While Microsoft's initial set of innovative typing covers really set apart its Surface products, the firm has really turned up the heat with round two. Case in the point, the Type Cover 2, which adds keyboard backlighting, a shorter key throw for more accurate typing, four color choices, and a delightful new felt-like covering in a package that is even thinner than the original.
Here's what's new with Surface Type Cover 2.
Works with all Surface models. This bears mentioning, since users of first generation Surface RT and Surface Pro devices—as well as the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2—should consider this as an excellent upgrade.
Better keyboard. The keyboard on Type Cover 2 offers two improvements over that of its predecessor. First, and most obviously, it's backlit, and that backlighting is both automatic and delightful thanks to proximity sensors: If you stop typing, the keys dim; start typing and they fire right back up before your fingers even complete the first key press. But for the typists in the audience, the second change is just as important: The key "throw"—the distance you need to press a key to get it to respond—is shorter with Type Cover 2 than with the original. This means you can type more quickly than before, with the same accuracy. (The keyboard is otherwise the same, from a width/height perspective.)
Color choices. Where the first Type Cover came in just boring corporate black, Type Cover 2 is available in four colors (at least in the US; I think availability varies from country to country): Purple, magenta, cyan and black. I want a purple one. Like, now.
New covering. On the non-key parts of the cover—the trackpad, the wrist rest, and the surrounding bits, the Type Cover 2 now uses a pleasant felt-like material that is based on that used by the Touch Cover and Touch Cover 2. According to Microsoft, this was a big request from customers, and the primary benefit is that it doesn't pick up skin oil and give the cover a shiny look over time. Better still, the new material feels better too.
Type Cover 2 (top) and Type Cover (bottom)
Type Cover 2 (top) and Type Cover (bottom), rear
Wider trackpad. The Type Cover 2's track pad is wider than that on the original, making it easier to use, especially for gestures. I didn't really mind the trackpad on the original—I actually prefer small trackpads—but this is indeed a better size.
Thinner. Despite the fact that absolutely no one complained about the thickness of the original Type Cover, the new one, amazingly, is even thinner. It clocks in at just 5.4mm thin, compared to 6mm for the original. And the weight is roughly the same: .56 pounds for Type Cover 2, vs. about .55 for the original.
As I noted in Surface 2 Upgrades that Early Adopters Should Consider, the new Type Cover 2 is an excellent upgrade for any Surface user, new or old. This one is highly recommended, no matter which Surface device you use.