Today I’m going to be reviewing Microsoft Surface studio. It’s one of the most Exciting PCs I’ve seen in a long time and surprisingly it’s made by Microsoft. Well, maybe not so surprisingly because over the past couple years Microsoft has been doing a lot of interesting things with their Surface line. I’ve been a big fan of what’s become of the Surface pro tablets. What that has evolved to and also last year Surface book and maybe the surprising thing is that the newer service product is a large touchscreen all-in-one. And when you think about all-in-one PC you might think that this is a competitor to Apples iMac. For example or other all ones in the PC space. And this is not that the closest thing this is a competitor to is maybe welcome Cintiq a large screen digitizer made for artists to draw directly on and use in their work but the big difference between the Surface studio and a Cintiq, of course, is that there is a computer built in.
So today I’m going to write about this product in its three individual components the big large inch touch screen and digitizer the computer that runs windows and all that software and a hinge that connects them together. The first I want to talk about is the Surface Studios screen this massive display yes its stupid thin and its stupid big and it’s crazy gorgeous. But the thing that impresses me most the thing, I like most is how it takes advantage of this 28 inches diagonal it’s actually like the Surface book a 3 by 2 aspect ratio display and what that means is that it’s little more square than a 16x nine or a 16 x 10 aspect ratio screen you find on a traditional large screen monitor.
Microsoft Surface Studio Specification
|Display||28” PixelSense™ DisplayResolution: 4500 x 3000 (192 PPI)
Touch: 10 point multi-touch
|Memory||8GB, 16GB, or 32GB RAM|
|Processor||6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 or i7|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro|
|Storage||RHD (Rapid Hybrid Drive): 1TB or 2TB.|
|Graphics||i5 Intel 8GB: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5 memory
i7 Intel 16GB: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5 memory
i7 Intel 32GB: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980M 4GB GDDR5 memory
|Connections & expansions||4 x USB 3.0
, SD ™ card reader , Mini DisplayPort
,3.5 mm headset jack
|Cameras, video and audio||Windows Hello1 face sign-in camera5.0 MP camera with 1080p HD video (front)Dual microphonesStereo 2.1 speakers with Dolby® Audio™ Premium3.5 mm headphone jack|
|Price||1TB/Intel® Core™ i5-8GB-dGPU- $2,999
1TB /Intel® Core™ i7-16GB-dGPU- $3,499
2TB /Intel® Core™ i7-32GB-dGPU- $4,199
Data Source: Microsoft
And being a little more square you get more square inches more service area it’s 23 1/2 inches wide and 50 1/2 inches tall and combine you get over 360 4 square inches of usable touchscreen that’s significantly higher than amount of Surface area to get on like a 27-inch 5K display inside that space are 4500 pixels by 3000 pixels of resolution 192 DPI. Why is important it’s not the highest pixel density we’ve seen on a screen 192 important for windows because windows was written for 96 DPI for the longest time dialog boxes menus and many legacy applications at 192dpi or PPI you can pixel double meaning you can run Windows10 at 200% scaling and not get any of the visual artifacts or texturing that you might see with windows at non-integer ceiling 125% one is 50% and at this size screen size and add that DPI when you hold up a piece of paper one inch.
Image Source: Microsoft
In the real world compares the one-inch on-screen at 192ppi running windows at 200% scaling you’re effectively using the screen at 2250×1500 resolution times 2 which is high enough not to have windows fuel cramp.
Text and images do look super sharp even up close and up close are important because this is a computer and a screen I found myself getting really up close to that’s how I ended up. Using this it’s not far away at several feet away it’s really on my face because it has its touch and pen capabilities just like on the Surface book and the Surface Pro’s I love using touch screen in Windows to complement my use of the keyboard and mouse for scrolling web pages for tapping dialog boxes and even heading.
