Microsoft Surface Studio 2 Review & Unboxing

Let’s get one thing straight about the new Surface Studio 2 – it’s not a PC for your average user, nor someone looking to stretch their dollar. Instead, Microsoft’s second version of its giant tablet-like PC is built for professional architects, engineers, designers, and artists. But if you look at one with envy thinking it could be the best experience on a Windows 10 PC, well, you would be right.

While the price and the lackluster processor is off-putting, these are beside the point of the Surface Studio 2. It represents all that is Windows 10 in 2018 in single, minimalist expression that is powerful enough for gaming.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Intel i7-7820HQ processor.
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 GPU.
  • Toshiba NVMe SSD in 1 or 2 TB options.
  • The display is 38 percent brighter with 22 percent increased contrast.
  • USB Type-C instead of a mini DisplayPort.
  • No Core i5 version anymore.
  • Other than that Surface Studio 2 has the same chassis design, same Marvel Wi-Fi chipset, same Surface camera, and overall look and feel of its predecessor.

There are only three models all with the same Core i7 processor, but two different GPUs. The $3,499 model (16GB of RAM, 1TB storage) uses an NVIDIA GTX 1060 while the $4,199 (32GB of RAM, 1TB storage) and $4,799 models (32GB of RAM and 2TB storage) both use an NVIDIA GTX 1070.

Microsoft Surface Studio 2 Unboxing

 

 

Surface Studio 2: The bottom line

The Surface Studio 2 may not look so different from the first version, but the internal changes effectively re-make the computer. There is no longer any lag from a spinning hard-disk drive, the mobile graphics processor is gone, and even the DDR4 RAM is respectable. The GTX 1070 found in the mid- and upper-tier Studio 2 is the sweet spot for graphics. It’s powerful enough for serious data crunching or high-end gaming, yet Microsoft was able to cool it down while not melting your desk or using a loud fan.

The processor is the biggest letdown. Six cores are always better than four, and it would make swallowing the $3,500 starting price easier. Nonetheless, in day-to-day usage and gaming, I can’t say that the CPU ever caused me frustration. Everything about the Surface Studio 2 – especially compared to the original – is just faster. Putting aside comparison to the old version, the Surface Studio 2 even holds up against my HP Omen gaming desktop setup.

Getting fixated on specifications (like the lack of Thunderbolt 3) is easy to do, but it negates the main point of Surface: enjoy the thing. I find it difficult to believe someone would find fault with the actual performance of the Surface Studio 2. Like all Surface devices, the Studio 2 is about how the culmination of its parts that result in a profoundly unique and satisfying experience. That’s accomplished here.

That said, the Surface Studio 2 pricing is absurd. Starting at $3,500 (the model tested for this review is $4,200) is so much more than a self-built kit. But again, such an approach misses many hidden costs. For its ridiculous price, the Surface Studio 2 at least includes a Surface Pen ($99), Surface Keyboard ($75), Surface Mouse ($50), 2.1 speaker system, GTX 1070 GPU ($450), 32GB of RAM ($230), and a 28-inch color-accurate 4K+ touchscreen — all in one neat package.


You’re paying for a one-of-a-kind, minimalist PC that just has no rivals in the computing world, and for some people that is worth the cost. If you’re not one of those people, that’s OK too.

 

It’s important to note that no much how much money you save in buying another system or making your own it will never do what the Surface Studio 2 does with its hinged display. Nor can you buy any screen that looks this good in this form factor.

If none of that matters to you, then the Surface Studio 2 should not even be a consideration, but for those who need such a setup, they will undoubtedly be amazed. The Surface Studio 2, like all this year’s Surface releases, is incredibly close to perfection. There are a few areas for improvement like the CPU and Thunderbolt 3, but otherwise, the Surface Studio 2 is, for now, the ultimate desktop PC to experience Windows 10

Source video: iJustine


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