For a $2,999 price point, you might wonder — is the Microsoft Surface Studio desktop really worth it? I tested one recently and found myself being drawn to a few important features that made it worth the high price even compared to similar models from Dell and even Apple.
1. Microsoft Surface Studio's incredibly high resolution
The high resolution of Microsoft Surface Studio was one of the surprises for me because I sometimes don’t like extremely high-resolution displays. They might be clear, but the color quality sometimes suffers. And in some cases, the extra resolution doesn’t really help with detail work in Photoshop and other apps because you don’t really notice the difference.
Microsoft Surface Studio uses a resolution of 4500 x 3000 pixels, and believe me, you notice. For photos, I was able to zoom in and make fine adjustments to pixels in ways I couldn’t do on any laptop or on my normal 2K resolution display. Even normal Microsoft Word documents looked better on the Studio’s display without any jagged text.
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2. Microsoft Surface Studio's Multitouch
Touch is the new user interface paradigm, but not all touch-enabled devices are created equally. In your car, you can tap and maybe even make gestures on the screen, but in most cases you can’t use multiple fingers to pinch the screen or scroll in a browser.
Microsoft Surface Studio is one of the best multitouch devices I’ve ever tested. It responds quickly, as though you are working on a drawing pad. And this is the future of computing. The Microsoft Dial, which you place directly on the screen, creates a tactile, interactive experience. I can imagine using other devices — setting a phone on the screen, or a pair of headphones, or a digital pad — and having the Studio pop up a display that shows charge level or syncing options.
It’s amazing to use. The fact that you can quickly push the screen down to a flat position, draw and interact with photos, then move the screen back up for normal desktop mode makes it even more helpful for designers.
3. Integrating apps in Microsoft Surface Studio
One of the most important features in Microsoft Surface Studio has to do with app integrations. I tested CorelDRAW 2017 extensively on the Studio, an app that benefits greatly from the Microsoft Dial. The interface pops up, and you can quickly turn the dial, make selections, and interact with tools in a way that feels more like it is part of a workflow (and more like working on actual paper pads). A new LiveSketch feature, which works with the stylus, provides a more natural feel and mimics how an actual pen works without a perfect digital representation — it’s more artistic.