Microsoft Announces Surface Studio All-in-One PC

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 60 Comments

Microsoft Announces Surface Studio All-in-One PC

As expected, Microsoft rolled out its new All-in-One PC at a Windows 10 event today in New York. But at $3000 and up, Surface Studio will appeal to a very limited audience.

This is surely by design, and Microsoft was quick to note the aspirational qualities of a device that I’m sure it would like to see other PC makers ape in their own less costly machines next year.

And it is a stunner, in an aluminum enclosure—a hint, perhaps, at a materials change from magnesium coming to its portable products as well—and with a gorgeous 4.5K display panel. That panel is 28 inches on the diagonal—so, huge—and offers a 3:2 aspect ratio like Microsoft’s other Surface devices.

It does not, however, detach from the base, since all the computer innards are in that base. That is probably for the best, but Surface Studio does let you recline the screen so that it looks and works much like a drafter’s table.


Surface Studio is also backed by a new Surface peripheral called Surface Dial. Available for $99 and compatible with all modern Surface devices—Surface Studio buyers can get one for free for a limited time—the Surface Dial is “a more intuitive way to scroll, zoom, and navigate,” Microsoft claims. The puck-like device “also enables a set of unique experiences exclusive to Surface Studio, such as app-specific digital tools that allow you to quickly access shortcuts and move seamlessly through your workflow.” You can attach to the screen and trigger in-app menus and options, or use it from the desk.


As a very premium device, Surface Studio will cost you. Here are the available models, which are now up for pre-sale and will ship in December:

Entry-level. Intel Core i5, 8 GB of RAM, 2 GB GPU, 1 TB SSD, $3000.

Mid-level. Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, 2 GB GPU, 1 TB SSD, $3500.

High-end. Intel Core i7, 32 GB of RAM, 4 GB GPU, 2 TB SSD, $4200.

Yikes. I know.

More soon.


Tagged with

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (60)

60 responses to “Microsoft Announces Surface Studio All-in-One PC”

  1. 5027

    "But at $3000 and up, Surface Studio will appeal to a very limited audience."  Well it is intended for a very limited audience so that is okay, and it is actually very cheap at $3000 dollars if you know this market.

    It's funny that the Surface Studio and Surface Dial is almost exacly what I call beforhand it would be by the way :)  

    If you realize that a Wacom tablet, like the Wacom Cintiq 27 QHD Touch cost around $2500, and that is just the tablet, you need to have a powerful computer to make any use of it, what Microsoft is pricing the Surface Studio at is just right.

    You get a large drawing table, and a computer in one, and you can keep a clean desk.

    The crowd Microsoft is targeting with this device is the ones that would also look at drawing tablets/tables like this:

     It's not intended for consumers, or gamers. It is intended for design professionals a market Apple has almost abandoned


    • 413

      In reply to JudaZuk:


      I agree, but why couldn't you game on that graphics card?  I know it's not perfect, or the best but it should be darn good enough.

      Second what about the XBox streaming... That's not a bad option either.

      • 5027

        In reply to ABianucci:

        Well of course you can game on the card, and since it supports Xbox Wireless out of the box you can game on it with a Xbox Controller  almost instantly ... but it is still not the target market for the device :)

  2. 5713

    That price looks just right to me (not that I can afford it). It streamlines a powerful desktop machine + Wacom Cintiq setup. I'd buy this in a hearbeat if I had the money!

    • 6242

      In reply to Adam_Desrosiers:

      Our Graphic designers can ditch their Watcom Screens and iMacs and now have one complete system in the Studio with more and better functionality for designing. It is a no brainer for any professional graphic artist. I also suspect that anyone who has wanted the best all in one (iMac) will easily spring for the Studio. Its an image thing for people and Apple is just not cool anymore. The money goes to what hot not whats not hot.

    • 5485

      In reply to Adam_Desrosiers:

      The Windows crowd has gone mad. Totally mad.

      The thing looks great with a price tag, but does it actually deliver? I'm asking this becouse for the price all MS as of lately underdelivered.