Send after writing an email touch adds just that little bit of convenience to the little things that enhances the overall experience but of course this isn’t just a touch screen it’s digitizer made to work with Microsoft Surface and the same plan that was released last year on the Surface book and based on the entry digitizer technology that Microsoft require a few years ago what does that mean it means it’s pretty great as a digitizer just
She thought the subtleties of the pressure sensitivity on the Surface pen weren’t as good as on her Cintiq light touches and register as well as she also wish that she could program the button on the Surface pen as a right play in fact both Marty and Claire wish they were buttons on the screen or on the pen they can program to use in their applications both of the artists we had come in testing service studio mentioned how much they love having a screen canvas this big and the colors looking at that great but both also had small quirks that they would consider to be deal breakers connected to the screen is a hinge and a pretty unique hinge it’s no small feat of engineering that this is what allows the pounds screen to live on top the computer and then also rotate down to about degrees and I found that anywhere in between the degrees vertical and degrees all the way down it would actually still have a lot of stability you’ll be able to tap the screen draw on the screen even rest your arms on the screen and not have it wobble like you would a laptop bent at that angle and even though the hinges the two points of the hinge work together so you can’t raise it up and then bend it over the artists that we talked to had no issues with that being a limitation they’re still able to work at any of these angles and finally let’s talk about the PC portion the computer part of the Surface studio the brains of the operation my biggest reservation about the Surface studio was that you had to buy with a non-upgradeable PC attached and thankfully the computer here doesn’t feel underpowered for a display of this size and resolution
Microsoft Surface Studio processor and GPU
The system equipped with intel skylark processor it’s an intel core i7 6820HQ which is a 45watt quad core part our system also has 32GBs of ram and Nvidia’s GT 980am the base unit has a Nvidia GTX 960 5m.
Now the biggest questions we had about the Surface to do was widened Microsoft put in Intel’s new Intel Kaby Lake processors and also it and videos new pests cow chips and my guess is that the design of this PC part this chassis is constrained the parts of Microsoft important in it could just swap out Maxwell chips for Pascale chips and sky like parts for Kirby Lake parks without changing the thermal design of the system remember the Pascal chips even the end gtx1070 uses more power than the laptop base 980em
Now performance-wise the Surface to do is still very capable machine I was able to edit photos in lightroom and Photoshop and videos in Premiere Pro effortlessly on this machine though for video edits. I was still want to attach a second display for media management the smoothness of video editing a time it took to render and export clips was pretty in line with my expectations for a quad core system on par with that of a high-end desktop but not have a dedicated video editing workstation gaming was also respectable on the Surface studio the GTX 980am handles games rendered at 2250×1550 percent resolution. Really well like Call of Duty infinite warfare or Battlefield one and on this screen even pixel doubled those games look fantastic. But don’t expect it will play games at the native 4.5K resolution and while technologies like oculus is new asynchronous space-warp features that you technically run virtual reality on the Surface to do that isn’t the point of this system and try to run VR this only highlights the fact that you’re spending north of $3000 on a PC.
That delivers far from best-in-class PC performance also like the Surface laptops the ports here are a little limited there’s no Thunderbolt three or USB see you do have display port for an external monitor for USB3 ports. Ethernet an SD card reader and headphone jack but their place in the back of the system.
And I thought that was inconvenient placement that’s a result of Microsoft choosing the beauty and niceness of the system / practical functionalities kind of an Apple move there there’s also the Surface dial a new accessory that works with all windows PC’s developers can tap into the windows wheel API and let the dial command shortcuts like scrolling through your edit history or undoing and redoing by default. It works as a brightness or volume not free windows but it also use for scrolling through web pages and has nice haptic feedback dial is also a button. That button isn’t programmable by the user and I wish they had more buttons either to the top or the sides of this accessory now when paired with a Surface studio supported apps will recognize the placement of dial on the screen and pop up on screen menu for shortcuts like changing color palettes.
But outside of fuel applications that partnered with Microsoft to directly support the dial on the Surface studio. It’s not something that’s going to change how artists use our existing tools. Today these on-screen shortcuts or dial also designed for right-handed users holding the dial in their left hands so left-handed users to hold the doll in the right hands aren’t able to see them Surface studio is easy.
The most beautiful computer I’ve used and it’s definitely the closest anyone’s come to building a giant interactive digital canvas for consumers. But it’s definitely not for everyone and I can’t even say it’s for all artists but for those artists that can take advantage of this technology and make money from their art and art as their livelihood. It’s a game-changing innovation I think this is an aspirational tool it’s a piece technology that’s a benchmark for what computers can be and frankly it makes me wish I was an artist and that Microsoft would sell the screen and the hinge separate from the PC so that I could take advantage of something this cool.