Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ hands-on: More power, but still not enough

Based on its original specs, the Surface Studio 2+ wasn’t the upgrade we’ve been waiting four years for. Maybe if I spend a little time with it, it will change my mind. Maybe I’d be happy with an 11th Gen Intel CPU instead of this year’s (far better) 12th Gen chips. I spent some time with the Surface Studio 2+ during Microsoft’s hands-on event at its New York store (or “Experience Center” as the company prefers). It’s certainly a very fast computer – but the thing is, it should be a lot more.

Gallery: Surface Studio 2+ at your fingertips | 5 photos

Microsoft didn’t change the Studio 2+’s design at all: it still has a 28-inch PixelSense screen that easily converts to an easel-like view. According to Microsoft’s Ishmael Adams, a lead designer on the Surface team, the company was aiming to include much faster hardware for this overhaul. Unfortunately, he says, Intel’s latest chips weren’t ready when the company began revamping the Studio 2+. That’s a shame as we found the 12th Gen chips to be faster and more power efficient. But hey, at least there’s an RTX 3060 GPU now, and there’s also the option to connect an external GPU via a Thunderbolt 4 connection.

Surface Studio 2+

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

In recent years, the Studio 2 has become an increasingly hard-to-buy computer due to its 2017-era hardware and sky-high price point. So it’s at least nice to see a new model with better internals. The Studio 2+ is fast enough to outlast most creatives for several years. But if it had a 12th Gen Intel chip, it would be even more future-proof. For a computer that starts at $4,300, I don’t think that’s asking too much.

Internals aside, however, the Studio 2+ is still an impressive all-in-one PC. We’ve seen a few AiO competitors from Dell and HP, but none have pushed as hard to create a truly unique desktop experience. Maybe one day Microsoft can deliver a cheaper Studio machine, similar to what happened with the Studio laptop.

Follow along with the rest of our news from Microsoft’s Surface Event 2022.

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