It's been four long years, but Microsoft has finally updated its all-in-one desktop, the Surface Studio. The new design, the Surface Studio 2 Plus (stylized 2+) appears almost identical to the Surface Studio 2, but with refreshed internals and a few other enhancements.
There's just one configuration this time around: an Intel Core i7-11370H (a 35-watt, lower-power "H35" 11th Gen processor, as opposed to a more recent 12th Gen chip) 32GB of DDR4 RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 laptop GPU. In effect, this is a modest last-gen gaming laptop jammed into a desktop with a big, high-resolution display. With one config, this is also fewer options than Microsoft used to offer, which included 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage on the previous version. For the price, it would be nice to see more modern components. But with that RTX 3060, Microsoft is claiming double the graphics performance compared to the previous Surface Studio.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Microsoft Surface Studio 2 Plus|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-11370H|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU (6GB GDDR6)|
|Memory||Up to 32GB DDR4|
|Display||28-inch PixelSense, 4500 x 3000, 3:2 aspect ratio|
|Networking||Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1|
The 28-inch touchscreen is still the same 4500 x 3000 resolution, though now it gets Dolby Vision support. It would've been nice to see a 120 Hz refresh rate like on the Surface Pro, but that's not listed.
You still get the same build as the previous Surface Studio 2, with the display attached to a base holding the components. That screen can move into an easel position on Microsoft's "zero gravity hinge," which is especially helpful for artists and others using a stylus.
The port situation is, thankfully, significantly more modern on the new Studio Plus. There are three USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, as well as a pair of USB Type-A 3.1 ports, a headphone jack and a Gigabit Ethernet port. (The previous version had four USB-A ports and 1 USB-C port, without Thunderbolt.) Microsoft has removed the SD card reader, however, which will be a letdown for some photo editors.
While the 1080p camera is still the same, Microsoft has updated the microphones to a pair of far-field Studio mics, along with Dolby Atmos speakers.
The Surface Studio 2 will start at $4,299.99 when it launches on Oct. 5, a hefty price showcasing its niche, typically professional audience. For $4,499.99, Microsoft bundles in a Surface Pen as well as a keyboard and a mouse. The Surface Studio 2 works with the $99.99 Surface Dial, but that doesn't come included.
For those who have been holding on to 7th Gen Intel mobile processors and GTX 1060 or 1070 GPUs from the last iteration, this may be a big upgrade. But you’ll have to spend more than before, seemingly with fewer configuration options.