Microsoft News Roundup: Surface Laptop Studio 2 specs, the end of Xbox Live Gold, and an Xbox controller without stick drift

Surface Laptop Studio
(Image credit: Future)

From Surface leaks to Xbox controllers without stick drift, we saw a wide range of news stories pass our desk this week. With so much going on, it's easy to miss a few stories, so we gather together all of the biggest news into one bite-size piece.

Toss in a healthy heaping of reviews and editorials and sprinkle on some deals and you have tasty treat that satisfies your hunger for news.

Surface Laptop Studio 2 details

Surface Laptop Studio in display mode

(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft plans to unveil a Surface Laptop Studio 2 later this year, according to a report by our Senior Editor Zac Bowden. The PC will feature the same general design as its predecessor, though it will reportedly have a wider selection of ports.

The screen of the Surface Laptop Studio 2 should be brighter, but it will keep the same 14.4-inch size seen on the original Surface Laptop Studio. Bowden has heard whispers of an upgraded haptic touchpad (likely from Sensel) to provide more granular feedback.

The biggest change between generations will be on the internal side of things. The Surface Laptop Studio 2 will have "the latest Intel 13th-Gen processors, the most RAM ever seen on a Surface device and powerful NVIDIA 40-series GPUs." according to Bowden's sources.

With an expected September or October timeframe for its announcement, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will likely ship with Windows 11 version 23H2 and have AI features such as Windows Copilot.

Xbox Live Gold going away

Image of a neon "Xbox Live" sign.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft announced the end of its Xbox Live Gold branding this week. The company will replace the well-known subscription with Xbox Game Pass Core. This aligns Microsoft's subscriptions under the Xbox game Pass branding, which already included Xbox Game Pass Console, PC Game Pass, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

While the Xbox Live Gold branding is going away, people will still have the option to play online with a similar subscription. In fact, Xbox Game Pass Core has some extra benefits when compared to Xbox Live Gold. The new subscription will have 25 "high-quality" Xbox Games, including Doom Eternal, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, and The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. We have a list of every game included with Xbox Game Pass Core, but it's worth noting that the library will grow over time.

All Xbox Live Gold members will have their subscriptions converted to Xbox Game Pass Core in the future.

Massive Windows 11 Insider update

Modern File Explorer on Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft rolls out Insider builds of Windows 11 every week, but they aren't always as big as the update we saw a few days ago. Windows 11 Build 22621.2050 and Build 22631.2050 shipped to Beta Channel Insiders with a long list of changes. The update includes a modernized File Explorer, support for Dynamic Lighting, and improvements to Windows Ink.

Build 22621.2050 has new features off by default and Build 22631.2050 has new features enabled, so if you want to try out the new features, you'll have to make sure to be on the right version of Windows or enable specific options.

Xbox controller without stick drift

GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller

(Image credit: GameSir)

Stick drift is the bane of existence for many gamers. The issue isn't exclusive to Xbox controllers, but it certainly can be a problem on them. GameSir aims to fix that with its recently announced GameSir G7 SE Controller. It features Hall Effect sticks, which use non-contact magnetic sensors to prevent stick drift from creeping in.

The controller costs $45, which is rather affordable for an Xbox controller. The only downside is that it's a wired controller. If you're okay with connecting to your Xbox with a cable, the GameSir G7 SE Controller looks like a solid option.

If you've been lucky enough to avoid stick drift in a controller, or if you'd just like to learn more about what causes it, make sure to check out our announcement post of the GameSir G7 SE Controller.

GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller | $44.99

GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller | $44.99

Potentially another slam dunk for GameSir, the G7 SE is the first controller for Xbox to feature Hall Effect sticks, so this controller should last the journey no matter what you want to play. Compatible with Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and Windows 10/11.

Buy from:
Amazon | GameSir

ChatGPT getting dumber?

OpenAI and ChatGPT

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

Late last year, ChatGPT burst onto the scenes. The easy-to-use AI tool placed artificial intelligence at the fingertips of everyday users and sparked a surge of interest in AI. But according to a study out of Stanford, ChatGPT may have gotten worse, not better, since it launched.

The study "How Is ChatGPT’s Behavior Changing over Time?" examined how the chatbot responded to a series of questions. Testers studied how ChatGPT handled math problems, questions with sensitive information, requests to generate code, and visual reasoning.

While the study flags up questions about OpenAI's ChatGPT, further study is needed to determine if the chatbot has actually gotten less intelligent. The study concluded that ChatGPT had shifted, in some cases for the worse, but that's only in a limited scope of testing.

Reviews & Editorials

Side view of LG gram SuperSlim on desk.

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Every week our team takes a look at the latest laptops, gadgets, games, and accessories. We love playing with tech, and we love helping you find out what's worth picking up. This week, our experts reviewed The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom, the LG gram SuperSlim 15.6-inch OLED, F1 23, and much more.

Deals of the week

Prime Day may have come and gone, but there are still some great tech deals going on right now. As we approach back-to-school season, we'll see an increasing number of discounts on laptops, PCs, monitors, and more. This week, our team found deals on the Surface Pro 9, an excellent gaming monitor from Dell, and a monstrous curved monitor from Samsung.

Dell 27 Gaming Monitor – S2721HS: was

Dell 27 Gaming Monitor – S2721HS: was $219 now $159 at Amazon (save 27%) 

This 1080p IPS display offers a fast response time and amazing color accuracy. It's compatible with AMD FreeSync and features two HDMI ports to help you connect to whatever other devices you want to connect it to. 

✅Pros: Great color and contrast, compatible with AMD FreeSync, a budget buy

Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor – S3222DGM: was

Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor – S3222DGM: was $349 now $299 at Dell (save $50)

This 2560 x 1440 32-inch W-LED panel does an excellent job of showing off gameplay thanks to its amazing color accuracy and contrast. As far as performance goes, it offers a 165Hz refresh rate coupled with a 2ms response to make sure everything plays smoothly. Additionally, it offers AMD FreeSync Premium to upscale graphics. With this deal, it's the lowest price we've ever seen it.

Price check:
Best Buy $349 | Amazon (unavailable)

Pros: 165Hz refresh rate, 2ms response time, amazing color and contrast, compatible with AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync

Surface Pro 9 8GB RAM 256GB Storage: was

Surface Pro 9 8GB RAM 256GB Storage: was $1,099 now $949 at Best Buy (save $150)

The Surface Pro 9 is the combination of 10 years of product refinement, and you can really feel it here. Almost everything about the Surface Pro 9 is perfect if you like the form factor that is. It features an Intel Evo Core i5-1235U with a removable SSD. This is the lowest price we've ever seen this Surface Pro 9 configuration offered at. 

Price Check: Amazon $1,299

Pros: Excellent performance, up to 15.5 hr battery life

Surface Laptop 5 8GB RAM 512GB Storage: was

Surface Laptop 5 8GB RAM 512GB Storage: was $1,299 now $989 at Amazon (save 24%)

The Surface Laptop 5 is a great laptop with a long battery life of up to 18 hours. It's the same as the previous model, but with an updated typing feel, newer 12th-Gen Intel chips under the hood, and a slight improvement on battery life. Everything you could ask for in a minor upgrade. This isn't the lowest price we've ever seen it, but it is far lower than usual. 

Price Check: Best Buy $1,299

Pros: Excellent performance, up to 18 hr battery life

Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 49-inch monitor |

Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 49-inch monitor |was $2,299, now $1,348 at Amazon

Not only do you get 49 inches to work with, you also have Samsung's Mini LED Quantum Matrix tech to make every inch stand out. It has low input lag, adaptive sync technology, and VESA mounting.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at