Microsoft Surface Studio 2: Everything you need to know

Update: Our Surface Studio 2 review is out! Spoiler alert: If this can’t win over Mac fans, nothing can.

When the Microsoft Surface Studio first came out, it seemed like a timely and ambitious project: An all-in-one, flexible desktop computer with a stunning screen and tons of designer-friendly features. A closer look revealed some problems with this large addition to the Surface family, including an underwhelming processor and a few too many peripherals to keep track of. Fortunately, a new Surface Studio 2 was announced at Microsoft’s October 2 media event in New York and it comes with a number of important upgrades.

If you’re considering buying the new all-in-one, it’s a good idea to understand just what you’ll be spending several thousand dollars on. Here’s everything you need to know about the Surface Studio 2.

Release date and price

surface studio 2 vs imac 01

The entry-level Surface Studio 2 starts at $3,500, with options for more expansive options with better graphics cards, and greater amounts of memory and storage for $4,200, and $4,800 depending on your preferences. That’s a higher starting and finishing price than the last-generation device, but there is no option for mid-tier hardware this time around.

There are discounts for students, parents, teachers, and members of the military, though despite crossing our fingers, no configuration comes with bundled accessories like the Surface Dial.

Microsoft hasn’t made an official announcement about when the Surface Studio 2 will be available at retail, but the Microsoft store claims that they will start shipping on November 15.

The same look and feel

surface studio 2 vs imac

The overall aesthetics and design of the second-generation Surface Studio will feel immediately familiar to anyone who’s used the first. The 28-inch display still dominates and it sports the same “zero-gravity” hinge for easily adjusting it between its standing, tilted, and near-flat angles. Ports are still located on the back of the base and accessories still connect wirelessly.

The only real physical difference in the design is that the hinge system has been blackened, much like a number of other new Surface products.

Upgraded internals and display

As much as the original Surface Studio shipped with decent hardware, it wasn’t great. Everything was a little outdated and last-generation, despite it offering plenty of memory and storage options. The Surface Studio 2 does a better job of offering newer and more powerful chips and cores, but it’s still a little old.

The Surface Studio 2’s CPU is a Core i7-7820HQ, a reasonable upgrade over the last generation’s 6820HQ. It maintains the same four cores and eight threads (thanks to hyperthreading) and the core clock is increased by a couple of hundred megahertz. It’s disappointing not to see an upgrade to the more capable eighth-generation of Intel’s CPUs, which we were really hopng for — especially since the chips were released over a year ago.

surface studio 2 rumors news specs price pa020161

The much more tangible upgrade to the Surface Studio’s hardware line up is its graphics processor. Where the original Surface Studio only offered mobile GPUs, the Surface Studio 2 ships with full-sized GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 graphics chips. While these aren’t as powerful as the recently debuted RTX-series of Nvidia graphics cards, they offer an enormous performance boost over even the top-tier 980M from the original Surface Studio. That means better and faster 3D rendering, video playback, and gaming.

Microsoft has also done away with the hybrid drive solution of the first-generation Surface Studio too, and offers the new iteration with a choice of either 1TB or 2TB solid-state drives, delivering high-speed performance throughout the entire drive.

Although Microsoft didn’t increase the resolution or pixel density of the Surface Studio 2’s 28-inch, 4,500 x 3,000 display, it has changed the LCD technology behind it. Through the use of “oxide transistors,” Microsoft claims that the Surface Studio 2’s display is 38 percent brighter (as much as 500 nits more so) and offers a 22 percent improvement in contrast, delivering whiter whites, blacker blacks, and better coloring throughout the image.

One new port

Microsoft Surface Studio 2

The port selection on the Surface Studio 2 isn’t exactly revolutionary, with most of the same ones as the original Surface Studio carrying over to the new-generation. However, of particular interest is the addition of a USB-C connector, which almost all other Surface products are lacking — we’re looking at you, Surface Pro 6.

The Surface Studio 2 comes with the same four USB 3.0 ports as its predecessor, as well as a full-size SD card reader, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Microsoft did ditch the mini DisplayPort connector, though, so any external displays will need to use the new USB standard.


Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 

Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.

Here are the best laptop deals for December 2018

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some holiday shopping for a special someone, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Product Review

The Asus ZenBook 14 is a tiny notebook that gets lost in the crowd

The ZenBook 14 aims to be the smallest 14-inch notebook around, and it succeeds thanks to some tiny bezels. Performance and battery life are good, but the notebook lacks a standout feature other than size.

The best MacBook deals for December 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

How to connect AirPods to your MacBook

If you have new AirPods, you may be looking forward to pairing them with your MacBook. Our guide will show you exactly how to connect AirPods to MacBook, what to do if they are already paired with a device, and more.

Hitting ‘Check for updates’ in Windows 10 opts you into beta releases

Users who are careful about keeping their system updated should watch out -- Microsoft revealed this week that clicking the Check for updates button in Windows can opt you in to testing beta code.

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.

Which Macs are compatible with MacOS Mojave?

Is your computer ready for Apple's big Mojave update? Here's what you need to know about MacOS Mojave compatibility, what Macs can successful download Mojave, and the requirements you need to know about.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Change your mouse cursor in Windows with these quick tips

The standard mouse cursor is boring, so change it! With this guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows, you can choose to use one of Microsoft's pre-installed cursors or download something a bit more extravagant.