Earlier this month, Microsoft® announced the initial pre-order date for their Surface™ Hub workplace collaboration tool. It is a large touchscreen display packed with workstation-grade computer hardware, Windows 10®, and a unique feature set focused on groups. Available to order on July 1, 2015, it will be one of the first few devices launching with Windows 10. We run through the numbers to see what the Surface Hub brings to the table.
- The Surface Hub will be available in 55-inch and 80-inch versions, priced at $6,999 and $19,999 respectively. The 55-inch version will feature a 1080p resolution while the 80-inch version will be a 4k device. Judging from the sizes, the Surface Hub will be best used as a vertically-mounted display. When laid on its back, users may find it cumbersome to reach the center of the display.
- The Surface Hub detects up to 100 simultaneous touch points and three pen inputs. Pen users will be able to use the digital ink feature found in Windows 10, which allows for real-time note-taking and annotating of slides, Web pages, and any other Ink-enabled program.
- The hardware specs differ slightly between the two, with the 80-inch Surface Hub receiving a higher-end processor and video card.
|Processor||Core i5||Core i7|
|Video Card||Intel HD 4600||NVIDIA Quadro K2200|
|Memory||8 GB||8 GB|
|USB||2 × USB 2.0, 2 × USB 3.0||2 × USB 2.0, 2 × USB 3.0|
|Networking||Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n, gigabit Ethernet, NFC||Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n, gigabit Ethernet, NFC|
|Weight||105 lbs.||280 lbs.|
- The Microsoft Office and Skype® for Business apps cost $0 for the Surface Hub, as they are built-in. This enables businesses to save on subscription costs in the long run.
- The Surface Hub is the 5th device with the Surface branding, it is preceded by the Surface, Surface 2, Surface 3 series of tablets, and the original Surface 1.0. Most will be familiar with the Surface tablets and the 4th version is expected to be announced later this year.The Surface 1.0 however, may be a little more obscure. A precursor to the Surface Hub, it was a large-screen collaboration device measuring 30-inches diagonal and packaged with their Surface software. It was discontinued and the name reused for the tablet line after a few years.
- To maximize durability, the display will be built with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3. The increased durability is sure to come in handy as more than a few clueless users may try to rest their bodyweight on the device.
- Features two Kinect®-like audio/video bars (one on each side) for a total of two 1080p webcams and four microphones. The dual webcams allow for users to walk around and still stay in frame for viewers on the other side of a video conference. The four microphones enable the Surface Hub to focus on the active speaker and filter out ambient noise.
- You can connect one external computer to the Surface Hub via HDMI or Miracast® and use it as an external display for purposes such as presentations.
- Meeting minutes will be a cinch with the Surface Hub as it records edits and notes made by users and sends them out to attendees via OneNote®. Think of it as a sort of version control, except for meeting notes.
The Redmond giant expects for the Surface Hub to boost workplace productivity and streamline workflows. Judging from the hardware and software it features, that claim may be on point though time will tell if the price tag may be too hefty an entry fee for small businesses. Do you think the Surface Hub will work for your business?