Best answer: No. The Surface Dial has fairly limited functionality as a laptop companion. It's best used on-screen for creative apps on 2-in-1 Surface devices such as the Surface Pro, Surface Book, and Surface Studio.
Dial "U" for Unintended
The Surface Dial is a nifty piece of kit that allows you to interact with your device in a new way, but only in certain scenarios. It's a puck-shaped Bluetooth device that can connect and work with any Windows 10 device, but its functionality is severely limited if you're not planning to use it with one of the 2-in-1 Surface devices, namely the Surface Pro, Surface Book, and Surface Studio.
The Surface Dial can detect presses, and rotational movement with touch-sensors beneath its exterior. It's a weighty device meant to sit on a desk, with a rubberized underside to prevent it from sliding off a glass screen when placed on a Surface 2-in-1 device.
When placed on the display, it can detect which app is in the foreground and dynamically change its functionality to match. When used with Photoshop, it gives you a range of additional controls that allow you to continue inking without reaching for a keyboard for shortcuts and other controls. Head here for more details from Adobe. You can get similar functionality out of other creative apps, including Sketchable and DJay Pro. We have a list of great Dial-capable apps right here.
Since you cannot lay the Surface Laptop 2's screen flat without literally tilting it and the keyboard onto its back, it becomes a little pointless. You can use the Dial for media controls in apps like Netflix and Spotify while it's placed on your desk, but it feels a little cost-prohibitive to be worthwhile.
Instead, if you're an arty-type and think the Surface Dial looks like a compelling tool for your arsenal of digital creativity, consider one of Microsoft's 2-in-1 Surface devices, which allow you to place the Surface Dial directly onto the display. Naturally, the bigger the screen, the better.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.