Microsoft Surface Studio 2 Review
Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by Daniel Osakwe
Even today, the Surface Studio 2 remains the best digital drawing table. There’s no doubt that the improvements received by this computer are not on par with what you’d find in modern all-in-one PCs. Despite this, the updates make the device better for its core use case, despite its design not being designed for competition with most computers.
This makes the Surface Studio 2 not suitable for everyone, however. It’s a good idea to you check out the Surface world before spending a lot of money on this good-looking digital work table for artists if you are new to it. In fact, this PC will benefit digital media artists more than everyone else, so you’re better off looking for something else if you’re not one.
The Surface Studio 2 might be the right time to upgrade your Surface Studio if you bought it in the past and it has benefited you in a way no other PC can. Almost everything about Surface Studio 2 has been improved over the original, and it is likely to last for many years.
CPU: 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HQ (quad-core; 8MB cache; up to 3.9GHz Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 630
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Screen: 28.125-inch, (4,500 x 3,000) PixelSense Display
Storage: 1TB SSD (PCIe)
Ports: 1 x USB-C 3.1, 4 x USB 3.0, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, headset jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Xbox Wireless
Camera: 5MP (1080p) Windows Hello camera
Weight: 21 pounds (9.56 kg)
Size (Display): 25.1 x 17.3 x 0.5 inches (637.35 x 438.90 x 12.50 mm; W x D x H)
Size (Base): 9.8 x 8.7 x 1.3 inches (250.00 x 220.00 x 32.20 mm; W x D x H)
Design and display
There is absolutely no difference between the Surface Studio 2 and the original product in terms of physical design – depending on your point of view, this may or may not be a disappointment. Since the first Surface Studio was released, nothing much has changed regarding the wireless peripherals included.
Even so, Microsoft took the chance to upgrade the display of the Surface Studio. The contrast and brightness of the screen have both been increased by 38 and 22 %, respectively (1,200:1).
Although we don’t exactly love how bright and contrast have improved, we’re confident it will make content more visible and usable for creators. With the brighter images, you will be able to see more detail while the darker whites and deeper blacks will provide more color depth.
Other than USB-C in place of a DisplayPort, there are no major design changes. There is no need for any improvements to the Surface Studio ‘Gravity Hinge’.
It would, however, have been nice to have a better starting price backed by Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C 3.1 ports. In this case, the Surface Studio 2 is a good fit for your desk, since it can be used as a hub. In addition, it is aimed at content creators.
Furthermore, why couldn’t this product have been adorned with the stunning, all-black color scheme that adorns the Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Pro 6, released in tandem with the Studio 2? You will miss an opportunity to make a great first impression with that reflection off the chrome accents.
With the included keyboard and mouse, there is no problem. In terms of travel and feedback, this keyboard is very similar to Apple Mac desktop keyboards. On the other hand, the mouse has a nice curve that makes it comfortable to hold. It uses AA batteries, just like the keyboard. Sadly, there is no rechargeable peripheral here.
Also included is a Surface Pen stylus that feels identical to the ones found on Surface Pro tablets. This is no different than drawing on a small canvas, but now you get to use a stylus that performs well on a huge surface (get it?) area.
Magnets on the left side of the display attach the Surface Pen.
In this sequel, Microsoft’s design is kept, which we appreciate since it was already good. Here, all the major computer components are hidden inside the base of the Gravity Hinge, so it still works flawlessly.
As far as the base goes, it has received a bit of an update with the addition of a USB-C 3.1 port to the existing USB 3.0 ports, replacing mini DisplayPort.
In comparison with the newest processors and graphics cards available in similarly-priced desktop computers, the Surface Studio 2’s parts look like peanuts. There are no high-resolution drafting tables on any of those computers.
As a result of Surface Studio 2’s unique positioning, it almost belongs to its own category. Regardless, its innards will be capable of performing virtually any modern computing task.
With this machine, you shouldn’t expect to encode 4K video quickly or run the latest games at native resolution.
There is no comparison to its predecessor, which is a substantial improvement. Models with this CPU can render 3D graphics as well as perform multitasking and handle tasks that require a lot of processing power, such as rendering dense spreadsheets.
Even all-in-one PCs, like Apple’s iMac Pro, are more affordable for content creators who don’t do much with digital art generation or illustration. Depending on your usage, if this 28-inch computer is not used as a digital drafting table at least 10% of the time, it is not worth the investment.
This PC may be capable of handling some of the latest gaming games at decent settings, and it may have been equipped with the Xbox Wireless connectivity protocol for its Xbox One controllers, but it isn’t a gaming PC. The gaming aspect of this machine wouldn’t even be considered when purchasing it.
Obviously, you can get far better gaming for much less when it comes to online gaming.
However, the Surface Studio 2 is perfectly capable for its primary purpose – as well as a few others – so, if you’re a digital artist looking for new tools, you shouldn’t be put off by its arguably dated specs. It could last a long time for people within that demographic.
Software and features
No third-party software is pre-installed on the Surface Studio 2, since it comes directly from Microsoft. One of the reasons for the Surface Studio 2’s appeal is that so many other devices cram the operating system with useless and unnecessary software.
Nonetheless, the Surface Studio 2 offers little in the way of unique software and features. Its Windows Hello camera stands out, however.
There are infrared sensors for face recognition as part of this 5MP (1080p) webcam. It is largely the same as the previous model. It was striking to see how fast the system registered our faces and gave us access to the desktop. It takes less time than we can say ‘one second.’
Users should be happy with super-fast, secure logins.
|Big performance improvements||Arguably dated parts inside|
|PCIe SSDs||Still pricey|
|Higher contrast ratio|
Ultimately, the Surface Studio 2 achieves what it set out to accomplish: enhancing the previous model in all the ways that were essential and changing nothing that was not needed. The new version is faster, brighter, and has more vibrant colors.
In comparison with competitors, such as the Apple iMac Pro, this computer will surely appear overpriced. Surface Studio 2 simply cannot be evaluated on a specification-by-spec basis, because it offers so much more.
Although it is the world’s best digital drafting table due to its unique use case, it isn’t for everyone. In terms of upgrading from the prior model, this model is a no-brainer for the digital artist out there. There are many new features on this model, including stronger 4K content creation support and USB-C connectivity to keep up with the ongoing enhancements to silicon.
Because Surface Studio 2 was never meant to compete with most computers, it won’t stand up well to them. Because it’s designed for the digital artist or other visually-focused creators, it’s going to be hard to top-dated parts and all.