Skip to main content

Leaked Surface Mini renders reveal what it would've looked like in red

Leaked marketing material of Microsoft's canceled Surface Mini have popped up on the web just a few days ago, revealing what the Surface Mini would have looked like in red. Evan Blass, known for leaking all kinds of devices before they launch posted the images on Twitter, along with device specifications.

The images and specifications confirm what we reported on just a few weeks ago, where we exclusively revealed what the Surface Mini looked like in photos. The marketing material appears to be showing off renders of a red Surface Mini, which confirms there was going to be multiple colors of the Surface Mini to choose from. The one we photographed was black, for example.

Canceled before its time

These marketing renders may be our best look yet at what Microsoft was cooking up internally for a smaller Surface. Canceled at the last minute, the Surface Mini was going to be Microsoft's shining star in 2014, running Windows RT with pen support for note taking and inking on the go.

The decision to kill the device just weeks before it launched was likely for the best, however. Windows RT was a failing platform, and there wasn't many apps in the Windows RT Store that could've shown off the potential of a Surface Mini device. OneNote was the only true app that would've made sense on a mini Surface.

Blass' leaks also confirm that the device was going to ship with a Snapdragon 800 processor and either 1GB or 2GB of RAM. It had a Full HD display at 7.5 inches and an aspect ratio of 4:3, which is great a size for a mini tablet.

The leaked technical specifications also confirm that the Surface Mini had an internal codename of "Iris", and would've come bundled with a Surface Pen in box. It's a true shame that such a device was canceled. Perhaps Microsoft will give it another go in the future, with Windows 10 instead. Would you be interested in a Surface Mini with Windows 10?

Zac Bowden
Zac Bowden

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

53 Comments
  • Panos always mentioned that he had some form of mini tablet by his bedside to take notes in the middle of the night. I bet it was one of these...
  • Well he actually officially said it was the Surface Mini. Said he loved it.
  • A wise choice to cancel it 
  • Why? I a man aching for an ARM based (long battery life) iPad mini sized device.  But with store only (so secure) and with full mouse I.e. Productivity support!!!
  • Windows RT.
  • I agree. It was either going to be cancelled by MSFT or it was going to bomb in the market place, thereby killing the entire surface line.
  • look at those bezels :P
  • I have paper and pen, bollox to blue light sleep disruption, I may end up turning into a second-hand salesman like Panos lol
  • Don't worry the Surface Courier is coming.
  • it's...red. It looks nice. probably would've done without the bezel on the top, but I see the point while you're holding it in landscape. Would've been nice.
  • Looks like a Kindle Fire Kids Edition.
  • Fast-forward that device to present-day, beef up the specs and I think you'd have a true competitor to iPad mini -- and the plethora of android tablets out there.  I find the Surface Pro 4 is a bit bulky when it comes to a true note-taking device.  Legal pad-sized devices like the Pro 4/Pro are great but I find myself yearning for something smaller and more mobile.
  • Not wanting to be a Grammar ****, but the headline is a bit too informal with the 'would've'... just saying.
  • I personally like informal. Everything is way to stiff these days...
  • Looks a lot like the Lumia 2520... Good call to cancel!!!
  • Sorry if I come across as somewhat uneducated for asking this, but what was the point of Windows RT?  Was it the forerunner to Windows 10S?
  • It was a version of Windows 8.1. It was similar to W10S in that both are locked into installing only apps from the app store. However, WRT was built to run on only ARM platform devices. It wasn't great, but it worked for people that didn't need the full Surface Pro experience. I believe Surface 3 was the last Surface tablet to run WRT. W10S is the same as the regular W10 except for being locked down to the app store.
  • @shryx86 No, Surface 3 has an Intel Atom chip and runs Windows 10, not Windows RT.
  • Windows RT was meant for ARM tablet environment, however the naming was so bad so it didn't get as popular as they expected. Windows 10S is the next gen of RT. My 2 cents.
  • It is a much more secure version of windows that stripped out all the legacy code that can be exploited to cause issues.  Windows 10S is a similar product with similar goals. 
  • Previous answers are correct but incomplete, as there were two interlinked ideas behind Windows 8 RT.
    First, it was running on ARM processors, like Windows 10 Mobile and the upcoming Windows 10 for ARM.
    Second, it was limited to apps and games from the Windows Store. These two were linked because different processor architectures require different binaries to run, so desktop applications designed for PCs would have to be recompiled for ARM, a third option to the x86 and x64 you regularly see, to run on Windows 8 RT.
    Instead of making this easier for developers and hoping for them to provide ARM versions for a limited market, Microsoft decided to lock these devices to run only Microsoft-signed apps, limiting the desktop environment to Office RT, and forcing WinRT apps (Store apps) as the only way for 3rd party to target these devices. This was both good and bad, good in the sense that the OS could be streamlined and secured, but also limiting the 3rd party apps available, especially at that time when capabilities of WinRT was very limited compared to its UWP evolution. Windows 10 originally dropped the ARM support, except for Windows 10 Mobile (phones), which didn't need desktop apps and games compatibility anyway. Then they decided to make both benefits possible and independent.
    Windows 10 S is a full Windows 10 on x86/x64, but borrowing the apps limitations from Windows RT to make it more secure.
    On the other hand, Windows 10 on ARM (WoA), probably coming for this holiday season with the Fall Creators Update, makes it possible to build tablets and computers based on ARM processors, lightweight and more power-efficient, but less powerful than x86/x64 ones. However, unlike Windows 8 RT, Windows 10 ARM can run both applications compiled for ARM64, but thanks to a new emulation technology, those compiled for x86 as well, making it compatible with almost every desktop software available today. This means x86 apps run on ARM64 like they do on x64 today, through the Windows 32 on Windows 64 layer (WOW64), but implementing the x86 compatibility in software instead of inside the processor. Thanks to the WoA WOW64 x86 emulation, any combination is possible, and manufacturers can choose their processor (x86, x64 or ARM64) based on target usage of their device, and choose to provide a secure but locked-down environment (Pro/Home or S) depending on target users of their device.
     
