Microsoft Surface Dial review: ingenius but not for everyone

Speed up your workflow, if your app is supported.

Surface Dial review; a small metal circular gadget attached to a computer screen
(Image: © Future / Microsoft)

Our Verdict

The Microsoft Surface Dial is an elegantly designed addition to your workflow but it comes with a number of caveats; not all apps are fully supported and to get the best experience with full radial dials support you need a Surface Studio. It can be used with any Windows 10 and above laptop, desktop or tablet but the radial dial display is limited. As such, the Microsoft Surface Dial is a fantastic device that simply needs more support, so for now it won't be for everyone.

For

  • First-rate design
  • Speeds up workflow
  • Haptics are excellent

Against

  • Not fully supported by all apps
  • Ideally you need a Surface Studio

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As I twirl the Microsoft Surface Dial under my fingers and my art zooms in and out at speed and menus are cycled almost intuitively, colour is selected and blended from a floating dial, it's hard not to love Microsoft's clever little aid. 

Priced $99 / £90 add-on tool for the Microsoft Surface Studio and the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio (but also any Windows 10 device), the powerful two-in-one laptop and tablet, declutters my workflow and speeds up regular tasks, particularly in the Laptop Studio's tablet mode. It can either be slapped onto the screen directly or used on your desk, and you simply click and cycle through preset menus or custom tools at will. But is it essential? 

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The Verdict
3.5

out of 10

Microsoft Surface Dial

The Microsoft Surface Dial is an elegantly designed addition to your workflow but it comes with a number of caveats; not all apps are fully supported and to get the best experience with full radial dials support you need a Surface Studio. It can be used with any Windows 10 and above laptop, desktop or tablet but the radial dial display is limited. As such, the Microsoft Surface Dial is a fantastic device that simply needs more support, so for now it won't be for everyone.

Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & 3D

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & 3D at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.