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Surface Neo: Release date, price, specs and design

The Surface Neo was announced late in 2019, revealed my Microsoft to be a dual-screen computing device with a 360-degree hinge. But while the groundbreaking device was set for a “Holiday 2020” launch, Microsoft has now confirmed it has been delayed. 

Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay, suggested in a blog post earlier this year that the Surface Neo would be delayed as it was decided the upcoming Windows 10X operating system will be optimised for single-screen devices initially, therefore pushing dual-screen computing products to the back burner.

Even more recently (as spotted by Neowin) Microsoft removed the “Coming Holiday 2020” from the official Surface Neo website. This means the Neo will likely arrive in 2021 at the very earliest. Fortunately, this delay doesn’t seem to have affected the Android-powered Surface Duo smartphone.

Read on for all the information on the upcoming Surface Neo.

The Surface Neo is Microsoft’s upcoming dual-screen computing device, running on Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10X operating system.

Featuring two 9-inch displays, the Surface Neo looks similar to a traditional laptop, but with the keyboard replaced with a second touchscreen. With a 360-degree hinge, it can be folded up like a book when not in use. A keyboard accessory can also be clipped onto the touchscreen, turning it into a make-shift laptop when you need to type up an essay.

A big appeal of the Surface Neo looks to be its ability to straddle two current form-factors – tablets and laptops. The Surface Pro line already somewhat embraces this idea but they are still weighty machines. If the Neo can hit the sweet spot between productivity and portability then Microsoft could be set to create a new thriving product category.

Related: Surface Pro 8

The Surface Neo has been delayed by Microsoft, with 2021 now the earliest we’ll likely see it.

Microsoft is yet to provide a new launch window, but has removed mention of the initial “Holiday 2020” release from the official website, suggesting we won’t see the device before the end of the year.

The delay was made to give Microsoft more time to optimise the upcoming Windows 10X operating system for dual-screen devices. With the Neo being one of the very first devices of its kind, it’s no surprise that Microsoft wants additional time to ensure everything’s running smoothly.

Surface Neo

Microsoft is yet to give any indication on the price, but we reckon it’s going to be very expensive. 

The design is likely to lead to a high price for early adopters, but there may be some reprieve depending on the specs. The integrated Intel Lakefield chip inside is aimed at causal users, as seen with the Galaxy Book S. While Samsung’s laptop is hardly cheap at £999, it fits in nicely with the price range of Microsoft’s other devices.

Related: Surface Laptop 4

Surface Neo

The Surface Neo centres around a 360-degree hinge, bringing together two separate 9-inch displays. The hinge will enable users to utilise it in a more traditional laptop style as well as like a tablet.

For laptop use, Microsoft will also offer the option of buying a keyboard that attaches to one of the screens for a more comfortable typing experience. It seems like the keyboard will be able to flipped around the back of the device for storage when not in use.

The device is just 5.6mm thin, which Microsoft calls “the thinnest LCD that’s ever been created”. The device will also weigh 655 grams, which is significantly lighter than your average laptop. 

The new Neo and Duo devices will be covered in Gorilla Glass front and back. Along with the aesthetic advantages, the design choice will also allow for a stylus to be wirelessly charged once magnetically attached to the back of the device.

Related: Best laptop 2020

Surface Neo

The new device is set to run on an Intel Lakefield hybrid processor, which is a hybrid of the performance-focused 10nm Sunny Cove CPU, alongside several smaller power-efficient 10nm Tremont Atom cores. The Galaxy Book S is one of the very first laptops to feature the chip, showing an entry-level laptop performance while flaunting a battery life superior to the majority of modern notebooks.

This means the Surface Neo will likely have a performance more akin to a tablet than a performance-focused laptop, so don’t expect to do any serious gaming or creative work here. This is primary a device for web browsing, video streaming and applications, although it’s very much possible Microsoft could pitch this as the ideal device for Xbox’s Game Pass via xCloud.

In terms of software, the device will run on Microsoft’s new Windows 10X operating system, a new OS designed specifically for dual-screen machines. Microsoft stated updates on the Neo would take less than 90 seconds – that’ll be music to anyone’s ears who’s had to deal with some several hour-long Windows update marathons in the past. 

Windows 10X will encourage developers to build apps that use one screen, but be provided with secondary information if they’d like to apply to both screens of the device. You’ll also be able to run two separate apps on either screen.

The software responds when placing the detachable keyboard on the screen, turning the remaining part of the screen to something akin to Apple’s Touch Bar. Microsoft’s version is jollily named the “Wonder Bar.”

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