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Microsoft's Surface Hub 2 sports a 4K+ display and gravity-defying hinge

In March, Microsoft gave a surprise preannouncement for the Surface Hub 2. The news was little more than a heads-up that refreshed hardware was planned, but more info was expected during "first half of this year."

Today is that day. Microsoft officially gave us the first preview of Surface Hub 2, and while there are still many details to be determined later this year, the video revealing the collaborative office PC is impressive.

The all new Surface Hub 2

The Microsoft Surface Hub 2 features a 50.5-inch "more than 4K" display with a familiar 3:2 aspect ratio. There is also a 4K video camera, built-in speakers, a new Surface Pen (more like a marker), far-field microphone array, and a near bezel-less screen.

The secret mojo though is that the new Surface Hub 2 can now rotate on an ingenious new hinge that lets users quickly switch the giant computer from landscape to portrait orientations. The large Surface can be mounted to a wall or on a new roller cart to make it more mobile.

Companies with deep pockets can splurge for two Surface Hub 2's placed side by side in landscape, or up to four Surface Hub 2's mounted adjacently in portrait mode. The PCs can then operate independently or together.

The Surface Hub 2 also features a thumbprint login system for Windows Hello, and in a new twist, the OS lets two users simultaneously log into the PC to share information in real time between accounts.

Two users can now log into Windows at the same time with just a thumb press.

Two users can now log into Windows at the same time with just a thumb press.

Windows 10 PCs and those using Microsoft Teams on any device (iOS, Android, or Windows) can interact with Surface Hub 2 directly and in "dynamic collaboration" using apps like OneNote, Teams, and Whiteboard in the office or across the world.

The other modification from the original Surface Hub is there is now only one size available versus the initial choice between 55-inch and 84-inch. Microsoft gave us the following rationale for the change:

Microsoft believes customers investing in collaborative computing solutions at-scale are looking for light-weight, flexible platforms that can meet the needs of a wide variety of spaces across their organization. Deploying custom solutions in a small number of rooms is extremely expensive and does not serve most of the population within a given office, let-alone company-wide. Surface Hub 2's modular product design allows for a much more affordable and dynamic solution that can scale from a personal office all the way up to a large 4-screen collaboration wall.

Early testing with select Microsoft partners for Surface Hub 2 will begin later this year, and general purchasing and shipments should start in 2019.

Pricing has not been determined, but Microsoft tells us it is in line with "similar devices" (the last-gen 55-inch Surface Hub costs $8,999, so it won't likely be cheap).

What we don't know about Surface Hub 2

Surface Hub 2 easily shifts between portait and landscape thanks to a new circular hinge.

Surface Hub 2 easily shifts between portait and landscape thanks to a new circular hinge.

While there is much more to talk about with Surface Hub 2, especially with that new sizzler promo, there is plenty we do not know, including:

  • Exact cost and local availability.
  • If there is an internal battery for when mobile (on a cart).
  • If the 4K camera will be sold separately.
  • Processor, ports, and full specifications.

Those details are coming, and we expect a hands-on experience soon with Surface Hub 2.

First glimpse of Windows Core OS?

Surface Hub 2X

The Surface Hub 2 can be placed on a rolling mount to be brought around the office. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows Central Senior Writer Zac Bowden noted in February that Microsoft "is building an army of devices that are designed to work together" focusing on "collaboration, productivity, and 3D/Mixed Reality" with callouts to Surface Hub 2, HoloLens 2, and the rumored "Andromeda" foldable PC

Today's announcement from Microsoft seems to fall in line with that reporting.

Looking more closely at the Surface Hub 2 video the OS is a variant of Windows 10. We have long reported that C-shell and Windows Core OS would ship with Surface Hub 2 (codenamed "Aruba"; see also "Polaris") and we still believe that is the case (especially with the dual-login feature and general UI changes).

When asked, Microsoft would only say that the OS seen here is "built from Windows 10 with a focus on a collaborative environment." This is likely how Microsoft will publicly talk about Windows Core OS versus announcing something new and causing confusion.

Also spotted in the Surface Hub 2 is dynamic wallpaper that moves in the background, another feature we have heard is coming to Windows Core OS.

Microsoft informs us that the original Surface Hub will get "the same great features and updates that were built for Surface Hub 2" through a software update for current Hub customers.

Who is Surface Hub 2 for?

Real-time colloboration is now life-size with Surface Hub 2.

