Microsoft Surface Neo Release Date, Price and Spec News
A culmination of Microsoft’s much-reported ‘Project Centaurus’, the Surface Neo is a folding PC running a modified version of Windows known as Windows 10X.
With the Surface Duo now available in the US, attentions have turned to Microsoft’s other dual-screen foldable. Both were announced back in October 2019, but it looks like the Neo won’t be going on sale for years. Here’s everything you need to know.
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 the Neo ends up costing less than the Duo’s US$1,399 (approx. £1,080) starting price. However, there is a chance that by the time it’s finally released foldable technology will be much more affordable.
Surface Neo release date
At the official unveiling, Microsoft also revealed a release date: ‘Holiday 2020‘.
While that schedule has looked in doubt for some time, it wasn’t until July 2020 that the Neo’s listing on the Microsoft website was updated to remove the phrase ‘Coming Holiday 2020’. The Wayback Machine shows what the site looked like only a week earlier.
Indeed, the Surface Neo listing has been removed from the Microsoft website altogether, with the link above now redirecting you to the main Surface page.
This development all but confirms that the Surface Neo won’t arrive until at least 2021, although ZDNet is now reporting that 2022 is more likely. That’s due to Microsoft changing the roadmap for its development of Windows 10X, the software that the Surface Neo will run on.
In May, the company announced that it will be coming to single-screen devices first, but it now looks like the initial rollout won’t begin until Spring 2021. With that in mind, a Spring 2022 debut for Windows 10X on dual-screen devices doesn’t seem out of the question.
It was disappointing to have to wait a year between announcement and release, but it now looks like that’ll be closer to three years. It’s hard to imagine the design not looking out of date by then.
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 touchpad, 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.
We’ll update this article as soon as we know more about the Surface Neo. For news on the operating system that it will run on, check out our guide to Windows 10X.