Surface Studio vs Imac – Which is the best one?

Surface Studio vs Imac
By Tapas Pal Updated

Microsoft came out swinging by releasing its first all – in – one desktop, Surface Studio. This powerful desktop promises to be a game changer across the world. Surface Studio provides staunch competition to Apple’s iMac and the differences between the two are inevitable. So which one is more powerful? Which of the two has the better hardware and design? Let’s find out.

Surface Studio vs. iMac – Build and design

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 with the Zero Gravity Hinge that allows the display to sit at any angle, from flat on the desk, up to vertical like a regular monitor and angled like a drafting board.

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 Surface Studio weighs 9.56kg and the weight of iMac is 9.54kg.

Surface Studio

Surface Studio vs. 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

Various configurations are offered by both Microsoft and Apple for the hardware of these all-in-one devices.

CPU: The Surface Studio and iMac both are available with a choice of Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU. The iMac, currently, offers more flexibility in choosing your hardware.

Storage: There are 1TB and 2TB hybrid drive options on the Surface Studio. Apple’s iMac also offers 1TB and 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.

Graphic Card: 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: Display

In terms of display, Surface studio is more flexible than iMac.

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 has 16:9 aspect ratio, more like the TV.



Surface Studio offers 4500 x 3000 pixels on its PixelSense display, which results in 193 pixels per inch. The iMac has 5120 x 2880 pixels on its Retina display, for 217 pixels per inch.

Through the technical point of view, the iMac offers the sharper display but the Studio’s color is excellent. Although considering the size, the difference isn’t huge and does not make a big difference to the viewing experience.

Surface Studio offers 10 – point multitouch, which is very different from the traditional huge display of Apple’s iMac. 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.

Surface Studio vs. iMac: Connections and accessories

Surface Studio has USB 3.0 (x4), Ethernet, SD card, Mini DisplayPort and 3.5mm headphone.

Apple iMac has USB 3.0 (x4), Ethernet, SD card, ThunderBolt 2 (x2) and 3.5mm headphone.

Both devices come with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

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

The connectivity of both devices is, however, the same, both offers 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 support in addition to the other physical connections.

The benefit of the Surface Studio is the support of Surface Dial and Surface Pen. The Surface Pen comes in the box.

Surface Studio vs. iMac: Cameras

Surface Studio offers 5 MP front – face camera with 1080p HD video. iMac offers Face Time HD.

Surface Studio vs. iMac: Price

Surface Studio starts from $2,999 and Apple iMac from $1,799.

Yes. You read it right. Apple’s iMac is cheaper. How can it happen?

For once, Apple is not the most expensive.

Now the verdict: Surface Studio vs. iMac

If you are looking at the figures of the price, then definitely Apple’s iMac wins.

But remember, Surface Studio is entirely new. The Studio is for the art personnel, graphic designer or architect or else. It is surely powerful and versatile than iMac for the designers. You can place the Surface Studio in the ‘design mode’ which tilts the screen back and allows the user to take the full advantage of Surface Pen and Surface dial.

So, if you want to expand your creative world, want to explore your imagination and you to like to work with your hands on creative projects then you should surely go for Microsoft’s Surface Studio.

However, if you don’t need Surface Pen and Surface dial for your work then don’t put your extra dollar in Surface Studio.

If you are an average desktop worker who just wants a good – looking PC then Apple’s iMac can serve you the best.