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Check out the awesome ways these apps use the Surface Dial

Though it was a relatively minor part of Microsoft's Surface Studio announcement, the Surface Dial accessory looks like it's set to make a big splash. In a new series of videos posted to the official Surface YouTube channel, Microsoft has highlighted how 5 different apps are already leveraging the Surface Dial to enable new, unique interactions that only add to the experience. Check them out in the gallery below.

Each developer has found a natural, unique way to use the Surface Dial in their app, and the results are pretty spectacular. On top of that, the variety of apps involved shows that the Surface Dial has true appeal as a tool across a number of different categories ranging from architecture to music composition and drawing.

As a reminder, the Surface Dial is available for pre-order now for $100, and is currently set to ship by December 15. While the dial works with all Windows 10 devices, it will require a Surface Studio to be used attached to a screen.

Are you excited to give the Surface Dial a try? Let us know in the comment below how you're planning to use it!

Thanks to Tanzim for the tip!

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to

  • Lightroom - using it to adjust the sliders would be fantastic (assuming Adobe provides support)
  • Photoshop too!
  • It would be handy in all the Adobe products.
  • Honestly, the Dial has me just as excited as the Surface Studio.
  • Considering this will likely offer funcitonality across ANY Windows 10 device (touchscreen or not) makes it so much more thoughtful and universal than the Apple's touchbar.
  • I hope that someday Surface Dial (or 3rd party Dial-like technology) is supported in Windows 10 Mobile.
  • Yes! So we can dial the number oldschool. -.-
  • Exactly! How do you know my very intention? /s
  • Haha that's awesome LOL
  • Bahaha
  • Haha ok I'll buy that app
  • Can I use it to drive my Asphalt Extreme or Forza Horizon? If so, it's totally awesome! (^^p)
  • Lol
  • Apple's touchbar is not thoughtful and universal​ at all, it's like brand new last century's tech!
  • Doesn't it require a touch screen?
  • Surface accessories are the best. I'd want a premium headset from the team, could as well be useful to the sound designers and music directors.
  • I feel like that would require a collaboration. Microsoft doesn't really have any experience with audio hardware. Even the speakers and mics on the Surfaces and Lumias are only ever average.
  • Plus why diverge into those areas when there are already plenty of premium options from established companies? I don't personally think they need to branch into every single tech product line - They do it when they see an opening to do something special, and I don't think they'd necessarily end up with anything better than what's out there. Sure they could get a version of an existing product branded up as Surface/Studio edition maybe, but I don't think a brand new product makes sense.
  • Totally agree, the only reason they did surface keyboard and mouse was to go with the Studio and because they could just rebrand an existing product. The Dial is something new and useful, a headset isn't something you usually get with a AIO and headsets are really something of a personal preference so seeing a Surface Headset wouldn't really add any value, though I'm sure it would be pretty nice, just don't see what they could do to make it different other than aesthetics.
  • "Microsoft doesn't really have any experience with audio hardware." ​Ironically, no matter what sound card or speaker technology you have been using has roots that go back to or interweave with Microsoft sound and HARDWARE technologies. ​This is easy stuff to souce, start with look up the WSS (Windows Sound System) and then look up Microsoft Digital Speakers from the mid 90s.  There is also the early R&D realtime audio technologies all the way up to actual audio processing technologies and audio codecs, that many of today's standards are now based on. Additionally, something that is often overlooked... The audio processing technology in Windows is professional level with low distortion and higher quality resampling processing. This means Windows can output professional level mix and out resampled through its audio core.  It also means that using the same speakers on the same computer playing the same Audio file will sound better with Windows than Linux or OS X because of the Audio Engine Microsoft created for Vista and refined with 7/8/10. ​As for speaker hardware, they gave away a lot of technologies, from their own version of 3D placement to even how their digital speaker technologies worked. Just this past week there have been articles on the HoloLens audio processing and hardware technologies, it is some cool stuff. ​
    ​As for Mic and Speakers being 'average' on the Lumia, it depends on the phone. Their 9xx series has always held titles for clarity and loudness.  For a couple of years the speaker designs in the Lumia that came from Microsoft were the loudess speaker technology EVER in a phone. (See Lumia 928 for example.) ​Even look at the technology in the 1520 and 930/Icon phones, Nokia (working with Microsoft) took the MS Microphone array processing technology, and with several microphones in the device, can capture true 5.1 audio, in addition to use the array for extra processing like erasing noise from behind the user while filming or Skyping. (You can still find YouTube videos of the Icon/930 shooting video and cancelling out the sound of a muscle car.)  Other Lumia phones also use the 'array' technologies to remove background sound, prevent echo/loop, etc - which WP7 & WP8 encouraged long before it was common in Android or iPhone. I do agree that Microsoft should put the more expensive speaker technologies in the Surface products and the last Lumia. ​However, don't confuse those cost decisions with their expertise or experience with Speaker and Sound technologies.  Just do a search for Microsoft speaker technology, and you will probably be surprised what they created and how it changed designs throughout the audiophile and technology industries.  
  • Mics on a Lumia (1520 and 950s at least) are pretty good actually. They perform incredibly well at high volume. It's by no means hifi quality but there's no distortion or dampening I've come accustomed with when recording 100+dB volumes
