back to article Microsoft's Surface Studio desk-slab, Dial knob, Surface Book: We get our claws on new kit

After sitting through two hours of presentations, Microsoft has let journalists loose on the new kit it has announced, and the results are surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective. Microsoft's engineers positively salivated about the attention to detail the Studio design has (see our earlier story), from its 20 …

  1. Walter Bishop Silver badge

    Microsoft Surface Studio

    It looks an awful lot like an Apple desktop. now that Microsoft is making its own hardware how will this impinge on the current OEM hardware makers.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

      It's a top-end device. The market for that is pretty small.

      Also, given how little innovation there's been from most of the OEMs, they're getting what they deserve.

      1. Adam Jarvis

        Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

        The presentation sold this device to (John Lewis* type) 'Pushy Parents' (the three female presenters were stereotypical of such) with income/money who will spend anything in trying to gain quality time with their 8-12 year old children, who are increasingly self obsessed with their own tech, as they get older. i.e. its aiming to extend the years you can still interact and do stuff with your children. People will pay good money for that.

        The presentations were awful, almost laughable. The hardware is sound though (firmware permitting), thank god. Panos, for all his verbal, its actually a well thought through, decent bit of kit and crucially, no doubt it will sell to both 'Pushy Parents' and designers. This will be profitable, I'm 100% sure.

        For US readers: *John Lewis is very well thought 'aspirational' Department Store in the UK, for all your middle class essentials. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for, mostly. When life reaches that point of being comfortable.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

          John Lewis IS cheap, in that they price match against competitors even after you've purchased and give you a good 2 year warranty. I've never thought of John Lewis as middle class or aspirational. That's more a House of Fraser tag.

          1. Avatar of They
            Meh

            Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

            Whaaa? John Lewis ain't no PC world. They are definitely pointing to people with money. They are a main street Ikea in they sell you tat for your house you didn't know you needed till you walked into the store.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

              John Lewis price match Currys/PCWorld prices, even their online prices, then give you a solid 2 year warranty plus genuine customer service. If they stock what you want then they are the better option for anyone with any sense, not just high income folk.

        2. Tony Paulazzo

          Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

          John Lewis is...

          Not only price match, two year warranty as standard, they also have the best customer service I've ever found. If they say they'll ring you back - they do! Take that Curries / PCWorld. They don't try and hard sell you extended warranties and are happy to discuss what a customer needs as opposed to what gets the best commission.

          I don't work for John Lewis (honest), but I'll happily point customers their way looking for new PCs.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

            John Lewis is also owned by its employees.

            http://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/about.html

            No, I don't work for them either, they're just a good shop. :)

            1. Alien8n Silver badge

              Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

              My daughter works for them. Prices are even better once you add the 25% (12% for electrical stuff) staff discount :)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

            Also John Lewis (of which the stores are a part) is a co-op, an employee-owned company where each employee gets a degree of say in the makeup of the board, has a means to express their opinion, and receives a share of the profitability of the company.

            So there's an incentive for the staff to get it right.

            (I'll let them off the time when in setting up my father's ipad for him (part of the sale price, or a reasonably priced extra? - I don't remember) they created an apple ID and significantly misspelt his name.)

        3. Blotto Bronze badge

          Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

          @ Adam Jarvis

          whats so wrong with investing in tech that will increase the amount of quality time you have with your kids/family/friends?

          tech is a tool we use to do things, if you can't use it to give you more time to spend on the things you love your doing it wrong.

          1. Adam Jarvis

            Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

            Nothing wrong in that at all, I'm just making the point that Microsoft are marketing this, by pulling on the 'Pushy Parent' heartstrings. You could of course, just take them to some rock pools on a beach, and they'll be just as happy. It's much more fun making '3D sand castles' on a real beach.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

        > It's a top-end device. The market for that is pretty small.

        How many people said that about the iPhone when it was launched? The iPhone proved that if you sell something widely perceived as desirable, there will be no shortage of eager punters keen to be seen with one. OK so this is several times more expensive, but as with premium cars, if it turns out to be regarded as cool or something only successful people can afford, then a vast number of shallow victims will gladly put a deep dent in their finances for such a status symbol.

