Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review: better performance, same good looks


– It’s been two years since Microsoft released the stunning Surface Studio and proved that, hey, maybe
desktop PCs don’t need to be ugly boxes you hide under your desk. (techno music) Now we have the new Surface Studio 2, which is just as visually
stunning as the first model but with way more power under the hood. It’s also still really expensive. It even costs more than the first Studio and starts at 35 hundred dollars. But once you sit in front of this thing, with it’s massive 28-inch touch screen that pivots on a floating hinge, the price is the last thing
you’re thinking about. Just like before, the Surface
Studio is really designed for creators, people who use computers to make digital art. Now since I’m just a word monkey and a talking head here on
video, I had Verge reporter and published cartoonist
Dami Lee try out the Studio 2 for creating digital artwork. – I mainly just make web comics, so I think having a machine like this would definitely be
over-the-top luxury for me. With that said though, the
three by two display ratio really makes the screen feel huge. There’s more than enough
space on the screen to look at reference images on
another window while drawing and I liked having a video
tutorial open in another window while following along in After Effects. The Surface Pen has replaceable nibs and re-mappable buttons, which
also doubles as an eraser. It’s got 4096 levels of
pressure sensitivity, includes tilt support and I
didn’t notice any sort of lag or any offset between the cursor and the stylus, which is a problem that sometimes affects
the Wacoms and Teak lines. It also attaches magnetically
to the side of the screen, which is nice so you don’t lose it. One weird issue I ran
into while drawing was that the pen was still
suffering from the line jitter that’s plagued the
Surface line for months. Microsoft said it fixed
the problem in August through a firmware update
so I’m not sure if it’s back or if it used to be worse. I tried drawing straight
lines both freehand and with a ruler and
the wobbly lines persist if you draw slowly, it
goes away if you draw with fast strokes so it’s
not too big of a deal, but it still feels like a problem that a 35 hundred dollar
device shouldn’t be having. There’s also a 99 dollar
Surface Dial accessory that isn’t included in the box and it hasn’t been updated
since the last Surface Studio. There’s a couple of drawing apps that are optimized to give
the Dial more features, like Sketchable, but because I’m so used to keyboard shortcuts, I
can’t really see myself adopting the Dial for everyday use. On a screen that already
has touch support, so you can do things like pinch to zoom, having a Dial feels almost redundant but maybe this is just a me problem. If there’s a Surface
Dial fan club out there, please let me know in the comments. (techno music) – So the Studio can be
useful for some artists, but it’s also just an interesting
computer to do work on. The screen is so big and so bright, I can just fling windows
all over the place. Now normally I work on a big
34-inch, ultrawide monitor but the Studio’s 28-inch screen actually has more surface area because of its unique three by two ratio. I will say though, with a screen this big, it’s hard to work on anything discretely in an open office because
basically anyone can just walk by and easily see whatever you’re doing. Now the big difference
from the last Studio with this one is all on the inside. It’s got a beefier processor,
newer graphics card and, finally, a proper SSD. The Studio 2 has enough power to run the latest AAA gaming titles, even at high resolutions
and keep smooth frame rates. And gaming on this thing is a blast. The screen is so big and in your face that everything just feels more immersive. I mean, just looks at
Forza Horizon 4 on it. Or Star Wars Battlefront 2. Even games like Shadow of
the Tomb Raider look great, even though I do have to
lower the resolution more to make them smooth and playable. Now one concern with gaming on the Studio 2 is the
unique screen ratio. It might cause some issues
with games like Overwatch that have a locked view
port to 16 by nine. You’re going to see these giant black bars and lose a fair amount
of the playable screen. The Studio’s aspect ratio is the same as every other Surface product and it’s really great for productivity but maybe it’s not the best
for games or watching video. But still, most of the games
I tested on it had no issues and ran pretty amazingly. So the Studio 2 is kind of
interesting for digital artists. It’s probably overkill for
a daily productivity machine and it’s also a unique gaming PC. But there’s still plenty
of areas where the Studio 2 could be an even more compelling computer. For example, I can’t
plug in an external GPU to give it more graphical oomph because the USB C port on
the back isn’t Thunderbolt 3. I can’t use the Studio 2’s
gorgeous display as a monitor for a more powerful workstation because it doesn’t support video input. And this might sound like a nitpick, but, my opinion, with a 35
hundred dollar and up computer, there’s no nit that’s too small to pick. Microsoft packages the absolute
worst mouse with the Studio. It’s a cheap feeling, two-button and scroll wheel wireless deal. Now Microsoft has much better mice in its hardware portfolio. It’d be nice if it actually
included one of those with its high-end, flagship desktop PC. But, all of those complaints aside, I still really want this thing because it’s a widely unique computer that’s fun to use and powerful enough to get most any work I
need to do done on it. Now like Dami said, it’s
an over-the-top luxury for my needs but you can’t
match this computer’s features with a different model. It just doesn’t exist. I can use it to write, I
can use it to browse the web or play games, and if I could
actually draw good enough to save my life, I’d use it
to create artwork as well. The Studio 2 is just more
fun to use than a standard all-in-one desktop or a
desktop and monitor set up. Now it’s certainly designed
for a specific market, where cost maybe isn’t as big of a concern as what the device can actually do. But if you’re in that market, it’s really hard to find a better option. Thanks for watching. If you’re looking for a device
that’s good for creators, you might also want to
check out our review on the new iPad Pro. We had a bunch of creatives
on staff test it out and really dive into what it can do.

