Both Microsoft and Apple have released new computers back to back, but the real standout product of the two is the Redmond team’s offering. The Surface Studio is the newest in the company’s Microsoft Surface lineup, which is widely acclaimed for being well built, well performing and supremely ergonomic.
The product is aimed at “creators”, rather than the general public. This is aimed less at the typical computer owner, and more at a whole new market for Microsoft: the creative professional.
There are a variety of options when it comes to interaction with the Surface Studio: the classic Surface Pen, and a new accessory, called the Surface Dial, which can be palced directly on the screen to trigger menus and various other options, like volume control, adjusting screen brightness, bringing up a colour picker, or even scrolling through documents.
This new demographic comprises the designer, the animator, and the illustrator — really anybody who uses a Wacom drawing tablet. This focus on creativity also brings with it a focus on 3D. The launch comes alongside the announcement of the company’s Windows 10 Creators Update.
On the face of it, it’s not all that different from an iMac, or even an Intel NUC with a gorgeous monitor attached to it. It looks very iconic and powerful, with a very polished aesthetic. However, there’s a lot more going on than simply the eye-candy. Let’s dive in.
To begin with, the Surface Studio comes impressively specced, featuring:
- Display: a 28-inch 4500 x 3000 resolution “PixelSense” LCD at 192 PPI, with 10-point multitouch and a 3:2 aspect ratio, featuring Adobe sRGB and DCI-P color settings,
- Processor: a sixth-generation Intel Core i5/i7
- Memory: 8GB/16GB/32GB of RAM
- Storage: a 1TB or 2TB hybrid hard drive
- Graphics: a GeForce GTX 965M 2GB (in the Core i5 variant) or a GTX 980M 4GB (in the Core i7 variant)
- I/O: 4 USB 3.0 ports (one high power), a 3.5mm headphone jack, an SD card slot, Ethernet, and a Mini DisplayPort
- Wireless: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Cameras: a 5MP front camera with Windows Hello support, 1080p video rear camera
- Sound: Stereo 2.1 Dolby audio
The touch panel also boasts palm rejection technology, which helps avoid false inputs, and allowing comfortable interaction with the massive touch screen
However, all this goodness comes at a hefty price, with the base model starting at $2,999, and going all the way up to $4,199 for the top of the line variant.
The Studio takes the accomplishments of the Surface line, and polishes it to give us a more focused device than the preceding Surface line. Instead of a pen that would mostly get used for drawing circles around things, here it’s integral to the core purpose of the device. The Surface Studio is designed for people who need something besides a keyboard and a mouse for their digital creations. Everything about it is designed expressly for that purpose.
The actual product itself is a beautiful piece of industrial design, featuring an absolutely gorgeous touch panel for a screen, and a wonderfully tiny, yet powerful form factor. The screen can be pushed into whatever angle the user likes, from completely perpendicular to the ground, to 20 degrees off of it.
The reason for the 20 degree angle is explained by Ralf Groene, Microsoft’s head of industrial design:
There’s a whole bunch of things that start to happen when you start to put it flat: you put your coffee cup on it, you step on it, and all of these things.
With Microsoft creating their first in-house PC, and Google having created their first phone – 2016 is shaping up to be an extremely exciting year for technology.