Skip to content

Archive for


Microsoft Surface Studio vs Apple iMac: What’s the difference?

If there’s one message we’re getting from companies, it’s that designing your own hardware and pairing it with your own software is the way to go. 

Apple has long known this and doesn’t do anything else, we’ve seen Google embrace this through Pixel devices and Microsoft does the same with Surface, resulting in some top Windows devices. 

Microsoft surprised many with the launch of the Surface Studio: we expected an all-in-one, but we didn’t quite expect Studio. At a surface level, it’s a natural competitor for Apple’s champion iMac with Retina display. 

Here’s how the Microsoft and Apple square up and yes, one runs Windows 10, the other Mac OS. 

Surface Studio vs Apple iMac: Design

  • Surface Studio is thinner and more flexible
  • Apple iMac has a more minimal footprint

Swathes of glass meet acres of aluminium with these two desktop devices. The new Surface Studio goes for maximum thinness through the display, while Apple aims for minimalism on your desktop.

The Surface Studio measures 637.35 x 438.9 x 11.4mm through the display, with a base that then measures 250 x 220 x 32.20mm. The display is connected via the Zero Gravity Hinge that allows the display to sit at any angle, from flat on the desk, angled like a drafting board and up to vertical like a regular monitor.

The Apple iMac’s design has been in place for a number of years, taking that aluminium unibody and slimming it to the current form, measuring 516 x 650 x 55mm, slimming to 6mm at the edges. The stand then is 203mm deep. 

The overall footprint of the iMac is less, but there’s a huge difference in where Microsoft puts the brains in the Studio: the base has more bulk, but that allows positioning flexibility in the display that the iMac simply doesn’t offer.

For what it’s worth, the Surface Studio weight is 9.56kg, the iMac is 9.54kg, how about that?

  • Surface Studio: A stunning all-in-one PC that doubles as a drafting table

Surface Studio vs Apple iMac: Display

  • Surface Studio: 28-inch, 4500 x 3000, 193ppi, touchscreen
  • Apple iMac: 27-inch, 5120 x 2880, 217ppi

Both these devices are all about the display. We’ve talked about Surface Studio offering a much wider range of positioning, so we won’t go back there, as it’s obviously more flexible. 

The Surface Studio offers a 28-inch display, so it’s slightly larger than the 27-inch iMac, but the aspect is different. Microsoft opts for a 3:2 aspect, whereas the iMac is 16:9, more like your TV. 

The resolution of these all-in-ones is close too: Surface Studio offers 4500 x 3000 pixels on its PixelSense display, resulting in 193 pixels per inch. The iMac has 5120 x 2880 pixels on its Retina display, for 217 pixels per inch.

Technically speaking, the iMac offers the sharper display, although given the size, the difference isn’t huge and won’t make a big difference to the viewing experience. The iMac is also wonderful as a display, something we mention in our review. 

Surface Studio is also claiming professional grade visuals and our first impressions are good, but we’ve not had the chance to fully assess the Studio yet in terms of quality and performance. 

However, Surface Studio offers 10-point touch, making it a very different proposition to the conventionality of Apple’s huge display. The Surface Studio will support the Surface Pen and the Surface Dial, an innovative tool that will work as an on-display controller, or on the desk.

  • Apple iMac with Retina 5K display (2015) review: Pixel-packed powerhouse

Surface Studio vs Apple iMac: Hardware and power

  • Surface Studio: Intel Core i5 or i7, 8-32GB RAM, Nvidia GPU
  • Apple iMac: Intel Core i5 or i7, 8-32GB RAM, AMD Radeon GPU
  • Apple currently offers more configuration options

Both Microsoft and Apple offer various configurations for the hardware for these all-in-one devices. 

The Surface Studio is available with a choice of Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU, as is the iMac. The iMac, currently, offers more flexibility in choosing your hardware, but as the Studio is currently on pre-order, we’d expect that to change. 