        I'll need to see one in person before I decide what the status of this particular symbol is.

        1. Blotto Bronze badge

          Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

          @AC

          some people just don't get it do they.

          you pay for what you get, if you can't perceive the value then its clearly not for you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

      now that Microsoft is making its own hardware how will this impinge on the current OEM hardware makers.

      Given how badly they screwed up in the past I suspect they won't be *that* worried just yet. They'll just wait. In that context, it's a shame it runs Windows. Imagine what a more capable OS would be able to do with that sort of hardware if it didn't have to waste it on Microsoft's inefficient code.

      The second issue I see is the target market. It's an expensive device for a market that is fairly saturated, a sort very late me-too. Let's call it a Zune-alike idea. From a corporate perspective, if you already have an established infrastructure (read: hardware, software, people trained on it and a full eco system of support) it is rather risky to gamble on Yet Another Microsoft Ploy to come off its traditional desktop rails and both waste a lot of money on kit and ruin people's productivity in the process.

      I can see this end up on executives desks because, well, shiny, but I would be surprised if the target market picks it up as quick as MS seems to think. Or maybe the next Win10 patch now comes with a feature to aggressively remove Adobe design software?

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        Executive shiny

        Yep won't be long before we have senior peeps demanding access to these toys for reasons.

        We're just about to start handing out expensive Surface 4 tablets instead of much cheaper laptops because reasons so this isn't a huge step.

        It actually looks quite nice but at that price it's a vanity purchase for most.

        The MS knob looks interesting as well and might well be worth the price just for the office innuendo potential.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Windows

          Re: Executive shiny

          Having bought a Surface Pro 4 out of my own pocket, I will happily confirm that it is worth every penny. Beautiful, very well thought-out piece of kit, with functionality that makes other laptops look like they're out of the '90s.

          GJC

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

      MS has them by the short and curlies.

      MS wins all round.

      As for the 'marketing picture' there is obviously a lot od photoshopping (or even MS-Painting) going on. After all how does the device display a screen with no power cables?

      Oh wait, this is Microsoft not Apple (where everything is magic).

    4. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Surface Studio

      Its base price is comparable with the new Apple laptops. You get a lot more machine than the Apple offerings.

      This means War.....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective.

    So all that it needs now is to replace the OS with Linux then ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hybrid Raid SSD

      It has already been discussed, the SSD in the Surface Studio is looking very much like the Lenovo Hybrid Raid SSD that doesn't have Linux Drivers (yet). Not yet confirmed though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hybrid Raid SSD

        the Lenovo Hybrid Raid SSD that doesn't have Linux Drivers (yet)

        Gosh, what an absolutely AMAZING coincidence. We've only ever encountered that problem for, what? The entire lifespan of Linux minus the few years it took for MS to realise it was taking its lunch?

        I reckon that must have been absolutely key in the selection process: "We'll buy a couple of containers full of your devices, provided you sign here, yes, there, thanks, for never producing or assisting in the creation of Linux drivers".

        New machine, decades old tactic. Don't you Linux guys feel loved now? It's too early to give you an "I told you so" about the Microsoft "embracement" of Linux, but here's your first sign because hardware normally gets Linux support well before MS because it's easier with an open, fully documented approach.

        So let's wait and see.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Hybrid Raid SSD

          >>Gosh, what an absolutely AMAZING coincidence. We've only ever encountered that problem for, what? The entire lifespan of Linux minus the few years it took for MS to realise it was taking its lunch?"

          Is it a coincidence that new and recent hardware doesn't have Open Source drivers for it, yet? I mean you seem to be hinting at some AMAZING (tm) conspiracy, but Open Source has almost always lagged behind for new hardware support. You can't really expect MS to hold off on buying something until there are Linux drivers.

          1. Poncey McPonceface

            Re: Hybrid Raid SSD

            > I mean you seem to be hinting at some AMAZING (tm) conspiracy, but Open Source has almost always lagged behind for new hardware support.

