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Here's a closer look at Microsoft Surface Neo specs

Surface Neo
Surface Neo (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft wrapped up its October Surface event with a surprise unveiling of the Surface Neo, a new foldable entry to its in-house hardware line, built around its new Windows 10X modern OS. The dual-screen device sets out to deliver portable productivity with its hinged design, accompanied by native inking support and a slimline physical keyboard. Our Executive Editor Daniel Rubino is on the ground, catching the latest on Microsoft's latest ambitious device.

The Surface Neo is comprised of two 9-inch LCD displays, strung by a 360-degree hinge for considerable flexibility. It results in a 13.1-inch spread once expanded, with each half measuring 5.6mm thin. An Intel chipset powers the new form factor, while onboard LTE solidifies the device as a portable companion. Wrapped up with USB Type-C connectivity and Windows Hello facial IR, its composition results in a 655-gram package, primed for daily use.

Microsoft's new Surface Slim Pen pairs with the device for signature inking. Be aware that the Surface Slim Pen will be an add-on purchase. Magnetic charging allows the pen to affix to the rear, offering a streamlined charging solution, akin to Surface Pro X. A separate slimline hinged Bluetooth keyboard also magnetically bonds to the device, usable both snapped to the screen and standalone. This also opens Microsoft's new "Wonder Bar," displaying an on-screen trackpad and shortcuts.

Four postures hit the Neo with Windows 10X – a tablet experience spreads apps across two displays, double landscape and double portrait with two apps, and composition mode.

The Surface Neo is set for a holiday 2020 debut, although formal pricing and a release date is yet to be confirmed.

