Microsoft unveils Surface Studio

Microsoft held a Windows and Surface event today, and among a number of announcements, the star of the show was the Surface Studio, a downright beautiful all-in-one designed entirely for creative professionals. The huge 28″ 4500×3000 3:2 aspect ration display with Adobe sRGB and DCI-P can be tilted downwards to turn the Studio into a huge drawing surface.

As the product video demonstrates, this is not a device for the average user, or even for every power user – every aspect of it seems to be designed specifically for designers, graphics artists, possibly video editors, and people of similar profession. I love the Surface Dial, which can be used both on the display and on a desk to control context-specific actions, like changing the colour output of your drawing tool or select thickness of the output, and countless other things.

It’s got a sxith generation Core i5 or i7, a GTX 965M 2GB (Core i5) or GTX 980M 4GB (Core i7) graphics chip, up to 32GB of RAM, and the usual array of ports and connections. This is clearly a niche device, and the price underlines that: the Surface Studio starts at a whopping $2999. Which is quite a lot, especially taking the video chip into account.

Penny Arcade’s artist Mike “Gabe” Krahulik has been using a Surface Studio for the past week, and posted his thoughts on his blog.

When I first saw the device months ago in that secret room at MS, they asked me what I thought. I said, “Well I have no idea if anyone else will want it, but you have made my dream computer.” I recognize that not everyone needs or wants a computer they can draw on. Some people do though and I will tell you that the Surface Studio is without a doubt the best digital drawing experience I have ever tried. I was trying to help Tycho understand why the Studio was so exciting. I spend 6 to 10 hours a day drawing digitally and I have for more than a decade. The Cintiq and the Surface, these are like my tools or my instruments. I am intimately familiar with how it feels to create things on these sorts of devices and the Studio honestly feels like a generational leap forward. If you are a digital artist and you are currently working on a Cintiq you have to go to a MS store and look at the Studio. I’ve always given you my honest take on this stuff and this time is no different even though I can’t think of anything bad to say. If you draw on computers the Surface Studio is something very special.

Following Twitter during the unveiling of the Surface Studio was an entirely surreal experience, with a ton of genuine excitement over the product – something I haven’t seen in a long, long time in this jaded industry. Specifically remarkable, though, was the response from the Apple and Mac/iOS developer and creative professional community – an endless stream of harsh jabs and words directed at Apple for so blatantly ignoring the creative professional community for years now, while Microsoft seems to be making a power play to win their hearts. It was quite the jarring experience.

The general consensus seems to be that Apple really needs to bring more to the table tomorrow than some updated internals and a SideShow ripoff to reconquer the hearts of the creative professionals it seemingly has abandoned.


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