There are 1TB and 2TB hybrid drive options on the Surface Studio, with the iMac also offering 1 or 2TB Fusion drives, with further options for 3TB Fusion, or SSD. At the entry-level, the iMac has a 7200rpm 1TB hard drive. 

The Surface Studio starts at 8GB RAM, moving through 16GB to 32GB at the top level. The iMac offers 8GB as standard, with options to spec up to 16 or 32GB. Again, Apple offers flexibility at the moment that Microsoft doesn’t. 

The iMac offers AMD Radeon R9 GPUs (M380, M390, M395) with 2GB GDDR5 memory, stepping up to the M395X with 4GB GDDR5 RAM at the top level. The Surface Studio counters with Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M (2GB GDDR5) or GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5) GPUs. This is where the biggest hardware difference lies, with each turning a different direction for graphics handling.

Surface Studio vs Apple iMac: Connections and accessories

  • Surface Studio: 4x USB 3, Ethernet, SD card, Mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm headphone
  • Apple iMac: 4x USB 3, Ethernet, SD card, 2x ThunderBolt 2, 3.5mm headphone

One consideration with this type of computer is how you’ll connect to it. Both devices come with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

Apple places all its connections on the rear of the display, whereas the Surface Studio’s connections are on the rear of the base, which might make a minor aesthetic difference to how tidy each computer looks when all is plugged in. The additional ThunderBolt 2 connection of the Mac means one more connection option, perhaps a third display?

The connectivity is broadly the same, both offering Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support in addition to those physical connections.

Support for Surface Dial and Surface Pen is a benefit of the Studio, the Surface Pen comes in the box.

Surface Studio vs Apple iMac: Price

  • Surface Studio: from $2,999
  • Apple iMac: from $1,799

The story of these two devices is interesting. While both play in the same space because of the form factor and overall spec in some areas, the Surface Studio naturally has a stronger play toward all types of creatives who want to draw.

The support for touch offered by Windows 10 and the range of movement that the Studio offers makes it more versatile, but perhaps appealing to designers, rather than your average desk worker who just wants a good-looking PC. Studio is about touch interaction rather than just the pure hardware.

The starting price for these devices at $2,999 for the Surface Studio and $1,799 for the iMac doesn’t tell the whole story, but the iMac specced to match (as closely as possible) the entry-level Studio comes in at $1,999.

Step up and that gap narrows a little, but you’re still paying quite a lot for Microsoft’s new Surface Studio compared to the older iMac. If it’s just a fancy big-screened PC you’re looking for, Apple is cheaper. Now how often does that happen?


Twitter just killed video sharing app, Vine

Twitter has just announced it is killing off Vine, the video creation and sharing app it owns. The announcement was made on Medium, another social blog website owned by Twitter.

  • What is Vine?

The Vine app will still remain for the next few months so you can still view and download clips, but the mobile app will eventually be killed off too.

Twitter has said a website will still exist to host already created clips, so you can still view them and the company has promised it will announce any changes to the site before they’re made.

Vine was founded in mid-2012 before being taken over by Twitter in October 2012, users were able to record six second video clips and share them to Vine’s global community. The service had around 200 million users a month and around 40 million Vines have been uploaded to the sharing network.

It’s likely Twitter is killing off Vine because of concerns over its overall profitability. The company has also recently announced it will be losing around 9 percent of its workforce, which equates to around 350 employees. Losing Vine should help alleviate the financial problems the social media site is having at the moment.


Microsoft Surface Dial: Price, availability and everything you need to know

Microsoft recently pulled the covers off the Surface Studio and a newly-updated Surface Book, but there was one innovative device that drew a lot of attention: Surface Dial.

What is Surface Dial?

Surface Dial is an accessory that’s been designed by Microsoft of give you more interaction with Surface devices.

Uniquely, this is an accessory that’s designed to be used either on the display itself, or on the desktop. It offers rotational haptic feedback when twisting, meaning you can have radial control of various menus. 

