Almost a year since Microsoft first announced the Surface Hub 2, its next-generation collaborative display, we’ve finally got more details on the product line. While we’ll have to wait until next year to see the Surface Hub 2X, the high-end model with the fluid rotating screen, Microsoft announced today that the 50-inch 2S, which runs the current Surface Hub software on a slimmer screen, will start shipping in June. Even better, there’s also going to be an 85-inch model coming, just like the last Surface Hub lineup. The 50-inch Surface Hub 2 will run you $9,000, plus an additional $1,499 for the movable stand.
The company claims the Surface Hub 2S will have “tablet class precision” on its large screens, each of which will feature a resolution beyond 4K. With its sleek stand, you’ll be able to move it between different meeting rooms with ease. It also features a 4K camera for clear video chats, as well as an eight-element microphone array to capture every voice in the room. And if you need absolute portability, there’s a $1,400 battery accessory that’ll let you work unplugged for a few hours (perfect for when you get kicked out of a meeting room).
During a media demonstration in New York City, Microsoft showed off how the Surface Hub 2S can deal with a four-person video chat, as well as collaborate with nearby Surface laptops using its digital whiteboard. It’s also clear that Microsoft’s investment in screen technology has paid off: the Hub 2S looks sharp and vibrant, and colors pop off the screen. Overall, it looks more fluid than other collaborative displays I’ve seen, but of course, the real test will be to see how it works in an actual office environment.
While it’s nice to finally have some concrete details on the Surface Hub 2 line, the one we’re really waiting for is the 2X. Luckily for Surface 2S owners, Microsoft says they’ll be able to upgrade to the 2X down the line through a removable processor cartridge, which comes out easily from the bottom of the Hub. In addition to offering faster performance, the 2X upgrade will also unlock the rotation ability Microsoft showed off last year. It’s a bit odd that that feature is sitting dormant inside every 2S, but at least there’s an easy upgrade path. Unfortunately, we don’t know what the upgrade cartridge will cost yet, or what its faster hardware will entail.