Microsoft has already unveiled the second-generation of Surface and both tablets look very promising. But what is interesting to hear is that the company plans to keep selling Surface RTs and Surface Pros alongside the new upgraded models and there aren’t hints to when the older devices will be discontinued.
Now I don’t know if Microsoft will keep building Surface gen-one or if it will just try to get rid of inventory. On any case, this got me thinking that for $100 difference, nobody should be buying a Surface RT or Surface Pro and to make it very clear, here is why:
Let’s start comparing the Surface RT vs Surface 2: right from the start Surface 2 is better, because this new tablet was built from experience of its predecessor. The new device has a much faster processor, although the memory continues at 2GB; it features 1920 x 1080 pixels display, compare to the 1366 x 768 pixels from the RT version, and best of all Microsoft is promising up to 10 hours of battery life, which is 25% improvement from the previous version. This might not seem like a lot, but it’s considering the NVidia Tegra 4 CPU and the Full HD ClearType bundled in the second-generation, it’s a big improvement. Also Surface 2 is thinner, only 9mm thick, and it only weighs 1.49 pounds.
Now let’s go over Surface Pro vs Surface Pro 2: Surface Pro 2 is also better than its predecessor. This tablet now is a lot faster, because it is powered by an Intel Core i5 Haswell processor, which brings a 50% improvement from the previous version with the CPU upgrade alone. Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, also noted at the New York City event on September 23rd, 2013, that Surface Pro 2 is 95% faster than any laptop on the market (today) and that’s a bold statement. Thanks to Haswell the tablet has also improved on battery life by 75%, giving customers up to 7 hours of workstation power on a small form factor device, which by the way is quicker and faster. Microsoft also has improved color representation on the screen by 46%, graphics are 50% better and the overall system has improved by 20%.
Of course that there are more tech specs that should be considered (e.g., dual-angled kickstand and USB 3.0), but these are the most important you should look at before making your decision. Also all this goes without saying that anyone buying either Surface 2 tablet will get 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years, unlimited calls to landlines using Skype and Skype WiFi for a year.
It also crossed my mind that keeping the Surface RT and Surface Pro around a little longer is just part of marketing to boost sales. You know, somebody shows you a device less powerful and then they tell you that for a little more money you can get a lot more, and only then you make your decision.
Ultimately the choice is yours, but in my opinion, if money is the issue, just save your $349 or $799, wait a bit longer, get the extra $100 and buy a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2.
Update: Hours after publishing this article Microsoft announced that Surface Pro will be discontinued once Surface Pro 2 launches, but Surface RT will continue to be available.
Update: Microsoft has recently announced that while Surface Pro won’t be available in store anymore after October 22, 2013, the company plans to keep the professional tablet alive, but only through authorized resellers.