Demand for Microsoft's huge Surface Hubs has exceeded expectations

By midian182 · 30 replies
Jul 22, 2016
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  1. If a product gets delayed twice and has its original selling price raised by $2000 you might expect it to be a flop, especially when many in the industry claim nobody wants one. But it seems that Microsoft’s giant Surface Hub is proving the critics wrong.

    Sales of the Surface Hub have exceeded the Redmond company's expectations, after being purchased by more than 500 customers worldwide to date. That may not sound like a lot, but with the 55-inch version costing $8999 and the 84-inch Hub priced at $21,999, these enterprise-aimed products were never going to sell in their millions.

    The enormous wall-mounted tablets, first announced back in January 2015, were originally meant to ship in September that year but Microsoft pushed the release date to January 2016. In December, however, the firm announced that not only were the Hubs being delayed for a second time, but the prices for both models were also being increased by $2000.

    Luckily for Microsoft, it seems that buyers, most of which are likely to be large businesses, haven’t been put off by the delays and price jumps. Orders are continuing to come in for the Hubs, and as a result production is being ramped up.

    Both Surface Hub models come with Haswell processors; a Core i5 in the 55-inch and an i7 in the larger version, which has a 3840 x 2160 resolution. Intel’s HD 4600 (in the smaller Hub) and Nvidia’s Quadro K2200 provide the graphics. They come with 128GB SSD storage, 8GB RAM, four and six USB ports (two of which are USB 3.0), 100 points of touch input, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi, NFC, and gigabit ethernet. You even get digital pens (which are said to be excellent), a dual webcam, and noise-cancelling microphones.

    It now looks as if anyone who wants a Surface Hub will have to spend some time on a waiting list, such is their popularity.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,075   +428

    Honestly good for Microsoft. They are taking a $1000 desktop computer, adding a 4k touch screen tv to it, and then selling it for probably 4x the cost of actually building it.
  3. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,287   +903

    Ha, you should look at cisco's video conference systems the, [sarcasm]that's cheaper[/sarcasm].
    Reehahs and mosu like this.
  4. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    Name me an 84", 4k screen with 100 points of input.... And as a poster has already posted, compare it to other video conference systems :)
    Reehahs and Kibaruk like this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,362   +2,008

    I have been involved in a few projects that had a similar system, but it was mounted like a table top. It worked extremely well, except when you had so many people putting in their suggestions that it got a bit sloppy. The best one I saw was where there was a 3rd party viewing and capturing all the conversations plus mark ups. That was put together then as a Notebook file with audio attached to each page. For a company, the cost is peanuts compared with the productivity we got out of it. We would have easily spent 4-6X that much just for flying everyone in for a single meeting.
    Kibaruk likes this.
  6. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    This is what my fam-puter experiment was supposed to test - our win10 Touch-experience has been less-than-wonderful, hence they won't be buying one o' these. Consistency across Microsoft's Own functions/Apps being the strongest No-go. Touch has a ways to go IMHO - from a been-here-since-2.1 DOS-customer.
  7. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +33

    About 2 months ago I visited a client who has installed a brand new 50" LED TV with a digitizer on top of the bezel. It was running a custom Metro app for Win 8/10 and naturally I fiddled with it. Immediately I accidentally triggered a right-click when trying to navigate. About 20% of the time the digitizer registered my single click into double click, causing madness. After a month it is no longer in the lobby.

    Point is, turning your >50" LED panel into touchscreen isn't as easy as it seems. Let alone integrate all those devices in a neat package. Hence the surface hub's success.
  8. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,287   +903

    Have you ever tried a surface? They are awesome, you should definitely try and get your hands on one of them with a pen to test out the touch capacity.
    Squid Surprise likes this.
  9. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    What was your hardware? Because this is basically a Surface Pro on steroids.... And most people find them quite amazing - instead of doing a famputer experiment, maybe just walk into the Microsoft Store and play with a surface :)
  10. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    27" Dell 1080 touch-screen,intel NUC, USB kb to get things going.
    The surface is quite a different device than that described here.
  11. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    So you think your equipment better describes what the SURFACE hub will perform like as opposed to a SURFACE Pro?
    Kibaruk likes this.
  12. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,287   +903

    It will clearly be wonky if you are pairing it with a NUC, as you saw on the specs the HUB is high-end hardware to avoid the downfalls you saw, even with dedicated video.

    Ok now I'm inclined to think you are just trolling...
  13. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    No doubt, You will find Extreme improvements on the Hub vs the NUC, but the Hub's specs have been long telegraphed, hence My choice.

    "a Core i5 in the 55-inch" check
    "Intel’s HD 4600" check
    "They come with 128GB SSD storage" - 256 M2, but doesn't matter, check
    "8GB RAM" check
    "six USB ports" (two of which are USB 3.0) check

    The 27" Dell was the largest affordable touchscreen at the time of Win10's release

    Not sure what -I- said that got both of you in this mode, but I don't Care, either. Go buy a Hub and see what you think of Touch computing. If stating that a (very good) 12" personal device is quite different than a Big-screen conference-share Touch device is Trolling, I suggest that you're looking too hard.

    Last reply -- I stated 'IMHO', you don't Like MHO, that is your privilege. I challenge you to Live in a big-screen Touch-only Win10 environment before you continue to go out of your way to find fault with the hardware, or whatever else you may dream up.
  14. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    Clearly you don't understand what the Surface Hub is.... The specs are kind of irrelevant... And a 27" Dell, despite it being the largest touch screen when Windows 10 came out does not compare to the 55" or 84" screens you get with the hub...

