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.