It will allow rotation of objects, scrolling of documents or websites, or simply changing the volume of your music. It will allow rotation, press and hold menus, clicks, as well as capacitive detection when placed on the screen of Surface Studio. 

Surface Dial connects to your PC using Bluetooth.

What devices support Surface Dial?

The good news is that the Surface Dial is compatible with a wide range of Microsoft devices, not just the latest Surface Studio that it launched alongside: 

  • Surface Pro 4
  • Surface Book
  • Surface Studio

Surface Dial is supported by Windows 10 Anniversary Edition. Although Microsoft has publicly stated support for its Surface devices, it’s not known if it will work with other Windows PCs.

  • Surface Studio: A stunning all-in-one PC that doubles as a drafting table

Surface Dial specs

Surface Dial top section measures 59mm in diameter and sits 30mm high. The base is slightly smaller than top at 54mm and is 4mm thick. The whole thing weighs 145g, including the provided batteries. 

As we said, it connects via Bluetooth to your Surface and is should give you 12 months of use from those batteries. 

What apps support Surface Dial?

Microsoft has shown off a number of creative apps working with Surface Dial. Those include Sketchable, Mental Canvas Player, Drawboard PDF, Moho 12, StaffPad and Bluebeam Revu. 

Dial can also be used with Plumbago, Ink Replay, OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Windows Maps, Groove Music, Spotify, PewPew Shooter, Microsoft Photos and Paint. 

We’re sure that many other apps will work on providing support for Surface Dial following launch.

  • Surface Book i7 (2016): Not an overhaul, but certainly more oomph

Surface Dial price and availability

Surface Dial costs $99 and is currently available for pre-order.

Surface Dial will be available from 10 November 2016 in the US. There’s no word on a UK release date yet.

Quick thoughts playing with the Surface Dial

The Dial sits on your desk or directly on the screen of your Surface Studio, and it can move both clockwise and counterclockwise. When pressed downward, it selects and can toggle between different parts of a feature. For example, when choosing RGB for colour options, if you twist it around, it moves around the color wheel. By clicking down, you’ll see it change the type of colour wheel. Or, if you select a brush type (you may be on a brush size that you can spin to shrink or enlarge as you draw), you can press down on your Dial to turn the angle of your brush or change the opacity, among other features.  

Having had a quick play with the Surface Dial, it makes the Surface Studio amazing to work with. It was tough to figure out at first, because it has so many options, but both watching a Microsoft PR with it, and then having a play ourselves, things started to make sense. You can zoom in to something, change colours and the size of the brush within seconds. Master it and it will be sure to speed up your workflow.


Microsoft Surface Book i7 (2016) vs Surface Book (2015) vs Surface Pro 4: What’s the difference?

Microsoft announced a couple of new devices to its mobile computing portfolio in 2015 with the launch of the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book. One year on and a new device has joined the party in the form of the Surface Book with Performance Base, on sale from the middle of November.

The Surface Pro 4 is a tablet with the potential for a keyboard attachment while the Surface Books are laptops with detachable keyboards. Despite sounding like similar devices taking different angles, they aren’t, and they will appeal to different people.

To help you work out which one might be the right one for you, here is how the new Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base, or Surface Book i7, compares to last year’s Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4.

  • Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base preview

Microsoft Surface Book (2016) vs Surface Book (2015) vs Surface Pro 4: Design

  • Surface Pro 4 is significantly lighter than Surface Books
  • Surface Books offer fully-fledged keyboard
  • Surface Pro 4 about portability, Surface Books about power

The Surface Pro 4 features a magnesium case, measures 292.1 x 201.4 x 8.5mm and weighs either 766g or 786g, depending on the configuration. Microsoft claims it is the perfect balance of size and power for working on the go.

The Surface Books also feature a magnesium case, but rather than being primarily displays with the option of attaching a keyboard, they are laptops that offer the convenience of detaching the displays should you wish to. Microsoft describes them as the laptop to handle any task.

