Surface Neo: Everything we know so far

Microsoft's dual-screen PC, known as the Surface Neo was announced in October 2019 as one of the first devices that would ship with Windows 10X. Since then, Microsoft has canceled Windows 10X and postponed the Surface Neo indefinitely. It was originally supposed to ship in the fall of 2020, but that never happened. We don't know when or if Surface Neo will ever ship.

So, to keep everything in one handy place, we've written up everything we know about the Surface Neo.

Surface Neo hardware

Surface Neo unveiling

Surface Neo unveiling (Image credit: Windows Central)

Surface Neo is a device that features two LCDs that are joined together by a unique hinge design that allows the screens to be used together via multitasking or individually. It's designed like a book, but can be used in many different postures such as a laptop or tablet when needed as well. The displays themselves are 9-inches each, which totals 13.1-inches of screen real estate when both are in use together.

When closed, the device is 11.2mm thin, making both halves 5.6mm when open. It's also 655 grams, which is a little on the heavier side but adds to the overall premium feel of the device. On the outside, the device is covered in glass, which is a departure from other Surface products that historically use magnesium or aluminum.

The Neo also has a Windows Hello IR set up along the top bezel on the left side of the device, as well as a front-facing camera to go with it. On the left side of the device are the power and volume buttons, with a single USB-C port located near the hinge on the right side of the device.

On the inside, the Surface Neo is rocking an Intel Lakefield processor, along with an LTE modem for always-connected capabilities. We don't know anything about RAM or Storage at this time, although it's safe to assume it'll be available in your traditional 8GB/16GB RAM configurations along with 128GB/256GB of storage.

Surface Neo software

Windows 10X Start

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

On the software side of things, the Surface Neo was announced as running a new version of Windows called Windows 10X. This was a new modern OS from Microsoft that was designed for lightweight computing and modern experiences no matter the device. It guts legacy components and features, which means everything from the Windows Shell to the underlying OS has been rebuilt with modern technologies, while still maintaining legacy app support for those who need it.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has canceled Windows 10X and is instead bringing the best of the Windows 10X UX over to the full version of Windows with the upcoming Windows 11 release. Microsoft hasn't said, but perhaps the company will end up shipping Surface Neo with Windows 11 instead? Windows 11 is expected to ship this fall.

Surface Neo accessories

Surface Neo

Surface Neo (Image credit: Microsoft)

In addition to the hardware itself, Microsoft also unveiled two accessories that pair with the Surface Neo. The first of which is a magnetic keyboard that attaches to the display and allows you to type with tactile feedback, just like on a laptop with a dedicated keyboard. The keyboard can also attach to the outside of the device, which is where it can wirelessly charge when not in use. The other accessory is the new Surface Pen, which also wirelessly charges on the back of the device.

The keyboard accessory, when attached to the display, enables "Wonderbar" which essentially turns half of the display into an enhanced TouchBar. You can find emojis, control functions, and even use a virtual trackpad.

Surface Neo release date

Microsoft had originally planned to ship Surface Neo at the end of 2020, however that plan has been delayed and now the product sits without a known release date. Now that Windows 10X is canceled, it's possible that we'll never see Surface Neo hit store shelves. That said, Microsoft could, if it wanted, ship Surface Neo with the full version of Windows. The upcoming Windows 11 release has a new UI that takes inspiration from Windows 10X, so I could definitely see that happen.

But we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on Surface Neo? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

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.

