Microsoft has officially unveiled the Surface 2, its second go at creating a tablet that you'll actually want to buy.

The tablet is faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and Microsoft says that productivity is the name of the game.

Surface 2 comes running Windows 8.1 RT, with a full 1080p HD ClearType display and souped-up CPU speed - an increase Microsoft describes as "dramatic". That's an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor keeping things nippy.

The tablet also comes with Office as standard, and as an added bonus Microsoft is giving customers free Skype calls to landlines in more than 60 countries for one year, as well as 200GB of free Sky Drive storage for two years.

Silver fish

Microsoft thinks you'll get up to 10 hours of video playback out of the battery. As for cameras, we're looking at a 3.5MP front-mounted snapper and a 5MP lens on the back.

"We've added the Surface logo. You're using a Surface, you want people to know you're using a surface," Microsoft's Panos Panay said optimistically. You'll also be able to buy it in a swish silver finish.

Surface 2 pre-orders open from 10pm September 24 at Microsoft's website or Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi. The 32GB model starts at $529 while a 64GB model will be available for $639.

Although you can pre-order pretty soon, there's a bit of a wait for the actual tablet to materialise: the Surface 2 global release date is set for October 22.