Microsoft Surface Pro 2: Top features Intel's new Haswell processor brings to the table

The picture regarding a possible Surface Pro 2 tablet from Microsoft is slowly beginning to take shape.

We've known for a while now that Microsoft is attempting to fix initial Windows 8 problems by optimizing the 8.1 update for both PCs and tablets, but new information on Intel's Haswell processor series is also hitting the internet, offering an intriguing glimpse into what could make it into Microsoft's new line of Surface devices.

Alongside smaller, cheaper tablets, Microsoft is also expected to offer a new Surface Pro housing an Intel Haswell chip. If that's true, what could it mean for the Surface Pro 2's performance?

First and foremost is battery life. One of the most crippling complaints about the original Surface Pro is that it simply doesn't last very long, clocking in at around four hours. That's just not good enough for a tablet, especially if Microsoft expects the thing to compete against the likes of the iPad or Galaxy Note.

The good news? The Intel Haswell processor is expected to boost battery life by an extra three hours. According to The Verge, Intel is also claiming that when a device is in sleep mode, battery life has even been doubled, meaning that a laptop can stay suspended for 10 days. How that statistic will convert to Surface Pro 2 performance remains to be seen, but you can virtually guarantee that Microsoft will be touting improved battery life when it unveils its new slate of tablets.

Since the new chips are also smaller than before, it could mean we'll be seeing an array of even thinner tablets. That could hinder the battery life, since the chips would be installed in devices with smaller batteries, but at this point you'd have to think the improved performance matters more to Microsoft than making thinner tablets.

Intel has also upped the general power and performance of its chip. That's pretty standard, but when combined with the increased battery life it's more than welcome news. The Haswell chips can also run some impressive graphics depending on what tier of hardware you buy. Considering Microsoft is unlikely to push the Surface Pro 2 as a heavy gaming machine, chances are the boosts in this area will be modest on the tablet. Still, considering users have complained about boot time on the Windows 8 machine, the increased power will still come in handy.

Of course, this is all on top of all the improvements Microsoft is making to Windows 8.1, including built-in SkyDrive features, more customization options, cool new search options, and more. Check out our article here to catch up on those features, and expect more Surface information at the Build developer conference at the end of June.

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