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Microsoft Surface Dial takes a magical twist on the scroll wheel

Designed to work with Microsoft's latest Surface Studio all-in-one PC, the new rotary accessory brings a new level of creative control to virtual interaction.

Justin Yu Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals
Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.
Justin Yu

Microsoft's new collapsible all-in-one desktop PC, the Surface Studio, is made for designers and optimized for the new "Creators Update" to Windows 10. To keep you fully immersed in a project, the company also unveiled a new haptic feedback accessory dubbed the Surface Dial that puts a clever twist on workflow interaction.

The Surface Studio's haptic "Surface Dial" accessory.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The device, shown off at an event Wednesday, is roughly the size of a hockey puck and connects wirelessly to the Surface Studio, but it also works with the Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4.

Along with the keyboard and mouse, the touch-sensitive Dial adapts to whatever application you're working with to add a third level of contextual control.

For example, Microsoft's Surface Studio introduction video showed an artist using it to scroll through project notes on the desk.

After that, she placed it directly onto the display, which turned it into a virtually rotating color palette for the various paintbrush colors.

Along the way, the knob's haptic feedback vibrates to let you know it's working.

You can also engage the Surface Dial in more passive environments, too, such as volume control for music apps like Spotify or quick vertical scrolling down websites.

Microsoft Surface Dial redefines a creative accessory

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You might assume the Dial would come bundled with the $2,999 Surface Studio, but no such luck. Unlike the mouse and keyboard, it'll be sold separately in the Microsoft store for $100 starting November 10. No UK or Australian details have been released yet, but that converts to about £80 or AU$130.