Surface 2 Improvements Are Better For Learning

On September 23, 2013, Microsoft unveiled the next generation of Surface tablets. The improvements for teaching and learning make the Surface 2 even better for education.


Surface 2 takes full advantage of a lot of new changes in hardware, advancements in industrial design, and the forthcoming Windows RT 8.1 update. Pre-orders for Surface 2 start September 24, 2013, 8AM ET with availability October 22, 2013.

Three Reasons Why Surface 2 is Better for Learning

1. Built for Outstanding Display of Text and Rich Media

I want to start with the display for Surface 2. It is a full HD ClearType Display with 1920×1080 resolution on a 10.6″ diagonal screen. That gives Surface 2 just over 200 pixels per inch. I have written before about why pixels matter for education, you can read that article here. Put simply, this means that screen readability is significantly improved on Surface 2.

Additionally, the Surface design team has focused on ensuring that the new display has strong color resolution and contrast controls so that images pop to life and screen glare is reduced at normal viewing angles. If you add the advances that come with Windows Internet Explorer 11 to this equation, you have the best device for watching video, 3D animation, reading long form text, and viewing high-definition photography on one device. For me, that is reason enough to get and use Surface 2 as principle learning device. It is easier on the eyes.

2. Built for Anywhere, Anytime Learning

The cameras and microphones on Surface 2 have been improved to meet the high standards set by the Skype team for video calling and group conferencing (Skype and Lync are now one team.) This provides high quality HD conferencing in a variety of lighting conditions.

Beyond the hardware, Surface 2 lights up with free Skype landline calling and Skype Wi-Fi. Skype Wi-Fi is available from millions of hotspots. Students can connect to school, classes, or classmates from millions of hotspots using the Skype Wi-Fi service…for free! You can get additional details at

3. Built for Productivity with Modern Office

The Windows team heard the feedback on Windows RT. With Windows RT 8.1, Outlook 2013 joins the Office 2013 RT family to provide a full, modern Office experience. With Office Web Apps, students and teachers can work online through any web browser. With Office 2013 RT, students and teachers can be productive without an Internet connection. You can get additional details on Office 2013 RT at

Productivity does not end with Office 2013 RT. The Surface design team have made several improvements in the Touch Covers and Type Covers to increase sensitivity for improved responsiveness when keyboarding. No more missed keys or loud typing. Students and teachers can quickly and quietly take notes while participating in online conferencing without muting the microphone. Additionally, with the ten hours battery life, Surface 2 keeps you productive without looking for a power supply.


The original Surface RT will remain available. Currently, education customers can take advantage of the $199 special pricing promotion for Surface RT through September 30, 2013.

Surface 2 will retail for $449. Currently, there is no announcement of special pricing for academic institutions. With all of the bonus services added to Surface 2, it makes a really compelling education device for the connected learner and the modern educator.

There are more incredible announcements with SkyDrive; the build quality and durability of Surface 2, new security features, and new Surface exclusive experiences. I cannot cover them all here in one sitting. So I want you to visit the official Surface site and see for yourself,

Now…we just need an employee discount!


Operating system Windows RT 8.1 with Microsoft Office 2013 RT versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook. Works exclusively with apps available in the Windows Store.
Exterior 10.81” x 6.79” x 0.35”
Less than 1.49 lbs
Magnesium (Silver)
Volume up/down and power buttons
Storage 32 GB; 64 GB1
Display 10.6″ ClearType Full HD   display
1920 x 1080p
16:9 (widescreen)
5-point multitouch
CPU NVIDIA Tegra 4 (T40) 1.7GHz quad core
2 GB of RAM
Wireless Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 4.0 low energy technology
Battery Up to 10 hours of video playback
7–15 days idle life
Cameras and A/V 3.5MP front-facing camera
5MP rear-facing camera
1080p video capture
Stereo speakers (digitally nhanced for fuller sound)
Two microphones (with noise cancellation)
Ports Full-size USB 3.0
MicroSDXC card reader
Headset jack
HD video out port
Cover port
Sensors Ambient light sensor
Power supply 24W power supply
Warranty One-year limited hardware   warranty
Apps (included) Mail, Calendar, People,   Internet Explorer 11, Photos, Music, Video, Games, Skype, Fresh Paint,   Calculator, Reading List, Reader, Scan, News, Weather, Sports, Travel,   Finance, Health & Fitness, Food & Drink, Help, Camera, SkyDrive,   Sound Recorder and more