iFixit performed a teardown to see what made it tick. Its conclusion: it is the Surface co-star.
But what is the Surface Dial? Microsoft says, “Surface Dial is a completely new way to interact with technology and create in the most natural, immersive way. Store, customize, access, navigate, and reimagine physical tools in the digital world – from concept to creation.”
iFixit says it is much more than a mouse.
Perhaps the best way to describe it is as a pointing device with haptic feedback that is context sensitive. At its base level, you can magnify, rotate, position the cursor or scroll – just like a mouse with scroll wheel. But it’s the apps and interaction with the Surface touch screens that give it the power.
For example, using Sketchable gives you quick and intuitive access to the brush settings you use most. Make fast and fluid colour adjustments, and rotate or scale your canvas to achieve a finer level of control. Other apps add 3D functionality, timeline (video editing), music creation, annotation, and markup.
It is like they have taken the MacBook touch bar, improved it and put it into a more intuitive, touch-friendly puck that works with the Microsoft Pen. Dial also works with all Microsoft Office apps to add context functionality.
Technically it has:
- Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- Is powered by two removable AAA Alkaline batteries
- Two “input” methods, spin and click
- Sticky removable rubber foot magnetically attached to the base to stop slip around the screen and to replace batteries
- Durable – should withstand drops off desks and has a rugged, smooth bearings
- Four magnets around the edge to give rotational information and a haptic motor for vibration
- Optical sensors
iFixit says it’s a disposable device, apart from the replaceable batteries.
You can read about iFixit’s Surface Studio teardown here.