It’s high time for Microsoft to roll out the Surface Studio 3.
After all, the Surface Studio 2, released at the very end of 2018, may boast high-end Nvidia Pascal graphics, but it runs on 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake laptop chips. And, those 7th-generation laptop chips are pretty outdated these days, so the Surface Studio 2 is arguably already looking a little long in the tooth.
It obviously isn’t the Surface device running on an Ice Lake processor that has recently… well, surfaced… on Geekbench. We also haven’t come across any believable rumors concerning it. So we’re left speculating: what will the Surface Studio 3 look like?
Now, we’re not sure when we’ll hear any hard information regarding the new Surface Studio 3, particularly since the Surface Studio 2 is still fairly new. Microsoft cryptically announced a mysterious October 2nd event, but we doubt that the Surface Studio 3 will make an appearance.
So, in the meantime, we’ll have to settle for a sort of wish list. Though make sure to keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll keep it up to date with all the latest news and rumors as they come.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next Surface Studio PC
- When is it out? TBD
- What will it cost? At least $3,499 (about £2,720, AU$4,850)
Surface Studio 3 release date
We’re not sure what to expect at the October 2nd event. We don’t anticipate seeing the Surface Studio 3 any time soon, but only time will tell.
The original Surface Studio has been out for more than two years now, being released in December 2016, with the Surface Studio 2 following in November 2018. Just considering these two releases, we would expect to not see the Surface Studio 3 until the end of 2020.
However, there have been considerable advances in mobile processor and graphics technology in that short time since the late 2018 release. That alone could push Microsoft to update its desktop sooner rather than later.
Surface Studio 3 price
Both the Surface Studio and its sequel are pricey devices. Both represent a massive expense for artists. And, it would be safe to think that the Surface Studio 3 will be at least as expensive.
The Surface Studio 2 already hiked the price up by $500 (AU$800, about £390) over the $2,999 (AU$4,699, about £2,390) original, setting users back $3,499 (AU$5,499, about £2,720).
If Microsoft does choose to raise the price even further, we just hope it means that the Surface Studio 3 is filled with some more cutting-edge hardware upon release.
What we want to see
The Surface Studio 3 is already an extremely niche device, so it’s kind of hard to make comparisons to existing products to try and build a wish list. But, because we here at TechRadar don’t think a perfect product exists, here’s what we hope to see in the Surface Studio 3 if and when it hits the streets.
Come on, Thunderbolt 3
We get it, Microsoft: you don’t want to pay Intel’s license for the Thunderbolt 3 standard. It’s understandable, but there’s only one flaw with that: everyone else is doing it.
There are so many storage drives, monitors and other peripherals that rely on Thunderbolt 3 to do the job, and this is particularly true for professional products. By 2020, when we’re probably going to see Thunderbolt 3 on flash drives, it will be all but essential. Even for the Surface Studio 3.
The Surface Studio 2 already has the USB-C port – it just needs to go that extra step. For a machine that wants to take center stage in the professional artist’s setup, the lack of Thunderbolt 3 – particularly for this price – is unjustifiable.
Hardware that’s actually up to date
To put things into perspective very quickly, the Surface Studio 2 was unveiled in November 2018 with Nvidia 10-series graphics and Intel Kaby Lake processors. The Pascal graphics are logical – Nvidia didn’t share mobile-class RTX graphics until CES 2019.
But, Intel launched Coffee Lake H-series mobile processors all the way back in April 2018 – more than six months before the Surface Studio 2 came to market. We’re not saying that the Kaby Lake chips aren’t going to get the job done, they will – but, Coffee Lake processors would get the job done faster.
Is it too much to expect an up-to-date processor, though? We don’t know which “Lake” Intel will be on in late 2020, but Microsoft: please include the newest processor in the Surface Studio 3? Because, if you’re dropping over thousands on a computer, you deserve up-to-date hardware.
Up the screen resolution
We’re not saying that the Surface Studio 2’s display isn’t high-resolution enough, but why stop at 4,500 x 3,000 pixels? We think monitors such as the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K are only going to become more common – especially among creatives.
So, we’d like to see the Surface Studio 3 take screen resolution to the next level. We’re not saying skip right to 8K, but perhaps we could see something in between – outclass that iMac Pro display to make it a superior option to would-be Apple converts.
At the end of the day, no one really knows what the Surface Studio 3 is going to look like. But, stay glued to this page, and if we see anything, we’ll update this article.