            @h4rm0ny

            That's absolutely not the case. There have been many instances in recent years where Linux had working drivers for kit before or at the same time a proprietary OS did. A lot of the times now Linux is used to develop hardware. I'm not hinting at any conspiracy. I'm also not trying to play partisan games here. I'm merely suggesting that it is in the best interest of tech companies *as well as* consumers for hardware to be fully documented. This is not news. I'm worried with the announcement of the Google Pixel, Microsoft Studio, and upcoming Apple Macbooks that the personal computer arena is regressing rather than progressing.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective.

      Until Linux supports all the touch/pen/dial features, you would just spend a lot of money for a device you can't fully use. It looks MS understood it needs high-end hardware to sell an OS many would like to avoid...

      1. Ragarath
        Coat

        Re: surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective.

        Isn't Linux Open Source? Write your own drivers? Wasn't this part of the whole point with Linux that you can write what is not supplied?

        It feels like the new users of Linux want everything handed to them on a plate, you know like Windows and MacOS do.

        It feels like a protest vote at times from people, rather than using the software that fits your need. Yes your need not what others tell you is bad because it is from X company.

        Rant off, I'll get my coat.

        1. Poncey McPonceface

          Re: surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective.

          > Isn't Linux Open Source? Write your own drivers? Wasn't this part of the whole point with Linux that you can write what is not supplied?

          @Ragarath

          But it would be nice not to reverse engineer hardware specs. It'd be nice if the big tech companies with more money than they know what to do with spent some of that dosh on documenting the hardware so that Penguinistas could write drivers for the hardware *if they so wished*. Also, wouldn't it be nice to be able to write Windows drivers for Macbook / Airbook hardware and run Windows on Apple kit? Think about the big picture mate!

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "spent some of that dosh on documenting the hardware so that Penguinistas"

            From their point of view, why should they? Their business is sell their products, not help someone else to impact their revenues selling less. If I were a shareholder, I would question any such decision.

            As long as they don't put specif locks to forbid any third party OS or application, it's fine. Of how many devices of yours you have full blueprints and specifications?

            1. Poncey McPonceface

              Re: "spent some of that dosh on documenting the hardware so that Penguinistas"

              > From their point of view, why should they?

              Because there is good will generated if they play nice with others. And there is ill will generated if they don't. We have seen it time and time again. One has to offset the good will gained with losing some, but not much, competitive advantage. I believe that one then grows the entire market and grabs a smaller slice of a much bigger pie. Standards foster innovation at least as much (if not more) as competition.

              Why is Microsoft the behemoth that they are? Yes, their OS was locked down, and they abused their monopoly position, but the hardware platform was always relatively open. It took me many years to see this. It's not just about free software / open source. There's hardware, wire protocols, encodings, file formats, repositories, and finally code. Lots of places where a company can choose to go their own way or not. I've listed at least six places where choices can be made to choose an open standard, I'm sure you could name some more.

              Focussing purely on software (like I did for many years) blinds you to all the locations where a tech company can lock down its ecosystem. Microsoft has in fact always participated in a more open ecosystem than Apple. Indeed, Apple have piggy-backed on an open hardware ecosystem. The app store on iOS and macOS are classic examples of Apple wanting to wall off its customers. Can you imagine if we could persuade Microsoft to create an open app store? that would be amazing. Microsoft were forced to document their Office file formats because of pressure from LibreOffice. The internet and the web or the vibrant places they are because of about protocols and formats.

              Let's encourage PC (let's not forget the P in PC stands for personal) vendors of all stripes to abide by some kind of PC charter. I applaud what Facebook and other are doing on the server-side of the fence with open data centre specifications. Mobile will be a struggle especially with the baseband module being locked down. Let's keep the laptop/desktop market at least relatively open or all our advances in free software / open source will mean nothing if it doesn't speak to the kit we buy.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "spent some of that dosh on documenting the hardware so that Penguinistas"

                Because there is good will generated if they play nice with others. And there is ill will generated if they don't. We have seen it time and time again. One has to offset the good will gained with losing some, but not much, competitive advantage. I believe that one then grows the entire market and grabs a smaller slice of a much bigger pie. Standards foster innovation at least as much (if not more) as competition.

