Following Microsoft and Apple's fall releases targeted at content creators and artists, this year at CES Dell announced its world first 8K monitor and 27-inch Dell Canvas. Similar in concept to the new Microsoft Surface Studio and Cintiq 27QHD Touch, the Dell Canvas is the latest device in the quickly growing smart workspace technology category.
When Microsoft introduced the Surface Studio I got really excited. Not for the device itself but for what it might mean for the market. I believe the Surface Studio and similar Cintiq devices are excellent devices that meet a lot of artist and photographers needs. However I myself use powerful custom built PCs and don't want to give them up for the functionality of an all in one display-based drawing tablet. That's why I currently use a Wacom 19-inch tablet, which I love and is easily the best investment I've made for my postproduction work. After the Microsoft announcement my first thought was, "Wow, what if I could have this device as just a monitor, possibly even as a second monitor?" Well the Dell Canvas is getting close to that.
Its functionally is more like a Cintiq with a similar screen resolution at 2560x1440 QHD, but resembles the Surface Studio in its lowered or tilt position. Unlike the other two mentioned devices though it doesn't have a built-in computer to run it. Just like a normal Monitor the Canvas is a touch display that needs to be connected to an existing desktop to work. This is a lot closer to what I would like in a smart workspace device. It would sit just like my Wacom does currently and be functionally similar but expand on the possibilities for multi screen layouts. I could also see this being more helpful when I'm doing video editing but also running apps like Photoshop and switching back and forth.
Although I'd prefer something that can also be stood up and used as a second monitor alongside my main monitor like the Studio Surface, this is moving in the right direction in my opinion. It also gives me hope that with all these new devices being announced that this new tech category won't be just a passing niche and gets expanded on over the upcoming year by more manufactures.
Along side the Dell Canvas Dell also introduced their version of the Microsoft Dial which they are calling "Totems." It seems that the display will come with two Totems, one being smaller than the main one. Just like Microsoft's version, Dell's will interact with the display when placed on top of it since they both run on the same API. However, the Dell version is not a Bluetooth device that works independently of the display like the Dial is. I wrote about my excitement for the Microsoft Dial when it was announced in October, and sight unseen I believe the Dell versions will offer the same level of usability for photographers who are heavy Photoshop or Lightroom users.
There is no official word on price but Dell says it should be under $2,000 and be available at the end of March alongside Windows 10 creators update. So I expect something in the $1,800 range.