      The same reason that its being applied here, as of this solution replacing multiple devices, did not happen. Meanwhile some hard earned thousands were spent, your mileage may vary of course. But even if I have money, I certainly don't have money to waste. For instance, I remember thinking about the Surface line since inceptions ... this is great ... the price seams ok since it can replace my tablet and laptop (both alone bought separatly would cost more so would be saving money) and I would win the ability of use digital writing for free. The reality turned out to be that I did not get that much of a good laptop for the price (mine is a Core i7. long story), a tablet that is not good, and digital inking .... well good enough to write my signature ... not much else. So ... all in all a waste of money. I would have rather payed more but get stuff that actually is very good in each situation for 2 or 3 hundred dollars more (my Surface Kit costs around 2000 euros).

      So the question is ... is the Surface Studio ... this stuff all over again but now applied to the desktop?

      I'm sure MS will get it right some time ... but not with my money.

      The reasoning of MS seams to be, "our AIO is better  than an iMac" and based on features alone it looks like it is indeed. TIt just happens that this seams to be reasoning for the pricing of Surface Pro's and Co, they looked better than Macbook Pro's but ... But has of date they have not proven to be IMHO. Its not just thinking  "we are the best", you actually need to be.

      For instance. when the iPhone appeared there were more expensice smartphones  from other companies such as Nokia. Even when the iPhone 3G appeared, clearly already a superior product and proven, still there were more expensive smartphones from Nokia. Even though it could be wasily argued that it was superior they not gone and topped the price of the highest ends of smarphones in that time. Strategies I guess. But maybe they should try this one ... a more humble pricing for the so called innovation. Innovation has a cost, but if it does not work its just entertainment.

      Good luck.

       PS: Poor Paul, going after all the cool MS hardware will make a dent in his wallet way deeper than it thougt ... the Irony is that he does not even seam to use it due to reliability issues. Is the the next thing?



  3. 6242

    At Paul - You want the best product in its category then you have to pay for it. Microsoft just out Appled Apple. iMacs are going to take a hit guaranteed.

  4. 1562

    @Paul, FYI I spoke to a rep at the event about Dial (and a dev who had had it pre-announcement) and they claimed it works with all bluetooth-enabled PCs off-screen, not just Surface devices.

  5. 4326

    The Tech Specs page calls it a "Rapid Hybrid Drive."

    Rapid Hybrid Drive?  That's a bit disconcerting.  Did the presentation explain what that means?  Hybrid brings to mind something like Seagate's SSHD, which would be terrible if this $3000+ system is supposed to be an aspirational device.  It makes sense if you assume they went cheap on the internals and spent everything on the screen. But still, at that price and possibly not have all flash storage, then not have USB 3.1 and USB-C (basically Thunderbolt)?  Will a designers stuff all fit in 1TB?  If not USB 3.1 (and/or Thunderbolt) would let you hook up some insanely fast external storage.  I guess they're hoping people want the screen bad enough to overlook last years internals.  Maybe that's it? It was supposed to come out 6-9 months ago but they had problems with the screens and everything else was already set.  But what do I know.

  6. 1139

    I nudged the IT buyer at my company, they wanted to get me a Windows AiO last year when I started, but there were none available which met all the requirements. This does. Maybe I'll be getting one for work!

  7. 5496

    So Microsoft is telling Wacom, to go puck yourself.

    • 6242

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      Watcom will see it that way. I think the target though was, and is, Apple. Wacom is collateral damage...We have Wacom Cintiq's and I can totally see them and their adjacent iMacs pushed out of our company for the Studio.

  8. 6988

    Fantastic device! I was really hoping to see a monitor only option (touch+pen enabled) to complement the current SP4 and SB.

  9. 250

    I guess I'm a member of the limited audience, but I didn't know that until close to the end of the presentation.

