Microsoft newly launched Surface Studio is a desktop-turned-drafting-table aimed at creative pros, coming with an optional wireless dial and a big touchscreen.
A Rival For Apple's iMacs
Tech giant Microsoft is not on the top of the list when it comes to computer hardware. But after years of allowing hardware partners like Lenovo, HP and Dell build its Windows laptops and desktops, Microsoft is finally aiming to make cool PCs.
Microsoft's first notable successes in the niche of PC hardware were the Surface Pro tablet and the Surface Book laptop. Now the company has launched the Surface Studio, its first desktop PC. For many tech analysts, the Surface Studio is the most attention-grabbing new PC design of the season.
According to The Verge, Microsoft's new Surface Studio is trying to shake things up in the niche of desktop PCs in a surprising new way. The device is a strong rival to Mac's oldest stronghold, the professional creatives. The Studio deserves serious consideration from those who ever wanted to own the Windows equivalent of an artist-friendly touchscreen iMac.
The all-in-one Surface Studio is a different type of desktop PC that is clearly designed for creatives and it can transform into a giant tablet for drawing. One of its strongest pro is an outstanding 28-inch screen with excellent color.
The device comes with the new Surface Dial that shows great promise and with a return of the excellent Surface Pen stylus. Another strong feature of the Surface Studio is its dedicated graphics hardware.
On the downside, the all-in-one desktop doesn't include the flashy Dial accessory by default and is extremely expensive. Right now, support for the Dial is still limited, even compatible programs don't always offer practical ways of using it. It would be good if the desktop would offer a Thunderbolt connection or a couple of front-mounted USB ports. Another downside of the Surface Studio is that it skips newer graphics chips with support for VR hardware.
Surface Studio's Best Features
Microsoft's Surface Studio comes with a 28-inch screen that can fold all the way down to a low drafting table at an angle of 20 degrees. Its touchscreen can display a very wide color range (Adobe sRGB or P3 color spaces) and offers better-than-4K 4,500x3,000-pixel resolution.
The all-in-one desktop Windows PC works with the same Surface Pen that came with last year's Surface Book and Surface Pro 4. However, the Surface Studio feels different due to a new optional wireless knob input device dubbed Surface Dial, according to CNET.
According to tech experts and professional users, the Surface Studio is a promising artistic tool. The Surface Dial provides an inventive tool useful especial for artists, graphic designers, and video editors. However, the device is certainly a pricey one. At this price, it could have come with some better hardware.
The Surface Studio, which costs in the U.S. anywhere from $2,999 to $4,199, doesn't even include in the box the $99 Surface Dial. However, anyone who preorders a Surface Studio from the Microsoft Store before December 1, will get the Dial included with their system.
When it comes to graphic cards, Microsoft is aligned with Nvidia. The company has included the Nvidia 965M all the way to the 980M as a GPU option in the Surface Studio. However, on the downsides, the Surface Studio lacks the ability to officially support virtual reality headsets. This seems like a real missed opportunity for a device targeted at visual artists, including professionals such as game programmers and 3D modelers.