Desktop computers have come in two flavours for the last few years: boxes you plug into your monitor or TV, and all-in-one devices like Apple's popular iMac series. Microsoft's newly announced Surface Studio is the latter kind of desktop, but with a giant touchscreen and pen input too. It's also the first desktop computer Microsoft has ever made.
The Windows giant has notoriously avoided the desktop hardware market, letting companies like HP and Dell duke it out in its stead. So the Surface Studio, which is clearly targeted towards artists, creatives, and power users, is a major departure. The last shock Microsoft delivered that was as monumental was the introduction of the original Surface back in 2012.
But we've heard rumours of the Surface Studio for months now, and many of those rumours have proven true. It's screen is also a touch screen that accepts pen input, much like the professional Cintiq from Wacom. It's a big desktop computer of the slab variety, and because it's a slab it can easily be adjusted for better viewing angles or drawing angles.
Today at Spring Studio in New York City Microsoft gave us further details.
It's reportedly got the thinnest desktop monitor ever. 12.5mm thin. It's also a 28-inch display with 192PPI and DCI P3 colour gamut, one of the largest colour gamuts currently available. DCI P3 is what filmmakers calibrate their monitors to when creating films and TV and what the current 5K iMac is capable of.
The Studio is built around that gorgeous display, but rocks some decent specs, including an i7 processor and a Nvidia 980M GPU. The 980 is one generation behind, but still a powerful video card that should be more than capable of handling most current games and video editing demands.
It's also got a 2TB drive, 32GB of RAM, 2.1 Dolby audio and it includes wireless protocol so you can attach up to 4 Xbox Controllers without additional hardware.
For the non-gamers there's other cool stuff, like the HD camera and built-in mics, and a nice hinge that makes adjusting the display easy. Also a pen that works with the Studio just as it would with the regular Surface. That means great palm rejection, and excellent responsiveness.
The Studio also has a very cool dial (the Surface Dial) with haptic feedback, which is incredibly useful for video and audio editors. It allows a user to quickly scroll through huge products or timelines, but dials are traditionally only useful for a small group of people — nameless editors.
To make it useful for artists it can actually be put onto the Studio itself and automatically provide a dial of colours so artists can quickly select a shade without lifting their pen from the display or zoom in and out to see the entire project or focus on one tiny detail.
As an all-in-one goes the Surface Studio is undoubtedly the most attractive currently available, it could have one of the finest displays, and the dial is a fantastic add on for creatives, but its definitely not the most powerful (MSI makes one with the latest Nvidia video card) all-in-ones available. This is a device that's design first, and power second.
Pre-orders start today and it will retail for $US2999.