The 2015 model of the Surface Book as a laptop measures 312.3 x 232.1mm with a thickness of 13mm to 22.8mm and it weighs either 1516g or 1576g, depending on the configuration, making it over double the weight of the Surface Pro 4. The 2016 model offers exactly the same measurements as the 2015 model, but the Performance Base element means it is heavier, starting at 1647g. 

Both the Surface Books feature something called a Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge, which keeps them balanced at any angle, while the Surface Pro 4 is more about portability. The Surface Pro 4 features a built-in stand so it can prop itself up and a Type Cover can be bought separately providing users with an ultra-thin keyboard with back-lit keys and a large 5-point sensitivity trackpad, but it isn’t laptop standard.

Both Surface Books on the other hand, feature fully-fledged keyboards that Microsoft describes as “quiet, stable and comfortable”. It says this offers best-in-class keystroke. They also feature a trackpad with 10-points of sensitivity.

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

Microsoft Surface Book (2016) vs Surface Book (2015) vs Surface Pro 4: Display

  • Surface Pro 4 has a slightly smaller screen than Surface Books
  • Same display technology and pixel density across all models
  • Surface Pen included with all models

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has a PixelSense display that the company claims was made to be viewed, touched and written on. It measures 12.3-inches and it features a 2736 x 1824 resolution, which equates to 5 million pixels and a pixel density of 267ppi.

The Surface Books have larger displays than the Surface Pro 4 with 13.5-inch screens featuring 3000 x 2000 pixel resolutions for the same pixel density of 267ppi. The Surface Books are in a 3:2 aspect ratio and use Microsoft’s PixelSense display technology too so again, they have been made for viewing, touching and writing on.

Ultimately, the display experience of the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Books will be the same, aside from a little extra space on the Surface Books.

The Surface Pen that comes with the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Books has 1024 levels of pressure senstivity, along with an eraser on the other end, allowing users to write and erase on the screens as they would with a traditional pencil. It is attached to the devices magnetically and it offers a full year of use with its battery.

  • Microsoft Surface Book (2015) review

Microsoft Surface Book (2016) vs Surface Book (2015) vs Surface Pro 4: Hardware and power

  • Surface Pro 4 has five configuration options as standard, with Intel m3, i5 and i7 models
  • Surface Book (2015) has seven configuration options with option to upgrade GPU
  • Surface Book Performance Base has three configuration options, all of which use i7
  • Surface Book Performance Base has almost double battery life of Surface Pro 4

The base model of the Surface Pro 4 features the Intel Core m3 processor with Intel HD graphics 515, 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM. The top end model has the Intel Core i7 chip, Intel Iris graphics, 256GB SSD and 16GB of RAM. There are five configurations available as standard but it’s also possible to customise to suit you. 

The base model of the 2015 Surface Book has the Intel Core i5 processor, Intel HD graphics, 128GB SSD and 8GB of RAM, while the top model has the Intel Core i7, Nvidia GeForce graphics, 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM. There are seven configurations available as standard due to the option of upgrading the GPU.

The base model of the 2016 Surface Book Performance Base features the Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5 memory, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. There are only three configurations available for this device, with the top model offering the same processor and graphics, but offering double the RAM at 16GB and 1TB SSD.

The Surface Books are aimed at all out power users, with the ability to run professional-grade software such as Adobe Creative Cloud and AutoCAD. The Surface Pro 4 on the other hand, will run professional grade apps, but 3D modelling with AutoCAD is restricted to the i7 model, for example.

In terms of battery life, the Surface Pro 4 is claimed to offer 9 hours. The 2015 Surface Book bumps this up to 12 hours and the Surface Book with Performance Base offers 16 hours.