    I began watching the unveiling with mild interest and in the belief the Studio would have good specs, a vertical to almost flat tilting screen, and some nice accessories. What I didn't expect was its ability to perform almost as a dedicated artist's tablet or drafting table, and I can see a lot of composers who are in love with Staffpad wanting to compose on a screen four times larger than the one on the surface tablet they are using now. At any rate, this looke like a significantly more capable device than I expected. I ordered one. I have about six weeks to reflect on that choice and cancel it if I have second thoughts, but I feel as good about this purchase decision as I have ever felt about a purchase decision on anything -- and a lot better than on lots of the things I have bought despite misgivings.



  10. 2627

    What it tells me is if they ever make a Surface phone it will be awfully expensive. Even more than I expected in my scariest dreams. Brrrrr! 

    • 591

      In reply to Pierre Masse: More important: when pressed to innovate Microsoft CAN make a Surface product unique and interesting.  The Studio + Dial is so impressive.  Why didn't they do something similar with Lumia after buying Nokia?  Price aside.  Beyond Continuum what can MS do with a Surface phone?
      • 4841

        In reply to dhallman:

        Good question. Then again Continuum has the potential to be THE feature if a) Microsoft manages to bring the desktop environment it provides the top notch experience the real Desktop SKU gives you, b) Microsoft convinces Win32 app developers like Adobe to port their flagship apps to UWP and c) ARM processors get a real boost in both CPU and GPU power. Wouldn't it be impressive, after all, to be able to run Photoshop in Continuum for Phones? Who knows, maybe that's why Adobe is building XD with UWP from the get go: they need to build up know how with the platform before giving a shot at porting the rest of Creative Cloud.

  11. 5477

    I think the Surface Studio outclasses AIO formfactors like the iMac, and make them obsolete. With the iMac, you have a panel that is fixed and can't move, and also doesn't have a touch display to draw. Also with something like the iMac, you have to spend more money to buy a drawing tablet or display. Now with the Surface Studio, you get a professional class all-in-one computer, that you can do professional drawing and. I think the price may need to fixed a little, and perhaps add some USB-C ports. Otherwise, I think from looking at the Surface Studio, it is a highly innovative all-in-one computer.

  12. 442

    2 TB SSD around $1000 retail, the pricing is not too bad.  I still hope they make a companion monitor to allow for seemless design dual (tri?) monitors.  The nVidia 980 could handle two 4.5K displays without any problems at all.

    • 1043

      In reply to Narg:

      It's a hybrid drive, not a full SSD. It uses a spinning disk for the bulk of the storage and flash memory for pre-loading the most commonly accessed files. They work really well and are fine for a computer like this that won't be getting moved around. In practice, they take a few days of use before the speed benefit of the flash memory takes over.

  13. 591

    Surface Dial took me right back to Surface's roots.  The Surface Table -- the name sake of all products to come many years later -- used object sensors to interact with physical items placed on the screen.  Many times this was a glass (drink) or OEM peripheral.  So much fun to watch.  But I really don't need the Studio (I may play with a Dial on my Pro).  I am on the fence with the x3 (to be honest, I'll likely get one), but the Studio is too much for my needs...

  14. 3229

    How expensive is this?

    It's more expensive, by far, than an iMac with comparable innards (without the touchscreen, obvi): $2300 vs $3000

    I think the market, if it is for people to buy instead of a refernce design, is exclusively artists and designers.

    • 2944

      In reply to inlocoabsentia:

      Except, you know, the entire iMac using old hardware and people having to buy another $2500-2800 accessory to get touchscreen?

      • 3229

        In reply to Elindalyne:

        I think they're likely to get a refresh tomorrow, and if history is a guide, the prices will remain the same.

        Touchscreens on laptops are a great addition, but I don't think the same holds for AIOs in the most common case. Again, I see how this can make a good deal of sense for desiners, illustrators, architects, and animators, but not for office productivity or developers.

        • 5611

          In reply to inlocoabsentia:

          As a developer, I can promise you that having a touch screen is great. When I'm developing software, I have to test it using all forms of input, including pen and touch. My work is much easier and far more enjoyable with a touch screen.

