Microsoft Announces Surface Studio All-in-One PC

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 73 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.

flat

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.

dial

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.

 

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32 Comments
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  1. 6 | Reply
    JudaZuk Alpha Member #2098 - 1 month ago

    "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: http://www.wacom.com/en-se/products/cintiq-27-qhd-touch

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

     

    1. 1 | Reply
      ABianucci Alpha Member #391 - 1 month ago
      In reply to JudaZuk:

      Juda,

      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.

    2. 1 | Reply
      JudaZuk Alpha Member #2098 - 1 month ago
      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. 4 | Reply
    beakin Alpha Member #1313 - 1 month ago

    @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.

  3. 3 | Reply
    lezmaka Alpha Member #1837 - 1 month ago

    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.

  4. 2 | Reply
    Vuppe Alpha Member #1076 - 1 month ago

    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!

  5. 1 | Reply
    MacLiam Alpha Member #229 - 1 month ago

    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.

     

     

  6. 1 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 1 month ago

    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.

    1. 2 | Reply
      Patrick3D Alpha Member #994 - 1 month ago
      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.

  7. 1 | Reply
    Pierre Masse Alpha Member #1529 - 1 month ago

    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! 

    1. 2 | Reply
      dhallman Alpha Member #560 - 1 month ago
      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?
    2. 1 | Reply
      Demileto Alpha Member #2054 - 1 month ago
      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.

  8. 0 | Reply
    hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

    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.

  9. 0 | Reply
    dhallman Alpha Member #560 - 1 month ago

    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...

  10. 0 | Reply
    Cristian Alpha Member #1164 - 1 month ago

    Paul,

    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 Thurrott.com:

    https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/84144/surface-studio-day-premium

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

  11. 0 | Reply
    inlocoabsentia Alpha Member #1634 - 1 month ago

    How expensive is this?

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

    http://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/imac

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

    1. 2 | Reply
      Elindalyne Alpha Member #1521 - 1 month ago
      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?

    2. 0 | Reply
      inlocoabsentia Alpha Member #1634 - 1 month ago
      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.

    3. 3 | Reply
      WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago
      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.

    4. 2 | Reply
      jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 1 month ago
      In reply to inlocoabsentia:

      Maybe for me and you a touchscreen on an AIO is useless, but explain that to my kids that have fingerprints all over their iMac's screen.

      Neither of us are the target market for this anyhow as this is aimed at folks that already spend 2.5k on accessories to make their PCs do what this can do out of the box.

      Yes it is expensive, no it isn't for everyone, yes they skipped out on using the latest chipsets and graphics but that doesn't make this a bad device. If this successfuly performs what they describe it will have served its purpose. That doesn't mean that they sell many of them though so time will tell on that front.

    5. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      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.

    6. 1 | Reply
      JudaZuk Alpha Member #2098 - 1 month ago
      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.

    7. 0 | Reply
      wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 1 month ago
      In reply to inlocoabsentia:

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

    8. 0 | Reply
      ABianucci Alpha Member #391 - 1 month ago
      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 :) 

  12. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago

    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.

    1. 0 | Reply
      jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 1 month ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      I also wish they seperately made a stand alone monitor too but thinking about it, if the monitor was between $2000-$2200 would we really be that much happier?

    2. 0 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago
      In reply to jr.flynn:

      Last year I bought a 24 inch LCD monitor for $150. Would you think getting a 28 inch touch monitor is impossible to achieve  below $2000? Prices are dropping constantly for all tech equipment. 

    3. 2 | Reply
      wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 1 month ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      There is a big difference between a bargain basement TN panel and even a professional 24" display - which are still in the $500+ range for properly calibrated displays. You can get a cheap 28" (16:9) display for under $500, but that has the same resolution as the 24" display. Add in the touch layer, pen etc. and a high quality panel and the price rises dramatically.

      As this is aimed at creative professionals, it must have a decent panel which has high color fidelity, something you just don't get on a $150 monitor.

  13. 0 | Reply
    jonsmi Alpha Member #1248 - 1 month ago

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

    1. 0 | Reply
      jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 1 month ago
      In reply to jonsmi:

      They pitched this as a replacement for multiple montiors, I guess that would explain the lack of Thunderbolt. Not that I agree with their decision but perhaps that was their thought process.

    2. 0 | Reply
      lezmaka Alpha Member #1837 - 1 month ago
      In reply to jr.flynn:

      With Thunderbolt 3 using USB-C it could be more useful than just the old mini DisplayPort-style Thunderbolt ports.

  14. -1 | Reply
    gsmith-plm Alpha Member #1599 - 1 month ago

    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.