Microsoft Surface Studio: A Great PC, What About Store and Online Availability?

Microsoft Surface Studio

When Microsoft Surface Studio was launched in late October 2016, it hogged a lot of the limelight at the Windows 10 Creators Update event. A few early buyers started receiving their PCs back in December, and some even received notifications of a November shipping date. Since then, however, things appear to have slowed almost to a halt.

You can order one now, but the only option on Microsoft Store is the base model – 1 TB, Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 2GB GPU – that’s retailing at $2,999. On Best Buy, availability is extremely “iffy”, and pretty much depends on your zip code.

Microsoft Surface Studio

The last we heard, Microsoft Surface Studio was to be shipped on March 31, which is exactly a week from now. The general hope among Microsoft fans is that it will ship with Windows 10 Creators Update out of the box, and that might still be a possibility.

If you want one of the higher-end Core i7 models with 1TB or 2TB memory, you’ll have to wait until May 15 before it’s shipped.

Microsoft Studio Surface

The description shows the PC as coming with Windows 10 Pro and 6th Gen Intel Core processors, but the specs could change prior to shipping.

The device itself has supposedly a stunner, and works really well for designers, judging from the reviews. Here are some excerpts from reviews on Microsoft Store:

“Right out of the box this system has become a must have item for the entire family. We love the pen and the dial. My kids use the Studio to draw pictures and play minecraft, while I use it to review and mark-up documents for work. I now prefer using this to having a printed document given the screen clarity, ability to zoom in on small print, and the pen/inking features which accommodate my very messy handwriting. I had been using (and still use) the surface book, so it was easy to get started on this system and recommend drawboard pdf as your first download if you do document review. Can’t wait to start editing our go pro video with this. Enjoy.”

“I cannot understand why they did not include a full SSD configuration. In my day to day usage of this computer, the hard drive really slows down applications’ loading. That is my only gripe of this computer. Wasting 15 more seconds loading heavy applications each time vs. a real SSD really consumes a lot of time when you combine all the time lost in the long run. I would pay for a full SSD configuration, but there is not even one for me to buy.”

“The cool thing about this device is that it makes you want to do cool stuff. My kids are often are more interested in coloring, painting and drawing than they are in video games or even streaming video because the Surface Studio creates so many possibilities. Even organizing clippings, resources and notes for a document is more engaging and seamless when you tilt the screen down and use the touch and pen inputs. Even making notes to yourself or shopping lists feels more natural with the multiple ways of interacting with the computer.”

“Windows Hello face recognition works as well as the demonstrations have shown, even when your kids look a lot alike.”

So, there’s obviously a mixed response with some of them not fully satisfied with the product. However, considering that it’s a high-end PC, the specs aren’t uber-impressive unless you’re willing to put down $4,200 for the top model.

This is Microsoft’s first attempt at creating its own PC experience, and from a creativity perspective it beats even iMacs hands down. The touch interface, obviously is the biggest attraction, and the fact that you can tilt it backwards to 20 degrees like a drawing board. The Surface Dial – was free but is now a paid option – needs some getting used to since it’s a relatively new type of input device that most of us won’t be familiar with. However, a lot of users do say that it’s quite intuitive, so there’s that.

Even though the price may be right for such a flexible device, the non-availability is causing the heat of the launch to cool down quite a bit. A lot of people might not want to wait until May to get their mid- or top-end Microsoft Surface Studio. Demand wasn’t all that great over the holiday quarter, with only an estimated 15,000 units sold during the period – with an upper limit of 30,000. Estimates for Q1 2017 show a similar figure.

Considering that Apple ships about 3-4 million iMacs a year, Surface Studio sales certainly pale in comparison.

But in defense of Microsoft, Surface Studio is a brand new attempt at AIO PCs by Microsoft, so a lot of bugs needs to be ironed out in terms of specs not being enough, users needing more education and information around the device prior to ordering and so on.

Our hope is that Surface Studio availability will increase over the next few months, and that it will be more widely available across the world. Windows 10 Creators Update coming out of the box might certainly help boost sales, but until we have at least four quarters of quarter over quarter sales information, it’s going to be hard to peg the Microsoft Surface Studio as a success or a failure.

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