The other day Microsoft announced a brand new large screen desktop computer called the Surface Studio. The Surface Studio is a new workstation computer based around a 28-inch adjustable touch display that can be easily positioned in either a traditional upright Apple iMac position or flat Slate Raven style. At first glance, the Surface Studio looks like it will be a bit of an Apple iMac killer as the design and features look to offer us creatives with a much more hands-on/tactile experience.
I am quite the Apple fan boy so I've never been interested in Microsoft announcements, until now. The first minute of watching the Surface Studio video looked pretty interesting up until 1:12 into the video when I saw something that blew me away. This circular dial was placed on the screen that interacted with the touch display. This is called the Surface Dial. The video shows the Surface Dial in action enabling the user to scroll through colours in a Photoshop style application. My first impression was that the Surface Dial would be an amazing tactile control for plug-ins in Pro Tools. Turning virtual plug-in knobs on an iPad or touch display has for me always felt a bit a clunky to me.
The specs of these machines look pretty good with the entry model boasting 1TB storage, i5 and 8GB Ram for $2,999. The prices of the Surface Studios are higher than the Apple iMacs however the iMac is currently looking a bit long in the tooth compared to the new design of the Surface Studio.
I think Microsoft have really hit on something here with this hybrid touch/dial combination. I have never liked using a touchscreen or mouse in Pro Tools, I much prefer to reach out for physical controls, that why I use an AVID C24 control surface. If the new Surface Studio stands up to be a powerful machine with fantastic hybrid touch-control then it maybe become my first Pro Tools Windows computer.