The Surface RT and the Surface 2 feature Windows RT, a light version of Windows 8 designed for use on ARM processors. Windows RT offers a somewhat familiar Windows experience, centered around the Windows 8 Modern UI, and support for apps from the Windows Store, but it won't run legacy software from Windows 7 or Windows XP, and there's no support for current x86 programs. The new Surface 2 and the older Surface RT (starting Oct. 22) will be sold with the updated Windows RT 8.1, which incorporates many of the interface tweaks seen in on laptops and desktops.
The app selection through the Windows Store is also significantly improved since the debut of the Surface RT a year ago. The Windows Store now boasts some 100,000 apps, including Windows RT versions of many of the most popular iOS and Android apps, as well as RT-friendly versions of many Windows programs. The app selection is constantly evolving, but because the same apps and services are available on both models of Surface, it isn't really a differentiator.
Microsoft also updated the for the Surface, including the flexible keyboard covers - you know the ones, seen snapping into place during complex dance numbers in all of those Surface ads. That magnetic docking connection is just as sturdy and impressive as it ever was, but the keyboards are improved thanks to even slimmer designs and enhanced sensitivity. While the new covers look great, they are also backwards compatible with the Surface RT.
Looking at the old and new Surface tablets solely in terms of hardware and performance, it's easy to say that the Surface 2 looks to be the better of the two. With a slimmer, lighter design, better hardware and a number of new features and services, it appears to handily top last year's Surface RT.
|Surface 2||Surface RT|
|OS||Windows RT 8.1||
|Dimensions||10.81 x 6.79 x 8.89mm||10.81 x 6.77 x 9.4mm|
|CPU||NVIDIA Tegra 4, 1.7GHz quad-core||NVIDIA Tegra 3, 1.3GHz quad-core|
|Storage||32GB / 64GB||32GB|
|Available Storage||17GB / 46GB||15GB|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a/b/g/n||802.11 a/b/g/n|
|Active Battery Life||8 hours||10 hours|
|RRP||US$449 / $549||US$349|