Update: Our hands-on is up here!
Microsoft is throwing down the gauntlet against the iMac.
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After months of rumors, leaks, and speculation, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Studio, its first-ever desktop PC, at an event in New York today.
Like the iMac, it’s an all-in-one (AIO) PC, with all its components held in a single base and monitor unit. Unlike the iMac, Microsoft wants it to do a lot more than just sit at your desk.
Spec-wise, there’s a choice between an Intel Core i5 and i7 processor, as well as an Nvidia 980 4GB GPU, 32 GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage. There are also 2.1 virtual surround speakers, and the power supply is integrated into the base. Port selection is fairly paltry though, with four USB 3.0 (where’s thunderbolt?), Mini DisplayPort, an SD card slot, and an Ethernet port.
There’s also a neat ‘Surface Dial’ knob for radial input adjustments. It features haptic feedback to give you some additional tactility as well. You can plant it on the screen and have radial controls magically appear to provide a variety of controls.
The computer is a Surface, so of course, the screen lays at a low 20-degree angle thanks to its ‘zero gravity’ hinge. That also makes it easy to use your Surface Pen on the display for serious-business editing work on images, art and documents.
Microsoft says it’s cut down latency on the Surface Pen to feel indistinguishable from a physical pen. We’ll have to try it out in person, but it’s an impressive claim given the Surface Book and Pro 4 already had some of the best stylus support out there.
Microsoft has enabled a number of features to make it easier to work with images, art and documents on the Surface Studio. The screen rejects accidental touches like your elbow resting on it; it also allows you to draw and scribble with the Surface Pen stylus with zero latency so it feels natural to work on the system.
You can do things like scribble across a paragraph to highlight or delete it, as well as draw and color in imaging apps while modulating your brush strokes, all without lag. It also works in tandem with the Dial to adjust settings like color and brush thickness on-the-fly.
As for the display, Microsoft says it has the thinnest ever LCD monitor in its forged aluminum chassis. The 28-inch display has 13.5 million pixels (compared to 8.3 million in a 4K display), and Microsoft noted a heavy focus on color accuracy. There’s even an easy way to switch from DCI-P3 to SRGB on the fly for all the monitor nerds out there.
The display features the same 3:2 aspect ratio as on the mobile Surface products (I can see photographers crying tears of joy). It maxes out at 192 ppi – impressive for a display its size – and the monitor has a feature known as ‘True Scale” to help you preview your designs at their real-world size right on the display. Basically, what you see is what you get.
The Surface Studio is available for pre-order today, with prices starting at $3,000 for the 1TB / Intel i5 – 8GB RAM / 2GB GPU model, and going up to $4,200 for the 2TB / Intel i7 – 32GB RAM / 4GB GPU variant. It’ll ship on December 15.
Stay tuned to TNW for our hands-on coming up any moment now. Read out hands-on review here.