It’s an engineering marvel of a monitor, but I really wish Microsoft sold it separately. I want to dock my Surface Book to it, or transform any laptop into a full Surface Studio. If I’m investing in a desktop PC at this kind of price then I also really want to be able to upgrade it and use it for gaming and more powerful work. I can’t do either of those things with the Surface Studio. If this was a monitor with a powerful GPU in it designed to complement Microsoft’s existing Surface devices and “upgrade” them, I’d probably be throwing my wallet at my screen right now. It’s hard to do so knowing that I’m not getting the latest and greatest specs for that $2,999, and that’s before you even consider the top model I’ve been testing is $4,199.
That doesn’t discount what Microsoft has attempted to do here. It’s truly something unique and a hint of real innovation we haven’t seen for some years with PCs. Others have tried to experiment, like HP’s Sprout, but it’s rare to see something more than just an all-in-one. Microsoft’s exciting Surface Studio unveil has been compared to Apple’s disappointing MacBook Pro launch, and with good reason. Many creatives I’ve spoken to about the Surface Studio have said the same thing: why isn’t Apple doing this? Apple seems to be forcing creatives to choose an iPad Pro for touch and pen, but the powerful and professional apps just aren’t there yet on iOS, and it’s not clear if companies like Adobe are willing to rewrite their software to be just as useful on an iPad Pro. Microsoft has realized the potential in the market to reach out to creatives who feel abandoned by Apple, and it’s an influential crowd that could be swayed over by devices like the Surface Studio.
As awesome as the Surface Studio looks, the specs of the PC part of the equation lag behind – most of the high price is defined by the display – but I guess the biggest problem with it is that it runs Windows. The creative community has been using macOS for so long, and it’s hard to leave a platform behind.