Watch out, Apple, Microsoft now has an iMac-esque desktop PC powerhouse. It’s called the Surface Studio, and it lays almost flat so you can use it like a drafting table. That makes the Surface Studio more of a desktop surface than your typical desktop PC. Moreover, Microsoft has a whole new way to interact with the Surface Studio.
The Surface Studio is like the iMac for the PC. It’s actually really beautiful. The all-in-one form factor is touted as having the world’s thinnest LCD monitor, measuring just 12.5mm. But this is a Surface style PC, which means this huge 28-inch display is a touchscreen. The PixelSense Display, as Microsoft calls it, has 4500×3000 resolution, which if you’re wondering, is 63% more than just 4K-resolution (3840×2160). The 3:2 aspect ratio with 192 pixels-per-inch might not seem as pixel dense as your smartphone, but remember that you don’t bring a 28-inch display so close to your face.
Now what’s even more exciting is the new interactive device that Microsoft has brought to the table. Mouse and trackpads are old. Touch input and pen input are in. But Microsoft has gone ahead to do something even better. It doesn’t replace touch and pen input, but instead, complements them.
The new device is called the Surface Dial. It’s a dial, you can put it on the display, move it around, and turn it. The turning action gives the Surface Dial its name. Now, in case you think this sounds not terribly exciting, or even lame, but take a look at this TechCrunch hands-on video.
The Surface Dial is a surprisingly simple hardware accessory. At US$100, it’s not much more than an Apple Magic Mouse 2. The Surface Dial can sit beside your keyboard and used for fine contextual controls in whatever application you’re in. When put directly on the screen, it can be used to create a contextual rotary selector dial. Think ideas like colour wheel, on-screen virtual rulers, etc. It also has haptic feedback.
The new Surface Studio doesn’t come cheap though. Packing sixth generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors, memory from 8GB to 32GB, GeForce GTX 965M 2GB or GTX 980M 4GB graphics, the Surface Studio will be available in limited quantities from US$2999 to US$4199 this holiday.
The Surface Studio is positioned for creative professionals, and that puts it in about the same space as the iMac. Honestly, though, after seeing the Studio Studio, I think the iMac has quite a bit of catching up to do.
Don’t fret if you fancy the new Surface Dial, but can’t afford the Surface Studio, because the Surface Dial will also work with the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.