Everything you need to know before pre-ordering the Surface Studio

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The Surface Studio is here, thanks to a major near-holiday announcement by Microsoft. If you’re interested in this brand new Surface product, you’re definitely not alone, so let’s jump in and find out all there is to know!

Yes! While the Surface brand has been associated with tablets and ultrabooks in past years, the Studio is Microsoft’s big jump to a desktop Surface model.

The display is big, and pixel-dense

The Surface Studio features a 28-inch PixelSense touchscreen that support 10-point multitouch. The pixels are easily at ultra HD levels with 4,500 × 3,000 resolution, which works out to 192 pixels per inch. That’s a bit less than Apple’s Retina iMac, which packs in 220 pixels per inch. But it’s more than most 4K monitors, which usually offer around 160 pixels per inch.

If the resolution seems strange, that’s because it is. Microsoft has opted for a 3:2 aspect ration, rather than the more common 16:9. This means the display is taller relative to its width than what you’d normally see. Put another way, it’s closer to a square than a rectangle. This more closely mimics the size of a canvas.

Microsoft has been touting the display’s color. Color settings include sRGB, DCI-P3, and Vivid Color Profiles. Users can switch using a setting in the Windows 10 Notification Center. This will make it a lot easier for creative professionals to see how images look in different color gamuts.

That display panel also includes a Windows Hello compatible sign-in camera, a 5-megapixel streaming camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, and a headphone jack.

What’s with the tilting screen?

As the name and features sort of imply, the Studio is aimed in the direction of designers, artists, architects, and similar professions. One of these features is a “zero-gravity hinge” that can be used to push the touchscreen down against the table into a style very similar to a draft board.

The hinge is called “zero-gravity” because it’s built to require minimal effort to move. Though the display weighs about 18 pounds, it can be lifted with a single fingertip. Yet, thanks to how its tuned, the display stays in place when not touch. In fact, it stays in place better than many traditional monitors.

While the display may recline, it does have limits. It can sit up nearly straight, up at an aggressive angle, but it can’t be laid entirely flat. It also doesn’t support any adjustment for height.

Surface Studio

And it uses a… Dial?

Yep, the Surface Dial. This round puck is designed to be placed on the screen and pressed or twisted, providing a physical interface for on-screen menus. It’s a novel concept, so it’s difficult to say how it will fare out in the real world, but the Dial appears to be a tool-oriented device designed to spread out a radial menu of the current tools for your app. We’ve seen it spread radials of color, too. Microsoft has confirmed that it will work with the Adobe Creative Cloud, Bluebeam, and other applications.

We’ll talk more about this in our review, but your mileage on this accessory may vary based on the apps you prefer to use, and how developers capitalize on the Dial in the future.


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