All-In-One (AiO)

Microsoft Surface Studio – Turn your desk into a Studio

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Turn your desk into a Studio

Microsoft has never had a big splash into hardware before. There has only been so many attempts. During the 1980’s and 1990’s the only hardware they had were the mouse and the keyboard. Since then, there was the Microsoft Windows phone. They have been trying hard on that project with little success. The Surface hybrid was the a good idea. Too bad there were better tablets hybrids around. It did not get a good grip of the market and has been relegated to the sidelines. And this time, they introduced Microsoft Surface Studio.

They have brought out a big machine and they have created a big push towards that machine. It is very impressive and carries a lot of weight behind it. It seems that in the Windows Surface saga, this is the second act. The Surface Studio is a game changer. It can break the market and people will buy it. The real question is how many will justify buying it at $3,000 for the base model, excluding peripherals.

Summary

Microsoft Surface Studio is a great looking machine with a lot of promise. With the Surface Dial, it has all the flexibility that a graphics person would need. I say a “graphics person” because the main selling point seems to be targeted at graphics artists, designers and photographers. If Microsoft can get CAD and camera manufacturers behind it, then it can be a very big deal.

Microsoft Surface Studio

This is a pricey desktop which starts at $3,000. The price makes it a gamble for Microsoft. The innovations are secondary to the price at this level. The pricing is much like the way Microsoft prices their hardware, as a premium item, and in this case, the Surface Studio is a premium desktop.

The pricing is meant for studios, hence the name. It is easy to see using Blender or any other 3D, or video or audio editing on this machine. At this price point, it just meets the price point for these technical and creative people.

Our Score:
Pros
• This is a graphics workstation.
• This is a desktop
• This is the center of the Windows ecosystem.
Cons
• Expensive.
• The Dial is the most important part, and it only works on the Surface Studio.
• You would need a Windows Phone for 3D scanning.

Microsoft Surface Studio

Microsoft Surface Studio is a 28-inch monitor, thin, all-in-one piece of PC. It has a touchscreen and has 4,500×3,000 pixel resolution. The 3:2 aspect ratio is the same as the Surface Pro and Surface Book aspect ratio. It has an all glass front, very thin, and it can be used like a drawing table.

Microsoft Surface Studio

It has a look and feel of a shiny drawing table. With the Surface Dial, you would need an extra arm for the Dial. The Surface Dial is a peripheral device which takes the work of a color palette and toolbox, and places it at your fingertips. You can change colors and hues by just turning the dial. You can change pen and brush thickness by turning the dial. This is so intuitive that you can be using a stylus and painting it all over the desktop while changing colors or thickness with the Dial.

Inside the Surface Studio is a 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor with 32GB of RAM, a 2TB Rapid Hybrid Drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M graphics processor. It has Bluetooth, a LAN port, 4x USB 3.0, 1 Mini-DisplayPort, headphone jack, and an SD card reader. It does not have a USB-C port, and also no HDMI. It cannot be used as a secondary display. The Intel Core i7 was built for mobiles and has only 4 cores.

Microsoft Surface Studio

WiFi is in combo with Bluetooth 4.0 and it has Xbox Wireless built in. You can connect a Xbox One controller to play a game or you can connect to your Xbox console. However, the Surface Studio itself was not designed to play video games, so some games will lag.

In terms of performance, expect that this is a rookie trying to measure up with veterans. That being said, the initial release of the Surface Studio has 2015 hardware and a lot of compromises. For one, the speakers do not deliver great audio. Besides the Core i7 for mobile, the use of a hybrid drive makes for a slower machine than expected. The entry level price of $3,000 will get you a Core i5 (mobile) with 8GB of RAM. The Dial will cost another $100.

Microsoft Surface Studio

It will look great on your desktop. It will deliver a great surprise, but you cannot push it for in-the-trenches work right now. Your graphics artists will love the look and feel, but will also feel the lag in performance.

 

Verdict

This is a workstation and a graphics design studio. This is not for the home and the pricing shows that. The Surface Studio is a big dig at Apple and the graphics industry which has been Apple-centric since the original Apple Macintosh. This is the first time that graphics people have been given a compelling reason to go PC. The first time was when Adobe said that they won’t be supporting Apple anymore.

Microsoft Surface Studio

This is part of an ecosystem. Again, this is taking away from the Apple playbook. Apple has been preaching ecosystem since the iOS came out. You would not only be using Windows, but you would be compelled to go with Microsoft 3D tools on the smartphone. Unfortunately, the smartphone 3D scanner works only on a Windows phone. So far, you can only use the Surface Dial on any Windows 10 device with Bluetooth. However, it works best on the Surface Studio. It comes bundled with Surface Studio pre-orders, but according to Microsoft, it will be sold separately later on.

This is going to be big investment. First off, the Microsoft Surface Studio starts at $3,000. This excludes the Surface Dial. The main selling point of the ecosystem is the Dial. You add that to the list. Then you need a Microsoft smartphone for the 3D scanning capability. At some point you would need to buy into the whole ecosystem. If you have an existing Apple-centric ecosystem, you might need to invest in two ecosystems running side by side. Alternatively, you would need to choose one and dump the other.

Official: Microsoft

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