While the Studio doesn’t include the modular functionality that was hinted at in a patent filing, it does include a 5MP front-facing camera and a dual-mic array. Orally triggering Windows 10’s Cortana assistant (“Hey, Cortana!”) worked surprisingly well in the crowded demo room. I didn’t try the camera.
I’m not sure I like Microsoft’s decision to package its expansion ports inside the base. Microsoft essentially took its Surface Hub and tied it to a standard motherboard, encased it in plastic, and called it a day. The Studio puts four USB 3.0 ports inside the base, but points them toward the back, probably making it a pain to plug in anything. There’s an SD card reader and a headphone jack—again, facing the rear. Unlike the Surface tablets, there’s no USB port on the side of the monitor, which I rather miss. Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi complete the package.
The Studio is a lovely piece of hardware, and I can’t wait to spend more time with it. But remember, it isn’t necessarily for you or me. Microsoft is clearly aiming this at the creative community who normally would buy a Macintosh. I’ll be interested to see how many actually make the jump.
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