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

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  • Toss3 - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    Don't see how this is for "professionals" as they usually want to be able to upgrade their hardware. This setup without the built-in hardware would be amazing.
  • Lolimaster - Friday, October 28, 2016 - link

    Yeah, as screen is marvelous as an AIO, the pc side seems meh compared to the screen.
  • snoozemode - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    Hmm, last gen Intel Core, no mini toslink in the 3.5 mm so would have to use mini dp to hdmi for audio output, no usb-c and possibly sshd.

    Design is awesome but specs could be a bit more up to par.
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    One the few things I currently love about MSFT is their bet on 3:2 aspect ratio. It's the best ratio for productivity, I really wish everyone jumps in and ditch the ugly 16:9 so we start seeing 3:2 notebooks and monitors.

    For multimedia oriented they should opt for 16:10.

    BYE 16:9.
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    Seems the only good things about this products are the cpu, ram and display. They couldve opt for the 1060M as the minimum. Only SSD, 1TB for $200 in bulk come on.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    Dat display. Wow.
  • BrokenCrayons - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    There's nothing notable about the display really. Microsoft is selling an iMac and stressing the fact that the screen isn't very thick as a primary selling point. As this is desktop hardware we're talking aobut here, the screen's thickness isn't a factor that contributes to functionality, but it does probably drive costs up significantly and results in a sub-$1000 PC selling for +$3000. I just don't see this thing landing sales to anyone that isn't walking around with their eyes closed as tightly as possible so they can ignore the bulk of reality.
  • darwiniandude - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    It's for content creators. Who don't need the best specs. We don't know the CPU speed. We don't know the effects of thermal throttling. Notebook sized HDD, so slow IO past whatever flash cache/ssd level persists.

    I know people editing 4K on the 5K iMac, higher red, 4Ghz i7 Skylake, 1TB SSD is PCI-E, sustained reads or large files are 2GB/s, writes are 1.5GB/s. two Thunderbolt 2 ports, 20Gbps bidirectional for external drive enclosures and other things.

    But, this has Touch. And that's big for many use cases. I hope it sells well.
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    I'm going to go a bit out on a limb and say that content creation is going to be an excuse for a few people to purchase them, but ultimately relegate them to conventional desktop PC duties. There'll be a few companies that buy into them, possibly even in large numbers, because there's pent up demand for an AIO box running Windows and touch, so it probably will sell pretty well. I do acknowledge that Microsoft did its homework in identifying a niche and pitching a product at it using marketing methods that ignite that segment's interest. However, that doesn't excuse the price or the non-feature elements the company is using to drive sales.
  • ingwe - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    I would want one of these, but my Surface Pro 4 for work locks up after 30 seconds of writing with the pen, regardless of the program I am using. And it also refuses to wake from sleep a bunch. Both of these are problems I have seen on the Microsoft forums for months that just haven't been fixed. I don't think I will buy a Microsoft piece of kit after this experience.

    Still though...that display looks beautiful.

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