                The market capitalisation of Microsoft suggests otherwise. MS only started to play nice with others when the costs and possible profit impact became greater than the profit they made with keeping things proprietary, and even then they have only done that for as long as that benefit existed.

                Don't get me wrong, I'm no friend of them and their tactics, but the hard numbers are there. The trick is getting so big that any fines you incur from misbehaving can just vanish in your books as the cost of doing business.

              2. LDS Silver badge

                "Because there is good will generated if they play nice"

                What's the exchange rate of "good will"? Businesses look at revenues. If "good will" generate revenues, why not? But if "good will" actually decrease revenues, don't expect much "good will".

                For example, why Google doesn't open its search engine technology in a "good will" attempt to increase the number of usable search engines? Of course, from their point of view, it would be very sill for them to kill their golden eggs chicken. They can show "good will" in other areas, where the return in image is far bigger than lost revenues, if any. Just like MS does open source some code that doesn't really hurt its balance sheet.

              3. torgo

                Re: "spent some of that dosh on documenting the hardware so that Penguinistas"

                It's never enough, is it?

                Microsoft is a SOFTWARE company playing in the hardware space. It seems a lot of their software efforts are working in conjunction with Open Source. It's a strategy that can benefit both MS and the open source community.

                So we have more harping that "MS is again trying to screw everyone 'cuz they don't have open source drivers for their hardware". Seems to me that you are whining that MS has produced a nice piece of kit, and you want to use it to run Linux. And you can't wait for the eventual drivers to be written / reverse engineered (who knows, maybe MS will eventually do it).

                Microsoft is a business. They are no longer the ascendant monsters that haunt your nightmares. They are a company trying to keep relevant in a time of great disruption across the computer (hardware and software) industries. Do they always play nice? No. Same goes for Apple and Google. Do they want to make money? Sure. At least their software play can show some immediate benefit for the company. "Generating goodwill" is the sort of paffle that folks who want somebody ELSE to spend THEIR money throw around.

                If you don't like what they are doing, DON'T buy or use their products.

            2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

              Re: "spent some of that dosh on documenting the hardware so that Penguinistas"

              RE "From their point of view, why should they? Their business is sell their products, not help someone else to impact their revenues selling less. If I were a shareholder, I would question any such decision"

              They are selling hardware. Whether the user is Linux or Windows, they would still be selling hardware. I think there is no conspiracy here, just plain old economic considerations. - Is the cost of developing drivers for Linux greater than the cost of the hardware they will sell? If so then why bother?

              1. LDS Silver badge

                Re: "spent some of that dosh on documenting the hardware so that Penguinistas"

                No, MS is not just selling hardware (just like Apple doesn't sell hardware only). Sell a Surface to sell Windows 10 to sell other MS product/services (and get user data for free also meanwhile). I'm afraid the business model is this - if people run Linux all the non-hardware revenues are lost.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Write your own drivers?

          It's not just the drivers - the applications also needs to be designed to be able to exploit the new features.

          1. JoJ
            WTF?

            Re: Write your own drivers? IF THERE IS DEMAND, SELL DRIVERS!

            Is there not a *market* for commercially written Linux drivers?

            When buying premium machines for ergonomic features, I am valuing those against the cost of employee talent. In the same way NVidia can charge a significant premium for the latest Quadros, if a Surface Studio is what my talent can work better with, I will pay accordingly.

            Who commented in the thread about releasing hardware specs, to enable drivers to be written, surely these would be provided, for a price, to a trustworthy outfit.

            When NVidia first gave BLOBs, the horse was not so much looked in the mouth, as whipped for not winning the race the new owners so brilliantly rewarded the givers of their gifts. I am afraid Stallman created a poisonous rift in manufacturing a kind of self described evangelist who only was seen by normal folk as disruptive, at best. That resulted in the worst possible marketing for Linux in regular office contexts. Indeed I believe The Year Of Desktop Linux has been poisoned, until the legacy of technical apartheid finally leaves the Linux hordes.

            After all, it is high value work. If you can write a good driver for immensely sophisticated hardware, or equally have the deep skills to provide a smooth, seamless, HighDPI UI/UX, you would be questioned hard by your wife, for working for free on such a involved, attention hungry (so family unfriendly) project.