  • Microsoft Surface Book 2016 goes super-powerful, increases battery life, amps graphics

Microsoft Surface Book (2016) vs Surface Book (2015) vs Surface Pro 4: Connections and ports

  • All models have USB 3.0
  • Surface Pro 4 has microSD slot, while Surface Books have full-size SD card slot
  • All models run Windows 10 Pro

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Books all feature USB 3.0, but the Surface Books have two ports while the Surface Pro 4 only has the one. The Surface Books also offer a full-size SD card reader, while the Surface Pro 4 only features a microSD card reader.

All three have a Mini DisplayPort, headphone jack and a power connector though. They also all run on Windows 10 Pro and offer a 30-day Office 365 30-day trial.

Microsoft Surface Book (2016) vs Surface Book (2015) vs Surface Pro 4: Price

  • Surface Pro 4 cheapest starting price
  • Surface Book Performance Base most expensive, as you’d expect

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 starts at £749 for the base model we mentioned previously, increasing to £2199 for the top-specced model. 

The Microsoft Surface Book 2015 model starts at £1045 for the base model, increasing to £2649 for the top-specced model.

The Microsoft Surface Book Performance Base will start at $2399 for the base model and it will be available mid-November.

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review
  • Microsoft Surface Book (2015) review
  • Microsoft Surface Book Performance Base review

The army may have laser-equipped vehicles by 2017

The army, in partnership with General Dynamics, is developing a short-range laser weapon designed to protect soldiers against mortars, missiles and drones. The news was broken by Scout Warrior, which reports that the weapon could be implemented in as little as a year. The idea is that the technology would be installed on the roof of an armored personnel vehicle — specifically a General Dynamics Stryker (pictured). Once operational, the technology will scan the immediate area and destroy anything suspicious that approaches by air.

General Dynamics is reportedly already working on boosting the laser’s power, increasing it from the existing two kilowatts all the way up to five. In addition, the device is designed to operate with its own radar so that it should (theoretically) remain functional should the vehicle’s on-board systems go down. GD is also looking at giving the system its own jamming system that could disable hostile UAVs without firing a shot. According to General Dynamics’ Tim Reese, the lasers melt or destroy components of whatever it attacks, and in tests, took out 21 out of 23 enemy drones.

The army is also looking for ways in which to deploy laser weapons at forward operating bases in combat zones. The same principle would apply, with the devices burning or melting weapons and drones that are designed to harm personnel stationed within. We’ve already seen how the army uses automated sense and warn systems to alert soldiers of incoming weapons fire at places like Camp Bastion. It’s logical that the next step would be a robotic response that can wipe out threats before they can do any harm.

Source: Scout Warrior


‘The Last Guardian’ soundtrack is getting a vinyl release

Pumped for The Last Guardian? Yeah, we are too. The long-awaited follow-up to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus stars a young boy and a giant feathered creature called Trico as they explore a world filled with broken, temple-like structures. The emotional puzzle-platformer has an equally distinctive soundtrack — the work of composer Takeshi Furukawa — and Sony has dropped a few extra pieces of news about audio in The Last Guardian.

Sony will release a special app for the game’s launch, inspiringly titled “The Last Guardian Composer’s Choice PS4 Music App.” It’ll feature 17 tracks from the game’s soundtrack, support stereo and surround sound, and allow gamers to export tracks as stereo MP3s to a USB drive. There’s no word on how much this app will cost, but Sony says the album will also go on sale through iTunes at a later date.

Additionally, if you buy The Last Guardian and happen to own a PlayStation headset that’s compatible with the Headset Companion App, Sony says there’s a “special mode” just for you. You’ll be able to activate a “custom audio mode” in-game for a “fine-tuned audio experience engineered for maximum immersion.” We have no idea what that means, but maybe it’ll be great.

Unsurprisingly — what game doesn’t have one at this point — there’s a vinyl collection in the works too. Produced by iam8bit, the collection boasts two LPs and an “epic tri-fold design” stretching more than 36 inches. It’ll cost $35 and ship in early 2017. For super-fans with a love of vinyl, it looks to be a price worth paying. Just check out that album art:

Aaron Souppouris contributed to this report.

