The Surface Neo is the own vision of Microsoft where Windows 10X is going to shine. When it’s closed it feels like a large, metal Moleskine newspaper. But inside, two distinct9-inch displays fold out into a complete 13-inch workspace. The Surface Neo really feels like the initial ten-year-old Microsoft Courier idea is coming to life.
More than seven years ago, Microsoft developed the initial Surface tablet and hybrid computer. It altered from something strange and poorly performed into the Windows flagship device in the years to come. Microsoft is now ready to attempt something fresh and courageous again.
Like most surface devices, there is an intricate hinge that enables the Surface Neo to move to a multitude of methods and the typical high-quality construction that Microsoft hardware would expect. There’s also a smart Bluetooth keyboard that flips, slides, and locks magnets into location that can be stored and secured to the device’s back.
There’s even a fresh magnetically attached Surface Slim Pen, and it’s the same stylus used by Microsoft on the new Surface Pro X.
You could use it in ways we haven’t seen exactly before as a laptop, a book, or a tablet.
Microsoft does not yet reveal much more about the Surface Neo hardware, but the device will be powered by Intel Lakefield processors. Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Asus also all work on dual-screen or even foldable computers running Windows 10X, so this is not just a Microsoft and Surface undertaking.
The unit feels like two Surface Go screens pressed together at first glance, and the gap between the screens is obviously noticeable on Microsoft’s Surface Neo. This is intended for the displays to be able to behave separately and side by side. Microsoft’s concept of “postures” is central to how this all operates, which is the word the firm utilizes to support the different Windows 10X modes.
Features of Windows 10X
- Note-taking: This mode lets you have one full-screen app on each display, where one could be a browser at the top showing some video content, and the other could be a note-taking app that a student is using in class. A pen can be used to take notes or even a separate hardware keyboard.
- Mobile presentation: This places content like a PowerPoint deck on the outside of the device, while you can read notes on the inside and control it with a keyboard.
- Portable all-in-one: This places the dual-screen device in a book mode where it can stand on a flat surface, and you use a detachable keyboard to work. It’s similar to how you might use a dual-monitor setup at home.
- Reading: This mode involves using the device like a book with one or two hands, and the ability to use a stylus for light note-taking.
- Laptop: You’ll be able to use a software or hardware keyboard on one display, with the typical content on the primary display up top.
Microsoft is also making some changes to the UI in this version of Windows. Live Tiles are gone from the Start Menu, replaced instead with a list of apps, documents, and files. It’s a Start Menu that better reflects what you’ve actually been doing on your device, instead of lots of tiles animating the weather or news.
This is all very early for Microsoft, particularly on the software side. Although we were able to touch the Surface Neo, as the software and hardware are still in growth, we were unable to capture a complete hands-on video. OEM and even Microsoft devices will not go on sale until fall 2020, and software and hardware will be refined next year.
Microsoft and its partners are currently experimenting with hardware diagonally per screen between 9 and 12 inches.
Microsoft focuses on its strengths in turning a tablet into a laptop, while Android phone manufacturers are trying to turn phones into tablets. We could even see phones bending into tablets and laptops as the technology matures over the next century.