The best Surface Dial alternatives to buy today

By: Madeleine Dean
3 minute read

The Surface Dial is an innovative controller that allows Windows 10 users to perform various actions in a new way. Everything from adjusting volume on Spotify, scrolling through website articles, flying through various cities in Windows Maps, drawing, and more are all fair game.

Despite its usefulness, there are many who wonder if there is a Surface Dial alternative. They really like Microsoft’s new controller, but yet refrain from buying it for various reasons.

We’ve done a bit of research to answer your question. We did find a couple Surface Dial-similar devices offering indeed similar features, but none of them perfectly match its characteristics.

However, if these two Surface Dial alternatives meet your needs, you can try them out.

Surface Dial alternatives

Griffin PowerMate Bluetooth Control Knob

The first thing that strikes users when they see the Griffin PowerMate Knob is its resemblance to Surface Dial. Second, many will wonder if this dedicated MacOS device actually works on Windows 10. The simple answer is yes.

This wireless controller allows you to control various elements, from volume to key commands, replacing extra keystrokes with a quick twist or a click.

The PowerMate Bluetooth Knob connects to your PC via Bluetooth 4.0, and ocupies only a tiny space on your desk.

Microsoft designed Surface Dial specially for graphic design tasks. The Griffin Knob allows you to reconfigure tools and brushes in illustration and photo re-touching programs.

Griffin PowerMate limitations on Windows 10 PC

Some users report that occasionally there are some limitations when using the Griffin PowerMate Knob on Windows 10 PCs, although the manufacturer clearly states that: “PowerMate Bluetooth is compatible with Mac laptops or desktops“. On the official Griffin PowerMate page, the manufacturer also mentions that the device fully compatible with Windows XP and Vista, and runs with a few limitations on Windows 10.

This software is not fully compatible with Windows 7, 8, or 10. However, many of our customers report that they are able to use the software in compatibility mode. We hope to have a Windows update available in the future but an immediate ETA for this update is unknown at this time.

On the other hand, many Windows 10 PC users confirm that they haven’t encountered any issues when using the Griffin PowerMate Knob on their PCs.

I’ve purchased a Griffin PowerMate Control Knob to use with my Windows 10 computer. There are hundreds of angry comments online that it apparently does not work with Windows 10.

I just wanted to clarify for anyone considering buying one, that they do indeed work with Windows 10 […] I am running Windows 10 Professional 64 bit, I plugged the device into the USB port, Windows automatically installed the correct driver from Windows Update. I then downloaded the “XP & Vista” manager software from the Griffin website and installed it. The PowerMate then worked straight away […]

Interested in buying the Griffin PowerMate Control Knob? You can grab it for $59.99 from Griffin or Amazon.

Download the Original PowerMate Manager Software for Windows XP & Vista.


Contour ShuttleXpress Input Device

Although not as good-looking and feature-rich as the Griffin PowerMate Control Knob, the Contour ShuttleXpress Input Device is an interesting Surface Dial alternative indeed.

This device is equipped with five programmable buttons. You can set a specific configuration of your Shuttle device for every app install on your PC.

You can use Contour ShuttleXpress for scrolling, volume control, increased productivity in graphics and photo editing, Word processing, Spreadsheet manipulation, Internet browsing, and more.

In order to use it, you need to first download the dedicated software that allows you to manage it. Windows 10 PC owners have identified one tiny issue about this device when using Adobe Premiere. Sometimes, the preset buttons set for Adobe Premiere won’t work. To fix this, mount the software icon to the Windows task bar. Then right click on the little wheel icon when you want to pick your software mode when you open the app.

For more information about Contour ShuttleXpress, visit ContourDesign’s official website.

You can buy Contour ShuttleXpress for $79.95 from ContourDesign or Amazon.

Have you tried out other devices similar to Surface Dial? Share your experience in the comment section below.

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