  • Yes, and your last paragraph is exactly the idea of One Windows. One totally modular Windows that can shift, or be shifted buy OEM'S, in real time to adapt to any device imaginable.. And, that variety of processors would be completely necessary for this to happen. It seems to me that the future of Windows is quite obvious.. One general version for all consumer devices.
    ......
    Anything else would be what we have today.. Redundance & Confusion.
  • Exactly !
    And it's not just for consistency between different devices. Having a single Windows that adapt to any form factor we can think of today, including phones and VR and MR stand-alone HMDs, will enable manufacturers to build the next generation of devices.
    CShell will make devices that change form at runtime possible, enabling hybrid devices.
    If a manufacturer has to imagine a new form factor and then build their custom OS or hope for Microsoft to consider it interesting enough to adapt Windows for it, it slows down evolution. Making sure Windows and UWP apps can adapt to any screen size (phone, tablet, desktop, TV, conference-room screen, no screen) and any input method (keyboard, mouse, kinect/gestures, touch, pen, eyes, ...) is the only way to speed up the seamless computing, where computers are everywhere, but nowhere, adapting to your current environment and activity. The one scenario I see missing in current target is the 360° shell, to enable face-up touchscreens used as digital tables for multi-users computing. This was the primary goal of the Surface tabletop flavor of Windows, and should really be enabled again in CShell and UWP. This should be a mode where the shell and apps can rotate around the screen to face users sitting anywhere around it.
  • Looks neat, but they made the right choice.
  • The red looks nice! The should make it for Surface Pro line too.
  • I need a device like this in my life, with LTE.  I would pay all the money. 
  • Yes, I would take a Surface Mini running W10A with Cshell, Telephone & Messaging capabilities, SD840, 6GB ram, 120GB Rom, all in a slim, pocketable size, either with a 6.5" non foldable screen, or a foldable screen with a total larger display area.
    ............
    I'm pretty sure that's what a lot of fans are dreaming about.
  • 6.5"? People who want that are going to buy the Note 8 with 6.3" but no bezels lol A Mini tablet that runs Windows might be useful as a note taking device. But telephony? Lol give it up, Rod. That thing you're thinking and describing isn't happening ;P
  • Why should I give it up because you speculate that it's not happening? What official word from MS do you have, to show me that it's not happening, so that I should give up on my idea that it is?.. Seems to me that as it stands your guess is as good as mine, and we'll just have to all wait, and see... Now, if you want to argue that your opinion is correct over mine, then more power to you, but you can't reasonably expect me to convert my opinion to yours only based on your doubt. I'm not saying that you have to believe mine, because I have no official evidence, only speculation based on work I believe MS is currently doing with W10, and mobile. For me to say that I predict that a mobile device is coming is only my opinion. If you're saying you know for a fact that no mobile device is coming, then you need to produce some official statement from MS confirming so. If you can't say that you know for a fact that a mobile device isn't coming, then your disagreement with me is irrelevant, because at that point we both have the same opinion.. It just doesn't get anymore logical than this.
    .........................
    Do you know for a fact that a mobile device isn't coming?
  • Do you know it IS happening?  
  • 1. No
    2. Read
  • Ok,  so his point is just as valid as yours!  
  • Give it cellular phone usability and I on it!!
  • Why go small? I want a 24" gaming tablet running W10 (s), i7, 1080ti, 1Tb SSD and so on... And I want a super accurate and smooth drawing experience.
  • So, you want a 24" Surface Studio running W10S....
  • It looks dated.
  • 🤔... I think that's kinda expected for a device that was in development back in 2013, possibly even 2012... Have you seen how clunky the original Surface looks now?
