Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 hands-on: More ports and a much-needed spec bump

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Sam Rutherford

The Surface Laptop Studio is benignant of a unsocial PC acknowledgment to its innovative hinged display, stylus support and well-rounded specs. In immoderate ways it's nan eventual jack-of-all-trades but maestro of nary system. And now a sequel has arrived sporting a much-needed spec bump and nan summation of immoderate long-requested features including a microSD paper slot.

Now, immoderate folks whitethorn beryllium dismayed to spot that nan exterior of nan just-announced Surface Laptop Studio 2 is mostly unchanged. But arsenic personification who's been utilizing nan erstwhile exemplary arsenic my main recreation notebook for nan past mates of years, I'm not that bothered. You still get clean, minimalist lines on pinch a 14.4-inch 2,400 x 1,600 120Hz PixelSense show that tin tilt for illustration an easel. I'm moreover happy to spot small quirks for illustration its two-tiered guidelines return, which keeps nan system's vents cleverly hidden and distant from nan edges of nan strategy while besides offering a support for Surface Slim Pen 2 to latch onto.

However, on nan sides are immoderate very important updates: a caller USB-A larboard and a microSD paper slot. This is nan first clip either of these has been disposable connected this line, and while it mightiness not sound for illustration a large deal, for a strategy that's geared toward artists and contented creators, this alteration represents a awesome quality-of-life upgrade. Just being capable to quickly transportation photos from a camera to your laptop without needing a cablegram aliases an adapter is highly useful. And pinch nan summation of a USB-A larboard on pinch nan 2 Thunderbolt 4 USB-C jacks, there's a bully chance you'll beryllium capable to time off each your dongles astatine location without sacrificing connectivity.

There are besides immoderate subtle creation changes including a caller aluminum chassis alternatively of magnesium for illustration you sewage connected nan original. This results successful a very somewhat thicker assemblage (just 1 aliases 2mm), a much silvery hue and a smoother finish.

As you tin see, Microsoft hasn't messed astir overmuch pinch nan caller Surface Laptop Studio 2's creation (left) erstwhile compared to nan original.

As you tin see, Microsoft hasn't messed astir overmuch pinch nan caller Surface Laptop Studio 2's creation (left) erstwhile compared to nan original (right). (Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget)

As for performance, I really for illustration nan Surface Laptop Studio 2's updated components. Even astatine launch, nan original felt somewhat underpowered owed to a middling quad-core spot contempt being billed arsenic Microsoft's astir powerful laptop. But now, pinch support for up to an Intel Core i7-13800H chip, 64GB of RAM, 2TB of retention and an RTX 4060 GPU (or an RTX 2000 paper connected commercialized models), this successor feels for illustration a much well-rounded machine. Sure, it's not arsenic accelerated arsenic a similarly-priced gaming laptop and it's not rather arsenic bladed arsenic a emblematic 14-inch ultraportable. However, nan operation of a high-res touchscreen pinch pen integration and a spec refresh delivers measurement much versatility than almost each of its rivals.

One past large alteration is nan summation of Microsoft's Adaptive Touch feature, which brings accrued accessibility. The tech uses a caller touch algorithm that makes it easier for differently-abled group to rodent astir and usage nan touchpad. And while I mightiness not get a ton of usage retired of it, I admit really elemental it is use. All you person to do is unfastened nan Surface app and you are instantly presented pinch options for enabling Adaptive Touch and adjusting things for illustration click sensitivity and double-click speed.

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Granted, location aren't a ton of awesome changes connected Surface Laptop Studio 2 speech from refreshed specs and immoderate caller ports. But I deliberation that's OK, arsenic this feels for illustration a lawsuit of not messing pinch an already tested and still very innovative design. The main drawback is that pinch a starting value of $1,999, Microsoft's latest flagship laptop costs a batch much than a emblematic 14-inch rival. But that whitethorn conscionable beryllium nan costs for a strategy that tin do a batch of everything.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 goes connected waste connected October 3.

  • Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Follow each of nan news unrecorded from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface arena right here.