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Microsoft Surface Studio announced

The Corbel Blog

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Microsoft have announced the Microsoft Surface Studio at their Microsoft Windows 2016 event in New York. The Surface Studio is the result of a progressive journey Microsoft have been undertaking, investigating ways to produce a tablet platform that could act as a replacement for the laptop. Studio is a similar re-imagination but this time it’s of the humble desktop computer, no more black/beige metal boxes in sight that’s for sure.

 

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The Surface Studio is aimed primarily at creators and image-orientated professionals, turning the simple desktop into a powerful creation studio and digital canvas. The all-in-one PC features a 28-inch PixelSense display which is a 4.5k Ultra HD touchscreen offering 63% more pixels than a 4K TV and has a 3:2 display ratio. It also features 32GB RAM, an Intel Core processor, 2TB hybrid hard drive (combines HD and SD storage), NVIDIA GPU, as well as integrated 2.1 speakers and a haptic feedback controller puck device. In terms of connectivity there’s four USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, Audio, SD and Mini DisplayPort (no Thunderbolt) and the new radial input Surface Dial with haptic feedback.

The computer has a unique hinge on the back designed to make it more flexible for creative pursuits, and Microsoft’s Panay Panos said onstage it’s designed to “fundamentally change” the way people create. The speakers, ports and drive are contained in the base, which is a short, square box that lies between the chrome supports under the display.

Surface Studio’s hinge, which consists of two chrome arms attached to the base, is also designed to be reflective on purpose to further help it “fade to background” according to Panay. It’s an interesting tactic for trying to reduce the user’s awareness of the actual hardware itself, and one that sounds a bit more like marketing hype than effective measure. The hinge is designed to easily let you go from upright to flat working device without resistance, and the Surface Pen support really helps make that True Scale feature very appealing. It basically means you can write in full speed (the latency looks incredibly low) on a 1:1 8.5 × 11-inch piece of virtual paper on the screen.

The PixelSense display is designed to immerse the user as much as possible, according to Panay. The 28-inch display features 13.5 million pixels equating to a 192 PPI density that doesn’t reveal individual pixels no matter where you’re viewing from, according to Microsoft. The display also includes a feature Microsoft is calling TrueColor, which Panay says allows creators to “render the world… as he or she believes it needs to be rendered”. Using TrueColor you can change your colour space on the fly, enabling filmmakers, for example, who are working in DCI-P3 to easily switch to sRGB and see how content will look on TVs that don’t support the wider P3 colour specification.

The display also features “True Scale”, which allows it to display print products at actual scale on the screen. “One inch on the screen is one inch in real life,” Panay said onstage at Microsoft’s product reveal on Wednesday. The Studio’s display includes a “linear mic array” that’s able to pick up a user’s voice from across the room, making it essentially an integrated Echo-like speaker thanks to the inclusion of Cortana in Windows 10.

The Surface Studio also supports Surface Pen, making it an amazing option for graphics professionals. The Surface Dial works with the screen intelligently, giving you software tools like colour sliders in various apps.

Onstage, Panay also introduced and demonstrated the Surface Dial. It’s designed a new input device, in line with but different from things like mice and keyboards. Dial has global controls built-in, meaning they work throughout Windows at the system level. The Dial can work either laid out on the desk like a keyboard, or placed directly on the display, as in the image above. It’ll have different functions depending on which way you’re using it. Surface Dial also works with Surface Book, Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 for off-screen functions.

The Surface Studio is available for pre-order now, and will arrive in Microsoft Stores for hands-on demos starting October 27. It’s going to ship in limited numbers by this holiday season and is priced starting at $2,999, with no confirmed UK pricing. It’s unlikely the Surface Studio will be more readily available until early 2017.

 

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