Dell Canvas draws a bead on the Surface Studio

Microsoft's Surface Studio put other all-in-one systems on notice when it burst forth from Redmond at the software giant's Windows conference at the end of October. Dell showed off something similar at Adobe's Max Conference a short while later, but details on its offering were sparse. Now, the giant Texan computer manufacturer has shown its Canvas, a 27-inch "do" surface. The Canvas offers the same flat-tilting touch-screen functionality as the Surface Studio, but is meant to be used as a display with a variety of systems, instead of packing its own PC.

The Canvas' 2560x1440 display can't quite match the pixel density of the Surface Studio's very impressive 4500x3000 pixel display, but Dell's Totem rotary controller can reportedly do all the same tricks as Microsoft's Surface Dial. The Canvas has very large bezels, though, making it look larger than it really is. The blank space around the actual display doesn't completely go to waste, as part of it is a magnetic catch for the digitizer pen.

Dell's press materials say that supporting sofware is on the way from Adobe, Autodesk, Avid, Dassault Systems, SolidWorks and Microsoft. According to The Verge, Dell says it chose the lower screen resolution to reduce demands on the graphics subsystem of connected PCs.

Dell says the Canvas will start shipping on March 30, and that pricing will start at $1,800. The company didn't say if the digitizer pen or the Totem rotary controller were included in that price. For comparison, the higher resolution Surface Studio all-in-one PC starts at $3,000. That $1,200 is a sizable difference that could buy a separate PC to drive the Canvas on its own, but the Surface Studio's high-resolution screen is among the top of its class. Buyers will need to carefully consider their options.

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