Tuesday, November 8, 2016

MICROSOFT Surface Studio Challenges APPLE Desktops

I recall a video from the ridiculously funny yet educational YouTube series “Epic Rap Battles of History”, in particular that rap-off between “Bill Gates” and “Steve ‘Let me just step right in’ Jobs”, where they hammed up the praises of their respective computer platforms while tearing into the other.

There was an exchange between them where Jobs state how Apples were preferred by “people with the power to create” while Gates countered that “people with jobs” used PCs (with Windows). That’s true in a way; Apple desktop computers have been stereotypically associated with creative people of an artistic, graphical, musical or similar bent, and their sleek and artsy designs reflected such. Microsoft seemed content to yield that particular field to Apple for years, until now.

USA Today reports that last October 26 Microsoft introduced to the world their very first desktop computer. At first blush one can easily mistake the whole setup as a rip of Apple’s iconic iMac, but the sight of it running on Microsoft Windows 10 will dispel the illusion soon enough. Add to that the sort of hardware MS is going for and you’ll realize the Surface Studio is a totally different animal all set to blow your expectations away.

First let’s look at the setup: all wirelessly communicating with each other. There’s the keyboard, mouse and a Surface Pen stylus, because the magnificently 12.5mm thin LCD monitor is also a touchscreen, boasting a 28-inch PixelSense Display capable of displaying in TrueColor with 13.5 million pixels. The monitor is mounted to a zero gravity hinge holding it up over the CPU, but the beauty part is what comes next: by pushing the monitor on its hinge all the way down to lay on its CPU at a 20-degree angle, you convert the desktop into a touchscreen drafting table, upon which you can doodle your artistic vision with the surface Pen, with a touchscreen eraser on the back end and the writing point being able to differentiate between 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The basic Surface Studio setup packs an impressive 8GB RAM and 1TB storage to go with the sixth-gen Intel Core i5 processor. It also boasts what may be the most affordable 3D work software for the average consumer, with the recently announced Paint 3D and 3D support for many Windows apps such as the Edge browser and PowerPoint.

Extra hardware options include the optional Surface Dial control unit which can work either on the desk or on the touchscreen surface for generating new options and art tools as needed. Also planned is a proposed compatible VR headset, though details ar as yet sketchy.

Expect the basic Surface Studio to cost $2,999, the Surface Dial to add $99.99, and the future VR gear to be worth $299. It hits the market sometime around the Holidays.

Photo Credit to www.microsoft.com