When Microsoft first announced its new Surface Dial peripheral last fall it was unveiled on conjunction with the Surface Studio.
I just recently received a Surface Dial for review from Microsoft and the most obvious thing you notice when it is unboxed and start checking it out is that the Surface Studio is its perfect companion to this peripheral.
That was also very apparent last fall in New York City at the launch event as I watched artists and architects make the Surface Dial and Surface Pen extensions of their hands as they worked at the event showcase.
Now, after trying out the Surface Dial myself for the last hour or so I relate those skills to rubbing your head and patting your belly at the same time. Some people can do it and some are unable to do so. I am in that later group of people! I am sure it is like establishing muscle memory with any activity so once you get used to having Surface Dial at your fingertips and how it interacts with different apps you will be comfortable using it regularly.
The Surface Dial itself comes in a very compact high-quality retail box and you just have to remove a small plastic strip to allow the batteries to make contact and power the device (2 AA's are included). Underneath the device is a think plastic covering and will expose the tacky bottom of the device to help hold it in place on your desktop or Surface screen. This can be cleaned with water to remove dust accumulation to help it stay in place however, it was never meant to stick to the screen of Surface Studio, Book, or Pro 4. It does require your hand on it to not only use it but to also relocate it as necessary depending on your task.
Setup is just like any Bluetooth device. Remove the magnetically attached bottom cover to expose the battery compartment and look for the button on one side. Press that for five seconds to enter pairing mode and then open up the Windows 10 Devices settings page and add a new device. No other settings are necessary once it is paired. By the way, Surface Dial can pair with any compatible Bluetooth enabled device running Windows 10.
As I mentioned earlier, the true companion of the Surface Dial is the Surface Studio with all that screen real estate however, with Surface Book here and I am sure a Pro 4 it works for the vast majority of interactions right from the top of your desk alongside the device.
As you will see in the gallery, several inbox apps that are part of Windows 10 and the upcoming Creators Update already work with Surface Dial. There is an entire list of compatible apps here and devs can easily integrate functionality into their own apps.
I look forward to getting my hands on a Surface Studio review unit from Microsoft so I can really check the two devices out together.