1. Al Sacco's Avatar
    Hi all.

    I'm a newcomer to the Surface world, but starting a few months ago, I took the plunge and I've gone all-in. Today I'm using a new Surface Pro, along with either a Signature Type Cover (Alcantara and all) or a Surface Ergonomic Keyboard depending on whether I'm working at my desk or on the go, a Surface Arc Mouse, Surface Pen (though I rarely use it), and a Surface Dock to connect my monitors and other peripherals while at my normal workstation.

    The only official Surface Pro accessory from Microsoft that I've really steered clear of so far is the Surface Dial, because though it looks cool, it also looks like something I'd use for a week and then never touch again. And it's not cheap at $100.

    I'm not an artist, and I wouldn't really be using the Dial along with sketching or art apps. I know it can work with all kinds of apps. But I'm wondering if any of you have compelling reasons or innovative uses for the Surface Dial that I haven't thought of. If you own a Surface Dial, do you like it? Why or why not? And more specifically, should I buy one?
    09-08-2017 07:40 AM
  2. convergent's Avatar
    Other than the desktop keyboard (I use compact Logitech Bluetooth because I want a small keyboard), I have all the same kit you do, and faced the same question. I decided it wasn't worthwhile for two reasons. First, the compatible apps list is pretty minimal and I see no new ones being added - http://forums.windowscentral.com/e?l...token=0nq1ZZX7 , so Microsoft has not established this as a standard. Second, the size of it is really too large for a Surface Pro. I might be interested in buying it if they did a Surface Dial Mini that was half the diameter and designed for the Pro and Book. Otherwise, I decided to pass. I see it more or less as a gimmick if you aren't using some of the supported artist apps on the Surface Studio.
    Al Sacco likes this.
    09-08-2017 11:57 AM
  3. Al Sacco's Avatar
    That's sort of where I'm at right now too. I'm interested ... but probably not enough to actually buy one. I'm hoping somebody has some reason I haven't thought of though.
    09-11-2017 08:12 AM
  4. gregsedwards's Avatar
    Hi Al (and all), I bought the Surface Dial for my Surface Pro 4 as somewhat of an impulse buy right after it came out, and I'm a bit divided about that decision. It's a neat peripheral to be sure, but I get the feeling it's not quite fleshed out yet. Most apps only offer basic support (system volume and app scrolling represent the baseline functionality). For those that go deeper (for instance, Groove Music offers the ability to switch tracks and scrub playback), it feels like it's probably easier just to use a mouse than to tap the Dial, choose the function, and then roll the wheel. In that respect, it's a bit like having a multi-function mouse wheel. But there's no denying it's a unique peripheral, and I still think that with the right tool, it will simply shine.
    Microsoft has also disappointed me somewhat by failing to deliver on their promise that on-screen functionality would be coming to Surface Pro 4 users. Right now, I can use the Dial on my desktop, but there are times I want to lay the thing on my tablet and have it better understand what I'm trying to do in context. I feel like that would make it a lot less awkward to use.
    Should most users get one? No, not yet. But maybe a year from now, once the industry has figured out what to do with it, then yeah. I could still see it becoming a must-have accessory.
    Al Sacco and ClintRo like this.
    09-11-2017 10:18 AM
  5. Al Sacco's Avatar
    Thanks. That's actually a very useful response.
    gregsedwards likes this.
    09-11-2017 10:21 AM
  6. David Hollifield's Avatar
    I've used a Griffin Powermate for years and it's an accessory I just can't live without anymore. One of its functions act just like a mouse scroll wheel and between my mouse and Powermate, navigating around web pages in Chrome and source code in Visual Studio is a dream. I had high hopes for the Surface Dial and purchased one almost immediately. Could I finally replace my wired Powermate with the shiny new wireless Dial? No such luck. The Dial is so limited on what it can do it's almost laughable. It just sits here on my desk looking pretty and, unfortunately, unused. I'm still holding out hope that Microsoft will actually make the Dial a useful accessory with every Windows update. It's not looking good so far. Griffin is apparently just as brain-dead as Microsoft by making their wireless version only compatible with a Mac (believe it or not).
    09-11-2017 10:22 AM
  7. David Hollifield's Avatar
    Oh and one other thing...if Logitech makes their "creative input dial" on their new Craft keyboard work at-the-very-least like the Griffin Powermate, I'll plop down $200 for that keyboard in a second. If it's limited to Surface-style functionality, not so much.
    09-11-2017 10:28 AM
  8. thomasthomaslai's Avatar
    still waiting for to support on screen dial support for SP4. when is that coming?
    09-11-2017 10:38 AM
  9. Philippe Majerus's Avatar
    I bought one to try out from a development point of view.
    I definitely see it as a great accessory if you need precise rotation for a tool. It has much more position per full rotation than typical mouse wheels, so as a thickness or hue selection tool, it's great.
    However, the ability to switch between modes by press-and-hold is much slower than just using touch or keys if available. So while I can see it as a complement to the Pen when you need mouse-wheel-like control and have no other input device, as a desktop accessory it really only makes sense to finely tune a single tool.

