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Key Takeaways

  • We expect the Surface Laptop Studio 2 to launch this fall with upgrdes to its specs, addressing many of the first generation's shortcomings.
  • The new model is rumored to feature a 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with up to 14 cores and 20 threads and up to 64GB of RAM. There's also potential for an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU option.
  • While design changes may be limited, improvements like more ports, a brighter display, and an upgraded haptic touchpad are expected for the Surface Laptop Studio 2.

Even though it's been almost two years since its release, the Surface Laptop Studio is still one of the coolest laptops Microsoft has ever made. Folio-style laptops weren't new when it launched, with the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel being another great example, but the Surface Laptop Studio definitely made them a bit more mainstream, and it's such an interesting form factor. Naturally, Microsoft is hard at work on the next iteration of this idea, and we're expecting to launch in the next few months with a very welcome upgrade to the specs.

The first-generation Surface Laptop Studio is great, but it does have 11th-generation Intel H35-series processors with just four cores and eight threads, so it definitely falls behind what we're getting these days with 13th-generation Intel processors starting to hit the market. It also has Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of SSD storage. Based on recent reports, the new model will address all these shortcomings.

Surface Laptop Studio 2: Pricing and availability

Microsoft has yet to announce an official release date for the Surface Laptop Studio 2, but it's very likely it will launch in fall 2023, potentially around October. This is typically primetime for Surface launches — it's when the first Surface Laptop Studio was introduced and when Microsoft typically refreshes the Surface Pro series. The Surface Laptop Studio 2 will likely arrive alongside the Surface Pro 10, which is expected to come in an 11-inch version for the first time, as well as the Surface Go 4.

Front view of Surface Laptop Studio

That timeframe also aligns with Microsoft's usual release schedule for major Windows updates. Windows 11 debuted in October 2021, around the same time as the Surface Pro 8 and Laptop Studio, and Windows 11 version 22H2 launched a year later with the Surface Pro 9. We can expect that to happen again with Windows 11 version 23H2 launching around the same time as these devices.

As for pricing, we could be looking at a noticeable price bump because Microsoft isn't planning an Intel Core i5 processor version this time around. Instead, there will be Intel Core i7 CPUs across the board. This is a more expensive chip with better performance, so it will carry a higher price tag. It's not clear whether Microsoft will also include discrete graphics by default or if the base model will start with just integrated graphics as with the original model, but this could also drive the price further up.

What new features will the Surface Laptop Studio 2 have?

The leaks we've seen don't just give us a potential release date for the Surface Laptop Studio 2, but they also tell us some of the specs we can expect. Unfortunately, not many design changes seem to be in the cards, which is something we would like to see.

More performance

The Surface Laptop Studio looks set for a major performance upgrade if the reports are to be believed. We're expecting to see up to a 13th-generation Intel Core i7-13800H, which is a very big leap over the previous top-tier CPU option, the Core i7-11370H. The Intel Core i7-13800H has a whopping 14 cores and 20 threads with boost speeds up to 5.2GHz, as opposed to the four cores and eight threads of the Core i7-11370H, which only boosted up to 4.8GHz. The newer processor also has a higher 45W TDP compared to the 35W of the previous model.

In a leaked benchmark earlier this year, we saw a purported Surface Laptop Studio 2 obtain a Geekbench 6 score of 2,564 for single-core and 12,463 for multi-core. Comparatively, the old model maxed out at around 1,973 and 6,788, respectively.

Angled view of Surface Laptop Studio in stage mode

On top of that, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is said to feature up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, which would also be a massive upgrade from the original model's RTX 3050 Ti. It's worth noting that the RTX 3050 Ti isn't a particularly powerful GPU compared to other options these days, so this upgrade will make a very big difference for GPU workloads. Rounding things out, it looks like you'll be able to go up to 64GB of RAM, making this a powerful machine through and through.

More ports and design improvements

Another recently reported improvement is in the port selection. The original Surface Laptop Studio shipped with just two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headphone jack, which is more limiting than we'd usually expect from high-end devices like this. It's unclear what ports might be added, but this alone should be great news.

It's also been reported that the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will have a brighter display than the original model, making it more visible outdoors. It could also come with an upgraded haptic touchpad with more detailed and granular haptic feedback.

What do we want to see in a Surface Laptop Studio 2?

While we've only heard about changes to the specs for this second iteration of the Surface Laptop Studio, there are some things we'd love to see change in a new model. These things may not happen in the Surface Laptop Studio 2, but they would make it a much better device.

A more flexible design

The Surface Laptop Studio's form factor 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 allow you to have the display in many different positions more easily. You can make it so that the display "floats" above the keyboard, for example, or spin it completely backward if you want to show something off across a table.

Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel
An Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel with the display flipped backward

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. We'd like to see something similar with the Surface Laptop Studio.

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.

Pen stored under Surface Laptop Studio

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.

More ports

Seeing Microsoft adopt Thunderbolt for the first time with the Surface Laptop Studio was huge news, and Microsoft seems committed to keeping it around with the recent Surface launches. But as capable as these ports are, it's a shame to see this powerful laptop including almost nothing else besides 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 MacBook Pro, we hope Microsoft can do the same for a Surface Laptop Studio 2.

Side view of Surface Laptop Studio

That's all we know about a potential Surface Laptop Studio 2 for now, but it's still exciting. The spec bump that's been reported is one of the big things this device needed, and it could make it a truly great laptop for creators. We'll keep adding more information to this page as it comes. 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.