A crazy new input device dubbed the Surface Dial—which looks like a gray hockey puck—was introduced to supplement the Surface Studio, with support for the accessory built directly into the Windows 10 Creators Update. The $100 Dial provides easy access to various creation-friendly options while your other hand’s on the keyboard or the Surface Pen, letting you flip through pages, swap brush styles, or recreate sketches with a twist of your hand.
The Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book will also be compatible with the Surface Dial.
Inside the Surface Studio AIO
Powering that many pixels takes significant hardware oomph, and the Surface Studio doesn’t disappoint. Microsoft’s all-in-one packs a quad-core Core i7 processor, a 2TB “Rapid Hybrid Drive,” an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M, and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM—a crucial addition for image and video editing—in its most tricked-out configuration.
The inclusion of a GTX 980M over the newer, more powerful GTX 1080 is a bit of a bummer. But the graphics processor should still be more than sufficient to handle creation tasks with ease, and even gaming—a use case the Surface Studio bolsters with native support for the Xbox One’s wireless protocol, enabling you to pair a wireless controller to the AIO and put those Xbox Play Anywhere games to work.
The Surface Studio ties into Windows 10’s core capabilities, too—not just the new 3D content creation and gaming features in the forthcoming Windows 10 Creators Update. The all-in-one packs a camera with support for Windows Hello biometric authentication support, and an integrated linear mic array so you can bark out commands at Windows 10’s Cortana digital assistant. You’ll also find audio input, an SD card slot, ethernet, mini-DisplayPort, and four USB 3.0 connections on the rear of the Surface Studio’s base.
Much like the original Surface tablets, the Surface Studio pushes the boundaries of what’s possible while taking aim at a competing Apple product—the 5K iMac, in this case. But this time, PC vendors are already experimenting with drawing-focused creation devices. Witness the HP Sprout and aforementioned Lenovo Yoga Book. The Microsoft Surface Studio looks damned sexy and like an impeccably imagined Windows 10 Creators Update avatar, but you have to wonder how Microsoft’s hardware partners will react to this encroachment into traditional computing.
The price of the Surface Studio may alleviate those concerns a bit. Microsoft’s slick all-in-one will be available for preorder today starting at a cool $2,999 before launching in “limited quantities this holiday season.” A fully loaded version costs $4,199.
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