Microsoft’s Surface Neo is a dual-screen device that the company is positioning as a brand new product category… and honestly, it’s kind of hard to argue with that characterization.

The Neo features two small screens held together by a 360-degree hinge allowing you to hold the computer like a small or large tablet. But there’s also a portable keyboard that you can place over a portion of one screen, giving you physical keys for typing while you use the uncovered portion of the display as a touchpad or secondary screen.

It’s powered by an Intel Lakefield processor with Gen11 graphics, and while Microsoft is giving us our first look at the Neo today, it’s not ready to ship yet — the company says it’ll ship in time for the 2020 holiday season.

Like most Surface products, the Neo works with a Surface Pen. In this case, it can attach to the back of the device when it’s not in use, and it has a rechargeable battery and support for wireless charging.

The keyboard also connects to the back of the tablet magnetically, but it’s designed so that you can flip it around to the front and start typing without the need to manually detach, reattach, and position the keyboard.

Microsoft says the Surface Neo weighs about 1.44 pounds and each side measures 5.6mm (0.22 inches) thick.

The device has what Microsoft’s Panos Panay says is the thinnest laptop LCD display, and the screens are covered with Gorilla Glass.

As expected, the Surface Neo will run a brand new version of Windows called Windows 10X that’s optimized for dual-screen computers.

Among other things, the operating system supports running apps in one window or across both screens and includes new features like “spanning,” which allows you to drag an app from one screen to the middle of the device and then letting it go so that it expands to fill both screens, with the UI adjusting accordingly.

During an on-stage demo today, Microsoft representatives showed how clicking a link in an Outlook email running in one screen can open a web page in the second screen. Shift the Neo so that you’re holding it in portrait mode rather than landscape, and both windows will rotate accordingly.

And if you place a keyboard on the bottom screen, both windows will automatically move to the top screen, while the UI changes so that the bottom screen gives you access to emoji, a search bar, or other functions.

You can also move a video or other app from the primary screen to a small portion of the keyboard-covered display if you want to keep watching (or running an app) while you type a document, for example.

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20 replies on “Microsoft Surface Neo dual-screen device coming for 2020 holiday season”

  1. I always worry when MS introduce another windows variant that it’s their latest attempt to make an operating system that requires all apps to be installed via the MS Store. This was behind ‘S’ except it turned out that nobody wanted it, but MS know that running a compulsory store has been very good business for Apple in particular.

    1. Looks like they might’ve given up on that. From the linked article by microsoft, the operating system has “newly implemented support for running Win32 applications in a container.”

  2. I’d rather get a Go 2 or whatever it’ll be called. I wonder what the battery life will be like on this.

    1. According to Notebookcheck for WLAN surfing at 150 nits:
      Surface Go, 10″, 216ppi, Pentium Gold 4415Y, no fan, 28Wh, 7:28 = 448′.
      Toshiba Portégé X20W, 12.5″, 176ppi, Core i7-7600U, fan, 44Wh, 11:59 = 719′.

      Comparing, we have 44/28 = 1.57 and 719/448 = 1.60.

      A device must choose a CPU as fast as possible without fan to achieve such a relation between battery capacity and life. We can assume this to be given. The display size has some impact but the larger size of Toshiba is compensated by a smaller resolution so we can roughly compare the two displays WRT their impact on battery life. Unfortunately, newer Intel CPUs go for multiple cores rather than larger battery life.

      Therefore, simply speaking, the battery life is simply roughly proportional to the battery capacity. Since we cannot hope for the stand to be dropped in favour of a larger battery and Microsoft won’t make the Surface Go thicker, its successor will have roughly the same too small battery capacity. Hence, expect almost the same battery life as currently! Sad but probably true.

      Unless Microsoft introduces an ARM variant with a very modest CPU, such as Snapdragon 410, with which Samsung Galaxy Tab A first edition (10″ 4:3 display) had 16h battery life. Impossible because such a CPU would be too slow for Windows.

      I’d prefer a Surface Go without stand and maybe 1mm thicker so that the battery capacity could be circa 45Wh and life circa 12h. Unfortunately, such is not in the Surface line DNA of Microsoft.

      1. This is a different chip though. The Pentium Gold is not more energy efficient than a Core i7 7600U because they both use the same base CPU and architecture.

        The Lakefield chip is an entirely different line with the CPU/GPU part and the chipset all in a 3D stack. The CPU uses a hybrid combination of 10nm Tremont Atom-based cores and Sunny Cove(also in Icelake) to achieve better efficiency at high performance. It even has the LPDDR4x DRAM layer on top to allow space savings.

  3. Looks quite interesting, but I’d only think about getting one if one could get Linux to work on it halfway decently (natively, not the windows subsystem).

    I’ve been similarly wondering about how/if the second screen would work on the Lenovo Yogabook C930 when attempting to run Linux, but I’ve not been able to find any information on this. If one would at least be able to simply set up the second screen as, well, a second screen, then it might actually be quite usable – but at the price point these things command, I’d prefer to not just “buy and check for yourself”.

      1. Nice, thanks! Last time I checked must have been early in 2019, so maybe too shortly after it came out. Even asked in an electronics store where they sold it, but if course they didn’t know (not even how to get into the bios). I got another smaller device to use as my main work/travel machine that I’m very happy with for now (OneMix Yoga 2s), but nice to know that this is an option for the future (and hopefully bodes well for future double screen laptops).

  4. Love it… the Courier at last! This looks to be a proper follow on to Lenovo’s 1st gen Yoga Book. I’m sure it will be insanely expensive but at least it will finally exist.

  5. If the screens are both 4k, I can see the benefit of using this for productivity, acting like a dual screen laptop with a wireless mouse and keyboard while switching to mirroring when showing something to a customer or sharing photos with friends and family.

    1. If my rough guesses from the photos are anywhere near accurate, the screens are roughly 10 inches. The aspect ratio appears to be 3:2. So 4k would mean a pixel density of roughly 400 ppi, which for my eyes is in the realm of “I can’t even see them at any distance”. Kinda overkill for a device like this.
      And besides, if the screens are indeed that small, that might be a barrier to productivity in itself. Enough of a barrier to require the new user interface. Now, if they were 13 inch screens, that might be something I could be sure I could get work done on.

      1. The thing is most productivity applications will have their ribbons/toolbars squeezed at 1080p. Unless they start putting these ribbons om othe side vertically…

    2. I couldn’t see the point of 4k in a device of this type, would seem like pointless waste of energy and a pain to configure (on Linux admittedly). To me FHD would seem more than sufficient.

      1. Check your eyesight, guys. The difference is stunning especially with photos (which often come at higher resolution than any current screen) and text (fonts finally look like print).

  6. That is nice. However I don’t understand why would it need a separate Windows 10 X version to do this. Windows had been doing multiscreen since ’95 and multiwindow since ’85. I feel we are eroding the term ‘operating system’ when we separate ‘versions’ by 5 lines of VB script being enabled or disabled in registry. This is at most a cosmetic change, put it in the appstore, can’t be more than 1 MB of extra code if I’m generous.

    1. I agree, I was confused when they said it’s optimized for multiple screens. Windows 10 is already great at multiscreens. Infact it’s hard to find an OS better than windows when it comes to multi-screen productivity.

      I have to use MacOS at work on 2 screens, and it’s brutal how poorly it uses 2 screens. Its like they gave it no thought whatsoever.

    2. They’re likely using it a springboard for a more overhauled Windows OS. Using multi-screen as an excuse to enhance their tablet mode in Windows 10. Using tablet mode as an excuse to improve efficiency of the core OS

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