Specs Appeal: Here is how Surface Studio 2+ compares to Studio 2 and original Studio

A woman working with the Surface Studio all-in-one

Despite being the most expensive, the largest, and arguably the most exciting computer Microsoft sells, the Surface Studio received the fewest upgrades over six years. The Surface Studio 2+ is only the third version of the computer that even Microsoft refuses to call "Studio 3" due to a small number of changes. Besides having a last-gen Intel processor, the Surface Studio 2+ features some notable downgrades compared to its predecessors, making the upgrade even more head-scratching. In this Specs Appeal article, we compare the Surface Studio 2+ to the outgoing model and its original version introduced in late 2016.

Of course, it is disappointing to see Microsoft opting for the 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11370H instead of a 12th Gen processor with brand-new architecture. Such a decision is especially bewildering considering the fact that the Surface Laptop 5 and Surface Pro 9 come with 12th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. Still, the Intel Core i7-11370H is a significant performance jump compared to the processors found in the original and second-gen Surface Studio.

A better GPU is another reason some Surface Studio owners will consider upgrading to the Surface Studio 2+. Microsoft has swapped the old Nvidia GTX 1060 and 1070 in favor of a more modern and significantly more powerful RTX 3060 with 6GB of memory.

The original Surface Studio

Unfortunately, the Surface Studio 2+ has nothing more to offer besides a new CPU+GPU combo, as all the other aspects of the computer remain unchanged. Moreover, you need to accept a few notable downgrades, such as only one SKU with no customization, no SD card slot (why, Microsoft), and no Xbox Wireless built-in. All this makes Surface Studio 2+ look like a placeholder device to fill the gap while Microsoft prepares a more significant upgrade.

Here are key changes summed up in a list:

  • Dolby Vision support and auto color management
  • 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor
  • Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB graphics card
  • No 16GB RAM option, only 32GB
  • No 2TB SSD option, only 1TB
  • Improved security with Windows 11 Secured-core PC
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support
  • Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports
  • No more built-in Xbox Wireless standard
  • No more full-sized SD card slot
Surface Studio 2+ Surface Studio 2 Surface Studio 1
Display 28-inch 3:2 PixelSense
4500 x 3000 (192 ppi), 60Hz
10-point multi-touch
1 billion colors
Auto Color Management
sRGB and Vivid profile
DCI-P3
Dolby Vision
Gorilla Glass 3
28-inch 3:2 PixelSense
4500 x 3000 (192 ppi), 60Hz
10-point multi-touch
sRGB and Vivid profile
DCI-P3
OS Windows 11 Windows 10
Windows 11
Windows 10
Colors Platinum
Processor Intel Core i7-11370H Intel Core i7-7820HQ Intel Core i5-6440HQ
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
GPU Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB
Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB
Nvidia GTX 965M 2GB
Nvidia GTX 980M 4GB
Memory 32GB DDR4 16GB, 32GB DDR4 8GB, 16GB, 32GB DDR4
Storage 1TB SSD 1TB, 2TB SSD 64GB SSD + 1 TB HDD
128GB SSD + 1 TB HDD
128 GB SSD + 2TB HDD
Security TPM 2.0 Chip
Windows Hello face sign-in
Windows 11 Secured-core PC
TPM 2.0 Chip
Windows Hello face sign-in
TPM Chip
Windows Hello face sign-in
Network Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1
Gigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.1
Xbox Wireless
Gigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.0
Xbox Wireless
Gigabit Ethernet
Camera Front-facing camera with 1080p video and Windows Hello
Ports 3x Thunderbolt 4/USB-C 4.0
2x USB-A 3.1

1x 3.5mm headphone jack
1x Gigabit Ethernet

4x USB-A 3.0
1x Full-size SDXC
1x USB-C
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
1x Gigabit Ethernet

4x USB-A 3.0
1x Full-size SDXC
1x Mini DisplayPort
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
1x Gigabit Ethernet
In the box Surface Pen
Surface Keyboard
Surface Mouse
Price $4,499 $3,000

True, the Surface Studio 2+ is much more capable than its predecessor, and wanting a more powerful CPU or graphics card is a solid reason to buy the new model. But does a soon-two-generation-old processor and a mid-range graphics card provide enough incentive to buy such an expensive computer with so few changes? It is a question we have a hard time answering.

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