Microsoft Finally Unveils its Dual-Screen Surface Neo

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft had a big event today in New York, and part of the reason for that was due to the company’s unveiling of its first dual-screen Surface, the Surface Neo. The Neo has been rumored for a decade at this point, with reports and leaks claiming to provide insights into what Microsoft had in mind when it came to a dual-screen Windows 10-powered gadget. Now, we know exactly what the company was thinking, and it looks really cool.

Two separate screens, not a foldable

First things first, it’s important to note that the Neo has two screens, not one screen that folds in half like a Galaxy Fold. Microsoft isn’t shy about this, as all of their marketing materials don’t try to hide the seem between the two screens. As a result, you get two standalone display panels each measuring in at 9-inches.

When you unfold the Neo, you’re presented by a 13-inch LCD panel. We don’t have a resolution to share since we have very little information on the device’s specs, but it should be sharp enough so you don’t see any pixels. Microsoft tends to do that with a lot of their products.

In case you were wondering, both displays are covered in Gorilla Glass.

Magnets enable new accessories, including a keyboard and Surface Pen

The entire Surface Neo is basically two screens with a hinge, so there’s no room for a keyboard or mouse. Microsoft still wants this thing to emulate a laptop experience, if at all possible, so it’s also gonna ship a detachable keyboard accessory that connects to the Neo with magnets.

Interestingly, the keyboard will live on the back of the device. When you want to type, the magnets will allow the keyboard to flip over to the front of the device and lay flat on one of the displays. This will then cause the covered display to adapt to a new mode that will present shortcuts, emojis, and other touch-friendly features above the keyboard itself. Think of it as Microsoft’s version of the Apple Touch Bar, only wider and on a much smaller device.

Also, if you shift the keyboard up a bit, you can use the screen area below the keyboard as a trackpad.

Magnets on the back of the Neo also allow you to connect a Surface Pen to, presumably, recharge. When you want to draw, just grab the pen from the back. The idea is to let the accessories live magnetically attached to your device and have them immediately available when you need them.

Intel inside

On the inside of the 5.6mm device, Microsoft says the Neo has an Intel processor. It’s apparently some weird hybrid thing with “11th-gen” graphics and good efficiency, but they didn’t reveal everything we wanna know about it.

We also don’t have any specs surrounding storage, RAM, or battery life, in case you’re wondering.

Windows 10X

Pronounced Windows 10 “Ex,” Microsoft also unveiled a lighter and touch-friendly version of Windows 10 that will come loaded on the Surface Neo. From the looks of it, Microsoft simply optimized the OS to work better with dual screens and allow apps to work better with each other when sitting side by side.

This is another mysterious element of the Surface Neo since not all details have been revealed just yet.

Holiday 2020

The reason behind all of the mysteries in regards to the Surface Neo’s spec sheet? This thing won’t be shipping until the 2020 holiday season.

Right now, it’s a prototype/proof-of-concept, and Panos Panay said onstage that the company was showing the device off “before [it’s] finished.” That’s why we don’t have complete details on what specs it’ll feature, how good the battery life will be, and what exactly Windows 10X can do.

That being said, the Surface Neo looks super cool and futuristic. It’s the idea of a portable computer that many nerds have been dreaming about for years, and it looks like Microsoft will be the one to usher in a new category of devices that are ultra-portable, productivity-friendly, and are built for our everyday lives.