Computing is an odd thing, at least if you think about it from the perspective of how we typically interact with a computer. We sit down, grab this round thing that moves a pointer on the screen and then poke letters on a keyboard to get the desired output; it works well and hasn’t changed much since the inception of the desktop computer.
Microsoft sent me a Surface Studio to play with, the full review will go up in a little bit on Petri as I am reviewing it through the lens of a corporate device, and while the device is not perfect, it is certainly unique. It has also given my daughter a new way to interact with a PC and even though we have a Surface Book in the house and a Pro 4, nothing is quite like the Studio.
This weekend, I decided I would put this $4200 machine on the floor and see what my daughter could do with it. Without much instruction, she was able to dive right into Fresh paint and began to draw, paint, doodle, write her name and most of all, have fun.
To her, this is how a computer works. No mouse or keyboard needed, simply a pen, canvas, and an unlimited imagination. House, birds and a dreaded sea monster were crafted on her digital canvas, and the pen was a natural input method that required no training to use.
While she created new monsters, I sat there nervously hoping she wouldn’t topple over onto the screen and destroy the glass which is frankly the best display I have laid my eyes upon. Thankfully she never fell on the screen, can you imagine how awkward it would be to call Microsoft and tell them my daughter destroyed their PC, but what she did do was get lost in a world of her own imagination.
I always hear companies say they are trying to get “hardware out of the way” and the Studio, in this scenario, does exactly that. My daughter could create the most dangerous sea monster in the world from our living room, all on her own. She figured out how to change the brush style, colors, and navigate around the canvas with little help; she doesn’t know what Windows is, nor does she care, but she does know how to color which is all that’s important to her.
As a writer, blogger, journalist, critic, analyst, reviewer or whatever title I have for my job, we often focus on what is not being executed well with a new product. Rarely do we get to see the viewpoint of a fresh mind that doesn’t understand how to use a keyboard and mouse and when those users can effectively use a new piece of hardware without instructions, that’s when hardware and software are at their best.
I know the Studio is expensive and putting one on the ground for a toddler to play with is never going to fly in a school environment, but it should. This is Windows and Surface at its best as the hardware is adapting to the user instead of the other way around.