Microsoft Surface RT vs Surface 2

Does the Surface 2 make a compelling case for Windows RT?

There is a small difference in the physical connections - where the Surface RT featured a full-size USB 2.0 port, the Surface 2 incorporates a faster USB 3.0 slot. The rest of the specifications - headset jack, HD video out, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass and the Cover port - remain the same.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Surface 2: Camera

The original Surface RT came equipped with a 5MP rear camera and a disappointing VGA front cam for grainy video calling. The Surface 2 doesn't change the raw megapixel count of its main camera, but does upgrade the front-facing lens with a superior one-third-inch image sensor (for better results in low lighting conditions) and a 3.5MP count.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Surface 2: Battery life

Microsoft promises a battery life that's capable of up to 10 hours of video playback - a 25% improvement over the Surface RT. It's not the most impressive of improvements, but it's worth remembering that the Tegra 4 CPU has given the Surface 2 a considerable speed boost. Besides, 10 hours+ of battery life keeps Microsoft's tablet on a par with Apple's iPad and leading Android tablets.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Surface 2: Price

How much? The Surface RT sells for $349 and the Surface 2 is $100 more expensive at $449. U.K. pricing has yet to be announced. The new Surface 2 launches on October 22.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Surface 2: Early verdict

Microsoft has been keen to point out that the Surface 2 isn't a complete revamp of the first RT model and the changes might seem minor. But it does address some of the criticisms that we had of the original Surface, namely: a poor selection of apps, an unimpressive display, a heavy build and sluggish graphical performance.

The new model has superior processing power, a higher resolution display and the Surface 2 benefits from running Windows 8.1. It also ships with the full complement of Office apps and the 32GB model is also $50 cheaper than a 16GB iPad.

So what's not to like? Windows RT still has the potential to confuse buyers who will expect the Surface 2 to act like a full-blown Windows computer and the price difference isn't enough to tempt tablet buyers away from the obvious alternatives.