As soon as Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, took over the company, he made his position and aims rather clear: “We want to move from people needing Windows, to choosing Windows, to loving Windows”.
Indeed, it feels like a constant struggle of Microsoft to dismantle the stereotype that it makes stuff you hate but need.
Believe it or not, but we observe an absolutely different situation with Surface Studio, Microsoft’s love letter to creative types. People like playing with this convertible desktop PC, drawing with the pen, tugging and pulling on the 28-inch screen, playing YouTube videos. And most possibly you would hear from them: “I love this thing. I can’t believe I love a Windows computer.”
Surface Studio is 28.125 inches, 4,500 pixels tall and 3,000 pixels wide, absurdly bright and preposterously crisp. It is more square than an average display, closer to a sheet of paper than a television, due to the 3:2 aspect ratio. Its excellent touchscreen provides a nice surface for pen input and high-res enough for fine-point drawing.
Microsoft has done its best to keep the screen light and thus easy to move around. All the computer bits are stuffed into the base rather than behind the display like an iMac. That brings aesthetic consequences—the base consumes about 9 inches on your desk, but gives the Studio that svelte profile.
The Surface Studio resembles a drafting table as it can go down to a 20-degree angle while holding steady at any point in between. It fits perfectly for those who want to draw, work with two hands in a modeling app, or do anything with a pen or fingers instead of a mouse and keyboard. Microsoft has obviously done a good job.
The base price for Surface Studio makes up $3,000, which is rather adequate taking into consideration that Wacom Cintiq tablet and a MacBook Pro, standard tools in many creative trades, will cost you much more. It is still disappointing that money buys you a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a one-terabyte “hybrid drive” that is part solid-state storage and part spinning hard drive. This is what you would expect for one thousand, not three. It makes sense to get solid-state storage to ensure your computer operating fast for years.
To sum it up, the Surface Studio is a promising artistic tool that still needs a bit of polish on the software front. As the device is rather costly, we can expect that a few hardware compromises will be eliminated, too. But as a Windows response to an artist-friendly touchscreen iMac, the Studio deserves serious consideration.