            For Linux to be a First Class Citizen, it has to behave more maturely, I believe, than it does now. The culture prohibits necessary growth. Growing up does not just mean the maturity to admit that you will always (in a clear and honest fashion that is obviously a superior management interface or mode human discourse) bawl out your key talent with potty mouthed dismissals. At least BG did that behind closed doors, and he was perennially inseparable from his speccy-spotty youthful image, until recently.

            I'll put a price on what I would pay for Linux drivers AND a consistent HighDPI UI: $300.

            It is easily worth that, if I or colleagues can work with greater ease with the ergonomics of a computer.

            Meanwhile, I genuinely think that Ubuntu will soon enough be a first class citizen, thanks to WSL, for most purposes, on the Windows desktop.

            But there are many more capabilities I want to use in Linux, than I believe will ever suit confinement within the NT kernel, because of the kernel accommodations specifically.

            I nevertheless broadly agree that Microsoft would do itself a immense favour, in making the Surface Studio a Linux developer machine. Ideally providing a virtualisation in which both Windows and Linux could be pass through guest OSs, as even the free VMWare offering can do, in some hardware configurations. There is even a cachet that would attach to the Studio, in so doing.

        3. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective.

          It feels like the new users of Linux want everything handed to them on a plate, you know like Windows and MacOS do.

          You may not be totally off-base there. Linux is so easily installed in the last eight-ten years, it's lowered the bar to adoption quite a bit. Quite a vocal group has emerged demanding change instantly without understanding a fair percentage of the codebase for 'Linux overall is produced on a voluntary/unpaid and spare-time basis.

          The 'protest' voters will wander back to Windows or off to MacOS when they realise they've picked an OS that doesn't suit their needs one bit. I encountered one recently on another forum who had the rather bitter sentiment that 'Linux had failed him.

      2. Poncey McPonceface

        Re: surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective.

        > Until Linux supports all the touch/pen/dial features, you would just spend a lot of money for a device you can't fully use. It looks MS understood it needs high-end hardware to sell an OS many would like to avoid...

        @LDS

        You may have a point. Hit the nail on the head you have, When you put this together with Apple's new function-bar-strip plus touch-id reader which undoubtedly also does not have drivers then we have the worrying trend that PC hardware which has been traditionally open(-ish) is being made more closed by two of the world's biggest tech companies. I would not be surprised if this was a deliberate tactic. It is as much about building walled gardens in the middle of the open(-ish) PC ecosystem as it is about innovation.

        The people here suggesting that OEMs ought to do hardware innovation like this are speaking out of their hats. The normal way the PC hardware industry has worked for 30 years is that a standard is born, de facto or otherwise and the OEMs manufacture to those templates. Same goes for box builders and peripheral makers. I'm all for hardware innovation but do you trust every shop to bundle Linux drivers with their new innovative tech? No, didn't think so. I has taken 50 years to get a semi-open PC ecosystem. Have we forgotten the days when networking kit only worked with a particular OS? Do we want to go back to those days?

        When Apple launches new shiny laptop features (tied to macOS) and Microsoft launches new shiny laptop and desktop features (tied to Windows) and Google launches new shiny phone features (tied to its flavour of Android) what we geeks need to be doing is calling them out on not creating open hardware standards. Forget about your stupid fan-boy and -girl partisanship for a while can you not? Stop Apple bashing and Microsoft bashing. It's getting really old really quickly. I can barely read the comment section here any more. We get it. You hate *insert object of hate* here. Keep it to yourself. Nobody cares.

        Rant over :)

    3. Poncey McPonceface

      Re: surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective.

      > So all that it needs now is to replace the OS with Linux then ?

      Why not have it so it can run both, or either. Why is it always, "my team or no team"?

    4. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: surprisingly good – at least from a hardware perspective.

      "So all that it needs now is to replace the OS with Linux then ?"

      - Given the option, many might say yes. Concerns over the long term life of the device due to graphics chip-set aside, it's an interesting piece of kit for some use-cases due to the large screen and it's hinge arrangement, and the specs are quite good on most fronts.

