Should you buy a Surface Dial for the Surface Studio 2?

Surface Studio 2
Surface Studio 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Should you buy a Surface Dial for the Surface Studio 2?

Best answer: If you're into digital art, then yes! It's a pretty fun tool, particularly on a large display like the Surface Studio and has some cool features if you're creating. If you're not a digital artist, then its usefulness is pretty limited.A puck for 100 bucks: Surface Dial ($100 at Amazon)Digital artist's dream: Surface Studio 2 ($3,500 at Microsoft)

A great tool for artists (and only artists)

The Surface Dial is a hockey puck-like device designed to sit on your desk next to your PC, or in the case of the Surface Studio 2, directly on the screen. For creators, the Surface Dial has a range of on-screen menu features that are app-specific. Tools like Photoshop, Sketchable, and djay Pro all support the Surface Dial with context-specific tools.

For example, in Photoshop and Sketchable you can quickly and easily adjust brush sizes, opacity, softness, hue, and more with taps, and touch-sensitive edges that detect your dial motions. The Dial also has tactile feedback to help with the touch response, and sits on the display with a rubberized underside to stop it slipping from the Surface Studio 2's angled display.

For artists and creators, it's a fun tool to add to your repertoire. If you've already dropped $3,500 or more on a Surface Studio 2, it's more than likely that you're within the Surface Dial's intended usership. Although we'd understand if you didn't want to spend $100 after dropping thousands on the Studio 2.

In general, you should only use the Dial if your display has the proper real estate (you don't want the Dial blocking out parts of the screen), and the Studio 2's 28-inch screen is going to be more than enough.

However, if you're not interested in higher-end digital inking, the Surface Dial has very limited utility. You can use it to scrub through media tracks, alter the volume, and perform some other system tasks. But spending $99 for the privilege is hardly worthwhile. Digital artists especially, though, should find it enjoyable!

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!