    I would like to see them support it as a mouse-wheel when combined with mouse-emulation of the Pen for apps that need the wheel. While they do support scrolling, they do not have a mode that simulates the mouse-wheel and let the app handle it as such.
    This feature would make the Pen+Dial combo 100% compatible with apps that expect standard mouse with wheel. (You can upvote this idea at https://aka.ms/F6mwib )

    A larger version with a palm-rest that provides direct button access to the different modes instead of having to press-and-hold, such as what 3DConnexion is doing, would greatly improve its usability.
    09-11-2017 11:36 AM
  10. Al Sacco's Avatar
    Very helpful. Thanks Philippe.
    09-11-2017 12:49 PM
  11. DCW1000's Avatar
    I was an early adopter of the Surface Studio and ordered a Dial at the same time because -- well, just because. I haven't used it as much as I thought I would, but then I haven't done as much graphic work as I expected to. The Dial has been useful occasionally for environmental jobs like dimming brightness or adjusting volume, both of which seem clumsy when managed from inside the Settings App itself. The Surface keyboard has those controls in the function key row, but in the dark I can rarely make out the little symbols that tell me which key does what. To that end the Dial has a genuine (though low-level) functionality for me.

    It's definitely neat tech and I'm glad to have it, but I think I will be far more glad in the future if I finally get around to using my Studio for its intended purpose.

    Just for grins I tried pairing the Dial to a Surface Book and the latest Surface Pro. It's a pig for space in the on-screen position and doesn't add much when it's off to the side. I'm willing to bet that at least 80 percent of Dials will be used exclusively on Studios. It seems you can't pair it to multiple devices at the same time and let it connect to the one that is powered up. That seems like a weakness in a world in which multipairing is often seen and even in devices like the new Logitech Master 2X mouse can be used simultaneously -- one mouse to rule them all, if you are in the habit of working on different machines simultaneously.

    In summary: nothing in my experience would let me encourage anyone else to run right out and get one, but it's not a bad enough tool for me to warn everyone away. Other people will probably get out of it some level of performance that is controlled by the effort they put into learning how to work with it. Which is kind of like everything, if you stop to think about it.
    09-11-2017 01:22 PM
  12. Vivio vrvly's Avatar
    Even if just for volume control. Great cool looking device. Faster and more easy/simple interaction.
    09-11-2017 01:46 PM
  13. kevon skat pedersen's Avatar
    I, in general feel the surface dial is a gimmick.

    It's easy to say, when I'm neither an owner/user of it, nor am I the target group.

    But those few use cases they have shown either feel forced, or something that could have as easily been solved with an extra button on the mouse or whatever.

    So no - I wouldn't buy it.
    09-11-2017 02:21 PM
  14. quikmantx's Avatar
    I wish it could be used like a clipboard. Drag-and-drop items onto it. Click on it to reveal clipboard items. Kind of like "The Spot" interface on the Microsoft Kin phones.

    Microsoft really needs to get more developers on board with it. I worry this will be another Microsoft product/tech that has so much great potential, but the company does little to continually promote it after they launched it. The dial should be able to interoperate with a lot of devices and interfaces.
    09-12-2017 12:33 AM
  15. tudor-v's Avatar
    Can the Surface Dial be configured to allow custom interactions with any software? For example, can I configure its rotation to act like mouse scroll up/down in one specific application? That could be useful for me.
    09-12-2017 06:35 AM
  16. gregsedwards's Avatar
    FWIW, I do feel that a separate (detached) device is the way to go. The problem with Logitech's keyboard-connected dial is that it's affixed to the top-left corner, which isn't great for us lefties. I like the flexibility of being able to position the dial wherever I want it, and/or throw it in my bag. They just need to improve the app and hardware support.
    09-12-2017 09:56 AM
  17. spyderzWPC's Avatar
    I have it for my surface pro 4, It is nice to do a quick volume adjust but other than that I don't use it for much. I am still waiting for the onscreen ability that was promised awhile ago. But there has been no news as to when we will get this feature.
    09-12-2017 10:48 AM
  18. jgschwandtner's Avatar
    Kinect 2. Surface "wedges." Dial. One more great idea from Redmond that they didn't do anything (or very little) to support after they launched it. The road to MS headquarters is littered with wasted opportunities. Hololens is next.
    DavCo likes this.
    09-12-2017 04:22 PM

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