      I have doubts about general usefulness of the 'puck', it seems an interesting novelty, but a novelty none the less, a good pen input device has more flexibility in use, and I see nothing in it's use that could not be achieved with a well designed responsive touch dialog. I for one would not regret it becoming junk if I bought one of these to put 'Linux on.

      Not that it'll be an easily achieved task with it no doubt locked down.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I couldn't imagine having to use windows. Good hardware doesn't help that turd. Posix - anything from macOS to Gentoo

    1. h4rm0ny

      "Posix"? Seriously? POSIX is pre-object orientated and antiquated. It was designed to try and bring some much needed consistency to the mess of different UNIXs out there. That doesn't mean Windows should follow it. It's not suitable for Windows at all, given that the entire Windows environment is Object Orientated and pretty much every interface in the OS is exposed as an object. Why the Hell would POSIX be an advantage for Windows?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Happy

        Ask Nadella, he's just put it in Windows 10.

        Win32 is mostly designed to be called from C, so not very OO.

        1. Geoffrey W Silver badge
          Happy

          @dan 55

          Is there such a thing as Object Orientation defined at the hardware level? I'm no hardware expert so am open to errors in what I say but OO is a human concept and it will be introduced at some higher level. In windows that level is above win32 so doesn't really matter that the win32 API is not OO. Whether or not you program OO depends upon the level you are working at. As for POSIX in windows; if enough people use the API then its worth including.

          Hmmm. suddenly unsure what the argument is now. Are we arguing? I don't feel like I am so, have a nice day y'all! :-P

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            It was alleged that Windows is object orientated and the POSIX API is therefore unsuitable. I answered that POSIX is as object orientated as Win32.

            Anyway, yes, the point is more or less moot with the c++ stdlib.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Windows isn't OO.

            It's uh-oh.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (Creative?)

    Not with Windows.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: (Creative?)

      It is true you need to be very creative to overcome the many Linux desktop software limitations...

  5. hplasm Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "People like ultimate laptop and we wanted to keep that title..."

    When did MS get that title?

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: "People like ultimate laptop and we wanted to keep that title..."

      With the Surface Book.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "People like ultimate laptop and we wanted to keep that title..."

      well, they got the title from the Microsoft Best Ever Laptop Award Panel....

      or am I just an old cynic, and that "ultimate laptop title" is truly something else, i.e. a marketing fart, carefully grown for such presentations?

  6. King Jack
    Facepalm

    Track Record

    Once again everyone fails to remember. M$ has a proven track record of being the world leaders in 'Abandonware'. I'll give this 18 months before it is discontinued and the fools that bought it will be surprised, yet again. Please remember that this comes with keylogger pre-installed and everything you do on it will be reported back to M$. Open you wallets... idiots. It is SHINNY!!

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Track Record

      This has all the hallmarks of a limited edition. At least the software and chip set is fairly Windows standard (not an RT Winphone job).

      Doesn't prevent them changing design on the puck at some stage so a new one is needed or abandoning the bright idea at some point for a new bright idea, and if it breaks down and there's none left for replacement they may not be anything remotely similar on the market.

      What's a little keylogging to the privacy unaware when they share their most intimate details with FB, Google (plus all and sundery) already?

  7. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Nice hardware, but...

    So it like an iMac, but with a privacy-slurping OS that gains you a few more programs you could use on it?

    1. Edwin

      Re: Nice hardware, but...

      Sorry, which privacy-slurping OS are we talking about here? Windows or iOS?

      Sadly, it seems unavoidable that we will end up sacrificing privacy on mainstream OSes since you can't use a "store" without sacrificing your privacy and an increasing number of software vendors deliver software only through these storefronts.

      And so privacy on the desktop goes the way of privacy on the mobile.

    2. cambsukguy

      Re: Nice hardware, but...

      iMac's have a touch-screen OS now?

      I am here regularly, I have never seen that.

      Does it run iOS to do it? Is it pen-capable, on the screen without a digitiser tablet.

      I am so far from the target market that I can just be jealous of the drawing type people that could use it.

