Surface Studio 3: what we want to see

The Surface Studio 2 just came out a couple months ago, with a 7th-generation Kaby Lake Intel processor designed for laptops and high-end Nvidia Pascal graphics. It’s a computer designed with digital artists and illustrators in mind, and it has a price tag to match. 

But, because the hardware included in the Surface Studio 2 is already dated, we’ve been thinking: what will the Surface Studio 3 look like? 

Now, obviously, because the Surface Studio 2 is such a recent device, there is no actual Surface Studio 3 information out there, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a bit of wishing, does it?

So, be sure to keep this page bookmarked, and we’ll keep it updated with all the latest news and rumors as they arrive.

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

Surface Studio 3 release date

We’re just going to come right out and say it: you probably shouldn’t expect to see the Surface Studio 2 any time soon. 

The original Surface Studio launched in December 2016, with the Surface Studio 2 following in November 2018. Now, while that is a fairly consistent release schedule – as consistent as you can get with only two releases – it means that we likely won’t see the Surface Studio 3 until the tail end of 2020.

Microsoft could surprise us and release the Surface Studio 3 in 2019, but we wouldn’t put our money on it. 

Surface Studio 3

Surface Studio 3 price

The Surface Studio is expensive – so is the sequel. There’s no way around the massive expense involved in Microsoft’s all-in-one for artists. And, it would be safe to expect the Surface Studio 3 to be at least as expensive. 

The Surface Studio 2 already bumped 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 decide to hike the price further, we just hope it means that the Surface Studio 3 is packed with some more up to date hardware upon release. 

Surface Studio 3

What we want to see 

The Surface Studio 3 is already an incredibly niche product, so it’s kind of hard to draw comparisons to existing devices to try and create a wish list. But, because we here at TechRadar don’t believe a perfect product exists, here’s what we want to see in the Surface Studio 3 if and when it comes to market. 

Come on, Thunderbolt 3
We get it, Microsoft: you don’t want to pay Intel’s license to use the Thunderbolt 3 standard. It makes sense, but there’s only one problem: everyone else is doing it. 

There are so many storage drives, monitors and other accessories that rely on Thunderbolt 3 to get the job done, and this is especially true for professional products. By 2020, when we’re likely going to see Thunderbolt 3 on flash drives, it will be all but essential. 

The Surface Studio 2 already has the USB-C port – it just needs to go that step forward. For a device that wants to take center stage in the professional artist’s setup, the lack of Thunderbolt 3 – especially at this price point – is inexcusable.

Hardware that’s actually up to date
To put things into perspective real quick, the Surface Studio 2 launched in November 2018 with Nvidia 10-series graphics and Intel Kaby Lake processors. The Pascal graphics are understandable – Nvidia didn’t announce mobile-class RTX graphics until CES 2019.

But, Intel launched Coffee Lake H-series mobile processors way back in April 2018 – more than six months before the Surface Studio 2 hit the streets. We’re not saying that the Kaby Lake chips aren’t going to get the job done, they will – as long as you’re not trying to edit video. 

But, is it too much to ask for a processor that’s up-to-date upon release? We aren’t sure which ‘Lake’ Intel will be on in late 2020 but, please, Microsoft: include the most modern processor? Because, if you’re forking over thousands for a computer, you should be getting up-to-date hardware.

Up the screen resolution
Not to say that the Surface Studio 2’s display isn’t high-resolution enough, but why stop at 4,500 x 3,000 pixels? We feel like 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 a whole new level. We’re not saying go straight to 8K, but maybe we could see something in between – outclass that iMac Pro display to make it a better sell to would-be Apple converts.

At the end of the day, no one knows what the Surface Studio 3 is going to look like. But, keep it locked to this page, and if we hear anything, we’ll update this article. 

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