Microsoft announces the Surface Studio
Microsoft has been testing the hardware waters for quite some time now. From early failed Windows Phones, to the successful line of Surface tablets, and most recently with the Surface Book. Now it seems that they want to throw their hat in the ring for ultra hi-end all-in-one computing. With a starting price of tag of $2,999 USD, you know they aren’t playing around. Just a few millimeters thin and with a design profile that’s meant to impress, the Surface Studio is truly an impressive machine. Perhaps its most unique feature is that the whole screen tilts down using a four-point hinge to become a touchscreen PC. The screen tilts to a 20 degree angle, an angle that is often sighted as being ideal for drawing and drafting. Many artists desks and drafting tables sit at this angle.
Along with the large screen Microsoft is including a surface pen and a new peripheral called the Surface Dial. The Dial is basically a jog switch, and is demoed in the video below. Its context sensitive to what’s on the screen, and looks to be useful for scrolling and selecting. A haptic engine inside the Surface Dial makes it feel like a real mechanical piece, and it feels like that for sure. It runs on two AAA batteries.
You said how much? What do I get for that?
Its clear Microsoft is not targeting the average consumer with this new studio class PC. That big beautiful screen measures 28 inches on the diagonal and boasts 13.5 million pixels, or 192 PPI. The display is scaled true to life. so when you look at a document in Word that prints out to an 8.5 by 11-inch sheet of paper, it’ll show the actual size of the document on the screen. This is an awesome feature that many page designers will no doubt love. Since the display is a 3:2 aspect ratio, it may put off some users of current widescreen tech, as it is more square. The design philosophy here is clearly work over sll, and the vertical screen real estate is going to be extra nice for for things like drawing on an on-screen canvas, but also nice for working on tall documents or surfing the web.
The touchscreen LCD is 1.3mm thick, and the whole PC is just 12.5mm thick in total. Microsoft are claiming that this is the thinnest LCD ever made. The cheapest price option will come with a 1TB HDD, an Intel core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 2GB GPU. Configured for a more powerful GPU (4GB) and a 2TB drive and double the RAM the price jumps to $4,199.00. It’s clear here that Microsoft thinks this will be a work horse machine, not a hobbyist grade PC.
This PC is quite beautiful, I have already discussed its thinness, and the whole thing has a very early 2000s iMac feel to it. The reclining display sits on two scissor arms which are made of shiny steel, giving the whole package a very industrial look. There is just one cable running out the back of this all in one machine, as both the keyboard and mouse are wireless. The guts are all contained inside one small box at the foot of the giant screen and those fond of minimalist desks are going to love the look of the peripherals which are both small and wireless.
Overall this is an awesome entry for Microsoft into the world of high end work horse PC’s. It’s a direct shot at the current iMacs, and since it’s running Windows, it may even take a piece out of some of the more expensive drawing tablet PCs that currently exist.