Microsoft Surface Studio – Thoughts

Microsoft unveiled a range of products on the same day that Apple unveiled its new MacBook Pro but the piece of tech that blew away almost everyone’s mind the moment they saw it was the Surface Studio. My first impression – DAMN, I want that bad!

The first thing that catches your attention is the screen. It is a 28 inch touch-screen display with a resolution of 4500×3000(3:2) that is just 12.5mm thick. It is so beautiful and immersive that no matter who you are, whether you are a creator, a photographer, a gamer or someone who watches movies, you would want to get lost in it. For me as designer, I would love to get my hands on it and start illustrating with the Microsoft’s Surface Pen and the Surface Dial. I’ll come back to the surface dial later.

Surface Studio, with its strikingly large and incredibly thin 28” PixelSense™ Display, lets you visualize ideas as you paint, edit, and design. Then watch those ideas leap off the screen with 13.5 million pixels of true-to-life color and clarity

The display of the Surface Studio is a new type of display called as PixelSense by Microsoft. It is a 10 point multi-touch display that has higher resolution than 4k with a 192ppi. I honestly don’t know what that truly means but looking at that screen, it surely looked stunning and with the aspect ratio of 3:2, it kinda made it seem bigger with more real estate to work on. Also according to Microsoft, you would be unable to see an individual pixel even if you get too close to it. If that’s actually true then creating illustrations and working on photographs would be insanely amazing as you can go into more detail without any problem. The amazing screen along with the Surface Pen and also pretty good palm rejection, it is a creator’s delight. I wish I could get my hands on one.

Talking about the build quality the product looks solid. The screen seemed to wobble a bit when rotated at different angles but it stayed fix once you let go at the desired angle. The Zero Gravity Hinge that holds and moves the display weightlessly seemed to do a great job. You can even lean on it and get fully immersed in the screen without affecting anything. I really like the chrome hinges that support the display and how they hide behind it not to be distracting.

But what powers this whole display? It’s that small box that’s connected to the base of the hinge. It is pretty small and minimal, but also powerful, that powers this beautiful display and all its glory. Now, that box is a small PC and a great one but this is where things start to get bumpy.

Sure you’re getting a wonderfully great surface but the PC that powers it has many different stories to tell. One being the GPU. It houses Nvidia’s last gen GPU of the Maxwell architecture instead of the new Pascal cards. Sigh

Not only that but the configuration also varies according to the price. The configuration that was shown during the presentation was the spec’d out 2TB/i7 model with 32GB of RAM and a 4GB GTX 980m which costs $4,199 and not $2,999 as announced in the presentation. Maybe I might have missed something in the presentation that led me to believe that we would get all this for just $2,999 and the 980m was the only drawback, but I was surely wrong. Having my heart-broken after realizing that the base model has only 1TB/i5 with 8GB of ram and a 2GB GTX 965m, I started to lose my interest in this product. Sure you’re getting a wonderfully great surface but I wouldn’t pay so much for this device when I can configure something close to it, with more specs and for probably half the price.

It’s not only the specs and the price that made me sad but also the fact that the Surface Dial is sold separately for $99.99. (I did actually have the feeling that it would be sold separately and not included with the Studio)

So what is the dial? The dial is a sort of a connecting device that connects to Microsoft’s Surface devices wirelessly. It helps in content creation and also in daily use via shortcuts configured in the dial. For example, the dial can be rotated to select colors while drawing on the Surface. Tapping it also gives you more options to choose from and can be probably customized according to the application. It’s a great device for the Surface Studio as it can be attached on the screen and all the shortcuts will be displayed there. Along with the Surface Pen it makes a great combo, as you can seamlessly work on the touch screen itself without having to use the keyboard (for shortcuts) and the mouse. But.. the dial is sold separately.

Now, I have to give credits to Microsoft because unlike Apple, this device and also other Surface devices are aimed at professionals. It’s not built and sold for the average consumers and they may be better off with a laptop or a tablet if touch screen is needed. But what about people like me who are aspiring professionals, who are just starting out? I guess we would just have to make do with what we can until we can afford one of these.

You can find all the specifications and pricing at Microsoft’s website.

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