Microsoft has launched the sale of its latest videoconferencing device, the Surface Hub 3, marking a significant milestone for collaborative technology. The Surface Hub 3, the successor to the Surface Hub 2S, boasts substantial improvements with a 60% increase in CPU performance and a 160% GPU graphics performance increase generation-on-generation. Microsoft initially introduced the new hardware in September.
Enhanced Features and Integration
The Surface Hub 3 brings several key features to enhance the user experience. Notable is its Smart Rotation feature, which allows seamless transition between landscape and portrait orientations. This functionality is coupled with the device's ability to support inking with two pens simultaneously. Designed with videoconferencing front and center, the Surface Hub 3 introduces a “Front Row” view, which positions remote meeting participants at eye level, nurturing a more inclusive and engaging meeting environment.
Integrated with Windows 11 IoT Enterprise, the device also operates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams Rooms, the company's term for partner-built Teams videoconferencing gear. Microsoft emphasizes that Surface Hub 3 offers the “Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows experience,” implying a harmonization of capabilities with partner-built Teams Rooms devices. Buyers can choose between a 50-inch touchscreen model suitable for smaller spaces and an 85-inch model designed for larger rooms. However, the Steelcase Roam Mobile Monitor Stand, which provides mobility for the device, is sold separately.
Pricing and Availability
Microsoft has made the Surface Hub 3 available through its reseller partners. Prices listed on reseller sites include a 50-inch model for $9,482.99 and the 85-inch version for $25,586.95, albeit the larger model was temporarily out of stock at one reseller.
A unique feature unmentioned in Microsoft's announcement is the “Copilot in Whiteboard” capability, designed to help presenters generate and organize ideas during brainstorming sessions. While the document did not expressly mention the availability of this feature for the Surface Hub 3, it is available to users with a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license across platforms like the Whiteboard desktop app, web browser, iPad, and Teams client.
For existing Surface Hub 2S users, Microsoft is offering an innovative upgrade in the form of a Surface Hub 3 Pack. This curved hardware cartridge can transform a Surface Hub 2S into a Surface Hub 3 with installation that does not affect the original warranty terms. Additionally, a software upgrade is planned that will transition Surface Hub 2S devices to the “Teams Rooms on Windows new experience,” set for release in the near future.
Security and IT Management Perks
Security and device management are also areas of improvement, with features like BitLocker, the Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM), and Microsoft Defender providing robust protection. IT professionals can leverage tools such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager to set policies and the Microsoft Teams Admin Center and Pro Management Portal to monitor room health status. Furthermore, the device is equipped for deployment using Windows Autopilot for a “touchless” setup, enhancing administrative efficiency.