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Microsoft Surface Studio vs iMac: design, specifications, prices

Last week, Microsoft introduced its own Surface computer monobloc Studio, which is aimed at designers, photographers and all users whose profession is somehow connected with creativity. Conceptually it resembles the iMac – monoblock computer, on which you can work out of the box. However, by themselves, computers are very different, but since it turned out that Microsoft is positioning Surface as the main Studio iMac competitor, we offer to your attention a comparative overview of the devices.


This is perhaps the killer feature and the most recognizable element of both computers. For comparison, we choose the 27-inch iMac Retina 5K display which has a resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels (14.7 million pixels), which is 7 times the resolution of HD screens. The density of dots per inch is 217 ppi. Screen 28-inch computer from Microsoft received permission 4500 x 3000 and a density of 192 ppi. It’s not a very big difference in principle, but for desktops it is all erased. For comparison, the density of the points 7 on the iPhone is 326 ppi, the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2015 – 220 ppi.

However, the density of pixels per inch – not the most important parameter by which to identify which screen is better. More important than the color accuracy. And there seems to be parity. Both computers support sRGB, and DCI-P3, with which colors of an image look brighter, more realistic and allow to examine even more details.


Microsoft has done a great job trying to make Surface Studio comfortable and practical. If the iMac is a huge monitor that rests on a slim and elegant stand, and all components are hidden under the display, the Surface Studio “stuffing” to fit directly into the stand in which the system of levers and springs almost completely hides the panel weight. This allowed to make the maximum possible thin screen thickness 12 mm, than can not boast of iMac.

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While the Surface design Studio allows you to move the device in the space, transforming it into a large tablet. In this sense, Surface Studio is more versatile than the iMac.


The top Surface Studio boasts an Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, hybrid SSD/HDD 2 TB, as well as discrete graphics GTX 980M. And despite impressive at first glance, the characteristics, the weak point of the system is the video card. Released in 2014, the GTX 980M is inferior to modern alternatives, because now some models used GTX 1080M. Of course, the outdated GPU significantly reduces the cost of the computer, but then how can you say that the Surface Studio designed for professionals, if the graphics can fail at a crucial moment?

On the other hand, the iMac, too, can boast of powerful graphics subsystem. The best video card available to customers of “Apple” AIO PC – AMD M395X with 4 gigabytes of GDDR5. GTX 980M shows better results in synthetic tests. Thus, another point in favor of Microsoft.

Input devices

On the iMac, you use a keyboard and mouse (and sometimes the Magic Trackpad, but it is not included), and the keyboard is not fundamentally changed for more than 30 years. In turn, Surface Studio gets a 28-inch screen, which responds to pressing with your fingers and a special stylus. Separately, Microsoft offers controller-“puck”, which was named Surface Dial – like hardware access to the context menu. Its support is integrated at the operating system level — that is, can be used even in a text editor, for example, to animate a handwritten visa on the document.

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In Microsoft, it seems, are so confident of the universality of this washer in conjunction with a stylus that during the presentation gadget classic keyboard and mouse practically does not appear. But it was a lot of potential users – all kinds of artists and animators who told me how they now conveniently all in one device and without paper scripts, and storyboards.


In General, it is obvious that Microsoft is seriously targeting the professional segment, until recently, firmly occupied the iMac. But Apple recent years clearly pays more attention to consumer products — well, except that the release of iPad Pro pleased mobile artists, and the same current Mac Pro has introduced over 3 years ago.

In Redmond probably saw this as his chance and price on Surface Studio set relatively low. The most affordable version of Surface Studio will cost $3000 – the same product from Apple will be worth $1800. Top configuration Surface Studio are $4200 and $3400 dollars respectively. Here the victory is on the side of the iMac – the Apple solution much more affordable for ordinary consumers.

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