At its October 2019 hardware event, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Neo. Previously known as Project Centaurus, it’s a dual-screen device that represents the company’s first foray into the foldable market.
But while the Surface Duo will come running Android, the Neo will ship with a customised version of Windows 10 known as Windows 10X.
Surface Neo price
Price was not mentioned at the unveiling, and we haven’t heard anything since. However, considering that foldable devices are still very much in their early stages, don’t expect it to be cheap.
We’d be surprised if any configuration was available for less than £999/US$999.
Surface Neo release date
At the announcement, Microsoft simply stated the Surface Neo wouldn’t be released until ‘Holiday 2020‘.
However, ZDNet and CNBC are reporting it will be delayed until 2021. This is said to be because Microsoft wants to test Windows 10X on single-screen and 2-in-1 devices first, and development will inevitably have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Microsoft is yet to update the Surface Neo’s release date, but if the rumours are true we hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.
What is the Surface Neo?
The Surface Neo is a dual-screen, foldable device which is reminiscent of the Lenovo YogaBook. Microsoft says there’s nothing else out there like it, and it’s certainly right.
The Surface Neo has two 9in screens, is 5.6mm thin and weighs 655g.
There’s also a magnetic keyboard which can be positioned in various ways, either on top of one screen so part of it is used, say, for a touch pad, or it can be removed entirely and used separately on the desk. If you put the keyboard at the bottom, you also get the ‘wonder bar’ which is a little like the touchscreen above the keyboard on a MacBook Pro.
Like the new Surface Pro X, you can use it with the slim Surface Pen which attaches magnetically to the back of the Neo and charges in that position.
The 360° hinges use a system of over 60 “micro gears” which create the “perfect amount of torque so it feels good when opening and closing”.
It runs a new version of Windows called Windows 10X, built for dual-screen devices. The idea is to increase productivity by having two screens which can run different apps – it’s not simply a large screen which can fold in half. You can also drag apps between screens, or maximise them so a single app fills both screens.
Another use for the second screen is to open web links from emails on the other screen. The apps will also auto rotate if you turn the device from landscape to portrait mode.
Naturally, you can also use one screen to watch a video and the other to browse the web or check emails.
The Neo is powered by the Intel Lakefield processor, which is a ‘hybrid’ CPU, and has an 11th-gen graphics engine designed specifically for dual-screen devices. It’s also designed to be very thin so it can fit in such a slim device.
How will the Surface Neo run apps?
One of the reasons Microsoft showed off the Neo so early was because it needs app developers to optimise their apps or create new ones which will work on this form factor. Without apps that are aware of how the Neo’s screens work, they’ll probably be limited to full-screen use, since their interfaces could be too small to use otherwise.