Is this powerful new all-in-one PC worth investing in?
As an all-in-one drawing table, creative hub, and home PC, the Surface Studio 2 Meets all requirements. For digital creatives in particular, it’s a workstation that will be hard to beat.
- All-in-one capabilities
- Tilt screen
- Improved performance
- The pen lacks sensitivity compared to other models
- No option to upgrade
This is a hands-on Surface Studio 2 review to give you a chance to see what the new all-in-one desktop is all about as soon as possible. We will expand and update this review with more information and a score shortly.
The new Surface Studio 2 has finally arrived, and first impressions are good, to say the least. The Microsoft team has done their best for the shiny new version of their all-in-one desktop PC, with a particular focus on digital media artists.
A sturdy digital drawing table with all the capabilities of a normal desktop PC, this machine is sure to be desirable for artists and designers. But it’s by no means cheap, so before we break into your piggy bank, let’s go under the hood in a little more detail.
Surface Studio 2: Price and availability.
The Surface Studio 2 is available worldwide now, with prices starting at $ 3,499 in the US and £ 3,549 in the UK. This will get you a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and a 1TB NVMe SSD. So like we said, it’s not cheap, but it’s still significantly cheaper than an entry-level iMac Pro, which will set you back $ 4,999 / £ 4,899. That being said, the two are not really comparable, as the iMac cannot be used as a graphics tablet.
Surface Studio 2: Visualization and drawing experience.
With the incredible 28-inch, 4500 x 300 resolution PixelSense touchscreen that responds to every skillful tap, thick noise, or precise click, the Studio 2 opens up a whole new world of creative opportunities. The Surface Studio 2’s thin screen, along with the lack of parallax and lag, brings it closer to the pixels than ever before, making for a much more authentic experience.
The Surface Pen experience has also seen an improvement, as the pixels and stylus tip actually converge into one, with no parallax or lag, even when using fast sweeping motions. If there was a disconnect in this department, it would be very difficult to look further, so it’s great that this element of the creative process lives up to the other design features. However, an increase in pressure sensitivity and a way to load the Surface Pen on the side of the screen would be welcome.
Combine the pen experience with the Studio 2’s magical “gravity hinge,” which lets you effortlessly lower the screen to a 20-degree angle, but supports you when you lean over a drawing, and you have a unique design. Digital creative experience.
Although it is huge in size, the screen moves very easily around a table, as if paper were moved on a desk, and yet it seems that it cannot be accidentally slid or pushed when in use. Regardless of the angle you choose to work at, the screen has enough resistance to work comfortably, again without fear of slipping or untimely descents. Knowing that you can lean over the screen when fully lowered without fear of dishonest touches or breaking the screen makes for a very immersive and natural experience.
Surface Studio 2: Features
The ability to instantly switch between color profiles from RGB to vivid and DCI-P3 modes is a massive help. Knowing that what you see on the screen in sRGB is what will print provides a lot of confidence in setting the palettes correctly. Knowing that DCI-P3 is there as well means that if you ever want to develop further into filmmaking and editing for a YouTube channel, for example, you are covered in that regard as well.
The power punch in the new Surface Studio 2 means that you can be sure it can handle anything you throw at it. And in terms of design, aesthetically, it is still one of the most beautiful machines on the market.
Despite all the positives, there are areas for improvement that we hope to see with the next iteration of the study. Other stylus companies have raised the sensitivity levels of their pens to more than 8,000 levels, roughly double that of the Surface Pen. For most users, this wouldn’t be too noticeable, but if their day-to-day work is wearing thin, these subtle and delicate levels become apparent.
Also, the lack of pen refill is a bit disappointing, and will annoy some more than others. AAAA batteries are cheap and easy to find online, but if you consume a lot, you will find that they do not last as long as you would like, and therefore the option to magnetically charge the pen on the side of the screen. As other companies offer, it would be great. The Surface Pen is lovely to use and accurate, but we hope there is a new version on the horizon with the next iteration.
Another issue is the lack of options to upgrade hardware, which can be a concern if you’re really on the cutting edge of graphics, 4K rendering, or just those kinds of tweaks. It would also be nice to have the option to use the screen as a separate monitor, in case the computer element of the machine breaks in some irreparable way. Making such a beautiful display redundant in the next few years due to hardware issues would be a shame, so this could be fixed as well.
Surface Studio 2: early verdict
For freelance digital artists working from home, the last thing you want is multiple machines that replicate what, in essence, should be a natural drawing experience similar to painting on canvas or scribbling on paper. Surface Studio 2 enables artists and designers to simplify their creative process on a machine that can happily produce complex graphics and charts with the same convenience as the back office and Netflix marathons in 4K resolution.
As an all-in-one drawing table, creative hub, and home PC, the Surface Studio 2 ticks all the boxes for artists and designers working in the studio or at home. For digital creatives, it’s a workstation that will be hard to beat.