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Microsoft is finally refreshing the Surface Studio 2 (four years later)

Almost four years ago to the day, Microsoft released the Surface Studio 2, which we called “a true Mac killer” in our Surface Studio 2 review. It has fallen our of favor as Apple switching to the M1 iMac over the past couple of years, but Microsoft is finally answering back with the aptly named Surface Studio 2+, announced during Microsoft’s fall hardware event.

It’s a revision to the model released a few years back, at least based on the name. But under the hood, the Surface Studio 2+ is an all-new machine. You’re now getting an 11th-gen Intel mobile processor, which Microsoft says is “50% faster” than the previous Surface Studio. Even that’s an understatement. The previous version was stuck with a 7th-gen Intel processor that was dated when it was released.

A woman using the Microsoft Surface Studio 2+.

Microsoft is in a similar situation here. The Surface Studio 2+ launches with the quad-core Intel Core i7-11370H, which is about a year-and-a-half old. Intel’s newer 12th-gen CPUs provide much better performance, so it’s strange that Microsoft went with the previous generation. The processor choice lends some credibility to rumors that Microsoft delayed the Surface Studio 2+ due to the pandemic, though.

The all-in-one desktop is getting a much more impressive update in the graphics department. It comes with a laptop Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card, which is one of the best 1080p graphics cards you can buy right now. Although the Surface Studio 2+ is far from a gaming machine, the GPU can push some demanding titles at 1080p.

It’s not enough to push games at the native resolution of the display, though. This screen is why the Surface Studio 2+ is a refresh and not a totally new machine. It’s the same 28-inch PixelSense display that was available on the original model, fit with a 4,500 x 3,000 resolution and a contrast ratio of 1,200:1. This time around, though, it support Dolby Vision HDR and comes coated with Gorilla Glass 3.

The machine comes with Windows 11 pre-installed, as well as the hardware to officially support the new operating system. That shouldn’t be too surprising considering this is a Microsoft device, after all.

Microsoft is taking some repair pointers from Apple too. The Surface Studio 2+ comes with Customer Replaceable Units (CRUs). It’s not clear what components Microsoft will offer or how much they’ll cost. And despite the name, attempting to use a CRU on your own will void your warranty. The only way to not void your warranty is to go to an authorized service technician.

We don’t have pricing or a release date yet, but it’s safe to assume the Surface Studio 2+ will be expensive. The original version ran $3,500 for its base configuration when it launched, though it’s no longer available to purchase.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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