  • I thought we were all over describing stuff as being "11.2mm thin" garbage. It's device thickness guys, just say the right damn word.
  • I do not care what Microsoft says, I don't believe they have told us everything about the hardware. It might not change much but I don't think it's locked. Hopefully there is surface all access for these devices and Xbox all access for project Scarlett!
  • Don't know what to make of 9 inch screen size. It will end up too small specially in laptop mode and 360° tablet mode.
    Ideally it should have been better at sweet spot of 11 inch screen size just like current ipad pro 11 instead of 9 inch.
  • "laptop mode"? What do you mean?
  • I think he means like the srcond picture in the article and u Der the "Accessories" section. You have the primary screen sitting vertically, with the other screen lying flat like a keyboard.
  • Lakefield is energy efficient but lower power than ICE-Lake. Microsoft has a history of failures to shrink down Windows to be efficient and fast on low power devices. I guess this is to keep compatibility to all kind of old Windows Software. IOS and Android are built for such devices from the beginning.
    So imho the Duo will take all attention while the Neo ...
  • Well Windows 10X were supposed to be designed with those kind of chipsets in mind. So in theory should run very well. The issue was the Win32 containers, but depends on those legacy apps anyways. But OS itself and native apps should run fin in theory. Alas Windows 10X isn't happening anymore. So we left with full fat Windows now. Remains to be seen what Sun Valley will bring, but based on current Insider build which is where this Windows 11 will have a foundation on, I don't think it will be as efficient as Windows 10X was.
  • I'll start being interested when they create this as a dual 11 or 12 inch screen laptop that I can run powerful apps and games on. The keyboard and touch bar are cool (I've always felt that they should have replaced function keys with a touch screen long ago), but I don't know why I would use this over my current Surface Pro.
  • Because it will cost twice as much as a Surface Pro and you can, uh, put it on a table and have two 9" screens and no mouse. I think that is the idea?
  • It could be more than Surface Pro, but twice? Where did you get that info? You sound very confident.
  • Zac threw in his "possibly at Build" line again, but this time without the disclaimer that he isn't telling people to buy tickets to Build so they can get one. I mean, I think Zac has publicly speculated that Microsoft might give away Neos or Duos at least 4 times in the past two weeks. He's a journalist. He hears things. Maybe this year they'll do a giveaway. I mean, I'd be interested to read an article on all the Build giveaways of the past.
    Personally, I am skeptical for a couple of reasons. For starters, Build is not the place that Microsoft is going to be talking about consumer devices. Build is about where Microsoft has been and will be: Enterprise. It's Azure, it's Hololens, it's PowerApps, it's Teams, it's Visual Studio and GitHub. My guess is that at least 80% of the developers that attend Build have no interest in developing apps. Secondly, Covid-19 is putting a slowdown on everything coming out of Asia, where these devices are most likely being built. Even if they did plan to distribute devices to developers, their production timetables have probably been thrown off. Thirdly, the story of Windows 10x and Duo is that the applications that you love are already there. Straight from Panos' mouth: we built a device [for Android] that already had the apps that you love. And Windows 10x can supposedly run any app that's already built for Windows.
    I'm pretty much planning that I'll buy both of these devices as soon as I can. If they do indeed do a release at Build, I hope they'll have a publicly accessible sale there as well for fans.
  • Giving away a new category device well before the launch can be very risky. It could invite bad press and create damage or loss in customer's interest. Reviewer will get their hands on and tear the device into pieces with benchmark and comparisons.
  • Mr. Anderson, we’ve missed you.
  • Neo and Duo (both perfect size) for me at launch, can't wait. Oh and then there's a new Xbox as well, what a great year.
  • Any new on if the USB C port will support a screen output? Or if the Neo will support wireless screen share?
  • So, two 9" screens make 13.1". If nothing else, that shows how utterly unhelpful the idea of using an inch diagonal is as an indicator of screen size. Why not change to millimetre or centimetre square? That would at least be meaningful.
  • How’s that any different? I’d rather be given width measurements in inches and then aspect ratio.
  • "rocking an Intel Lakefield processor", seriously? What exactly does "rocking" mean, anyway? Are you from the Microsoft Surface marketing team? What exactly is wrong with ARM? Why can Windows 10X not run on ARM? Or, why was Windows Phone 32 bit only, in 2016? Seriously, people need to start looking at the architecture issues in Microsoft rather than getting pricked with every new icon design that is intended to derail them from the real thing. Wow, they have pink now!!! What a great invention!
  • But, but.... It's now pink!
  • What's wrong with ARM? Seriously, see what happened Surface Pro X. I'm glad Neo will have an intel chip. No compromise in running all Windows apps. WOA is no where able to offer acceptable performance nor battery life at the moment. It could change in the future but it's no there yet.
  • Agree with Arvind1983. There aren't enough apps compiled for ARM yet. 32-bit Win32 emulation incurs a performance hit, 64-bit Win32 emulation is still months or years away, and Windows 10X already has to emulate Win32 apps. Emulating inside an emulator exponentially increases the performance hit, so Windows 10X would result in an unimaginablely terrible experience the first time someone tried to run a Win32 app if it was on ARM.
