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Microsoft unveils pricey but powerful Surface Book update, Surface Studio at NY event

Microsoft’s event in New York on Wednesday was a lot more than just a Windows 10 showcase. The Surface lineup added two major products, a revised Surface Book  and, yes, the Surface Studio.

Surface Book with Performance Base

The revised Surface Book, which is offically called the “Surface Book with Performance Base,” came as a bit of a surprise, as it features a massive increase in battery life and some seriously updated internal components, which product head Panos Panay hopes will help you get the most out of your Surface Book.

Surface Book with Performance Base has a whopping 16 hours of battery life, a 6th-generation Core i7 Skylake processor, and a new GPU that reportedly doubles the graphical performance. You can pre-order it now with expected shipping on 11/10.

Here’s the specifications of the updated model:

Display 13.5-inch PixelSense (3,000 x 2,000) 267ppi
Processor 6th-gen Core i7
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M 2GB
Hard drive 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD

All other specifications are the same as before, as the basic chassis design and feature set hasn’t been changed.

Pricing starts at $2,399 for the model with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. Going up to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD will set you back $2,799, and moving on to 16GB of RAM with a 1TB SSD will cost you $3,299.

Surface Studio

The hotly anticipated Surface Studio marries the success of the Surface lineup with an elegant and intuitive desktop experience. The Studio is, frankly, a gorgeous product.

The massive, razor-thin display — which Microsoft describes as a “floating sheet of pixels” — steals the show.

The Surface Studio features a 28-inch touchscreen, with 13.5 million pixels and a 3:2 aspect ratio that Microsoft reps claim was designed with immersion in mind. Given the size of the screen, it’s easy to see how you could get lost in all those pixels.

Here’s all the important hardware specifications:

Display 28-inch PixelSense (4,500 x 3,000) 192 DPI
Processor 6th-gen Core i5 or i7
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M 2GB or 980M 4GB
RAM 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB
Hard drive 1TB or 2TB hybrid drive
Ports 4x USB 3.0 port, SDcard, 3.5mm headphone jack
Wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Xbox Wireless built-in
Cameras 5.0MP front-facing 1080p with Windows Hello support
Speakers Stereo 2.1 with Dolby Audio Premium
Microphones Dual microphones

The Surface Studio also features a unique “zero gravity hinge,” which has 80 internal components and allows users to reposition the display into a tablet-style workstation with ease. Microsoft claims the display moves nearly effortlessly.

It’s a unique design and an interesting concept, but what does it have under the hood? Well, the Surface Studio is no slouch in the specs department. With up to a Core i7 quad core processor and a Nvidia GTX 980M, it may not be bleeding edge, but it’s likely a very capable machine — and it should be given all the graphical work it’s designed to do.

Surface Dial

The Studio also features a brand new peripheral, the Surface Dial, which is a touch-sensitive wireless dial that allows users to adjust settings on the fly or scroll pages. Think of it as a giant, separate mousewheel. The demo videos screened at the event showed the dial placed directly on the Surface Studio in graphic design apps, where it took on context-sensitive roles, allowing a user to adjust settings alongside on-screen artwork.

It features the standard array of audio/visual capabilities, with a microphone array optimized for use with Cortana, and an HD webcam for high-end video conferencing.

While the Surface Studio made an impressive showing at the event, the price may leave some potential buyers with a little sticker shock. The Surface Studio starts at $2,999 for the basic model, with Core i5 processor, GTX 965M, 8GB RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. $3,500 nets you an upgrade from that to a Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM. If you’re feeling like money, you can upgrade to the GTX 980M, 32GB RAM, and a 2TB hard drive for $4,199.

That’s a lot, but if you’re game, pre-orders are available now with a ship date of 12/15/2016. Microsoft seems to think they’ll sell out quickly — as Pano Panay said as much on stage.


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