At the CES consumer technology show in Las Vegas today, Dell is pulling the covers off of its Canvas 27, a 27-inch anti-glare QHD display that hooks up to a Windows 10 PC. You can draw on it with a special stylus, navigate with touch gestures, and control things with a can-like contraption called a Totem.
If that description reminds you of the Surface Studio all-in-one computer that Microsoft recently introduced, well, that’s understandable. But whereas the Surface Studio is a fully functioning computer, the Canvas is ultimately an accessory, albeit one that will appeal to certain people, like artists and architects.
It’s also considerably cheaper. The Canvas will cost $1,799 when it becomes available on March 30, according to Dell. The Surface Studio goes for $3,000.
The product is three years in the making, so it’s not as if Dell rushed out its answer to the Surface Studio. If the circumstances had been different, perhaps the Canvas would have beaten the Studio to market. But the notable thing is that the world’s largest technology companies are now getting into a market that’s been dominated for years by smaller companies like Huion, Ugee, and Wacom.
The way Dell imagines it, people will use the Canvas at a slight angle on a flat horizontal surface, while in front of them will be a more traditional monitor — perhaps an all-in-one PC, or maybe just a standalone large display that’s connected to a powerful laptop right alongside the Canvas.
Unlike the Surface Studio, the Canvas can’t be tilted up to nearly any angle out of the box. After all, some people don’t want to look down all day while working. But Dell will come out with an optional articulating stand.
You’ll place the Totem on the Canvas, and it will stay there after your hand is removed. But unlike the Surface Studio’s Surface Dial companion, the Totem will not work if it’s resting on a desk or some other flat surface. Dell may well come out with Totems in different shapes and sizes in the future.
Interestingly, the Surface Dial will work on the Canvas. But then again, two Totems are included with the Canvas, while the Surface Dial and Surface Studio are sold separately.