  • Surface stuff is great, but until we have a solid new Microsoft mobile device, I don't think they need to go branching off into any more established markets.
  • I would love it if video editing firms adopted it. 
  • They will.
  • Sonar my music program zooming in and out, controlling fader, pans, record arming track , play, stop, shuttle, etc. 
  • StaffPad is my main reason to get this products. I bough a Dell tablet to use it with an active stylus and now I'm looking forward to get a Surface Studio too (I'll have to work hard for this one!).
  • How is your experience with StaffPad? I've been considering to purchase the app for a while, but some negative reviews in the Store held me back. Also, is the app actively updated?
  • I've been having a blast with it on my Surface Book. There is a learning curve, but once you get used to it, it becomes fairly intuitive.  I think I've seen two updates so far, and in their blog they are announcing a new update in the next month.
  • I use Bluebeam on my SP3 every day as a structural engineer, and I am super excited about the idea of Microsoft and Bluebeam working closely on this project.  If I can sell my boss on the idea (doubtful), I'll be running one of these soon.
  • I want a great game of Pong with this.  All the other ideas are good too, but Pong with the Dial would rock.
  • Makes me want to play Tempest...
  • That would be nice too.
  • not really a minor part IMO - that thing blew me away - it's really a new form of user input, providing a more 'analog' type of input (like a 'joystic' really, for non-gamers, tech and everyday use) - uses are endless, especially for artists (and all the 'creative' bunch), I'm pretty sure that's the one thing to stay for a long time
  • Exactly, it's almost like when scroll wheels were added to the mouse. That was a game changer not having to move the mouse cursor over to the scroll bar and have to grab the on-screen scroller. Then pen-enabled tablets came along. Then touch... and multitouch... and voice... and now the dial. Let's all just stop for a moment and remember how we sat in awe as we watched Star Trek actors interacting with the ship's computer and thought "wow, that would be cool if we saw that in reality in our lifetime". Well, it has happened, and we've moved well beyond what we saw in Star Trek... Well, except for the holodeck, but we're already seeing the start of that, complete with Star Trek stars getting to interact with themselves as a "hologram"... Seeing George Takei experience this for the first time made me tear up a little... Gene, I wish you were still around to see all this...
  • And all clearly impossible to do with fingers.  Right?
  • Not impossible to do, but for many things this will feel more tactile, be more responsive, and generally just easier to whilst also drawing/writing with your other hand.
  • If you want to take that route then why even have touchscreens when we can accomplish the same work with a keyboard and mouse?  Why even have a GUI when we can work with a command-line?  Why have facial and iris scanning technology when a password does the same thing?  Why have a car when you can simply walk or take public transit?  Right?
  • In spite of the naysayers, the Surface Studio and the Dial are radical new concepts and are going to change how people work in many different fields. As a professional video editor, I would love to see developers NLE's create uses for the Studio and the Dial. It could speed up and enhance workflow. It just seems like a natural. One of the other cool things about the Dial is that it doesn't favor right-handed people over lefties. It actaully brings equality which isn't true of many devices.
  • All we need now is an air hockey app and this would be perfect!
  • I wanted a Surface Dial to replace my mouse on my Toshiba. Was told by a Microsoft Store rep thru an online chat the Dial will only work with a Surface device. My laptop is in a small area and it is hard to use a mouse.
  • Not sure how you can replace a mouse with the Dial? It's not a mouse...
  • if your tight for mouse space, try a trackball mouse. it takes a lil bit of getting used to (try playing around with the sensitivity) but once you do get used to, they're great
  • I wish trackballs were more of a thing. Once I got used to one I find them to be much easier to use than a mouse, provided it's finger-operated instead of thumb operated. It doesn't move, so your hand always knows where it is, and you never have to pick it up to keep moving.
  • I love my trackball mouse.  I use one made by Microsoft of all people and I never want to go back to a regular mouse or trackpad.  
  • Doesn't the specs say it will work with any Windows 10 PC?
  • Played with the surface studio (and the hololens) last week. The dial blew me away. How intuitive and easy it was to use. The only issue i had was getting used to using both hands. Definitely picking one up soon. Best part is it works off and on screen and will work with the SP4 and Surface book soon.
  • love the stamping, soo cool.
  • I have to agree. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.
  • The original ship date was Nov. 10. I wonder if it slipped.
  • I had ordered a Dial on the first moment it became available for pre-order, for my Surface Pro 4. Now I'm wondering if it will be useful.
  • Surface products ganna be huge!
  • It makes sense that it would be customizable with adobe products.. Hopefully limiting the dependence on keyboards
  • Don't worry Apple will come out with Macintosh Studio next year with the iDial!
  • Well all Apple has done in years is the 'Touchbar', which looks like last century's tech! So all Macs and 'Tocuh' are like 2 decades behind, but yeah, Apple will copy as always even thougth they'll deny it!
  • Just reminds me of this: With better Windows integration. (I ordered one though to try out)
  • I'm still confused about that hinge. Won't it start moving if you press your tools too hard on the screen in a "halfway" position (e.g. not as flat is it goes)?
  • they need to make a smaller model, otherwise it's too big to use with most machines.   also,since it only works on windows 10 and up i won't ever use it, since i'm still on windows 8.1   later -1
  • Bye.
  • Everytime I watch a video of the surface dial, I see people fighting to keep it on the screen. It seems that the dial is sliperry. Why didn't they find a way to make it stick to the surface it is resting on? use something like rubber underneath or so...
  • I would use this with Photoshop, but I would really like to see someone remake the game Tempest to to work with this.