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Microsoft Surface Hub 2S is ready to roll into your office

Microsoft's whizzy touchscreen collaboration computer is finally ready to ship -- and earned itself an "S" in the interim.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Almost a year ago, Microsoft debuted its whizzy Surface Hub 2, essentially a 50-inch Surface tablet designed specifically for collaborative office environments, but offered few details and only a "2019" availability date. Wednesday, the company announced that it will be available in June for $8,999, and we got a chance to see and interact with it.

The Hub has clever 4K rotating cameras that can plug into any of the four sides, stereo speakers with a built-in subwoofer, and an eight-array far-field microphone. The 4K display has the same 3:2 aspect ratio as the Surface mobile devices and comes with a comfortably fat stylus that attaches to the side magnetically.

An extra-cost Steelcase-designed Microsoft Roam rolling easel can be configured with an extra-cost battery pack that hides in a shelf. Without it, you can wall mount the Hub. Also extra cost: a future upgrade (which one employee referred to as the "2X") to enable some of the cooler capabilities, such as rotation and tiling to create an 80-inch wall o' fun.

Microsoft Surface Hub 2S

This back section contains a swappable computer module and the subwoofer. It contains a USB-A, HDMI, USB-C, mini DisplayPort and Ethernet connection, plus Wi-Fi (and I presume Bluetooth) built-in.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The monitor is pretty nice insofar as conference-room-quality displays go. It's 4K resolution, but has a decent antiglare coating and uses 200 zones of local dimming, among other design tricks, to provide better contrast than its predecessor. The touchscreen is suitably responsive and because of the coating the pen actually has a nicer feel than you typically get on glossy displays. 

I really like the webcam design. In addition to being able to quickly snap it in to any side of the display, it has a self-defensive snap-off mechanism in case you walk into it. 

The Surface Hub 2S demos really well, but they never show you how difficult it is to set up all that one-touch fun. If it works as easily as advertised, it really seems like a interesting, albeit pricey tool for ad-hoc meetings (as long as Windows 10 doesn't try to force an update when you first boot, that is).