Science and Tech
Surface Studio and Dial
By Liyo Kikon
THE dawn of computer innovation is here and Microsoft is paving the way forward. They blew our minds with the hololens and they are back to change the game once more by taking the next step in desktop computing.
The Surface Studio is a beautiful piece of hardware with the 28 inch main display being its crown jewel, it is a multi touch screen which almost floats in the air, thanks to the specially designed hinge holding it in place. Even with all the tech inside the display, the thickness is just half an inch and it is truly something to behold. Microsoft has always built nifty hinges starting with their Surface Pro series and this time, they did not disappoint with the Surface Studio as they are calling it the “zero gravity” hinge which will hold the monitor in any position you place it, and you can easily re-position it without any effort. And thanks to the hinge, you can bring the monitor down to a comfortable level where artists and creative professionals can easily work with the multi touch display.
All the power for the Surface Studio is tucked away neatly at its base which measures at 250x220x32mm and is driven by either the 6th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7. Customers can choose between 8, 16 or 32 GB RAM along with a GTX965M or GTX 980M. There is also an option to choose between 1TB or 2TB Hard drives and it comes with Wi-Fi, bluetooth and Xbox wireless built in. At the back of the base, there are 4 USB 3.0, a Full-sized SD card reader, a mini diplay port, 3.5mm headset jack and a Gigabit Ethernet port. There is just one wire sticking out of the base for power supply. Looking at the specs, we can easily see that this is not a hardcore gaming machine, although it will be able to run almost any game, provided the settings are adequate. But since this device is aimed at creative professionals and especially digital artists, I have no complaints about it. When it comes to display quality, the Surface Studio does an amazing job thanks to their pixel sense technology, which runs at more than 4K resolution and the images are so sharp that even if you go extremely close to the monitor, you will not be able to see the pixels. But the resolution isn’t everything, since creative folks need very high color depth to see their work come to life, the Surface Studio does an amazing job at color reproduction since it has a 10-bit color depth! What this means is that the colors on the monitor will be extremely vibrant and almost life-like. Since most of the clients of creative professionals will be using ordinary monitors, they won’t be able to see the digital content as intended by the creator but Microsoft has noted this and included a clever toggle on the Windows sidebar which will change the color depth at the push of a button and this will help the content creator to view their designs from their client’s point of view.
Just like the Surface Pro, the Surface Studio can take pen input which is one of the biggest selling points since it would be an absolute pleasure to draw on such a big canvas. But just like any other devices, if you are drawing on the screen, you will always have one hand on the keyboard for changing brush size, or other functions and this has always been a problem. Even for me, whenever I draw something on the iPad, I have to look at the button before I tap on it and that takes away the flow of drawing continuously, that is why I love drawing on a Wacom tablet since there are physical buttons for every action. Knowing this fact, Microsoft answered the prayers of all artists and introduced the Surface Dial. This little gadget will now enable artists to directly interact with the application they love, using a physical input. It has a diameter of 52mm and a height of 30mm, so it fits perfectly in one’s hand. What it does is that the user can tap on it to access the menu and turn the dial around to select various options or in certain apps, you can turn the dial around to get different colors as you are drawing on the surface, or change brushes and so on, the possibilities are only limited by the app developer’s imagination. One can only wonder what the folks at Adobe will come up with when they integrate it with their all-powerful Photoshop. The Surface Dial is powered by two AAA batteries and weighs just 145 gram with the batteries included. It is compatible with the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book but if you use it with the Surface Studio, it will automatically detect the Dial when you place it down on the screen! It is truly amazing just how innovative this simple device is and artists are sure to love it.
The Surface Studio will soon be available for around Rs. 2,000,00 and the Surface Dial will be available for around Rs. 6,600.