At the entirely Panos-free Surface event today Microsoft announced an update to the well-received Surface Laptop Studio.
The Laptop Studio 2 features upgraded internals with a 13th gen i7 CPU and up to an RTX 4060 dGPU. Two legacy ports were added: a USB-A port on the left edge and a microSD slot on the right edge. The memory and storage options now go to 64GB and 2TB respectively.
The upgrades and/or the change from magnesium to aluminum for the case material have made the second gen about 10% heavier, weighing 4.2lbs and 4.4lbs depending on graphics configuration.
Starting at $1999, available Oct 3, available for preorder now. Store link.
Heads up to potential buyers: the NotebookCheck review calls out particularly slow screen response times, something to consider if planning to game on the built-in display.
Edit: some personal impressions two months later here.
I’m confused about the battery life estimates from the SLS2. They claim 19 hours. Given they claim 15.5 for the SP9, that is clearly on the rosy end. You can approach that on the SP9, maybe, if you stare at a text without scrolling at a very low brightness (even in that case I’d estimate more like 13 hours).
Still, the battery is only 20% larger than SP9, and they are claiming the SLS2 gets 22% more battery life than the SP9 even though the SLS2 has a much more powerful processor, a dGPU and a much larger screen? Hard to believe that those numbers are even internally consistent.
Yeah for even the lightest duty of real world use that includes human input into the device, there is no way to get to 15.5 hours without the device in standby for some time, so that makes sense. Also, despite the fact that my SP9 doesn’t get 15.5 hours, I’m also satisfied with the battery life =P
Still, it feels especially unobjective. Hard to believe they used the same measuring stick in testing both devices.
Well, with already 8 billion humans on this planet the going rate for a child/young adult has collapsed. You know how it is with everything in abundance…
But seriously, the 64Gb Ram/1TB version in Germany is 3.800€, the 2Tb version exceeds 4000€. In other words: The top spec´d variant is almost 1000€ more than the first gen flagship SLS. Now that the reality of this price tag has settled in things begin to look differently.
For about 2.300-2.600€ I can get a considerably more powerful gaming laptop with an RTX4070 and run my Wacom Cintiq 16 Pro alongside as a mobile workspace. 1.200-1.400€ is a stiff premium to have everything in one device.
For this amount I can get a 2021 iPad Pro 12.9 with 1Tb on top of it. My gut feeling tells me that this will settle it.
Yeah, these kind of calculations kind of kill it for me too. It’d be nice to have a decent (great?) gaming experience on my main laptop, but for the money involved I’d be better off getting a separate dedicated gaming PC. I never game on-the-go, so there’s no real need to get a 4060 in my laptop.
Of course if the price drops substantially I’ll conveniently forget these arguments I’m sure.
We probably can expect the price to drop in the weeks before christmas, which means that the waiting game goes into a new round.
On a sidenote: Not that I´m seriously entertaining this idea, but now that MS has more or less made it official that the Surface Studio 2+ will be the last of it´s kind, wouldn´t it be funny if in the near future this former 5.600€ behemoth would drop to 3.000€ or even lower? I´ve been asking myself at which price point I might become interested - maybe from 2.000€ downwards?!
Question is though, does Slim Pen 2 behave equally well on Surface Studio 2+ as it does on the SP 8/9, or SLS 1st gen?
I went with a gameable laptop with a dGPU on my last mobile device (wasn’t a full-on gaming laptop though). It sounded nice in theory, but in my use, I just ended up spending my gaming time on that frustrated I wasn’t able to get the experience I had on my desktop. After some initial playing around when I first got the laptop, I ended up almost never gaming on it. It’s one of the main reasons I went with an SP9 this time instead. I might play around with an external thunderbolt GPU though. I’ll probably be spending ~2 months in the field starting late next year.
Wanted to continue this discussion about gaming laptops, but I felt it was veering away from the Surface topic. So I’ve transported it into @JoeS’ dedicated thread.
I’m curious, wasn’t one of the main factors the ability to game in the go, where desktop gaming wasn’t an option? Or was the experience just so bad you’d rather just wait to get home, instead of having a lousy game session?
I think part of it was the idea of gaming on the go, which, as it turns out, is a pretty infrequent need for me. My travel tends to be either short busy trips where I have no time for that or longer trips for field work where I have the time (~month), but the latter kind of trip is fairly sporadic. The last such trip I went on was in early 2020, and I packed along my fairly small form factor desktop I use in my campus office.
With my previous laptop, which I bought shortly following that 2020 trip, I really didn’t end up “needing” its gaming capabilities much, and when I did, it was such a downgrade that I didn’t enjoy it much either.
At the same time, having that capability to run games meant it had pretty unsatisfactory battery life (5 hrs tops), and it was hot, heavy, and pretty noisy. So I found myself not wanting to use it for its more regular productivity tasks either (particularly for inking and reading/reviewing papers). It just ended up getting not nearly enough use to justify what I spent on it (pretty much only when I was traveling for those few shorter trips that occurred since 2020).
I think one way people get by with the weaker graphical capabilities is to just play lighter-duty games on the go, but that isn’t really the type of gamer I am. I don’t always play graphically demanding games, but whatever game I am into at any given moment, it is the only game I want to play. So if that game happens to be one of those more demanding games (my tastes often go that way), playing some other lighter-duty game on the go won’t really quench the thirst =P Still, my considerations might change if I spent more time on the go. The lack of use was probably the biggest factor.
Interesting, I happen to be a single-focus gamer too. But I choose the game based on the hardware available, rather than vice-versa.
I think it’s because I’m a stickler for frame time consistency, that is I I’d rather play at a constant 48 fps, than fluctuating 50-60, or even high fps 70-90.
This is one area that mobile gaming has often let me down, the experience always felt jerky, especially camera pans and zoom outs. So I’m always a little hesitent to spend over 2Gs, despite how attractive the SLS2 and other high-end convertibles looks.
Basically, if I’m going to get janky 3D gameplay with a bulky convertible, why not just get a svelte slate PC and switch to playing Civ 5 at a nice, consistent 60.
The Civilization series is often what I’ve gone to for on-the-go gaming on my weaker slates =P
I used to play WoW quite a lot and, for that, I often found 30 or 60 fps quite playable if I locked down the frame rates vs. merely averaging those frame rates.
It depends on type of game though. In fast-paced action RPGs and shooters where the camera angle swings around wildly, it looks much smoother when I get the frame rate up to match the 120Hz of my monitor vs. a stable 30 or 60 fps.
Have to admit, I’m a bit surprised no one has commented yet on the Blender Video Editing Battle Microsoft did between the Laptop Studio 2 and their Macbook Pro, that showed the Laptop Studios 2 just dominating. Blender does have both an intel Mac Build, and a Apple Silicon Build.
Its unclear what specs were on each one, presumably the Laptop Studio had the RTX 4060 or RTX 2000 Ada, but is Blender that bad on Apple silcon… or does anyone else suspect foul play? like if Microsoft ran the Intel/Mac Blender, that would get knocked down a by the Rosetta emulation.
(Hifihedgehog - Waiting for Surface Pro 10!)