Microsoft today unveiled the Surface Studio, the company’s first desktop computer. We shot a quick-and-dirty hands-on video with the all-in-one PC and its flagship accessory, the Surface Dial — you can view it below — and then we went back to spend more time with it.
First and foremost, the hinge on the Surface Studio is awesome. It’s smooth and effortless to move. We were a little disappointed that you can’t lay the display completely flat — it doesn’t collapse further than 20 degrees. On the other hand, it does open past the 90-degree point, which is a nice touch.
The screen itself is gorgeous. The aspect ratio may be a little problematic when watching movies or other video, but otherwise, this is a beautiful piece of hardware.
Microsoft’s desktop computer has plenty of power. We didn’t feel any lag or delay during any of the tasks we put the Surface Studio through. These were demo units, of course, but the hardware specifications speak for themselves:
- 28-inch PixelSense Display, 4500×3000 resolution (3:2 aspect ratio), 192DPI
- Processor: Quad-core 6th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7
- Graphics: NVidia GeForce GTX 965M 2GB or GTX 980M 4GB
- Storage: 1TB or 2TB hybrid drive
- Memory: 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB RAM
- Wireless: 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Xbox Wireless
- Ports: 4 USB 3.0, SD card reader, Mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Camera: 5.0MP front-facing with 1080p HD video
- Audio: Dual microphones, Stereo 2.1 speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
- Accessories included: Surface Pen, Surface Keyboard, Surface Mouse
- Display dimensions: 25.09 x 17.27 x 0.44 in (637.35 x 438.90 x 11.4 mm)
- Base dimensions: 9.84 x 8.66 x 1.26 in (250.00 x 220.00 x 32.20 mm)
- Weight: 21.07 lbs max (9.56 kg)
But we didn’t walk away from the event longing for a Surface Studio. That’s not because it’s a flawed product; it just wasn’t designed for us.
Artists and designers: Or as Microsoft would put it, “creators.” This is the target demographic.
From the hinge to the screen size to the accessories, the Surface Studio feels like it’s meant for drawing, building, designing something. It doesn’t feel like a product made for consumption (but we’re sure it streams Netflix just fine).
The Surface Dial accessory takes a minute or two to get used to, but it’s quite slick. Again, we don’t see ourselves racing to buy one, but it could come in handy if you’re using certain creative apps. Even if you’re not, the Dial can be used to adjust things like volume and brightness, plus you can customize it for specific key combinations if you’d like.
Gamers: As mentioned in the video above, Microsoft is hoping gamers will be interested in the Surface Studio, as well. The reality is, they probably won’t be.
If you’re buying the Surface Studio for other reasons, namely to create, then you’ll be happy to know that the device can handle games just fine. And they’ll look beautiful on that 28-inch display.
But this isn’t a gaming computer. If you have $3,000 to spend, you can get a significantly better gaming desktop, or better yet, build one yourself. In short, gamers shouldn’t, and won’t, go out of their way to get a Surface Studio.
Again, unlike the original Surface, Surface Pro, and even Surface Book, the Surface Studio is a very niche product. The Surface Dial says as much.
If your primary use for a desktop computer is to create (think: visual art, architecture, design), then definitely check out the Surface Studio. For everyone else, there are myriad Windows 10 devices that make a lot more sense. And they’re all getting the Creators Update for free.