Real-time colloboration is now life-size with Surface Hub 2.

Microsoft sees the future of the office as collaboration. Speculating that future Surface devices – even unannounced ones – will participate in this new mode of working is not a stretch.

More to the point of Surface Hub 2, Microsoft references that millennials and Generation Z are quickly becoming the dominant age group in the workforce. These users are "digitally native" and expect to work together, while also being creative on the job. With Surface Hub 2, Microsoft is simply responding to that by asking "how can we help people be creative ... and share their ideas."

Surface Hub 2 lets users create and share while also allowing the device to exist in meeting rooms, huddle spaces, or even private offices. With a single thumbprint login, the OS pulls in your documents and information for the cloud for a glimpse of what "edge computing" actually means.

Why announce Surface Hub 2 now?

Up to four Surface Hub 2s can be mounted together operating in unison or independetly.

Up to four Surface Hub 2s can be mounted together operating in unison or independetly.

Businesses and institutions that plan long term around information technology (IT) and hardware need a long on-ramp. Microsoft knows this process can take some companies up to 18 months to switch over after initial planning and budgeting, making the enterprise space vastly different from the immediacy of the consumer market.

Presumably, companies will start to plan out for Surface Hub 2 – including the high price tag for budgets – now with anticipation to roll it out in 2019 and 2020. Microsoft is also giving companies a nod that they should likely pass on buying a new Surface Hub, or any other competitor in the market, as something better is on the way.

The original Surface Hub was one of Microsoft's most successful businesses Surfaces to date with more than 5,000 customers across 25 markets, according to the company. Microsoft looks to continue that momentum with Surface Hub 2 and working closely with current customers first.