  • This device was KILLED because Nadella decided to KILL the Windows RT operating system devices because of = Poor sales. later Microsoft brought out the Surface 3 Atom CPU tablet which sold pretty well but did not have the performance of the Surface Pro line of Windows Tablets. IT did MS office well and was a good basic computer for Entertainment content and surfing the Web as long as a person did not do a lot of multitasking. I was going to buy one but Microsoft cancelled them. a lot of people Still use and like the MS Surface 3 Atom CPU tablet.
  • Windows RT was a was a joke. Just buy any full windows tablet , its a pleasure to use. 
  • Want to hear a joke         Windows RT
  • Want to hear another?     Surface phone.
  • Yes, of course. It will be better if it was foldable tablet with two 8 inch screen
  • Would this have done well on the market?  Probably not.  One of the FEW decisions I agree with from Nadella (don't wanna kill Surface line).  However, I myself would have loved this.  At that size, I use two Android tablets which I despise, but being that I really enjoy the the user interface of Windows RT and being pen enabled, I would have used this thing all the time.  Some have mentioned bezels...  Not an issue for me and any who likes Windows RT because of the swiping from the edges.  Also, some also say it looked like the Lumia 2520...  I dunno..  
  • It wouldn't have worked solely for the same reason Surface RT and Surface 2 didn't work: customer confusion and underpowered hardware. 1 GB RAM? Come on.
  • I'm not sure Microsoft has ever taken these smaller devices seriously. I've been using an 8" Dell for several months and an 8" Lenovo Miix prior to that. Neither Edge nor Internet Explorer work well in this format. The title bar, tab bar, address bar and status bar all take up too much room, leaving very little space for the web page. Some websites are so wide, the page runs off the edge. Other apps also have trouble fitting in the 1080 x 800 pixel display.
  • Modern IE in Windows 8 worked great, Edge is definitely a step backwards for tablet usage. They're finally adding a full screen mode in the Fall Creators Update, but no option to swipe down for the address bar/tabs yet. This Surface Mini with a 4:3 ratio screen instead of the 16:10 (1280x800 or 1920x1200) of most 8" Windows tablets would've made net surfing in portrait mode a better experience.
  • I'd personally rather they released the display of the Surface Studio as a stand alone device more than a mini tablet (specially in a time where tablets are dying).
  • Surprise, surprise, it looks like a smaller Surface in red, consider me amazed.
  • So if they actually do WoA - will it make a come back....?
  • Wish a mini were on the way now. I'd like something to replace my venerable and still nicely useful Dell Venue 8 Pro within the next year or so with an 8" Surface Mini  I have a Surface Pro 4 and a Surface 3 as well and each have their own purposes, but the light weight 8" full Windows 10 format is great, make that best, fou use lying  on the couch. The most impotant feature of these tablets is the common Windows 10, Start Screen set ups, and programs, but having different formats for different personal and professional uses makes life grand. An 8" Surface would make it grander.
  • Wish an 8" Surface Mini were on the way now, I'd like to replace my venerable and still very useful Dell Venue 8 Pro in the next year or so.  I also have a Surface Pro 4 and a Surface 3, which have specific size/format uses, but the 8" has its unique uses too.. While the most important feature of these tablets is common Windows 10, programs, and Start Screen set ups, the light weight 8" format, best for use on the couch, makes life grand. If it were an 8"  Surface, it would be grander..
  • I agree with you. I always wanted an 8 inch Tablet / Smartphone hybrid device because working on a smart phone screen requies 200 strenth reading glasses if you want to avoid eye strain. I donot mind carry around a small shoulder bag to carry my Tablet smart phone hybrid in. you can put them in  blazer, Suit jacket or vest too 
  • One these with windows 10s and I would buy it in a heartbeat.