    It's like comparing a chrome book with an ROG laptop... Again, go play on a Surface Pro and you'll see how much better Windows 10 can be with touch....
  15. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    <sigh> I lied RE last reply:
    --Clearly-- you DO have enviable hands-on experience with the HUB and understand it Completely, I am humbled indeed..
    How many hours Have you vs my woefully sub-standard test-bed of 12 months?
    Glad to hear that you have had absolutely Zero issues with the Pure Touch interface on your 55" or is it 84" HUB in the several Days that you have owned it.
    It would be sad if all of this Valuable Information were based only upon experience with a 12" device.. however wonderful it may be (we have a deuce and a trey, testbeds,screen size has been the only consistent complaint). Out.
  16. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    Dude.... It's not the size that makes for this experience (although obviously that is essential for group viewing)... It's the integration of the entire package into 1 unit - something you can't replicate with 3rd party hardware!!!

    As we've TRIED to tell you, the Surface Pro (note the similar name), is the closest compatible piece of hardware out there to predict your experience....
  17. delta73

    delta73 TS Rookie

    Have you looked at the TAG TECSLATE? They sell a 65" and 84" All in one unit. One main difference between them is that the TECSLATE is windows based computer.
  18. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    Definitely looks far closer than the Phr3d garbage... only 10 points of input (MS offers 100), so I'm guessing it's an inferior product....

    Edit: Found a quote on a partner website (

    65" = $12,500
    84"= $17,500

    The 84" might be a better value than the MS offering - wouldn't know until we actually get some sort of comparison... but the 65" doesn't look like a promising one...
  19. delta73

    delta73 TS Rookie

    The 84" might be a better value than the MS offering - wouldn't know until we actually get some sort of comparison... but the 65" doesn't look like a promising one...[/QUOTE]

    When comparing them, I think that some of the more noteworthy things I see are: The TECSLATE is a windows based computer so an end user can run any software they'd like on it in 4 separate panes, MS, is more like a Windows phone and it's limited to 2 panes. The advertisements for MS show people collaborating around One Note and/or Skype for business. Anyone with a computer can do that, but what if a company wanted to use a different program? TECSLATE also has a DVD, blue ray player, can function as a TV if needed. I can see the DVD, blue ray functionality being very useful in a corporate training environment.
  20. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    The MS offering is a Windows computer as well... It runs Windows 10 and does anything a PC can do...

    It has USB ports, so DVD/BluRay is an easy $100 addition if required.... And I believe it also has mini-hdmi or DisplayPort (using phone, otherwise I'd confirm), so it can easily be attached to a cable box or any other video accessory.

    Edit: confirming it has display port -
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  21. delta73

    delta73 TS Rookie

    Thanks. I stand corrected. I had read a review of the HUB recently where the writer observed that it functions more like a gigantic windows phone, and not like a traditional PC.

    It is, however, well documented that only 2 panes can be in use at once. Also, When you do all of the external attaching through Ports, I would think that minimizes it's simplicity and elevates the risk of conference room hiccups.
  22. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    I'd love to see the documentation that only allows 2 panes at once.... pretty sure it can do anything a PC on Windows 10 can do... Remember this is a Surface HUB, not a regular Surface Pro...

    And this will be in a conference or board room of some kind... if you want to use a blu-ray/DVD, it would be a simple thing to have it permanently wired somewhere (which it probably already is in 99% of the board rooms in the world)... Not sure how it would be "complicated" to do this.... The same thing goes for having a cable box of some kind permanently wired - but I'd assume most would have some other arrangement for showing TV to people... It also has pretty much every wireless connectivity option included, so if necessary, you simply do that...
  23. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    "Definitely looks far closer than the Phr3d garbage..."

    A meaningful insult, from one so experienced. Funny that you are unable to just let it go, but Demand that all others embrace the Magic of the device -down to how many touch-points as being Important- yet cannot state that you have done so.

    well used and abused, but:
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.."
    Real life is calling, I humbly suggest that you put down whatever it is that amuses you -to your detriment- and answer.
  24. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,580   +720

    Well, you were just trolling, and the thing is, NO ONE has any experience with this.... It's kind of a new thing...

    As I (and others) have tried to tell you already, this isn't just an all-in-one PC that you can build yourself... It's like you are saying, I can get a cellphone shell, a snapdragon processor, and some other parts, install iOS on it and I've got an iPhone!

    As for the question of how good the Surface Hub actually is - we won't know until it gets reviewed... Or at the least until we get one (or someone we know gets one)...
  25. veedub

    veedub TS Rookie

    So everyone knows the surface hub is not just a windows 10 device. It actually uses a custom stripped down version of windows 10. I have found this to cause a few issues in configuring the hub. Many windows settings are not an option on the surface. However this is not a bad thing, its meant to be simple to use which it is. Its a device anyone can just walk up and use, no logging in, just click one of buttons to open a white board, Skype, ect... It connects to an exchange environment so you can automatically join scheduled meetings. If you need to use other apps your administrator would have to use the admin login and set those up before hand.

    The touch on these is as smooth as the surface pro. The dual cameras a good, they will switch between the left or right depending on when it sees your face or the back of your head. The microphone is awesome, works very well for a conference device.

    We've been using 2 of these for almost 3 weeks now.

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