5 cool facts about Microsoft’s new Surface Dial

Brad Stephenson

Microsoft Surface Dial and the Surface Studio

During Microsoft’s special Windows 10 event, the tech giant unveiled a variety of new software and hardware innovations. From the slightly more powerful Surface Pro 4 to the redesigned Surface Book i7 and completely the new product, the Surface Studio, there was plenty to keep press and consumers talking. By far one of the most-discussed reveals of the night though was the Surface Dial, a completely new peripheral that neither works like the Surface Pen nor the traditional computer mouse. The Surface Dial is a totally new method of interacting with a Windows 10 device and there’s a lot of information to absorb concerning how it works and what it can actually be used for. Here are the five biggest takeaways concerning the Surface Dial.

1. The Surface Dial’s functionality works differently with each app

While shown mostly as an art tool for switching brushes or choosing a different color during the event, the Surface Dial actually evolves depending on the app open at the time. It can be used to flip through Word document pages, pan quickly over a map, adjust the music volume in Groove, and even navigate the News app. The Surface Dial user interface will also change depending on the open app when placed on the Surface Studio’s screen.

Microsoft Surface Dial
Microsoft Surface Dial

2. The Surface Dial works with more than the Surface Studio

The Surface Dial may have been presented working alongside the shiny new Surface Studio device but it also functions with Surface Pro 4s and Surface Books with the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update installed. While most of its functionality is maintained on Surface Pro 4s and Surface Books, it seems that the Surface Dial can only be placed on a Surface Studio screen.

3. The Surface Dial isn’t just a lifeless hockey puck

The Surface Dial may look like a solid chunk of aluminum but it is also haptic feedback-capable and sends small vibrations to the user to signify specific actions that have been taken.

Microsoft Surface Dial
Microsoft Surface Dial

4. The Surface Dial can be bought separately

It’s great news for Surface Studio buyers that the newly announced piece of hardware ships with both a Surface Pen and Surface Dial but that doesn’t mean that that’s the only way to get a Dial. Microsoft has confirmed, and indeed already opened up pre-orders for, the sale of Surface Dials completely separate of any other product so Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book owners can get their hands on this cool new device without investing in an expensive Surface Studio.

5. It takes more than swiping to work the Surface Dial

One of the Surface Dial’s main appeals may be its circular swiping navigation but users can also interact with it by pressing, tapping, and holding it to bring up menus, confirm selections, and change options. Think of it like using motion controls but within a confined space around a small physical object. Using the Surface Dial will be an art within itself.

Are you impressed with the Surface Dial? Do you think you would use one in the future? Share your thoughts with the site community in the comments below.