At Microsoft’s September 2021 event, the company revealed the latest new addition to its range: the Surface Laptop Studio.
Replacing the Surface Book line, it offers 3-in-1 functionality via a new dynamic hinge. You can use it as a regular 14.4in laptop, pull the screen forward in ‘Stage mode’ or lay it down flat in ‘Studio mode’. The latter is where Microsoft’s latest Slim Pen 2 stylus comes into its own.
As mentioned in our full review, each of these is genuinely useful, although there’s still room for improvement. Despite the original being released almost a year ago, there’s no sign of its successor in 2022. Here’s everything you need to know.
When will the Surface Laptop Studio 2 be released?
With only one generation of the Surface Laptop Studio so far, it’s difficult to predict when the next one will arrive. So far, our best guess comes from the gap between versions of the Surface Book, a device which has now been replaced by the Laptop Studio:
Surface Book – October 2015 Surface Book 2 – November 2017 Surface Book 3 – May 2020
This suggests we’ll be waiting more than two years between generations, although the Laptop Studio arrived 17 months after the Book 3. Either way, it’d be a big surprise to see a second generation before the end of 2022 – don’t expect it at the rumoured October Surface event.
Sometime in 2023 seems the most likely. Unless it’s a minor refresh, this will probably be in September or October once again. However, it’s only guesswork at this stage.
How much will the Surface Laptop Studio 2 cost?
Pricing is one of the last things to be revealed about a product – you may have to wait until the Laptop Studio 2 launches. But unless there are substantial upgrades, it’s likely to be roughly in line with the original:
Core i5, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1,599.99/£1,449 Core i5, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1799.99/£1,649 Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2099.99/£1,899 Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2699.99/£2,477 Core i7, 32GB RAM, 2TB storage: $3099.99/£2,879
Despite high inflation rates around the world, there’s a chance the next Laptop Studio will be slightly cheaper. Price is one of the big things that counts against the original, making it hard to justify for the average consumer. Bringing this form factor to a wider audience will surely be one of Microsoft’s ambitions.
What will the Surface Laptop Studio 2 specs and features be?
There are no concrete spec rumours for the Laptop Studio 2 at this stage, suggesting its release is a long way away. Even so, there are a few educated guesses we can make.
It’s almost certain that the device will get a CPU upgrade. The 11th-gen processors available in the original are already out of date, and 13th-gen chips for laptops are expected in 2023 – options from the upcoming Raptor Lake range seems most likely.
Microsoft may stick with just Core i5 and i7 models, but it’d be nice to see Core i9 on the most expensive configurations. This is likely to be paired with a discrete graphics card, potentially from the flagship GeForce RTX 40 range but probably not the most powerful GPU Nvidia makes.
The RTX 3050 Ti on the original Laptop Studio is only available with a Core i7 model – it’d be nice to see this available with Core i5 rather than just high-end models. Integrated graphics are still likely to make an appearance, although this may be Intel’s upcoming Iris Xe 2 rather than the current Iris Xe.
With the Laptop Studio’s design was generally well received, substantial changes are unlikely here. It’ll probably still be a 14.4in, 3-in-1 device with the same three modes.
Microsoft may choose to upgrade the display, although the company seems to still be happy with LCD rather than OLED. The screen already has a high 2400×1600 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate that can dynamically adjust depending on what you’re doing – neither need improvement.
You can say the same for the impressive 1080p and IR sensor that ensure great video calls and reliable face unlock. But it’d be nice to see a separate fingerprint scanner, potentially one that’s built into the power button.
Given how thick the Laptop Studio is, there needs to be more ports. Adding USB-A and HDMI to the existing USB-C and 3.5mm headphone jack would be great, and ditching the Surface Connect port for USB-C charging could free up some space.
More ports are needed on the second-gen Laptop Studio
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
Battery life is already a key strength of the device, but it’d be nice to increase the 58Wh maximum capacity. It also currently takes over two hours for a full charge, something which needs to be improved on the next iteration.
As you can see, a few small refinements could make the second-gen Surface Laptop Studio a much more appealing device. But nothing has been confirmed or even rumoured at this stage – we’ll update this article once more information is known.
For a look at products more likely to launch this year, see our separate guides to the Surface Pro 9 and Surface Laptop 5.