      But I do recall Scott Adams (Dilbert fame) switched to drawing on screen directly as soon as technically possible "Because any other limitation was superseded by the drawing on the screen thing". I paraphrase and admit he is no artist per see but I understand his point and agree using just common sense.

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Re: Nice hardware, but...

        Scott Adams is an artist in humour, not drawing, though his drawing complements his humour perfectly so is exactly what is needed. If he drew perfect representations of his characters I suspect this would detract from the humour. I suspect we are all living in Dilberts world and that Adams is the architect of what we experience - i.e. the joke God sitting at his computer screen wondering what he can torment us with today.

  8. king_tut

    Updated Surface Book

    Any more details on the upgraded CPU? I thought it was just the same i7-6600U that was in the highest end Surface Book - certainly isn't Kaby Lake. I had thought the "Surface Book i7" name was daft - the "Surface Book with Performance Base" being used on the MS (USA) Store is much more descriptive - the new Surface Book SKU seems to be the same i7 tablet/screen, but with a modified base (extra battery, new dGPU, better cooling).

    Any news on when the Surface Book i7/performance base will be available in the UK? I ask the 'experts' on the MS (UK) Store, and they didn't know.

    Personally I'm excited - I'm in the market for a new laptop, and was looking at Hybrids, but wanted a bit more oompf than was currently available. This new iteration is just good enough for me to justify getting it, as I want something which can be used for gaming.

  9. Archivist

    At last

    A Windows desktop PC with some style. Shame about the price tag.

  10. SVV Silver badge

    In summary.....

    Microsoft intends to compete with Apple to hopefully grab some of the almost 100% market share in the creative sector they currently enjoy, and have done for a very very long time becoming the only viable standard because people have spent many many years becoming skilled in using Apple kit.

    And how do they expect to do this?

    With expensive hardware containing the first new version of Microsoft Paint for over 20 years. And running Windows 10.

    Good luck with that.

    1. mmeier

      Re: In summary.....

      Actually the Surface Studio is a closer competition for this beast:

      http://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/cintiq-27-qhd-touch

      Just with NTrig pen (MS owns part of that company). Given that NTrig Support in W10 is on par with the (excellent) Wacom support and the "typical" tools all exist on Windows for those jobs the work environment is there. And the Studio actually has better color management/range than the Wacom unit removing the need to switch monitors during photo retouching.

      Pricing also "fits the range".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In summary.....

      You do know that Paint isn't exclusive to this and it's not aimed for this market. It's just a side note.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Definitely interested, but at that price I need some answers.

    1) What components in the base unit can I upgrade myself

    2) Can I replace the base unit entirely a few years down the line while retaining the display

    Lastly, I'm not paying that much for old GPU tech, it needs the new GTX 10x line.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Architecturally, the 10x line isn't really any different to its predecessor. Pascal is just die-shrunk Maxwell. I'd be far mor interested to see what AMD's Vega would look like in this. Polaris brought a number of new features that are interesting over Pascal. , it's just that it was aimed at the larger mainstream market than the high-end. Vega should be the same but high-end.

  12. Mage Silver badge

    with virtually no lag on the unit we tried out when using the Surface pen or a mouse and keyboard

    What?

    That is so pathetic. ANY lag is stupid.

    I have no lag with keyboard, mouse and Wacom digitiser on a 14 year old 1600 x 1200 screen computer with XP. and none on my modern Linux box with two 1600 x 1200 screens.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Surface pens

      IMHO one of the worst changes in the Surface line is having replaced the Wacom digitizer with the Bluetooth technology MS bought. Those devices need batteries, and IMHO are slower.

      1. mmeier

        Re: Surface pens

        There is no "Bluetooth" tech. It is an NTrig pen, the old "rival" of WACOM used in quite a few other systems and around for a loooong time. For long it lacked good drivers but ever since MS bought a chunk of NTrig THAT was fixed (Around the same time they switched to NTrig on the S/Ps IIRC).

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Surface pens

          Still, unlike the Wacom digitizer which use passive pens, doesn't require batteries and doesn't require Bluetooth active, the NTrig pens require batteries and Bluetooth active - hence the "Bluetooth technology".

