understand monitor profiles, and in the coming months you’ll see this improvement in color quality everywhere when you take and view photos, watch movies, and check out the tiles on the Start screen (the system-wide color improvements are coming soon in a Windows Update). The improved rendition of colors is especially helpful when using photo and video editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere.

ColorChecker comparison

We improved the overall color accuracy of the Surface Pro 2 display by about 46%. Below is a side by side comparison of the standard ColorChecker Color Rendition Chart on Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.



Color Rendition Chart on Surface Pro                    Color Rendition Chart on Surface Pro 2

The colors on Surface Pro 2 are richer and better match the standard ColorChecker Color Rendition Chart.

Docking Station

In order to make the transition between road warrior and desktop master super simple, we created a dock for Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. Our Docking Station lets you quickly connect to all of your desktop PC peripherals in a single step.


The Docking Station Ports:

  • Mini DisplayPort: Connect an external monitor or monitors (we updated to Mini DisplayPort version 1.2, so you can daisy chain multiple monitors after an upcoming Windows Update). The maximum resolution is 3840 x 2160 (4K display resolution).
  • USB ports: One USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports.
  • Ethernet: 10/100 Ethernet for connecting to a wired network.
  • Audio input/output ports: Connect speakers, headphones, or microphones.
  • Charging port: Charges Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 and powers your connected PC peripherals.

Better Lapability

We also made a couple of changes to improve the typing in your lap experience, which we’re calling lapability.


First we added another kickstand position: a 40 degree angle for typing on your lap, or a desk if you’re so inclined. We also made Type Cover 2 more rigid, for a better in-lap typing experience.

Better Sound

We improved the speaker sound and added Dolby® Digital Plus, so that you’ll have the best possible audio experience from the built-in speakers.


Dolby Digital Plus features:

  • Crisp, clear dialogue: Dolby’s technology detects dialogue and works to improve its intelligibility.
  • A more realistic, immersive virtual surround sound experience: Movies, videos, and TV shows have more depth and a powerful, virtual surround sound experience over the built in speakers.
  • Volume consistency: Dolby’s volume-leveling technology maintains one consistent volume level, even when you switch back and forth between different types of content.
  • Custom tuning by Dolby engineers: A more natural, balanced sound with speakers tuned to provide fuller sound while maintaining low distortion.

Great Inking Experience

And finally, we leveraged all the richness of pen computing at Microsoft over the past 15 years. The Surface Pen that comes with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 is light and well balanced. It supports 1024 levels of pressure, meaning that you have control of the thickness or darkness of the lines you’re creating based on how hard you press the pen against the screen. It fits nicely in your hand and writes smoothly on the display glass. Both Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 have Palm Block technology that prevents accidental actuations (when the pen gets close to the display, touch is deactivated). ClearType and the optically bonded display bring the pen tip closer to the ink, helping with accuracy and delivering a great inking experience.

We’re very excited about all the improvements we’ve made in Surface Pro 2. Many of the improvements are a result of customer feedback. So please keep the feedback coming and we’ll continue to challenge ourselves.

Ed Giaimo
Senior Director of Product Development Surface Pro 2

Steven Bathiche
Distinguished Scientist Surface