We can assume Microsoft will share more about Surface Hub 2 in the coming months. The Microsoft Ignite conference (opens in new tab) is in September, making it an excellent opportunity for a more extensive public reveal, but Microsoft has not yet committed to any such plans.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • This thing looks lit AF! Makes me want to have one in my room, I know it's a digital meeting board, but it looks so sexy and cool!
  • Exactly!! So hot that I want one! Even though I don't have a usecase for it
  • I actually just peed a little... holy crap this is thus AWESOME!
  • Hahahahah. Indeed, it is really awesome.
  • Exactly. This thing is a piece of art. 🤤🤤
  • Why doesn't Microsoft make something like this with Cortona built in for the home user? Just make it a little smaller and cheaper.
  • The market, OS, and ecosystem is not quite there yet, but from what we've heard internally, that is the long-term goal, or rather thinking. "Just making it smaller and cheaper" is not quite that easy, but just remember, what they do and learn here will likely translate to a home hub experience in the coming years. (I also asked MS about bringing this to home and they were emphatic this is built for teams working together rather than a home environment).
  • I mean, if you have deep pockets, is there really anything stopping you from using it at home? I think the only thing stopping them now is the cluster of the ecosystem because people would instantly compare it to Android TVs. It's not there yet to distinguish, I agree. Eh, on smaller, but I'd definitely want to splurge if I could, should it ever become cheap enough to justify.
  • If I was a millionare it have one in my home
  • But when market will get there, Cortana will have lost complete mind share.
  • Totally! I wish the current Windows 10 will become fluid like this in the near future! Sooo gorgeous! 😍💕
  • Amazing!!! 😍
    Now, I only wish that someone will invite me to test it. 🌠
  • Hahhahahah, I would like to be invited too.
  • Just WOW
  • I want one.
  • I want to game on that big screen.... If possible
  • WOW!
  • I'd be very excited if I didn't know Microsoft. Hardware will be awesome, software will be little like the video. Rotating it will lag insanely, freeze the animated wallpaper, trigger a weird rotate animation. The whiteboard will have a ridiculously high latency and Skype (Teams) will lack basic features and crash all the time.
    Speaking from experience.
  • So you pasted your comment from The Verge or copied it from here? Don't you think its a little pathetic roaming websites pasting the exact same comment?
  • I would call it uber-pathetic
  • I copied it from here. So pathetic. Please, waste more of your time commenting on that you despise.
  • Lol!!!!!
  • Have you tried the whiteboard app? The latency is very low.
    Same goes for Teams, please don't take what Skype has been for the years since they were acquired to the last few years as a comparison.
  • I use the Whiteboard every day, about 6 hours a day. I'm a teacher. Granted it's a preview version, I can turn a blind eye to most of the small bugs here and there. But it crashes often, lags a lot when the PC is under a little stress and there are some bugs that I just can't understand. Devs barely work on it. It's soooo far from this video of the Hub 2.
  • Speaking from experience? Do you already have a Surface Hub 2?
  • Do you know the difference between hardware and software?
  • From which experience, exactly. Please, give kudos to whom it is due.
  • I'm lucky enough to use a hub regularly and performance is fine on it. I suspect this is because the hub doesn't do background processing like a PC would - it reserves most of the CPU for what's on screen right now. No reason to expect anything different from v2. Speaking from experience.
  • I wish we had these in our office. We bought a bunch of MondoPads before there was such a thing as the Surface Hub. And most folks don't use them. Which has made replacing them with Surface Hubs a tough sell. The sweeet hinge on this thing might help the case though. As far as Zac's comments about an "army" of devices, I sure hope he's right. The Hub 2 gives me a glimmer of hope that maybe he is. Microsoft can build spectacular devices! Ones that support in a practical, tangible, way its great cloud vision. The day I make a phone call from my foldable Andromeda PC though will be the day I truly believe again though. So yes, bring on C-shell and Core OS!
  • The surface team really is hitting it! If only they were able to get their hands to windows phone earlier...
  • They need to lease them out. Satay get your head together, cloud isn't what you like, it's the subscription model you like. What a god damned bunch of arse clowns running that circus, totally disrespectful to the brilliant engineering teams who are actually creating these awesome products and services.
  • You haven't seen the build keynote have you? He wants Microsoft to become the worlds computer. Simply put he wants Microsoft to become the world's cloud back bone (infrastructure). Thus invisible to the average joe. Sure there is money to be made here but that doesn't mean there won't be competition from Amazon and Google or Apple. But it means really at one point Windows will be taking the back seat at one point in time. Hence the rebrand to Microsoft 365. There so many other aspects but I need to look into those. There are so many nuances and variables at play here.
  • The displayed image staying in place while rotating the screen is marvelous 😲
    If everything showed is real and not just a gimmick, it'll be awesome ! And so much promising for Andromeda 👌
  • Yeah, that caught my eye too. That looks awesome.
  • Would be super cool of Microsoft to make a consumer version of this that could replace my TV and act like a Home HUB for all of my smart devices
  • I will get one to replace my TV. Also use it for gaming.
  • I think lessons learned here - including production, costs management, feedback - will be applied to a project down the road. Right now, WCOS and the ecosystem needs more meat on the bones before consumers will pay for it, so they need to work on that. I think if/when Andromeda comes (along with HoloLens 2) we'll see how all these devices are supposed to work together.
  • That would be awesome, or better yet if it could work in tandem with an xbox (kind of like SLI but to be able to use all of the processing power of a connected xbox) if the customer owns one.
  • WOW what a device!
  • masterclass by Microsoft... what a beaut 🔥😍
  • I want one!!
