For over many years, the obsession of Microsoft with giant touchscreen displays has remained the same. Everyone in an office is doing their work collaboratively on huge displays mounted on walls, which can be seen in the future vision video of the company released every once in a while. But now the future is starting to arrive with the Surface Hub 2.
It’s a giant conference room display, at its most basic level, having both 50- and 85-inch versions. However, Microsoft is really directed this as something far more. It is designed as the future for meeting rooms, where collaboration between the people are expected using the screens instead of just sitting just sit and watch a presentation. Microsoft’s hardware design chief Ralf Groene said in an interview that :
“The unique thing about the Hub, in comparison with the rest of the Surface line, is that it’s not a personal computer.“It’s really a computer that belongs to a space.”
The Surface hub S will be in the market in June for $8,999.99, and if you want all the optional extras then it’ll cost you nearly $12,000. But it will worth it.
We must say that it is a beautifully designed piece of hardware. A 50-inch display (3840 x 2560 pixels) with the typical 3:2 Surface aspect ratio has been opted by Microsoft, compared to the 55-inch 16:9 panel that the company used on the original surface hub.
You can easily rotate this display for a portrait mode that’s ideal for conference calls. Moreover, it also gives you more vertical space for drawing, presenting, or viewing documents. The bezels are a lot thinner, 15.5mm to be precise, compared to the original one. To improve the screen bonding for the stylus input and to improve the glare you might find on typical conference room displays, some extra work has been done by Microsoft.
The stand and wall mounts both are available separately at $1,449.99 for the stand and $249 for the wall mount, as Microsoft has come with the whole package. You can even slot a battery into the case of the stand that gives you around two hours of battery life on the go. Just like you do with a laptop, you can easily unplug the Surface. To wheel into a meeting room or elsewhere. But this battery expansion will cost you $1400 separately.
A dedicated 4K camera for the Surface Hub 2, has also built in. It’s powered by USB-C. It can be then detached from the top to mount it with magnets to the side of the display. A special snapback mechanism has been created by Microsoft for the camera so you crash it into a doorway, the camera won’t get sheared off.
A whole host of hardware is installed inside by Microsoft as it is actually a full-fledged PC and not just a big screen. It’s having an Intel 8th Gen Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 128 GB M.2 SSD, and Intel’s UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU. Moreover, you can have a bunch of PC ports, too: a single standard USB-A port, a USB-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI video in, and Mini Display Port out.
You can easily connect devices up to this to use it as a monitor. Even Microsoft is planning to sell it separately as just a monitor without all the PC hardware inside. Pricing for that model is not just yet announced.
Microsoft plans to let Surface Hub 2 owners upgrade the device over time and its one of the most interesting fact. An upgraded GPU will be included in the Surface Hub 2X processor cartridge, it is to enable businesses to tile up to four of these displays together. Upgrade cartridge has the processor, RAM, and GPU inside.
Some of the more interesting software changes are also enabled his processor cartridge. These changes are done by the Microsoft to this device, including the ability to rotate the display. The demonstration of this display rotation by Microsoft looks far smoother than what currently exists in Windows 10 today.
Pricing or exact availability for the upgrade cartridge just yet not announced by the company. All the typical apps you’d expect are here on the Surface Hub, but it’s limited to Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform apps (UWP). Conference calls and the usual Office apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are also here.