As part of the now annual Microsoft Surface event, Panos Panay announced the next member of the Surface family, the Surface Studio. The Studio is ultimately a prosumer all-in-one device promising more functionality and versatility than any other desktop all-in-one PC by allowing the device to also turn a desk into a studio.

Front and center in what makes the Studio impressive is the size of the display: a 28-inch thin-bezel LCD display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, coming in at a 4500x3000 resolution and 192 pixels per inch. By contrast to 4K, this is 13.5 million pixels compared to 8.3 million in UHD, and Microsoft is promoting True Scale with the studio such that two A4 pieces of paper can be rendered side by side at full resolution and at a higher DPI than most standard office printers. The display is 12.5mm thin, with Microsoft redesigning the LCD stack to ensure a slim profile.

The display connects to the base via a specialist hinge, featuring 80 machined parts on each side for what Microsoft calls a ‘Zero Gravity Hinge’. This allows the display to be moved seamlessly and for any plausible angle, as well as taking on extra weight in studio mode. The display has two buttons on the right-hand side for power and volume. On the top of the display is the Windows Hello-enabled camera, with a 5.0 MP element capable of 1080p video (we assume 30 FPS). The Studio supports the Surface Pen, which can attach to the side of the display.

For color reproduction, Microsoft is advertising the display as supporting both DCI-P3 and sRGB with a simple toggle on the Windows sidebar to switch between the two. While Microsoft says that the displays are calibrated for both, this has fundamental issues with color reproduction.

In the base is a set of arguably last-generation specifications: 6th generation (Skylake) Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processor options (probably 65W desktop parts?) paired with up to 32GB of DDR4 memory (probably DDR4-2133). This comes with a NVIDIA GTX 965M 2GB for two of the three options, and a GTX 980M 4GB on the high-end model. Connectivity comes via USB 3.0, rather than USB 3.1/Thunderbolt. Storage is labeled as ‘1TB or 2TB Rapid Hybrid Drive’ options, which in the presentation looked like an M.2 drive but as yet it has been unstated if this is SATA or PCIe (or if a Rapid Hybrid Drive actually means an SSHD).

Microsoft Surface Studio
CPU Intel Core i5
Intel Core i7
Intel Core i7
GTX 965M 2GB
GTX 980M 4GB
Storage 1TB 1TB 2TB
'Rapid Storage Drive' (SATA? PCIe? SSHD?)
Display 28-inch 4500x3000 LCD Display
12.5mm thin
10-point MultiTouch
Magnetic Pen Support
Connectivity 802.11ac WiFi (Intel AC 8260?)
Gigabit Ethernet
Xbox Wireless
IO 4 x USB 3.0
Full-Size SD card reader (SDXC)
Mini DisplayPort
3.5mm Headset
Camera 5MP Front Facing
Windows Hello
1080p Recording
OS Windows 10 Pro
30-day Office Trial
Dimensions Display: 637.35 x 438.90 x 12.50 mm
Base: 250.00 x 200.00 x 32.2 mm
Weight: 9.56 kg / 21 lbs
Price $2999 $3499 $4199

Connectivity comes via four USB 3.0 ports, a full-size SD card reader, a mini DisplayPort output and a 3.5mm headset jack. WiFi is provided by an 802.11ac unit, although Microsoft does not say which one (I’d hazard a guess and say Intel’s AC8260 2x2 solution). The unit also supports Xbox Wireless, allowing for Xbox controllers to also be connected for gaming.

The whole unit weighs in at 21 lbs (9.5 kg), and Microsoft has stated that it will be available only in limited quantities during Q4, with the official release date as 15th December. Current configurations available will be:

$2999 : Intel Core i5 (Skylake), 8 GB DDR4, 1TB, GTX 965M 2GB
$3499 : Intel Core i7 (Skylake), 16 GB DDR4, 1TB, GTX 965M 2GB
$4199 : Intel Core i7 (Skylake), 32 GB DDR4, 2TB, GTX 980M 4GB

Windows 10 Pro is included with a 30-day Office trial.

Edit: Originally this piece was posted with the incorrect Intel Generation code name in the title. It should read 'Skylake', not 'Haswell'. The piece has been edited to clarify.

Source: Microsoft

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Klug4Pres - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    Totally agree, plus it's incredibly irritating.
  • Laxaa - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    As a graphic designer, I would love a stand-alone Surface display based around this screen.
  • Aerodrifting - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    Frankly I do not see the purpose of this product.
    For 21 lbs at least, It can not be used as a mobile device. Station wise, It can not even compete against a $1000 desktop in performance. $3000 for i5 + 8GB + 965M? What kind of joke is this?
    The only thing people might go for is the screen, However it's questionable how many people need a screen like this and can actually afford it.
    So in the end we have $3000 for a fancy touch screen, no sale for me.
  • sorten - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    This was designed for professional designers and content creators, who are used to paying big dollars just for the monitor. There's not another monitor on the market of this quality, and certainly not with touch or anything resembling the Dial. For the base they went for form over function. It's unfortunate they didn't provide USB-C with TB3 ports, which would have made it possible to link out to an external GPU for heavier tasks.
  • Gadgety - Friday, October 28, 2016 - link

    Yes, I completely agree. This GPU will be old hat in no time and then it's a fantastic screen held back by GPU hardware. A very expensive door stop. Unless the base is swappable/upgradeable. This is a product that screams for an easily swappable GPU.
  • AnotherGuy - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    Please someone tell me thats 1TB SSD and not HDD for these prices?
  • davidhbrown - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    I'm suspicious that "Rapid Hybrid" means spinning platters with a dusting of flash. I tried one when they were new. Supposedly, they were suppose to use the flash like a cache and keep the stuff you used most there, like for booting. Never seemed any faster than a regular 7200rpm HDD.

    Definitely need the tech equivalent of Amnesty International to mount a campaign to free this gorgeous monitor from the prison of the rest of the computer.
  • kgardas - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    MS, please tell me where to buy such panel alone! 3:2 what a dream and in 28" huh...
  • yhselp - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    It would be nice to see that craftsmanship applied to consumer-oriented products. The non-Pro Surface tablet might have died when Intel stopped making Atom for mobile, but why can't Microsoft make a notebook and AIO for the general consumer? By what we've seen so far, such products should stand a great chance of being successful. I'd certainly consider buying one.
  • Klug4Pres - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    Probably Microsoft does not want to become a volume player in hardware, to avoid annoying the OEMs.

    The idea is more to create halo products with premium pricing, which may have a positive impact on the overall market for Windows machines, and could also point the way towards higher-quality, more profitable niches for the other players to exploit.

    I quite like some of Microsoft's ideas, but that's about as positive as I can be.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now