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Microsoft has finally lifted the lid on the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, the latter of which the company is touting as “the most productive, professional tablet in the world.” Although the original Surface range may not have made the kind of impression that the software maker had hoped, the Surface Pro proved itself more than worthy of a second shot, and with the Surface Pro 2, the Redmond has certainly not been shy with improvements. Details of both can be found right after the jump!

Microsoft is looking to turn a corner after the announcement that CEO Steve Ballmer would be retiring in the next few months, and with the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft, the mobile industry is clearly the key growth area for the Windows maker.

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Surface Pro 2

Although there are rumored to be many new and exciting products in the pipeline, the Surface Pro 2 will be integral to everything the company does from here on out. With many professional users having waited past the old RT version for the original Surface tablet to make its appearance in January, its follow-up looks even more impressive.

Intel’s new Haswell processor has worked wonders for the energy efficiency of Apple’s MacBook Air range, and the new Surface Pro should also see similar benefits thanks to the third-gen chip. The Surface Pro 2 will pack the a processor of the Core i5 variety, allied to a substantial 8GB of RAM. Keep in mind though, the 8GB RAM version ships with the new 512GB model and the 256GB one, and ships with 4GB of RAM as standard with the 64GB and 128GB model.

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The processor alone should offer improved battery life on the original Surface Pro, but Microsoft is also throwing in a bigger juice pack over the first-gen, offering a great deal more uptime to those looking to be as productive as possible.

The display remains largely unchanged and is of the 1080p variety, although the HD panel does offer better color reproduction than its predecessor. Audio fans should be enthused to learn that Dolby sound has been packed into the new Surface Pro, so if you want to listen to some of your favorite songs while brushing up on a document or browsing the Web, you can do so with greater clarity.

USB 3.0 is there, a new kickstand with new angles to work on, and Microsoft is throwing in 200GB of free SkyDrive storage for 2 years for good measure. Also, Microsoft is offering one year of international Skype calls for free, along with free one year worth of Skype Wi-Fi. So yes, you’re set from the start in the most positive way possible.

An interesting statistic Microsoft has thrown out there is that the current Surface Pro is faster than 94% of laptops currently available, and yet the Pro 2 will be a further 20% faster than the original, With graphics performance also increased by half, it’s fair to say that the Surface Pro 2 is a bit of a powerhouse.

Surface Pro 2 will ship with Windows 8.1 out of the box.

Surface 2

The follow-up to the Surface RT, which has been renamed as simply the “Surface 2,” features the same repositioned, Dolby-fied speaker as the flagship, as well as being thinner and lighter than the Surface RT. Although you don’t get your Intel Core i5 Haswell processor, it’s still much faster than ever before, offers vastly improved battery life, and serves as an ideal tablet/notebook for general users.

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What do you get with the Surface 2? A mighty Tegra 4 chip, a new 1080p Clear Type HD display, the new kickstand from the Surface Pro 2, 10 hours of battery life, USB 3.0, free 200GB of SkyDrive storage, and free Skype (same as Surface Pro 2 above). And oh, it runs Windows RT 8.1.

The Surface 2 ships in a new silver color configuration. The original device has had severe trouble selling, with millions of units reported as having gone unsold, but with the silver model now available, perhaps there’ll be a slight upturn in the slate’s fortunes.

The Surface 2 will arrive to market at $449 for the base model, while the Pro model will ship for $999, the base model of course.

You can pre-order both tablets right now from here: microsoft.com/surface/en-us/pre-order and will ship on October 22nd, after the release of Windows 8.1 to the public.

What do you think – will you be grabbing the Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2? Do share your thoughts below!

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