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Surface Neo release date: The latest on Microsoft’s dual-screen tablet

Olivia Woodhouse
9 Jan 2020
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Microsoft’s new folding tablet is unlike anything we’ve seen before – here’s what we know so far

The Surface Neo is Microsoft’s way of reinventing the tablet industry. Unveiled at the firm’s annual October event – alongside the Surface Pro 7, Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro X and the Surface Earbuds – the dual-screen hybrid device is pretty much unique, save for a smaller but otherwise identical sibling, the Surface Duo.

Frankly, we’re dying to know more, particularly after Microsoft gave such a detail-sparse announcement. Though the release date is but a glimmer in our tech-saturated eyes, we have banded together what little information we know to give you the lowdown on the Microsoft Surface Neo.

Surface Neo: Everything we know so far

Surface Neo release date: When will it launch?

Chief product officer Panos Panay has said that the device won’t be in the shops until “Holiday 2020”, so don’t hold your breath. In the Queen’s English, this means Christmas.

Surface Neo price: How much will it cost?

Since we’ve not even had a hint towards pricing we’ll have to take inspiration from the next best thing, the new Surface Pro X. Also unveiled at the event, the Pro X starts at $999 (£810) and acts as a sort of premium version of the Surface Pro 7.

Whilst we can draw comparisons between the two devices because of the tablet style, the Surface Neo is still the only one of its kind. It’s likely that it will cost considerably more than the new Pro X because of its double screen design and new Windows operating system.

Surface Neo design: What will it look like?

What we do have is a solid idea of how the Neo will look. The dual 9in LCD screens are connected through a 360-ish-degree hinge, giving it the look and feel of a book. The entire device is coated in Gorilla Glass.

The Neo has a minimum width of 5.6mm, which is a damn sight slimmer than the likes of the Surface Pro X (at 7.3mm). It weighs a relatively meagre 655g, which is broadly similar to the iPad Pro (2019) – not bad for a device with two displays.

Surface Neo features and specs: What will it do differently?

Battery

We don’t know for sure how long the Neo will last on a single charge, but we can hazard a guess based on the battery information given for comparable devices. The Surface Pro X, for example, falls between 13 and 13.5 hours based on “typical Surface device usage”; we might expect the Neo to perform a little worse than the Pro X, given its dual-screen design and relatively small form factor.

Processor

The device will contain a brand new “hybrid” Intel 11th-gen Lakefield processor, which Microsoft claims has been specifically engineered for dual-screen devices. It’s half the size of its tenth-gen predecessors, using a 10-nanometre fabrication process that allows the Neo more power than most other devices of its size.

Operating system

Then there’s the introduction of Windows 10X, a new dual-screen version of Windows. Not a huge amount is known about this new operating system, other than that it will adapt more readily to the many “postures” that Neo can adopt. New windows will open contextually on the opposing display, for example.

Peripherals

One or both of the rear panels will house magnets, to which you can attach the new Surface Slim Pen and a bespoke Type Cover. These peripherals lend the Surface Neo some neat added functionality, and will charge whilst connected to their magnetic docks. The demonstration videos show the Type Cover sliding very neatly over one of the Neo’s two displays, at which point Windows 10X responds and produces either a virtual trackpad or an emoji keyboard.

Camera

Nothing has been confirmed camera-wise, however based on close-up images of the Surface Neo it looks like there’s a circular camera on the rear of the device. It’s likely there will also be a front facing camera.

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