  • Patiently waiting or these to release. We're currently rolling out Surface Hubs to our offices and the supply of Surface Hub 1's have dried up. They look interesting to say the least, but hopefully maintain the simplicity of use to end users.
  • Looks like something that will be canceled in spring of 2020.
  • When did they cancel the first Surface Hub?
  • ...says guy who doesn't know how much money MS pulls in from business/enterprise. You can do a better analysis William, come on.
  • DOes it have an HDMI input? If so, thats my new HTPC and monitor all in one...that is So NICE!
  • No word on ports yet, but I'd be shocked if something that size didn't have HDMI and a small army of other ports on it.
  • Totally. It's quite the deivce ! awesome how they show it with 4 side by side, doing different things, but the same, and controlled with the surface. WOW!
  • The Empire always strikes back, always.....
  • That UI is gorgeous, it's like they make the Future Vision to reality
  • Device with 50" multiple screens - Surface Hub 2
    Device with 6" multiple screens - 🤔
  • This article will have the most comments thus far this year on wc. Taking all bets!
  • I'd put my money on one of Jason's articles. People get so triggered.
  • especially if there is a headline picture of Nadella.
  • I can keep rotating it all day!!🤣🤣
  • Hah, with that out of the way, now more serious on this awesome device.
    Working in an enterprise, I think the modular design will do well in this group of consumer. The timing is also right since enterprises will now prepare next year budget. Being more flexible to deploy across current buildings are also great thanks to the modular design again. If MS can make $200M from the Hub2, I would call it a success already. And that would mean only 22222 devices sold (@$9000 each). Let's see.
  • June 18
    Studio 1010 ?
    Random numbers or … ?
  • I am going with "or …"
  • ...maybe it's a bit far-fetched but i think about June 18 Studio 1010 in two ways like this : June 18 was the date of the first introduction of Surface in 2012
    Maybe it's the real deal or just a Surface reference. 1010 is simply a date 10/10.
    or/and at the same time :
    1010 (binary) = 10 (decimal) and 10 (binary) = 2 (decimal) So...
    >> June 18, Surface Studio 2 ? (Surface Anniversary)
    >> Surface Studio 2, October 10 ? (Microsoft Like October - why ?)
  • Time line dominant OS is great for team environment.
  • To me this is the direct predecessor to Andromeda in one way or another, it's the first thing I thought when I saw the multimonitor functionality. Think about it. It's a product with a distribution small enough to be testing a new variant of the OS with a minimal impact (ie, no hurt fanboys asking for the head of Nadella because one UI element is misaligned). So this should be running either the CoreOS version for Surface Hub or something that leads to it. This is great news. Other than that, I instantly want one. For whatever reason. Cart and all!
  • "(ie, no hurt fanboys asking for the head of Nadella because one UI element is misaligned)" laughed at that, haha. But yes I want one and definitely don't actually need one.
  • Agreed, now that you think of it Andromeda will be a perfect fit into this environment and market. That IMO is what Andromeda should be aimed for.
  • Any chance you all think we will eventually see three variants of the surface pen? Marker size for hub, standard size for surface pro/studio, and something smaller for Andromeda?
  • Yeah, good point.
  • If they were smart the should upgrade to Core OS on the XBOX ONE X to match this Surface Hub 2. Then get a touch screen TV (Hopefully they will be out soon, at least a good one). Then you wouldn't have to make a home hub. Xbox could do that for you for a lot cheaper. I know it takes more real estate in your home but if you don't have to dish out 9K for something that's already in your home. Sign me up. What do you think Daniel is it possible?
  • I'm impressed. This thing is lit!
  • This reminds me of the Surface Constellations paper published last month or so.
  • Take note little boys and girls... your Chromebooks may get you through high school but out in the real world you're going to need to play with the big boy toys...
  • I correction little USA boys and girls, in the rest of the world, about 6.5 billion folks the Chromebooks are a complete non-event or non existing
  • I thought I was watching a scene from an office in black mirror. That is so dope. Give one to Diddy and have it in a rap video and it will sell like hotcakes. Apple cant compete in this arena.
  • Do I need it, definitely not. Do I want it YES! 😍
  • It's probably a good thing that the hinge doesn't rotate 360°... I would easily lose track of entire days constantly spinning that perfectly synced UI rotation! Not that I could afford one! 😂
  • Well, they could set up auto rotating station in Microsoft Store and that'll bring a lot of attention. But hey, even like this, I now want to repeatedly rotating it all day 🤣🤣
  • In that case you should see the French movie "Diva". There is a scene there where Gorodish is assembling a huge puzzle of a wave whilst in the background a wave is slowly moving in a moving Glass box up and back, very zen with zen music and similar effect to what you see in de Surface Hub 2 announcement
  • If only Microsoft would get their act together and make Windows 10 feel coherent and be modular already. It feels like their efforts and ideas are scattered all over the place.
  • That is one nice piece of kit! Half makes me want to go work for a company that would give me the budget to deploy one of these. That lock screen looks very Zune-like, it's so nice. That rotation animation is so swish, it needs to come to other devices!
  • Wow..... That's all I got right now
  • Unfortunately MS killed Teams for W10M so it won't work with all mobile devices after all, like the article states.
  • Well, it works with all CURRENT mobile devices. Just not dead ones.
  • Actually the date got pushed back to late 2019
  • Is it wrong that I want one of those?
    Or two?
  • Yes! You need atleast four...
  • This is innovation!
  • Is that continum ?
  • What is continuum? If you ask people it's a Windows desktop look a like built in Windows 10 mobile. I'm not sure if MS will keep using that word, but who knows. I would guess this is Windows 10 core with CShell, CShell being the new continuum only better.
  • thumbs up
  • "Real-time colloboration is now life-size with Surface Hub 2." It has been lif-size on my desktop and notebook as well. Only you could see the head of your partner. :)