      2. HandleAlreadyTaken

        Re: Surface pens

        For what it's worth, Gabe from Penny Arcade has received a Surface Studio (the lowest specced one, with an i5 and 8 Gb RAM) and played with it for a bit. Here's his take on it after using it for a week: https://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2016/10/26/the-surface-studio . A relevant quote: "Tycho asked me to compare it to my Cintiq, and I told him that drawing on the Cintiq now felt like drawing on a piece of dirty plexiglass hovering over a CRT monitor from 1997."

    2. mmeier

      Re: with virtually no lag on the unit we tried out when using the Surface pen or...

      Well this is theReg so the MUST find something "baaaad" with MS. My guess - no one except some "tech journalists" will ever notice lag.

  13. Mage Silver badge

    May sell well

    Suspiciously shiny and styled.

    I prefer desk stuff not styled to look good in a showroom, but unobtrusive, dark matt finish. No shine or gloss.

    Also I prefer cabled keyboard & mouse. I see no advantage to Bluetooth.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: May sell well

      Actually there is an advantage in wireless components. I work from home most of the week. My two cats have access to the detached office (too much hassle to try to keep them out). One has a great fascination with cables around the desktop. Going wireless made a great difference (no, non lethal aversion therapy had no effect).

      OK, a little bit niche, and I have a round of batteries being charged a lot of the time, but hey, a small advantage. That and clearing the desk a little. YMMV

    2. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: May sell well

      This is where Logitech have it right with some of their higher end keyboard and mouse sets, they're Bluetooth, but come with USB charging cables, so you have the best of both worlds in a away. And their design is better than Apple's Magic Mouse design, where the charging socket is underneath, so you can't use the mouse when charging... (this seems to be a recurring theme for Apple recently, with the iPhone 7 being unable to use cabled headphones while charging)

  14. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Weird...

    ...

    "No. Put everything in the slab."

    "Why? It has a heavy base. Let's put some of the circuitry in the base. It'll be better."

    "No. Put everything in the slab."

    "Why? It's, as you said, a Desk Slab. Let's put some in the base."

    "No. Put everything in the slab."

    ...

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Weird...

      It is in the base isn't it?

      Are you saying the CPU is in the screen/slab?

      One could imagine the GPU being in there but then you realise it can't because then everything would have to be in there, can't see a bus that fast between the base and the screen.

      I think it is all in the base, makes the screen that much easier to be thin.

      Perhaps the screen is simply HDMI connected even, with a USB3 device for the touch system, it would be fine as that has no lag at all compared to BLE pens etc. Then it would be a usable screen for other machines and replacement bases. Probably not though, HDMI would be a waste and there is probably an actual HDMI feed for a second screen/display.

      I could see the mechanism having a rotate facility added in the next version though, very nice stuff.

  15. IHateWearingATie
    Gimp

    Of course MS were going to bring out a new Surface Book

    .... as I had just got my new one. The law of Sod mandated it.

    Still, work paid for it so I'm not out of pocket, and so far its a very fine work laptop which allows me to play the occasional game on it when I'm away from home :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good spec

    Nice screen.

    Reasonable RAM.

    Solid CPU.

    Discrete graphics.

    All good so far.

    But will it run Linux?

    I love the idea of a Surface form factor machine, but one that can run Linux from as near to release as possible with minimal fuss.

    I dont know why Microsoft don't just make hardware...they arent bad at it...its their software that stinks.

    I used to swear by Microsoft peripherals.

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Good spec

      Reasonable RAM.

      2-4 GB RAM is reasonable?

      I guess it is fine if you don't actually want to do anything on it.

      Given it has (presumably) reasonable i5/i7 CPU and rather nice resolution, I would expect the target market to expect a lot more RAM than that.

      1. HandleAlreadyTaken

        Re: Good spec

        2-4 GB is the graphics card RAM only; the lowest spec comes with 8 GB system RAM, and the highest with 32 GB

  17. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Nice review.

    Nice review. It tells me more or less the same as the original launch review.

    When is the Hands On article coming?

  18. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    A Suspicion

    That MS's affirmative action recruitment policies may have placed too many people suffering Down's Syndrome in its hardware division.

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