The Surface Laptop Studio 2 was announced on Thursday at Microsoft’s September 2023 event. The device comes in as a tame upgrade of its predecessor, keeping the overall look of the original while having interesting hardware tweaks. These include the introduction of a neural processing unit (NPU) to assist with AI features on the system.
However, there are other competing products on the market, including the MacBook Pro M2, which has been available since spring and is a solid contender in terms of power and price. Apple’s Pro option also comes in 14-inch and 16-inch configurations, and offers several more RAM and storage choices that could tantalize consumers.
With the Surface Laptop Studio 2 and the MacBook Pro M2 starting neck and neck in terms of price, you really have to look at functionality and personal need to find the preferable option.
|Surface Laptop Studio 2||MacBook Pro M2 (14-inch)|
|Dimensions||12.72-inches x 9.06-inches x 0.86- inches||12.31 inches x 8.71 inches x 0.61 inches|
|Weight||4.37 pounds||3.5 pounds|
|Processor||13th-gen Intel i7 H-class processors||Apple M2 Pro
Apple M2 Max
|Graphics||NVIDIA RTX 4050 and 4060||Integrated|
96GB (M2 Max)
|Display||14.4-inch PixelSense Flow 2400 x 1600||14.2-inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR 3024 x 1964|
|Ports||2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
MicroSDXC card reader
3.5 mm headphone jack
Surface Connect port
|3 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
SDXC card slot
3.5 mm headphone jack
MagSafe 3 port
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3||Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Home||MacOS|
|Battery||56-58 watt-hour||70 watt-hour|
|Price/Availability||$1,999, October 3||$1,999-plus, on sale|
Microsoft and Apple have both taken an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude in terms of design. Neither the Surface Laptop Studio 2 or the MacBook Pro M2 have seen great updates to their looks, so you have to look under the hood to see the real changes.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a platinum aluminum finish, as we saw in our Surface Laptop Studio 2 hands-on, with a woven fabric hinge that holds its cables and allows the device to bend 180 degrees. The laptop appears to have a thin screen, but at 4.37 pounds, it is thicker and heavier than its competition. The laptop has also gotten a port upgrade among its highlights, now offering two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB-A port, a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a Surface Connect port to Microsoft’s proprietary adapter. Microsoft’s Surface Slim Pen 2 also pairs with the device as an accessory.
The MacBook Pro M2 continues a standard design for Apple’s pro line, with silver and space gray color options on an aluminum alloy material. While many Apple products shift to USB-C, the MacBook Pro M2 retains its staple MagSafe port, freeing up its three USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 ports for other tasks. The laptop also includes a microSD card slot, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and HDMI port.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 and the MacBook Pro M2 battle pretty well against one another at the 14-inch base level. However, the MacBook Pro does have a larger 16-inch sibling, that can be configured much higher in power, RAM, and storage.
The keyboard setup on the Surface Laptop Studio 2features mechanical backlit keys, including function keys, a Windows key, and media controls. The haptic trackpad is customizable, enabling the convertible nature that this laptop is centered around. It transitions into a standing tablet form. The touch display comes forward ahead of the keyboard to allow for a different functionality for the device. Microsoft also calls it “the most inclusive touchpad on any laptop.”
The backlit Magic Keyboard on the MacBook Pro M2 remains consistent, and includes Touch ID, an ambient light sensor, and a force touch trackpad.
The 10-point multitouch display on the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is a lot more functional andfeatures Gorilla Glass 5 for protection. It has a 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow screen with a 2,400 x 1,600 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, 3:2 aspect ratio, and HDR and Dolby Vision support.
The MacBook Pro M2 focuses on brightness and color depth, with a 14.2-inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR display that sports a 3,024 x 1,964 resolution, adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz, and 1,600 nits peak brightness. The laptop lacks display adjustment and touchscreen ability, however.
Both laptops feature 1080p HD web cameras.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is rolling out with the latest hardware, including 13th-gen Intel i7 H-class processors and Nvidia RTX 4050 or RTX 4060 GPUs. You can also configure the laptop at the enterprise-level with the Nvidia RTX 2000 Ada Generation graphics chip. The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is the first Windows computer to have a dedicated NPU, which helps support AI featurea in Windows 11 and Microsoft 365 apps. The laptop has a battery life between 56 and 58 watt-hours (depending on the GPU). Microsoft claims up to 18 hours of battery life.
Conversely, the MacBook Pro M2 features older M2 Pro and M2 Max chip options and is primarily customizable via its RAM and storage. The 14-inch laptop has a 70 watt-hour battery, which Apple claims supports between 12 and 18 hours of battery life.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 will sell for $1,999 starting October 3. The MacBook Pro M2 starts at $1,999 and is currently available online and in retail stores.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 comes at an interesting time, when many consumers are fascinated about AI and are looking for new ways to use their devices. The laptop offers multiple viewing options, while featuring some of the most powerful processors currently on the marker.
The MacBook Pro M2 remains a solid option for power users, however, its hardware is currently aging out as Apple prepares to introduce its M3 chip and accompanying products. To purchase a Pro model now means missing out on newer, potentially AI-enabled Apple devices. However, Pro M3 models likely won’t be available for several months.