        • 1377

          In reply to inlocoabsentia:

          Re office productivity, if where I work is any indication, 1280x1024 monitors may have had 3 year depreciation cycles like PCs, but they're never retired. More than half the 100-odd desks have 2 of 'em. The others have dual 1920x1080 monitors (newer hires). The newer 1920x1080 monitors are likely to be around through 2020 if not beyond. The company isn't going to buy non-marketing people high DPI monitors.

    • 5027

      In reply to inlocoabsentia:

      Well not really.. because how much more would you have to pay to get a 28" multitouch screen on an iMac .. ooh yes, you can't  because they dont offer touch screens at on their iMac's.  Can you use a pen on an iMac .. nope .. can you tilt it so you can draw o it ..nope ..  is the iMac using old hardware , yupp 

      It's like comparing a Ford Focus to a Ferrari.  .... well the Ferrari is more expensive, and you get an engine and 4 wheels for much less if you buy a Ford Focus .. sure, but the Ferrari is faster, and better looking.

    • 413

      In reply to inlocoabsentia:

      Oddly enough I had been thinking about getting a Macbook Pro because I have a Surfacebook already and given that anything works everywhere I figured I'd have a Mac for personal, SurfaceBook for work and just toggle back and forth.

      As great as this PC is, and I ordered one of course, does it really matter what your OS is now a days?  Do you think that there is anything wrong with having a Macbook?

      And second to that, the Pen as nice as it is, how often does it really get used?

      Lastly at what point couldn't they just have an input for the xbox already and do some fancy PIP :) 

    • 1753

      In reply to inlocoabsentia:

      Add $1500 for a Cintiq and the Mac is more expensive. ;-)

  15. 5566

    I'm not a huge fan of all-in-one's, especially on the high end.  That screen is a very expensive part and is good for 10 years.  The rest of it not so much.  The "PC" part will be obsolete long before the screen is.

    • 6242

      In reply to Elton_Saulsberry:

      One of our Graphic Artist is using a 5 year old iMac and is happy. I think something as powerful as the Studio will last the same way and I think 5 years is very good for the life of any system. You do touch on the fact that in the 80's and 90's AIO's were relatively rejected for the same reason you mention; but it seems today people don't care as much. I think this is due to computing going completely mainstream vs a much more technically inclined market in the 80's and 90's that did not mind playing around with boxes and liked the ability to tinker with upgrading them. iMacs have shown consumers, and now, many businesses don't care about upgradability.

  16. 5623

    In reply to glenn8878:

    it is not even an SSD. it's a platter with a cache (64 for the 1T, 128 for the 2T, if I heard correctly).

  17. 1526

    Four USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, Audio, SD and Mini DisplayPort ... no Thunderbolt 3? Have they lost all their wits?

  18. 7046

    This would be great if it had a 10-series GPU and USB-C/Thunderbolt. Or it'd be great if it cost less than $2k. As it stands, this is a big fat no. 

    • 4841

      In reply to munchieswolf:

      Just a guess, but the lack of a 10-series GPU is probably nVidia's fault. Surface Studio uses mobile GPUs - 965M and 980M -, since nVidia only released their 10-series mobile GPUs mid-August there was probably not enough time to adapt Surface Studio models to use them instead of the old generation.

  19. 1377

    Are we FINALLY seeing a move away from 16:9? Yeah, Surface tablets have been 3:2 for a few years, but it'd be refreshing if OEMs provided more options.

  20. 5394

    The SSD sizes at 1TB and 2TB makes for a very expensive and very fast computer. It's just a very high price to pay for a touch screen. They would do well with just selling a Surface Touch Monitor paired with a desktop computer. Maybe there's where HP drops in to offer a cheaper package.

  21. 1387


    What's up with you and specs lately?

    The drives in the Surface Studio are not SSDs. This was pointed out during TWiT's live coverage (by Leo, I believe), is shown clearly on Microsoft's store page for the product, and is talked about by a guy named Brad at some site called

    We all make mistakes, but you're misinforming readers. At least come back and update your article...

