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If you're tired of teleconferences cutting out or sick of the dull light of your office projector, you might want to consider Microsoft's Surface Hub. Sure, it's about the same price as a reasonable, midsized car or a house in Detroit, but it promises to make your office meetings a bit more tolerable.
The Surface Hub, essentially an enormous touchscreen computer, allows you to present, video conference, and strategize like you're having a brainstorming session in the future. The high end tech gadget is bound to end up in a few law offices around the country. Should it be in yours?
The Surface Hub promises to solve the hassles of typical business meetings, though we won't know for sure until September, when it's finally released. It claims audio, visuals, and interaction as its strong points. The Surface's touchscreen allows users to "write" directly on the presentations. Hopefully that writing will be smoother than the clunky, jerky, buggy "write on the screen" smartboards that are out there already. It's got built in video conferencing capabilities, including a screen that allows those telecommuting in to the meeting to "see the room" from the perspective of the board.
If you get one, you're going to want to show it off. The Surface Hub costs $19,999 for the 84-inch screen version and $6,999 for the smaller but still sizable 55-inch screen, or around $230 and $125 per screen inch, respectively. That's pricey for a product that is basically just a giant Windows 10 PC, but remember -- this thing is mammoth. Plus, it comes with smartboard features like multi-user touchscreen, pen recognition, and Skype.
Sure, you could buy an actual smartboard, the kind frequently used in children's classrooms, for a fraction of the price, but it wouldn't be nearly as shiny.
Why would anyone spend so much money for a Surface Hub when your fourth grader has been using similar technology for years? For the screen. Whether you're using the 55- or 84-inch model, the Surface Hub screen is huge and the image high quality. Lance Ulanoff, reviewing the Surface Hub in Mashable, writes that the screen is "why the word 'immersive' was invented." If you (or your clients) are easily impressed by this kind of experience and have money to burn, the Surface Hub is for you.
The rest of us should just flip through our PowerPoint presentations on that screen that drops down from the ceiling.