Microsoft Surface Pro 2 handson

Here it is: Microsoft's powerhouse Surface Pro 2. As we've seen and heard already, Microsoft's follow-up to the Surface Pro is thinner and considerably faster. We got our hands on a 256GB model to form some initial impressions and begin to determine whether this guy is worth the $899-and-up going rate, a $100 jump from the original Pro's current pricing scheme. Head past the break to dive in.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2 hands-on

With the new model, Microsoft tells us to expect 50 percent more color accuracy, better graphics and 20-percent faster performance. As far as we can tell, the Pro 2 will only be offered with a Core i5 Haswell processor clocked at 1.6GHz, and you can choose from 4GB or 8GB of RAM. During today's presentation, Microsoft really emphasized the Surface Pro 2's computing chops by demoing the machine processing raw 6K video. If it wasn't quite clear what makes the Pro more expensive than the Tegra 4-powered Surface 2, we'll spell it out once more: performance, plain and simple. That said, we can't speak much to the software experience at this early date, so we'll jump right into the hardware.

Physically, the Pro 2 is an impressive specimen, thanks to Redmond's now-trademark magnesium build, which feels extremely sturdy, both in terms of ruggedness and weight. It's only 2 pounds, but it's a very dense 2 pounds. True, it's not going to weigh your wrists down terribly, but it's not going to win over those who value a skinny silhouette over heavy-hitting performance, either. The 0.53-inch thickness does allow for a generous selection of ports: you get one USB 3.0, a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, Mini DisplayPort and a cover port. Additionally, the Pro 2's form factor allows for a 42Wh battery, which should net you 60 percent longer battery life than the original Pro. Incidentally, the Pro 2 is only available in Dark Titanium (a fancy way of saying off-black), unlike the Surface 2 with its ivory-white shade.

The new kickstand is an elegant addition; extending it and pushing it flat both feel extremely satisfying, and having two viewing-angle positions makes using the Pro 2 in your lap much more manageable. The 1080p display is every bit as bright as the original Surface Pro's, too.

We had a brief moment to play with the desktop dock, which supports up to a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution on an external display, and found that removing and attaching the tablet felt plenty secure. And then there's the Surface Pro 2's pen, which will come bundled with even the $899 base configuration. Apart from raw performance, it's one of the machine's biggest differentiators from the Surface 2, and it looks to offer the same Wacom tech and pressure sensitivity -- if not slightly improved -- as last time around. Stay tuned for more info, and check out our hands-on gallery and video in the meantime!

Zach Honig contributed to this report.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2 hands-on (video)