Microsoft’ target consumer for the Surface Studio is digital artists, which makes Penny Arcade’s Gabe the perfect user to review the new desktop/tablet hybrid.
He was involved in the early development of the device, having been shown the device a year ago and having had input in testing and trailing it during its creation.
He has also been using one for a week prior to its unveiling yesterday and was suitably impressed with the final product.
On the hinge he writes “moving the Studio from one position to the next is startlingly easy” and that “once there the Studio provides enough resistance to draw comfortably without worrying about pushing it out of position.”
He notes “drawing on the ($2500) Cintiq now felt like drawing on a piece of dirty plexiglass hovering over a CRT monitor from 1997. ”
He also said drawing on the 3:2 screen felt ” just plain magical” and was equally impressed by the Surface Dial, saying:
While I am drawing, a counterclockwise turn is undo while turning the other way is redo. The Dial has built in haptics so each step backwards or forwards is accompanied by a “click” I can feel in the device. It can also be pushed like a button or pushed and held to bring up a customizeable radial menu. This menu is customizable so I can easily make that same motion zoom in and out or control the volume of my music. While you are working you can hold it in whatever position is comfortable. You can keep it on the screen or on the desk, it has a slightly tacky bottom so it stays and feels good wherever you put it.
The Studio sits at about $3000 which might sound high but consider that I paid $2500 for my Wacom Cintiq 27″HD and that isn’t even a computer. I still had to get a machine to run it!
When I first saw the device months ago in that secret room at MS, they asked me what I thought. I said, “Well I have no idea if anyone else will want it, but you have made my dream computer.” I recognize that not everyone needs or wants a computer they can draw on. Some people do though and I will tell you that the Surface Studio is without a doubt the best digital drawing experience I have ever tried. I was trying to help Tycho understand why the Studio was so exciting. I spend 6 to 10 hours a day drawing digitally and I have for more than a decade. The Cintiq and the Surface, these are like my tools or my instruments. I am intimately familiar with how it feels to create things on these sorts of devices and the Studio honestly feels like a generational leap forward. If you are a digital artist and you are currently working on a Cintiq you have to go to a MS store and look at the Studio. I’ve always given you my honest take on this stuff and this time is no different even though I can’t think of anything bad to say. If you draw on computers the Surface Studio is something very special.