Microsoft Surface Studio 2 Plus vs. Studio 2

The Surface Studio 2 is certainly showing its age these days, and many retailers (including Microsoft) have stopped offering it completely. The newly announced Surface Studio 2 Plus, while looking the same as the Studio 2, represents a significant upgrade in terms of serviceability, performance, ports, security, and extra features. 

Here's a look at how the specs measure up between the Surface Studio 2 and Studio 2 Plus.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Surface Studio 2 PlusSurface Studio 2
OSWindows 11 ProWindows 10 Pro
Processor11th Gen Intel Core i7-11370H7th Gen Intel Core i7-7820HQ
RAM32GB DDR416GB, 32GB DDR4
GraphicsNVIDIA RTX 3060 (6GB)NVIDIA RTX 1060, NVIDIA RTX 1070
Storage1TB SSD1TB, 2TB SSD
Display28 inches, touch, 3:2 aspect ratio28 inches, touch, 3:2 aspect ratio
Row 6 - Cell 0 4500x3000 (192 PPI), Dolby Vision 4500x3000 (192 PPI)
PenSurface Pen (included)Surface Pen (included)
KeyboardSurface Keyboard (included)Surface Keyboard (included)
MouseSurface Mouse (included)Surface Mouse (included)
PortsThree Thunderbolt 4, two USB-A 3.1, 3.5mm audio, Gigabit EthernetUSB-C, four USB-A 3.0, SD card reader, 3.5mm audio, Gigabit Ethernet
AudioStereo 2.1 speakers, Dolby AtmosStereo 2.1 speakers, Dolby Audio
Row 12 - Cell 0 Dual far-field studio microphonesStereo microphones
WirelessWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 4.1
CameraFront-facing FHD, IR cameraFront-facing 5MP, IR camera
SecurityTPM 2.0, Secured-core PC, IR cameraTPM

The Surface Studio 2 Plus is expected to begin shipping in some markets October 25 with a starting price of about $4,499. There's expected to also be a version that ships without the Surface Pen, Keyboard, and Mouse that costs about $4,299. It should make a run for the best all-in-one PCs when it does launch.

Design and features

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Surface Studio 2+

Studio 2 Plus (Image credit: Microsoft)

The Surface Studio 2 Plus looks a lot like the Studio 2, measuring the same dimensions and topping the scales at about the same weight. It still has a huge touch display that can fold down almost flat for a more natural inking angle, or it can stand up like a regular all-in-one PC. It's clear that Microsoft focused on changing up the internals, though there are some exterior differences.

The Studio 2 Plus now has a more modern port selection along the back of the base. There are three Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A 3.1, a 3.5mm audio jack, and Gigabit Ethernet. This is a huge upgrade over the single USB-C and USB-A mix on the Studio 2. The only downside is that there's no longer an SD card reader available.

While the Studio 2 had "Dolby Audio" for its stereo 2.1 speakers, the Studio 2 Plus has received Dolby Atmos certification. And while the display is essentially the same between models, Dolby Vision has been added to the Studio 2 Plus. This should make media a lot more enjoyable, especially when you're working with a 28-inch touch display with 4500x3000 resolution.

Surface Studio 2 plus promotional material

Studio 2 Plus ports (Image credit: Microsoft)

A couple of security measures have been added to the Studio 2 Plus. The Studio 2 has an IR camera and TPM chip; the Studio 2 Plus has the same IR camera and a TPM 2.0 chip, as well as a Windows 11 Secured-core PC designation. The camera in the Studio 2 Plus has been bumped up to FHD for a clearer picture.

If you buy a Studio 2 Plus from the commercial side of Microsoft's Store (anyone can shop there), you'll have access to a number of replaceable components. These are sadly missing from the Studio 2, meaning repairs must be done out of your hands. The list of serviceable parts on the Studio 2 Plus includes:

  • Display
  • Motherboard
  • SSD
  • Thermals
  • PSU
  • Feet
  • C-cover
  • Hinge cover

And finally, the wireless chip has been bumped up to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 in the Studio 2 Plus. The Studio 2 is still stuck on Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.1.

Performance

The biggest difference between the Surface Studio 2 Plus and Studio 2 is no doubt the performance capabilities. Whereas the Studio 2 is equipped with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7820HQ CPU, the Studio 2 Plus has jumped ahead four generations to an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11370H CPU. Microsoft claims performance should jump by 50% on the CPU side alone compared to the Studio 2.

The graphics card has also seen a huge upgrade, moving from a NVIDIA GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 in the Studio 2 to a NVIDIA RTX 3060 in the Studio 2 Plus. This makes it much better cut out for specialized work and even some gaming. RAM is still DDR4 (though it's unclear what speed) and there's still an SSD (unclear what PCIe version), available with a 1TB capacity in the Studio 2 Plus.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.