Matt Brown
Matt Brown

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

42 Comments
  • Surface Neo and Surface Pro X were the stars of today's show! The so called "Duo" was a disappointing capitulation from MS that Android is the future.
  • Agree. Surface neo can be gem of device.
  • I think Android on the Duo is more of a placeholder so it can later be replaced by Windows 10X (to soon atm).
  • Dream on... They'd have to build the app war chest first which I don't see happening anytime soon.
  • My only hope is that they add telephony to the Surface Neo and Windows 10X and then let us install Windows 10X on the Surface Duo. I truly cannot believe, after years of buildup, they chose to slap their biggest fans in the face by making an Android phone. Insulting, for sure, but also just a bizarre business move. Why in the world would they want to enter the uber-competitive world of Android hardware manufacturing?
  • this could only happen under Nadella's watch
  • Where have you been? Microsoft has long changed their strategy to offering services on all platforms. This is not a surprise nor is it an "insult." Another commenter on a different article said something along the lines of how this pushes him to consider a chrome book or something like that, but that really doesn't make sense to me. I'm already using almost all of Microsoft services on my Pixel 3xl and adding another android device, even if the hardware is created by Microsoft, doesn't change anything. If anything it makes me more interested in this device because it comes from Microsoft and if I do buy it then my money will be going to Microsoft instead of Google. Does this mean that I don't wish for a dedicated Microsoft OS driven phone? Of course not, but at this point it doesn't make sense to do that.
  • "Another commenter on a different article said something along the lines of how this pushes him to consider a chrome book" Yesterday's event was a soul searching moment. A "one more thing" SICKENING moment of the highest caliber. A Surface branded device... for all intents and purposes the Surface "Phone" itself... the holy grail of MS fandom... running Android??????????? Oi vay! They not only slapped the face of UWP developers and MS fans, they outright spat in their face! Hell... they held them down and pissed in their face! I can't say I'd go so far as to be interested in a Chromebook though. Too light for this power user. That said... after yesterday I am seriously considering going all in on MacBook Pro, iPhone (already have one actually), and iPad. Sure I'll miss the touch screen on the laptop. But at least I can develop software for a platform where they still respect developers. And to be honest Apple might be right about the "what is a PC" argument. The iPad and iPad OS may very well be everything MOST... 85% to 95% of the population need. Even Dan's argued that in the past. Why would MOST users purchase a $2000 Neo... as crazy cool as its design may be... when a $329 iPad and a $50 swivel 3rd party BT keyboard is all they really need? Would you buy your mom a Neo? Would you recommend to any of your friends they buy a Neo? Probably not. And I'd sooner die a painful drawn out death than recommend to anyone I know they buy a $???? Duo running Android! Microsoft only seems to respect themselves presently. In their l-u-s-t to grow their own services they seemed to have forgotten about the tens of thousands of little people that drank their Koolaid.
  • You sound so bitter. Nothing wrong with the Microsoft adopting Android. They should have done this over a decade ago.
  • I think eventually windows 10x will get hacked onto it or maybe they'll offer an official upgrade path to 10X. I don't think it will be difficult to port over to Duo.
  • Windows 10 already has telephony. Wouldn't be surprised if 10 X has it too.
  • The form factor of the Surface Pro X was exceptional, is love the standard Surface Pro love to look like that.
  • I can see how the Duo can be a great device with it's pocket sized form factor and android apps. Having a harder time seeing how NEO works out with this less than elegant keyboard / trackpad solution. Are we just carrying around the keyboard in our pocket until it's time to slap it on? Is it staying connected and constantly flopping around to avoid behind seen? Is intel really a battery life savvy choice for a tablet-that-replaces your tablet?
  • It says in the article that the keyboard is magnetic and sticks to the device like the pen.
  • Keyboard can stick to the back until ready to be used. Its a companion device, the whole thing can fit easily in a small bag.
  • The keyboard attaches magnetically or can be folded on the inside. During the presentation, in most cases where walked around with the Neo or set it down after demoing it with the keyboard, they just closed the unit with the keyboard on the inside. Very thin keyboard.
  • This is a totally new Intel chip
    (lakefield)
  • Not available till late 2020 everyone will have forgotten about it by then or the competition will have already released their version
  • You say that as if the world works by who gets there first, and not who gets it right. It also makes it sound like there can't be what, more than 2 companies doing foldables? HP, Dell, Lenovo, and ASUS are all part of this push for Windows 10X. So, who beats them for a foldable Windows? You think Apple will be there first? You want a foldable Chromebook vs. full Windows?
  • With Microsoft undermining Windows 10X by releasing an Android-powered Surface Duo and aiding Google in the process, I'd see fold-able Android tablets as a bigger threat to Surface Neo than Apple devices or Chromebooks. Microsoft's biggest strength is software development, and instead of using that to their advantage, they're working to improve Android's dual-screen features. I'm struggling to see how this benefits Microsoft in any way, unless they seriously believe they can be a competitive player in the Android hardware manufacturer market, which is as crowded as it gets and seems to be a bizarre sector for Microsoft to enter into.
  • Microsoft's biggest strength is not software development. It is hardware development. It is the execution of the software that has always disappointed.
  • I like Microsoft's hardware, but I disagree that the software has always disappointed. I'm not saying it's perfect by any means, but I don't think any software is perfect whether it's Android or iOS.
  • Windows has been the most buggy and clunky OS.
  • The software is not perfect but it is overal quite good. Windows recently had some problems but that is partly the fault of not updated oem firmware/drivers and users making tweaks to Windows without exactly knowing what they are doing, and partly the fault of MS firing software testers.
  • The main point of the Surface line has always been to push other manufacturers to follow, and so take the whole sector forward (while using MSFT software). The hardware looks great, but the real story here is Windows 10X. It really does look like a game changer, but of course we'll need to see it in the flesh.
  • What in that demo screamed "game changer"? The only thing they showed was dragging a window to the center and it jumped to both screens. That isn't a game changer for sure. Did I miss something?
  • Yup looks like you did.
  • I found the keyboard idea to be really smart. Hopefully Windows 10X will be a success so Neo can serve as a stepping stone for Andromeda phone. ^.^
  • Did you miss the announcement of the Andromeda phone? They're being released at the same time.
  • unless he's referring to the phone that runs on Windows. The Duo might just be a stop gap. If MS can get developers enticed enough to make apps running on NEO/10X OS, then they can release 'Andromeda'.
  • I mean the Duo but with Windows 10X like Cruzer1 said. :)
  • Nah, Windows 10 X will be the door to other kinda devices that can be any kinda interface you want but running on Windows
