Surface Laptop Studio 2: A High-End Contender with Room for Improvement

Microsoft’s latest offering, the Surface Laptop Studio 2, has made its debut with a mix of anticipation and skepticism. While it boasts new chips, a redesigned touchpad, and a hefty price tag, does it truly live up to its potential?

Key Highlights:

  • Almost identical to its predecessor, the 2021 Surface Laptop Studio.
  • Features a unique foldover hinge allowing the screen to stand in three different positions.
  • Redesigned trackpad, Dolby Vision HDR support, and new ports.
  • Powered by Intel’s 13th gen core processors and Nvidia’s RTX 4000 GPUs.
  • Price starts at $1999.99, with the model tested priced at $3299.99.
  • Adaptive touchpad, 120Hz display with dynamic refresh rate, and a unique convertible hinge.
  • Some concerns about battery life and the absence of a full SD slot.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2, often referred to as the “big bendy foldy thing,” is Microsoft’s attempt to rival the MacBook Pro. At first glance, it seems almost identical to its 2021 predecessor, with the standout feature being its unique foldover hinge. This hinge allows users to position the screen in three distinct modes: clamshell, tablet, and tent.

Microsoft has introduced several tweaks to this version. The trackpad has been revamped, the screen now supports Dolby Vision HDR, and there are some new ports. The most notable upgrades, however, lie beneath the surface. The Laptop Studio now incorporates Intel’s 13th gen core processors and Nvidia’s RTX 4000 GPUs.

But with a starting price of $1999.99, does it offer value for money? The model tested, equipped with RTX 4060, comes with a price tag of $3299.99, which is just $200 less than a similarly specced MacBook Pro with M2 Max. For such a price, one would expect exceptional performance and battery life. However, the Laptop Studio 2, while impressive in many aspects, seems to fall short in these areas.

Performance and Competition:

The Surface Laptop Studio 2’s performance, while better than its predecessor, doesn’t quite match up to some of its competitors. Benchmark scores indicate that while it’s faster than the original Studio, it’s not the best among premium workstations today. The MacBook Pro, for instance, outperforms the Laptop Studio 2 on multicore benchmarks, even though the latter’s core i7 has more CPU cores.

Moreover, with Intel’s announcement of its Meteor Lake CPU generation expected to roll out by December, the decision to equip the Laptop Studio 2 with 13th gen chips at this juncture seems perplexing. Professionals looking for the best processing power might find themselves better served waiting for the next generation of chips.

Conclusion:

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is undeniably a well-built, innovative device. Its unique design, combined with a host of new features, makes it a compelling choice for many. However, when it comes to sheer performance and value for money, there’s room for improvement. With competitors like the MacBook Pro offering stiff competition, Microsoft’s latest offering, while impressive, could have been so much more.