  • Windows 10X runs Win32 in a container. That is not the same thing as emulation. It is running natively. Containers share the same OS kernel.
  • I'm interested to know about the docking options with Neo. Is it possible? USBC? Will it have a different shell when docked? After all, it's classified as a PC, and most likely will be tailored to enterprise use.
  • That's actually good question. I wonder if there will be a desktop mode when connected to a dock or external display. After all, C-Shell is adaptive. At the moment, window support is not here yet, though my guess it's not yet that polished and probably just hidden.
  • I am so glad to hear it comes with LTE! That was my main sticky point with the device. Zac, is it possible that the Duo will come with an outside screen?
  • No. There's no need since the device can be folded completely around to have both screens facing outward.
  • They need an outside screen on the Duo to handle calls and notifications while the device is closed.
  • That would be a great add as well.
  • What if you leave the device open always (completely unfolded) and just place glass screen-protectors on both screens and put it like that in your pockets? Should protect it enough.
  • Ya, mine is mostly open (back-to-back) these days. And I use a 3rd party "AMOLED Always on display" app for notifications. It's the closest to the Lumia I can get.
  • Do you have any idea if there is a wireless dockstation? it will be way easier and smart to use it in the office , as soon as you enter the office it connects all others like monitors , keyboard and mouse and whatever you have configured.
  • Seeing this repost on the front page made my heart skip. Is this a hint that maybe the Neo is finally coming to production?
  • smh windows central isn't official
  • Duh, but Zac often gets quite a bit of interesting and reliable intel.......
  • dreamy -- out of my price range
  • dreamy -- out of my price range
    died & back, a.k.a. Microsoft LeRêve... Surface Neo... lake of dreams, lakefield
  • GIVE ME 10X W/ PHONE/SMS ON MY DUO!!! (argggggh!)
  • I hope they rethink Intel since the Neo is delayed. An ARM processors makes so much more sense in this type of device.
  • Yes, I realize this article is over 2 years old. So "Everything we know so far" is still "what we knew 2 years ago". As described, this thing makes no sense. Windows 10X is supposedly "a modern OS designed for modern experiences". So why is it running on Intel and why is it STILL maintaining support for Win32 stuff? This NEEDS to be running on ARM. No fans. Great battery life. Forget Win32. We are already up to our waists in PCs that run on Intel and run Win32. The Neo would have a better chance of being a success if it ran the same OS that the Duo is running: Microsoft Android. Nothing called "Windows" is ever going to be "a modern OS designed for modern experiences". Why? Because calling it "Windows" means that is HAS to run crusty, 30 year old, touch-hostile software. On Intel. Neither are "modern" and neither support/promote "modern experiences". Do you really want people plugging in a mouse and a keyboard to run your "modern OS designed for modern experiences"?
  • It should be noted that even though 10X might support Win32 stuff it is much less bloated than W10 is (like starting up programs much faster too and overall better battery life. There are already people/companies testing 10X on their devices.). So even if it would ship with Intel cpu's only in the long term (though I find that unlikely) we will get a more modern experience than W10 delivers.
  • Win32 is only supported by virtualization. It will NOT run natively.
  • This shows how meaningless using the diagonal in a review is: "The displays themselves are 9-inches each, which totals 13.1-inches of screen real-estate when both are in use together." Please, oh please, use area. One can then get a true comparison. BTW who came up with the idea that breakable glass on the back of devices was a desirable "premium" idea?
  • Gorilla glass should be fairly strong these days. It is also does not block cellullar/lte and wifi in contrary to metal does. Whatever the case like a tablet without cover this is not a device you want to drop anyway and metal would not help much in protecting it against the shock when it hits the ground or such.
  • Windows 10X should be on ARM CPU with full Android App support.
  • That would be a good step especially if they make their modern ui API compatible with it too.
  • If you want Android apps, it should just have Android. There is nothing more Windows can offer on a device like this.
  • They call that ChromeOS.
  • I'm getting Andromeda flashbacks.
  • Why was this republished, but not updated to include the fact that Windows 10X has effectively been cancelled?
  • I was thinking the same thing.
  • Yes, this really is very trashy.
  • Time will tell.
  • @GothardJ2 has it though?
    "effectively been cancelled" and being outright confirmed as cancelled are two different things.
  • This is Microsoft. It is dead. We will never see 10X launch.
  • Anything close to MS Courier, please here is my money.....
  • 10.06.21 {June not October lol). Glad that Microsoft has taken thr sensible approach and will have 10X on traditional laptops first. This will help bolster the app ecosystem. Additionally, the delay will also provide ample time for supply line issues affecting the semiconductor industry to be resolved. Plus, we could be looking at a 5G enabled (sub-6) device and Lte enabled for true flexibility. Not to mention better internal components will be released in the fut