  • I didn't realise I couldn't already have my current Windows tablet set up in Full screen, double landscape or double portrait modes. It's either a netbook with a touch keyboard (because Netbooks were all the rage when they were a thing), or it's a tablet (laptop, if you attach a keyboard) with a line down the middle. Neither of those are optimal scenarios. But this is by no means a professional product, it screams casual user (I doubt the price will match though). That being said, as a consumer device people will lap it up, I can just imagine the discussions "oooh, I can watch a movie while browsing Facebook", completely oblivious to the fact that people can do that now anyway. Quick edit: The magnetic keyboard is a great addition, and a great idea, although again, it's still a netbook, but it's better than using a touch based keyboard, and in a pinch, although small, it'll make do when the tablet is folded out as well.
  • It is too small to even be a netbook. They had 10.1" screens.
  • Yes it's a netbook, but one with decent internals and that also works as tablet and has a full active pen digitizer. It's going to be great for front line workers, at least in industries that don't need ruggedized devices, and for students, as it'll make a great note taking device. The fact that it closes makes it really easy to put in a bag without worrying about damaging the screen, too, and it's less awkward to change orientations than the Pro with type cover. Should also note, the aspect ratio when in portrait mode, orientated like a book, is actually very different than what you'd get snapping two apps side by side on an existing surface device. So it's better suited for dealing with two apps in portrait mode, but it's a bit less flexible for heavy multitasking. Snapping apps in landscape doesn't seem that great, screen's just a little too small.
  • Yeah, to be fair Netbooks sucked, hard. Seeing as we never really had an option in the past of one that could actually handle more than Notepad, who knows it could be just the thing we need. I may have misunderstood your final paragraph but I have a feeling the "snapping" modes for this device is more, hold the device in portrait and you have two landscape orientated apps top and bottom, hold it in landscape (so, like a book) and you have two portrait apps side by side. I'm guessing that's what the article means. which is what can already be done on Windows 10 but with more flexibility (I can use 3/4 of the screen for one app and just a small section for another, if I really want to, I haven't needed to since I stopped using WInamp but hey, the option is there).
  • I also feel netbooks sucked because they had no touchscreen and could not be a tablet when you want it to be, which makes them extremely limited compared to e.g. possible this device or the Go.
    I had a Dell Venue 11 Pro but its touchscreen broke and now it feels like a netbook lol (only good for making simple notes and playing old games).
  • Of course you can do that currently, but it takes more steps to get there. The software is designed for this fold-able form factor by default. Currently on my surface pro 5, when I open one app (and then minimize) to open a second, does it automatically split the screen in half and make the two apps side-by-side? No.
    Sure, you could argue just program it so they do that automatically but who wants that to happen by default on a single screen device? The form factor and use case doesn't merit them to make that kind of behavior with apps the default experience. You are oversimplifying this by comparing it to a netbook or a tablet with a line down the middle. I can say a laptop is just a screen attached to a keyboard, what's the point in that when I have a screen and keyboard at home connected to a more powerful desktop computer. Of course a strong argument is that by attaching a screen to a keyboard it makes it more portable so you can work on the go. My point is different form factors affect how a device is used. For example, I write in OneNote a lot. On one hand I could use use a convertible laptops that have a 360 degree hinge and still be able to write in OneNote like I need to OR a better solution (for my use case) is that I get a 2-in-1 like a surface pro where it's both a lighter device (makes it easier to write if I'm not writing on my lap or desk for example) and I can fully detach the keyboard to reduce the thickness making it easier to hold/carry around. Also in what way does this "scream casual user"? I didn't get that impression at all.
  • It takes two steps, drag window 1 to the left, window 2 to the right. And depending on the program they often save their positioning even after closing the program down (for instance at work when I open Acrobat Reader it always opens on the right, Chrome always on the left, Excel retains the half screen sizing, but doesn't appear on the right it sits slightly closer to centre and Edge doesn't save its positioning, or sizing, so it opens full screen every time causing me to move it to the right every time, I can't see that changing in Windows 10X if they haven't sorted it in Windows 10. So clearly companies are already making that kind of behaviour the norm for Windows use, it's just Microsoft that isn't, apparently they needed to create an entirely new operating system to do something that could already be done on their present one. Edit - I just did a test, it would appear that apps from the store do not store any kind of position information after closing, it's only Win32 programs, I just tested with a whole bunch of apps and they all did the same thing. I'm not oversimplifying it at all, granted I haven't seen the full extent of Windows 10X, which is going to be the make or break aspect of this device, but in terms of form factor it's a solution to a problem people simply didn't have, and it's not even a viable solution. I will accept that the ability to fold the device does provide free protection for the screens, although tablet bags have specific pockets to separate the device from other objects anyway so it's kind of a moot point but if you aren't using a bag, or your bag has a single pocket, then I definitely agree this is a useful feature. Document processing would be fine, so students would be able to type up essays and the like easily enough, but Excel would be a nightmare for anything other than the most basic spreadsheets, you get a few columns in and scrolling would be frustrating, I use half a 24 inch monitor and that already doesn't feel large enough, and I'm not going into crazy intricate spreadsheets either. It screams casual users because from a professional stand point it's a jack of all trades and master of none, Unfolded you have a screen the size of a surface pro, that's great for working on, however the keyboard that comes with it is quite small, it's not going to be very comfortable to be used for long periods of a time compared to the keyboard on a 2-in-1 or Laptop. For artists they suddenly only have a 9 inch work area rather than 13 limiting what can be done without sacrifices being made. In regards to inking, it's probably the best use case, but only really if you fold the device around and use it like a 9 inch tablet. So yeah, it'll be perfect if you want Facebook below Netflix, Or to browse Windows Central while shopping on Ebay. Also everyone is raving about the fact that this product can be held like a book, but that is beneficial for books because it's the easiest way to hold the item one handed and still turn pages, and even then I rarely see people holding a book with one hand unless they are actively doing something else with the other, because it's significantly easier to have a hand on either side of a book, or have it resting on a table. The biggest advantage this device has is folding all the way over and turning it into a single 9 inch tablet from a dual screen, although ideally it would be much better if it was a single screen foldable that did that (ala a larger version of the Huawei Mate X).
  • If they can get good battery life out of the thing, with snappy performance then I can really see this thing as replacing my Surface Pro!
  • Please Microsoft, give us a Duo-sized Neo! None of this Android crap!
  • This current iPhone user and former Samsung user until the darn Apple Watch kept calling me back has sent the link to anyone in my office who might be interested. I have watched the video multiple times. And I don't see myself forgetting about it. I am a Windows Insider for Windows 10 and this is way more innovation than anything I have seen from Apple. I am already saving my money to be ready to purchase both.