  22. 5486

    Who'd have thought that MS would be pushing hard to become the next Apple in hardware! I'm not knocking the design, it looks great, but I'll reserve judgement on the reliablility, as Microsoft's QA/QC has been shocking of late. The price? Well, that rules it out for 99.9% of the populous, but I get it's designed for professional's who would otherwise only ever have looked at the Mac. The big downside - it's still runnning that PoS Windows 10. Design professionals will most likely be heavily invested in the Mac already, and to get them to switch to Windows will take a herculian effort on Microsoft's part.

  23. 3216

    Woop-di-f*ing-do!  Come on Microsoft, is this the best way you can spend your R&D dollars?  Is there really enough of a market out there for something like this to pay back what it has cost to develop? 

    Now, if this had been a portable with a 15" screen, then I would be impressed.  But it looks to me as if MS is trying to live up to the imaginary computers they have in movies and TV. 

  24. 5510

    After much thought, I am not even going to buy this computer.  First of all, this is Microsoft first venture into desktop/workstation PC computing. I don't think I trust them enough to give them my hard $3,000+tax.  The Surface Pro v.1  and v.2....well, ya know.

    Second, did anyone take a look at the HP AiO?  HP AiO's style and design, kills this one by alot. I don't know why MSFT chose this style, when they could've done something better. Instead, they chose to 1-up Apple's MAC. Make no mistake, Surface Studio vs iMAC is like Kylie Jenner vs Kim Kardashian. The earlier tries to 1-up the latter.  The HP is truly elegant and cutting edge style. MSFT's Surface Studio and their target audience just spews "Apple Infactuation."

    Third, I am not so sure that this computer is going to sell to artists. Up to now, artists seem happy with their Macs. MSFT, like I said, this is their first venture in this space. With the Surface Studio making it's debut, Apple has got to respond and if I were an Artist/Mac fan,  I would just wait.

  25. 1243

    Oh good! I've been wanting a new iMac! Oh, wait. You want me to pay how much for a machine running Windows 10?

    • 6242

      In reply to pwrof3:

      MS just stole the crown for best all in one PC. This is the second year in a row they have taken a bite out of Apple (pun intended). Seriously Apple lost their postion on laptops last year to Surface Book and now to Studio. If all they roll out this year on the Mac Book Pro is an Oled strip touch screen they are in trouble - it really is like they are adrift when it comes to innovating anymore. Apple is starting to feel gimicky.

      • 1243

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Gotta agree with you on that one. Apple has let their computers languish for far too long. Maybe they should get out of the game and just make iOS devices. It's looking like the new MacBook Pros and iMac will not be much of an upgrade. But, I will reserve judgment until the reveal tomorrow.
        The Studio is a nice looking PC. Most all in ones I've seen lately are pretty hideous, especially HP's newest. Although Id like to see less of an iMac clone. Let's face it - 99% of the time this thing will not be drafting mode. I think Microsoft is making a strange choice to go for high end creative businesses. They already have iMacs and other professional drafting tables. Maybe when their old ones die out, they'll replace them with this? Who knows. Certainly average Joe who goes on Facebook and check email won't be spending $3000 to do so.

        • 6242

          In reply to pwrof3:

          You are totally correct. But I think everyone is missing huge business segments that will be all over this - the medical industry (in all aspects health care, research and development, dentistry, and all the rest in it's industry), Legal, Musicians, Artists, Hollywood in general, architects. I mean when you really think about how this changes working with documents and photo's/graphics it a major step forward in making it easier and more efficient for all of these industries. Businesses will pay for that, plus it is sexy so I expect it to show up in upscale small businesses.

    • 7039

      In reply to pwrof3: You realize there are both high end, and low end, Windows 10 PC's. You don't have to buy this, if you don't want or need the functionality. Your choice.


      • 1243

        In reply to prjman:

        Oh, I know that. I try to think like the average Joe. If they see something like this next to a $299 low end Dell, they're going to go for the cheapo thing. And I know that this isn't aimed at consumers, but they don't know that and only see a price tag.