Seamlessly transitions between modes
The best and biggest digital drawing board
Impeccable build quality
All rearward ports
Pricey proposition for most
The ‘cheapest’ unit comes outfitted with a 6th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M GPU and 1TB of storage. Meanwhile, if you want to max out the Surface Studio you’ll get an Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM and a 4GB GTX 980M eGPU.
A total of $4,199 (£4,249) is a massive price tag, particularly when you can pick up an HP Z1 G3 for just $1,359 (about £971) featuring a business-class Intel Xeon E3-1270 CPU, Nvidia Quadro M2000M graphics and a 3,840 x 2,160 4K screen to top it all off. Plus, unlike the Surface Studio before it, HP’s workstation all-in-one is easily upgradeable and future-proof thanks to internal accessibility.
The Surface Studio reviewed is an expensive desktop, to be sure. Even if you were to max out the Dell XPS 27 AIO, it wouldn’t even come close at $3,299 or £2,999. Similarly, the HP Envy AIO 27 maxes out at just $1,799 (about £1,346).
You can pick up the Surface Studio 2, with updated internals, but you’re looking at an even higher price tag. The base model will set you back $3,499 (about £2,750).
You can get deals on the Surface Studio on Microsoft’s store which is what we did for testing for work. I am awaiting delivery of the Microsoft Surface Studio 2 to test it also.
We hesitate to say that if you weren’t interested in the Surface Studio already then you are going to be. Microsoft’s contribution to the all-in-one PC space is expensive to say the least, but it’s also nothing short of the best when it comes down to build quality and innovation beyond offering the latest specs.
Whereas the iMac, Dell XPS 27 AIO and HP Envy 27 AIO are all compelling additions to the market, the Surface Studio thrives because of its uncompromising desire to convince you that it’s something else entirely. For the price of a Surface Studio, sure, you could build a PC that’s just as powerful and still have money left over.
However, for artists and especially illustrators the Surface Studio introduces a new wrinkle into a world primarily dominated by tablets. Not only does the Surface Studio allow you to sketch and inspect your picture with one device, the visual quality of the PixelSense display is far greater than that of Dell’s new 27-inch Canvas.
For these reasons we’ll say it again – the Surface Studio best serves artists and illustrators. It’s without a doubt one of the best computers ever produced, but there’s no reason regular users should purchase this unless they’re in the market for the highest end iMac and want more options – or bragging rights.