Microsoft has officially announced its entry into the desktop PC market, unveiling the Surface Studio all-in-one with an eye firmly on 'creators and professionals.'
Unveiled at an event late last night but having been under field test for several weeks with high-profile creatives, the Surface Studio is a PC built around a 28in display with a 4,500 x 3,000 (4.5K) resolution for a 3:2 aspect ratio. The real trick of the device, though, comes in the PixelSense technology embedded within. First seen in Samsung's Surface SU40 from 2011
, PixelSense allows for a surprisingly thin panel which is nevertheless capable of tracking objects visually rather than via capacitive or resistive touch. For the Samsung SU40, it was used to interact with everyday objects like smartphones and coffee cups; on the Surface Studio, Microsoft is using the technology to drive high-accuracy 10-point multitouch, which couples with the bundled pressure-sensitive Surface Pen to create a device tailored to artists and other creatives.
The display itself is adjustable between traditional upright orientation, for use as a standard PC, and an angled 'flat' orientation which replicates a draughtsman's table. Inside the attached base is a quad-core sixth-generation Skylake Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of memory, 1TB or 2TB SSHD hybrid drive storage, and either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GPU or a more powerful GeForce GTX 980M 4GB GPU depending on model chosen. Microsoft's use of the last-generation GeForce 9xx series of GPUs reveals that the Surface Studio may have been in the works for some considerable time, and thus far the company has not announced any plans to offer an upgrade to Nvidia's latest GeForce 10xx hardware.
Penny Arcade co-creator Mike Krahulik has been using a Surface Studio for a week, and has posted a review of his experience
, praising the display as 'absolutely gorgeous
' and claiming that in comparison to his previous combined display and tablet from Wacom 'drawing on the Cintiq now felt like drawing on a piece of dirty plexiglass hovering over a CRT monitor from 1997.
At the same event, Microsoft also unveiled a new accessory: the Surface Dial. Designed for use with the Surface Studio but also compatible with selected older touch-screen Windows 10 devices, the Dial sits on the screen and provides a physical knob which can be turned to adjust settings in compatible software - increasing or decreasing opacity in an image editing application, for example, or acting as a shuttle dial in a video edition package. While not bundled as standard with the Surface Studio, Microsoft has confirmed pre-order customers will receive the Surface Dial free of charge. The company also announced a refreshed Surface Book, which features a new 'Performance Base' with upgraded GPU and the promise of 16 hours of battery life in laptop mode.
The Surface Dial is priced at $99, while Microsoft has US pre-orders open for the Surface Studio priced at $2,999 for the Core i5, 8GB, 1TB, GeForce GTX 965M model and hitting $4,199 for the Core i7, 32GB, GeForce GTX 980M version. Surface Studio models will start shipping in December, with the top-end version delayed to early 2017, with more information available on the official website
or via the below promotional video.