*Update* The Microsoft Surface Neo was pulled from the Microsoft website and it would seem there are no longer any plans to release it. This page will remain live with all the information that was circling the time of its announcement, but if you want to check out its spiritual successor, please read our Microsoft Surface Duo review.
The Microsoft Surface Neo is not even out yet. But since Microsoft’s big October 2019 press event, the much-rumored dual-screen laptop has become a buzzing topic of conversation in the computing world.
The name itself gives off an air of something not seen before, something game-changing. Neo, of course, means new, and it’s very deliberate messaging from Microsoft on what to expect from this device. While there are some dual-screen devices in the wild already, the Microsoft Surface Neo most likely will take the dual-screen concept to the next level.
The Microsoft Surface Neo is a completely new Surface device, with two tablets, connected by a hinge, basically folding open like a book for a two-screen setup. It also will have a new operating system in the form of Windows 10x, which takes Microsoft’s OS and customizes it for a dual-screen setup. It will be interesting to see what cool tricks this close integration of hardware and software will create.
We’ve kept up with all the information coming out about the Microsoft Surface Neo so keep checking in on this page for more details on the device as they become available.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The new dual-screen Surface device
- When is it out? Holiday 2020
- What will it cost? We don’t know at this point
Surface Neo release date
Surface Neo is still quite a ways away, with a release anticipated to land when the holiday season in 2020 rolls around, assuming there’s no slippage of course.
Surface Neo price
It’s still much too early for Microsoft to be discussing the price, and we haven’t learned just how much damage Surface Neo might do to your bank account just yet.
Surface Neo specs
At the press event where the Microsoft Surface Neo was originally introduced, Microsoft explained its vision as creating something which is supremely versatile. A product which would be the “next category” of device, and would deliver the “ultimate in mobile productivity”, as Panos Panay enthused.
To put it simply, it’s two 9-inch tablets hinged together into a dual-screen machine so it resembles a book (similar to the Microsoft Courier concept the company abandoned a decade ago). The Microsoft Surface Neo’s 360-degree hinge lets it be flipped right back, or used in tent mode.
Powering this dual-screen machine is an all-new Intel Lakefield processor, styled as a hybrid chip and incorporating an 11th Generation Intel graphics solution. The CPU has a reduced silicon footprint, and is half the size of a regular PCB.
The tablets are fitted with Gorilla Grass, being 5.6mm thin and weighing 655g. There is a pen that magnetically attaches to the product, and a small keyboard which magnetically seals to the Microsoft Surface Neo too, and can be placed on top of the lower screen (being just over half the width of the screen) to be typed on in a laptop-like fashion. The keyboard and pen charge up automatically, as well.
When the keyboard is sat on top of the display, the device recognizes this, and conjures up the ‘Wonder Bar’ on the section of the screen visible above the keyboard, providing you with Touch Bar-like functionality with access to emoji, a trackpad, and the ability to ink.
The hardware is paired quite closely with Microsoft’s new OS, Windows 10X, which as stated above has been purposely designed for dual-screen devices just like this new Surface. The Microsoft Surface Neo allows the user to benefit from actions like flowing applications across both screens to get a larger working area. Or if you have, for example, Outlook open on one screen, and you press on a link in an email, the linked website can open directly opposite on the other screen.
Developers should have their hands on a pre-release emulator on February 11th so that once the Microsoft Surface Neo is released, there will be plenty of dual screen apps available for it. Once it’s released, we might have a better idea of what the Windows 10x ecosystem looks and works like.
On the same day, Microsoft is planning to have an online Microsoft 365 Developer Day, which should also give some insight into working within a dual-screen environment.
Versatility is the key here, of course, with more than welcome dollops of user-friendliness and convenience ostensibly baked into the bargain.
Microsoft obviously has high hopes for dual-screen hardware, because at the same time as unveiling the Microsoft Surface Neo, the company also introduced the Android-driven Surface Duo – yes, the Surface Phone by another name, a foldable dual-screen device with 5.6-inch displays which has been long anticipated by many people.
- Check out all the best 2-in-1 laptops of 2019
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).