Is Surface Studio 2 worth the price?
What's new with the second-gen Surface Studio 2?
The Surface Studio 2 now has a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7820HQ processor (CPU) with no Core i5 options available. This CPU has four cores and a clock speed up to 3.90 GHz, which will outperform the 6th Gen CPUs in the original Studio. There are also better dedicated graphics card (GPU) options with the Studio 2; choose from NVIDIA GTX 1060 or 1070 with 6 GB and 8 GB of VRAM respectively. This is a big step up from the M-class GPUs that offered up to 4 GB of VRAM in the GTX 980M.
Ports also got a bit of an overhaul, and while there's still no Thunderbolt 3, there's a single USB-C port alongside four USB-A 3.0, an SD card reader, an Ethernet port, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. There are better thermals inside and the fan won't run as loud when under load. Gone are the hybrid drive options from the original Surface Studio; instead, you can choose from 1 TB or 2 TB solid-state drives (SSD).
Finally, the 28-inch touch display has the same 3:2 aspect ratio and the same 4500x3000 resolution, but the new model has about 20 percent more contrast and gets about 33 percent brighter.
What accessories come with the Surface Studio 2?
Included in the price you see at checkout is a Surface Pen, Surface Keyboard, and Surface Mouse. These essentials cost together about $250 altogether when sold separately. They're essential to getting the most use out of your Studio 2 (especially the Pen), but you'll no doubt also want to take advantage of the Surface Dial if you're going to get creative with your PC.
The Surface Studio 2 isn't for everyone
The Surface Studio 2 is a specialized device, designed more to fill the needs of professionals rather than households that need a PC for everyday tasks. This is made evident by the price and design. It's built as an all-in-one (AiO) PC that can fold down on a zero-gravity hinge to become more of a canvas or drafting table for design. Paired with a Surface Pen and Surface Dial, you truly get an impressive toybox to bring your ideas into the physical space.
It has dedicated NVIDIA GTX 10-series GPU options that can be used for design or gaming, there are large, fast storage options, and the enormous touch display has a high resolution and overall brilliant picture. If you need this combination of features that the Studio 2 offers, there's really not much competition.
What about the iMac?
Apple's iMac is often compared to Microsoft's Studio line. They're both AiO devices, they both have large, high-resolution displays, and they both cost a good chunk of money. The iMac has some impressive specs, including up to an Intel Core i7 CPU, Radeon Pro 580 GPU with 8 GB of VRAM, up to 64 GB of RAM, and Thunderbolt 3 ports, which comes with a price of about $2,300.
That's considerably less money than the Surface Studio 2, but with the iMac you're not getting a touch display or active pen support, and the display sits vertically with no option to fold down flat. For creators, these extra Studio 2 perks no doubt make the most difference, so the iMac isn't worth that consideration.
An AiO PC suited for creation and design.
The Surface Studio 2 isn't cheap, but those who need the combination of a high-res 28-inch touch display, Surface Pen and Dial support, tilting form factor, and performance hardware should find that it's worth the money spent.
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.
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