Surface Laptop Studio 2: Release date, specs, and everything we expect
Microsoft recently launched a handful of new Surface devices, the highlight of which was the Surface Laptop Studio. This new form factor for Surface combines the Surface Book and Surface Studio lines to create something different and better. We loved the Surface Laptop Studio in our review, and it’s certainly one of the best laptops out there today. But you know how things roll in technology – we’re always looking forward to the next thing. So what can expect from a potential Surface Laptop Studio 2? Is it coming any time soon? Here’s what we know, what we expect, and what we’d like to see.
First off, let’s lay out the basics of the current Surface Laptop Studio. This is a laptop powered by Intel’s H35 series processors, a new type of processor that has a higher power consumption than a typical laptop, but not as high as 45W processors you might find in a gaming rig. It also comes with dedicated NVIDIA graphics in the form of a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti. Overall, the Surface Laptop Studio is powerful, and it’s using modern specs across the board. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any improvements that can be made in a successor.
What is the release date of the Surface Laptop Studio 2?
The first thing you’re probably wondering is when can we expect the Surface Laptop Studio 2. With this being a new lineup in Microsoft’s Surface family, this is a particularly hard question to answer. The rate at which Surface devices come out is largely dependent on their success. The Surface Book and Surface Studio lines both had at least two years between new launches. Whether the Surface Laptop Studio sells well enough to warrant a successor more quickly remains to be seen. However, anywhere between one to two years seems like a reasonable amount of time for a successor to launch.
It’s also worth noting that, as it stands, the Surface Laptop Studio isn’t in dire need of a successor. It’s still using the latest hardware from Intel and NVIDIA, so Microsoft can afford to wait a while. After all, the company still sells the Surface Studio 2 with a 7th-generation Intel Core i7.
What new features will the Surface Laptop Studio 2 have?
So, when a Surface Latop Studio 2 does launch, what can we expect it to include? It’s probably safe to assume we won’t see huge design changes in the second iteration of this lineup. Microsoft typically waits a couple (or more) of generations to make significant changes to the design of its Surface devices. There’s also nothing that’s necessarily wrong with the Surface Laptop Studio as it is right now, and no rumors to indicate any big changes to the design.
A spec bump
The one thing you can surely expect with a new Surface Laptop Studio is upgraded specs. That’s the one thing you can almost always count on with a new device launch. Microsoft could go a few ways here. It’s currently using Intel’s H35 series of processors, which strike a balance between power and battery life. However, Intel Alder Lake processors could change things.
These new processors, which are only available for desktops at the moment, use a hybrid architecture. There are both powerful and efficient cores inside each processor, which can result in better performance, but also better battery life. Though we haven’t had the chance to test them yet, it’s possible to the new 45W H-series processors can be as power-efficient as the H35 series, especially because Intel hasn’t introduced new 35W processors. However, we did get the new P-series, which has a TDP of 28W. We could potentially see Microsoft going that route, though that would feel like a step down.
Aside from that, we could also be looking at an upgraded graphics card, depending on when NVIDIA refreshes its lineup of GPUs. It would also be nice to see Microsoft give you the option for more powerful graphics, making this an even better machine for creators.
What do we want to see in a Surface Laptop Studio 2?
Of course, outside of what we can expect, there are things we’d simply like to see in a future version. The current Surface Laptop Studio is great, but there are a couple of ways we’d like to see Microsoft improve it even further.
A more flexible design
The form factor of the Surface Laptop Studio takes clear inspiration from the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel, allowing you to pull the display towards you or fold it over the keyboard base for drawing. However, that’s all the Surface Laptop Studio does. Acer’s laptop is designed to more easily allow you to have the display in many more different positions. You can make it so that the display “floats” above the keyboard, for example, or spin it completely backwards if you want to show something off across a table.
The Surface Laptop Studio design locks you into three different positions, and while you can move it freely, it doesn’t really hold any other position very well. One could argue that’s an intentional part of Microsoft’s design, but it could definitely change in the future. When the first Surface RT and Surface Pro iterations were released, the kickstand only supported a few positions, but it eventually became a free-moving kickstand.
A refined design
The Surface Laptop Studio is cleverly designed to house the Surface Slim Pen 2 underneath the keyboard base. To accommodate it, Microsoft designed the laptop to have this cutout all around the base, which can look a bit odd. The Surface Slim Pen can only be stored in one position alongside this cutout, so the rest of it is only there for aesthetic consistency, but it would probably be better without it.
The cutout should be designed to fit the Surface Slim Pen more snuggly. And while we’re at it, the pen should probably be included with such an expensive laptop. That way, the pen garage isn’t empty out of the box and it helps the design feel more balanced.
Seeing Microsoft adopt Thunderbolt for the first time with the Surface Laptop Studio (and Pro 8) was huge news, and we hope to keep seeing them in future iterations. But as capable as these ports are, it’s a shame to see this powerful laptop including almost nothing else aside from Thunderbolt. A more traditional display output like HDMI would be great to see, as would USB Type-A and an SD card reader. Surface devices typically haven’t had a ton of ports, but if Apple can learn its lesson for the 2021 MacBook Pro, we hope Microsoft can learn the same for a Surface Laptop Studio 2.
What will be the price of the Surface Laptop Studio 2?
While it’s definitely early to take a guess at exact pricing for a device that’s still a way out, there’s something we do know. Microsoft hasn’t typically raised (or lowered) the base price of its devices by a whole lot each generation. The exception to that was the Surface Pro 8, but keep in mind that was a major upgrade in terms of design and screen. Plus, Microsoft also left behind some configurations like 4GB of RAM and the Intel Core i3, so the starting point for the Pro 8 is very different from the Pro 7.
As such, it’s fair to expect that the base price of a Surface Laptop Studio 2 stays around $1,599 when it does launch. Of course, it could increase, but it’s hard to imagine it going much higher than that. As for the maximum price, it will depend on whether Microsoft decides to introduce new configuration options, whether that’s a more powerful GPU or some other kind of upgrade.
For now, that’s all we know about a potential Surface Laptop Studio 2, and frankly, it’s not a lot. It’s only natural, though, because the original Surface Laptop Studio is still so new. There’s no reason to wait if you want this kind of form factor right now. We’ll be updating this article if any new information or rumors pop up about the Surface Laptop Studio 2, so be sure to check back later. If you’re interested in other form factors, check out the best Surface PCs you can buy today. Microsoft makes some great devices for different use cases.