Surface Studio 2 Hands-On: All About the Screen

NEW YORK -- In its first refresh since its launch in 2016, the new Surface Studio 2 has to provide a lot for pros. The 28-inch screen is, Microsoft says, better than ever, and the all-in-one desktop got a nice GPU bump, too. Microsoft's website says it will start at $3,499 and launch on Nov. 15, though the company didn't mention that during its stage presentation.

What it did focus on was the new, Pascal-based GPUs. That's a nice bump up from the original's Maxwell-based Nvidia graphics. The Surface Studio 2 will come with either a GTX 1060 or GTX 1070, making it ready for virtual reality and other graphics-heavy programs. That said, those 10-series graphics options technically two years old already, but there's no word yet on newer Turing-based 20-series mobile chips, so the 1060 and 1070 are the best options available to Microsoft at the moment. 

The CPU, however, leaves something to be desired: It's a Core i7-7820HQ. That's a 7th Gen mobile processor. It's better than the 6th Gen Intel processor in the original to be sure, but it's curious that Microsoft didn't go straight for 8th Gen silicon.

The 28-inch screen has 13.5 million pixels, and Surface lead Panos Panay said it took the best tech from the Surface Laptop and Surface Pro to make the screen brighter and with more color contrast than ever. You can bet we'll focus on the screen in our testing once we get our hands on a review unit. Microsoft claims it's 38 percent brighter and that it has 22 percent more contrast than the original Surface Studio panel.

The Surface Studio 2 will run on Windows 10 Pro out of the box. The Surace Pen and Dial are compatible, but sold separately.

Of course, the Surface Studio 2 has its signature trick: flattening down into a canvas. With the screen on this new model, it should be even more of a pleasure to use than the original.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon

  • taz-nz
    According to Microsoft's website the Pen is included.

    What’s in the box:

    Surface Studio 2
    Surface Pen
    Surface Keyboard
    Surface Mouse
    Power cord with grip-release cable
    Quick start guide
    Safety and warranty guide
  • g-unit1111
    The Surface Studio was an interesting concept but I feel like the screen would be too big and impractical to do any finely detailed work on. Maybe for presentations and things of that nature but for Photoshop or After Effects? I'd go for a smaller tablet with a digitizer that's easier to control.
  • ubercake
    The art world is deeply based in Apple products since there was a time you couldn't run any Adobe tools on anything but Macs. Even video-editing software/hardware combos were based on Amiga and Mac platforms back then.

    Now the same people who were using those Macs in the late 80s and early 90s are managing departments and teaching at universities. It's all they know and what they want everyone else to know.

    I've used both Macs and PCs for edits and production and see little difference in using either platform in modern times, but the hurdle to get over for MS is the traditional use of the Mac platform for anything "art".

    Also, based on my personal knowledge and experience with Surface anything, we had a surge of requests for Surface Pros for a hot second a few years ago and we only have one Surface Pro left in our operating environment with no new requests coming in.

    Knowing the demand for Surface devices seems to be decreasing, I'm truly surprised MS sold enough Surface Studio version 1 units to warrant a version 2.

    Is MS still really pushing to sell hardware or is this just another MS device they'll drop support for in the near future leaving their loyal customers out in the cold?