We’ve just had a chance to play with Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Studio 2 after it was announced at a “special event” in New York City. Visually, it doesn’t look a lot different than what came before it, but the trackpad is greatly improved, the specs inside upgraded, and there’s a new AI-focused neural processing unit that’s designed to light up some AI-powered experiences in Windows 11.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 retains the same unique fold-over design as its predecessor but makes the laptop all around more capable. It runs on one of Intel’s 13th Gen i7 H-class processors and can be specced with an Nvidia GPU, including the RTX 4050 and 4060, between 16 and 64GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of storage. It still has a 14.4-inch touchscreen with a 2400 x 1600 pixel display, but Microsoft has added HDR support — including Dolby Vision.
Bigger changes come from expanded connectivity options. Microsoft has added a USB-A 3.1 port, a microSDXC card reader, and a charger for the Surface Slim Pen 2. That’s all on top of the two USB-C / Thunderbolt 4 ports and headphone jack on the prior model.
The trackpad also gets a significant upgrade on the Surface Laptop Studio 2, with some impressive accessibility options. You can adjust the haptic feedback and click sensitivity on this trackpad, and you can also turn this into a two-button trackpad for accessibility purposes. Onstage, this was demonstrated by a presenter who was born without fingers on one hand, allowing him to use the trackpad with both hands.
The other big — and not so obvious — addition is an NPU chip inside: an AI coprocessor. It’s built by Intel, which just announced a similar NPU that’s built into its upcoming 14th Gen chips for laptops. Microsoft didn’t demonstrate any new features or ways that this NPU might be leveraged in everyday Windows tasks, but it’s obviously being added in preparation for larger AI features. Some of those might arrive with the rumored Windows 12.
Microsoft has also upgraded the camera on the Surface Laptop Studio 2, with a wider field of view for when you’re on video calls. The RTX 4050 / 4060 options here will also make this more powerful for PC gaming, and we’ll have to see exactly what the performance is like on this laptop during review.
Microsoft also has to make the Surface Laptop Studio 2 a little heavier and thicker to accommodate the upgrades to the CPU and GPU here. I didn’t notice it too much, as this is already a fairly hefty laptop. That said, if you don’t opt for an RTX 4050 or RTX 4060 and stick to the Intel Iris graphics option, then the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will weigh 4.2 pounds or 4.4 pounds with Nvidia’s GPU options.
The Laptop Studio 2 will be released on October 3rd and is available for preorder today, with prices beginning at $1,999.