May 13 2016

Review: Microsoft’s Surface Hub Owns the Conference Room

With a large display, interactive whiteboard and a full version of Windows 10, the Surface Hub is more than just a pretty screen.

With a crystal clear 55-inch LCD display, the Microsoft Surface Hub’s versatility serves many functions inside conference rooms both large and small, all while superbly displaying content.

The Surface Hub comes equipped with Windows 10 and ships with all of Microsoft’s productivity apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Skype for Business, making it an interactive tool everyone can use.

As a display, the Hub renders precise graphics in both light and dark colors. While some larger displays struggle with fine lines, the Surface Hub scored well above average in accuracy tests using the DisplayMate Visual Benchmark suite.

In many ways, the Surface Hub functions like a powerful tablet, albeit one with a massive screen mounted to the wall or attached to a sturdy rolling cart. Along with the productivity suite, the Surface Hub incorporates Microsoft’s new Edge browser, which lets users jump on the Internet to check facts or research topics at any time, even while other programs are running.

The Surface Hub also serves as an interactive whiteboard. The productivity apps integrate well with the included digital pens and touch screen. During our tests, the 100-point touch screen allowed both pens to work at the same time for a truly collaborative experience. Users can save presentations and share them wirelessly with other devices in the room or remotely using OneNote.

Teleconferencing gets a boost from the Surface Hub as well. Two built-in, wide-angle high-definition cameras provide great views into large conference rooms. The 55-inch screen is large enough to fit multiple remote participants in their own windows, but if more real estate is needed, Microsoft also sells an 84-inch model.

Hub Leverages Miracast

Beyond its function as a whiteboard, teleconferencing system, computer workstation and large monitor, the Microsoft Surface Hub also serves as a seamless presentation tool, accepting wireless feeds from almost any device using Miracast, the new standard for peer-to-peer direct Wi-Fi connections.

We first tested this feature on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which came Miracast-enabled. Wirelessly connecting the Surface Pro to the Hub took only a few seconds.

Once complete, the connection’s stability was impressive. We sent continuous 1080p HD video wirelessly from the Surface Pro to the Hub with no lag time, even as we walked around the testing environment. Miracast also let us send an audio signal to accompany the video, complete with 5.1 surround sound, which played on the Surface Hub’s two stereo speakers.

The wireless signal uses industry best-of-breed wireless standards to keep information secure — a much-needed relief for organizations worried about their signals being hijacked.

Key Surface Hub Takeaways

Beauty: Large 55-inch touch screen offers stunningly beautiful graphics in full HD resolution

Brains: Driven by an Intel Core-i5 processor, the Surface Hub offers many of the features found in traditional whiteboards

Brawn: Two large stereo speakers mounted beside the screen offer high-quality sound powerful enough to fill large rooms

Microsoft Surface Hub

Display: 55-inch, 100-point multitouch LCD
Native Resolution: 1920x1080 full HD
Contrast Ratio: 
31.7x59.6x3.4 inches
106 pounds


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