100 thoughts on “Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review: better performance, same good looks

  1. It would be really nice if dami didn't say everything like a question? As if she is some 14 year old high school student?

  2. I think the lines not being straight after a certain speed is on purpose? Go slow if you want a straight line, but if you go fast it's more of a 'stroke' and the unevenness is representing it more in art.

  3. 5:30
    Maybe you should revisit that review and actually focus more on the creators take instead of how it can't replace nilay's laptop.
    This was a better approach.

  4. Unlike some people in the comments, I'm quite happy the specs aren't mentioned in the video. Specs doesn't matter. Putting specs in reviews just make people just a product based on the wrong thing. User experience means everything. Specs help achieve good user experience, but it certainly isn't everything.

  5. To those who are making jokes about an "Oreo project", actually The Verge has done an Oreo review back in the days 😀

  6. I can't imagine how even a professional artist could justify the price. You could get an Wacom ciniq for a third of the price or a wacom knock off for like $500. That's not to say this isn't a great product, because it is a great product, but the price is wild especially for the target audience of artists

  7. "… The price, is the last thing you're thinking about"

    Haha, buddy, the price is all I'll be thinking about when I look at that thing.

  8. I stopped watching when he described gaming functionality…you could do that if you want…or buy a XBOX One , a 32" 4k Monitor and just burn a $2000 pile of cash in your back yard. So stupid.

  9. wouldnt recommend to draw. specially if linework is important to u. and if ur just using it to sketch and do art tht is more messy ur better off getting a cintiq at these prices. theyd be cheaper and way better quality. and if u really are just sketching or for some reason dont want a cintiq and want a all in 1 type deal the 2018 pro is prob a better option since any surface laptops would have tht same pen jitter issue.

  10. Well it is expensive but i think if you can buy it and live without mac os you are not gonna be dissapointed

  11. Honestly, I love the surface studio design, but for that price, I wish it was a little more powerful and offer stuff like thunderbolt 3. not with withstanding tho, if I had the money, I would still buy it simply because it is the only one of its kind.
    I don't draw, but I make User Interface Designs, Other Graphics and Video editing. so I am more into the screen size, ratio and resolution. I Love Touch Screen too, I don't use too many shortcuts so it makes it easier to reach buttons than using the mouse.
    I also play games just for fun, if I can afford the Surface Studio, I should be able to afford an Xbox for that.

  12. I am this machines target market… the pen is so important. But the wobbly lines mentioned is a deal breaker. Really. Why is this so hard? I am also scared of entering into the never ending cycle of finding the right drivers and installing updates.
    I’m not an I.T. Guy and I just don’t want to deal with that.

  13. She has just tried it, she would prefer it only when she get used to it. she is not even trying to give enough time to it.
    if it would have been an apple product The Verge's video would be only about praising their product.

  14. I’m curious to see how Microsoft studios are selling compared to iMacs. I bet it would be pretty laughable. Studios are too niche market

  15. Pros to Microsoft for trying and innovating but I'd never justify paying for such vanity price. A last-gen laptop processor, no Thunderbolt 3, no upgradeability, no way man.

  16. Oh my god, I just realized there's no HDMI/DisplayPort output on this thing. This means it can not even use their own Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Deal absolutely broken. Unbelievable.

  17. Compared to what and how she talked about Ipad Pro, here she was robotic like she was just looking at it… Please genuinely want to use a device and the. Actually use it like that… If you're going to give an honest feedback about it. "really dive into what it can do" 🙄

    On other note.. That is HUGE TOUCH SCREEN NOT JUST A NORMAL SCREEN nobody provides this .. consider that fact when talking about the price.

  18. Since when does a Desktop have to be ugly and hidden under the table? if you are doing it right, the PC should be a display piece.

  19. My only downside is the specs. i7-7820HQ with GTX 1070. it should come with a core i9-8900K or an Intel XEON W for the 2TB model and the GPU should be a 1080ti, id happily have a wider, thicker and bigger base for better specs and for the love of god add thunderbolt 3 support.

  20. If this was a display, I would instantly buy it. Just can’t see myself paying that much for the outdated specs it has.

  21. I´m just thinking about the line at 3:05 "beefier processor" do they not use the same Intel 7820HQ (so a mobile processor from early 2017) … That is the one and only reason why im disapointed with this product.. Why is Microsoft not able to work with Intel and Nvidia to put in some Intel i9 8950HK with an RTX 2070? – i really (and i think a lot of people would not mind) for them to make the base of the Studio bigger but make it a bit more future proof..

  22. The product seems so niche. Too expensive for the average joe to replace his desk computer with and only truly appreciated by artists

  23. Good thing that it is priced high. Had it been around 1500-2000$ I would probably end up buying it even though I don't need it. Man, its gorgeous.

  24. Please list specs and benchmarks in future videos, describing how a device performs in a particular game doesn't properly quantify how capable it is.

  25. I dont like the jitter because my dad is getting this for my sister and i dont want my dad to get mad about this and my sister be upset. But other than that it looks good

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