Source: PlayStation Blog


How to watch Apple’s ‘Hello Again’ event

Roughly an hour from now, Tim Cook and pals will take to the stage at Apple’s “Hello Again” event. The redesigned MacBook Pro complete with OLED touch strip and fingerprint reader is already out of the bag, and we expect there could be more updates across the MacBook range. Other than a shoutout to the next iteration of macOS, though, who knows? New iPads maybe, or iMac refreshes? Perhaps even a surprise or two.

We’ll be on the ground liveblogging our hearts out, of course, but you too can follow along with the event livestream if you wish. All you need to do is point the Safari browser on your Mac or iOS device at this link, and you’ll be good to go. Macs running OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion or later and iThings running iOS 7 and up, that is. Anyone with a Windows 10 machine can also access the feed through Microsoft’s Edge browser, and Apple TV owners with at least a second-gen device will be able to find the livestream easily too. And, of course, we’ll be covering everything right here at engadgetdotcom.

Source: Apple


Twitter is killing Vine

Bad news for fans of the once-popular Vine video-sharing network. Its parent company Twitter announced today that it is killing the service’s mobile app, meaning you can no longer create new clips. The website will still exist to showcase already-posted footage, although it’s not clear whether you might be able to record new material in future.

You’ll still be able to access and download your Vines, and the company promises to alert users before making any changes to the app or website. However, it appears that uploading new content will no longer be possible.

This news means Twitter is essentially killing Vine. The looping-video serivce already seen an exodus of high-profile creators and executives as it struggles to compete with the likes of Instagram and Snapchat. Vine may eventually be integrated within Twitter, just as some features of the company’s other app Periscope has, but that’s probably not a top concern of its parent company right now.

Twitter itself is in turmoil and is struggling to find profit amidst reports of internal struggles over whether to sell the company. Regardless of what eventually happens, it looks like time to bid goodbye to Vine, at least for now, and move on to another service.

Source: Vine on Medium


If someone else makes flying cars happen, Uber will be ready

While most of us consider flying cars something that would be cool if they were real, Uber is doing slightly more to make it happen. As profiled by Wired, the transportation company has released a 99-page whitepaper (PDF) titled “Fast-Forwarding to a Future of On-Demand Urban Air Transportation.” Does that mean Uber is building flying cars to go along with its self-driving test mules? Nope, but in case someone else wants to do it, Uber is lining up to help make it happen.

Of course, they’ll have to overcome a number challenges to do so (in an accompanying blog post, Uber lists certification, batteries, efficiency, reliability, air traffic control, cost, safety, noise, emissions, infrastructure and pilot training as hurdles). So, if you can figure those out, Uber is ready to piggyback on your VTOL system and completely revolutionize urban transport through the air by connecting pilots, riders and vehicles — simple, right?

Source: Wired, Uber (Medium)


We’re liveblogging Apple’s ‘Hello Again’ MacBook launch!

Hello again, indeed! If it feels like we were just doing this, it’s because… we were. Apple held an event last month to unveil the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. There was much fanfare and we had quite a bit to say about it all. Now, just a few weeks later, Apple is back, hosting yet another event, with this one rumored to be all about MacBooks. Rumors point to refreshed 13- and 15-inch models, obviously with newer chips inside, and very likely some smaller ports along the edges. We’ll also be curious to see if the long-neglected MacBook Air line gets some love, or if it gets the axe. (Or, it could die a long, slow death, the way the iPod Classic did.)

One thing you probably won’t hear about at this event: those rumored MacBooks with E Ink keyboards. If those are even real, they’re not expected until at least 2018. With those expectations set, get comfy and hunker down as we give you the blow-by-blow on today’s keynote. (And stay tuned afterward for our first impressions of the new devices, once we get to see them in person.)

%d bloggers like this: