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While the presentation of Microsoft’s latest tablets may not have been the most anticipated event of the month, both Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 have presented the public with interesting new features to discuss. Whether you’re rooting for Microsoft to finally succeed in the tablet market or are just looking for a nifty gadget to buy before the holidays, this hands on review will provide all the information you’re looking for.

Microsoft Surface 2 offers many improvements over its predecessor. From the first moment you put your hands on Microsoft’s new device, you can feel the finishing touches that should’ve been present in the lackluster Surface RT.

With the addition of Dolby Digital, speakers on the sides allow you to enjoy a worthy sound quality for this type of device, and the USB 3.0 port provides a much better transfer speed. You will also notice the addition of a two-stage kickstand, which should allow taller tablet users to position their device more conveniently.

However, the real advantage of Surface 2 is its excellent hardware capabilities. Microsoft has equipped their tablet with the powerful NVIDIA Tegra 4 chipset, 2GB of RAM and a 10.6-inch screen with increased color accuracy and 1080p resolution. The sensitive 5-megapixel rear camera along with the 3.5-megapixel frontal camera will allow you to have enjoyable video conversations over Skype, even in dark environments. Battery life has gotten a big boost as well, which is a welcome addition considering the bad battery performance of Surface RT.

But the main reason for the failure of Microsoft’s preceding tablet is still present, namely, the lack of downloadable applications compared to the rich environments of Android and Apple iOS. Despite all of its hardware capabilities, potential buyers might feel that this disadvantage will hold Surface 2 down, even if the number of apps has now caught up to 100,000.

Surface Pro 2 is Microsoft’s latest attempt to mitigate this with the inclusion of advanced integration. Sporting a neat matte finish and surprisingly more portable than Surface 2, the tablet feels great in your hands and can be equipped with up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. The 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 chip allows seamless multitasking and running memory-intensive games like Portal 2 and Warcraft. Microsoft even claims that it’s faster than 95% of laptops currently available on the market.

Regardless of whether this claim holds up to scrutiny, both Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 are two undeniably powerful tablets. However, the real test will come when consumers decide whether all these great features are worth tackling respective price tags of $449 and $899 to purchase this expensive device by Microsoft.

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