From www.pocket-lint.com

(Pocket-lint) – The Surface Studio 2, despite its impressive design, is really starting to show its age. At its core, it’s powered by a processor that launched over five years ago, so it’s easy to see why it was in need of a refresh.

Thankfully, Microsoft has done exactly that with the launch of the Surface Studio 2+. It might not be the dramatic redesign that some were hoping for, but internal upgrades mean that it should feel like a very different machine compared to its predecessor.

So, what exactly has changed with the new Surface Studio? We’ve got everything covered right here.

Design

  • Both: 637.35 x 438.90 x 12.50 mm up to 9.56 kg
  • Surface Studio 2+: 3x Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB 3.1, 3.5mm audio, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Surface Studio2: 1x USB-C, 4x USB 3.0, 3.5mm audio, card reader, Gigabit Ethernet

Aesthetically, the Surface Studio 2+ is almost indistinguishable from the previous model. The dimensions and weight are identical, but when you take a look around the back, things get a bit more interesting.

Microsoft has given the IO a much-needed update, which includes three Thunderbolt 4 connections. Comparatively, the Surface Studio 2 only had a solitary USB 3.1 type-C port, something that’s very unusual in 2022. 

Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ vs Surface Studio 2: What's new? photo 5

We’re happy to see that the 3.5mm audio port is still present, but unfortunately, the card reader has been removed. Of course, you can plug in an external card reader, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity and cleanliness of an integrated solution.

Wireless connectivity sees an improvement on this model, offering Wi-Fi 6 instead of Wi-Fi 5 as well as an upgrade to Bluetooth 5.1 from 4.1. This will vastly improve the wireless peripheral experience, increasing the range and connection stability.

Display, speakers and webcam

  • Both: 28-inch PixelSense display 4500 x 3000 (192 PPI)
  • Both: 1080p Webcam with Windows Hello, Stereo 2.1 speakers
  • Surface Studio 2+: Dolby Vision and Atmos support, Dual far-field studio microphones

Moving on to the display and things are much the same, with the specifications being almost identical to the last generation. The only discernable difference with this model comes from the addition of Dolby Vision support. How noticeable this difference will be, remains to be seen, but it’s nice that there is at least some advancement in the display tech.

Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ vs Surface Studio 2: What's new? photo 2

The speakers also appear to be the same, with the only difference being a new Dolby Atmos certification. The webcam specification stays, too, offering 1080p FHD video and support for Windows Hello facial recognition.

One piece of hardware that does seem to have changed, though, is the microphones used. Microsoft describes the new microphones as far-field studio microphones, not much has been said about them so far, but they should improve quality for video conferencing.  

Hardware and performance

  • Surface Studio 2+: 11th Gen Intel Core i7 11370H, Nvidia RTX 3060
  • Surface Studio 2: 7th Gen Intel Core i7 7870HQ, Nvidia GTX 1060/70
  • Surface Studio 2+: 1TB SSD and 32GB DDR4
  • Surface Studio 2: 1TB/2TB SSD and 16/32GB DDR4

The internals are where we see the biggest changes, with an upgrade to an 11th Gen Intel core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060. Considering how out of date the previous spec was, this is a massive leap in performance. Microsoft says the new CPU is over 50 per cent faster than the chip in the Surface Studio 2.

Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ vs Surface Studio 2: What's new? photo 1

The graphics card brings with it support for ray tracing, if you want to get your game on, but you’ll more likely be interested in its improvements to rendering time for video editing, animation and 3D work. In general terms, the RTX 3060 is around 70 per cent faster than the GTX 1060, so performance will be worlds apart from the older Surface Studio. It’s worth noting that this is a laptop-class 3060, though, so don’t go in expecting full-fat RTX 3060 performance.

Microsoft has simplified the configuration on the Surface Studio 2+, it will only be available with a 1TB SSD and 32GB of DDR4 memory. There were more options available with the Surface Studio 2, but this simplifies the buying process, so we can understand the decision.

There is one decision, however, that we can’t quite get our head around. And that’s the fact that this product uses an 11th Gen Intel processor, while the rest of the Surface lineup is on Intel’s latest 12th Gen chips. Given that this is the largest and most expensive model in the lineup, opting to use anything but the latest and greatest is very puzzling indeed.

Verdict

The Surface Studio 2+, as the name suggests, is an iteration rather than a reimagining. The chassis and display are essentially the same, so if the Surface Studio 2 appealed to you, we don’t doubt that this new model will, too.

It has been so long since Microsoft updated this particular product, though, that the difference in performance is night and day. If you’re considering purchasing a Surface Studio, then you should absolutely go for the newer model. The previous generation was running on such old hardware that we’d only consider it if it was available at a serious bargain basement price.

It’s not just performance, either, the addition of Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, along with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, shouldn’t be overlooked.

So, while Microsoft hasn’t reinvented the wheel with this one, it has brought an excellent product into the modern era – and we’re glad that it hasn’t been forgotten.

Writing by Luke Baker. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.

The post Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ vs Surface Studio 2: What’s new? first appeared on www.pocket-lint.com

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