There’s no official word from Microsoft regarding the Surface Studio 3, but given the success and popularity of the all-in-one desktop computer, a third-generation model is almost guaranteed.
The Surface Studio range takes a lot of inspiration from Apple’s iMac family, with a sleek design taking up as little desk space as possible. But Microsoft’s desktop has a uniquely flexible stand, allowing you to tilt the touchscreen monitor down and turn it into a makeshift graphics tablet.
A third-generation model is expected, although the lack of rumours and leaks suggests it won’t be making an appearance in 2020 – that, or Microsoft is getting better at keeping things under wraps.
We’ve rounded up everything we know about the Surface Studio 3, while also including our own wish list of what’s we’d like to see in Microsoft’s next all-in-one desktop computer.
Related: Best Desktop PC 2020
Microsoft Surface Studio 3 release date
There’s no official release date for the Surface Studio 3. If it’s to launch in 2020, Microsoft will likely reveal it during its annual October event, alongside a slew of other Surface products.
However, with so few rumours and leaks for the new all-in-one desktop, it’s possible we won’t see it arrive until 2021.
Microsoft Surface Studio 3 price
There’s no official word on price just yet, but Microsoft typically sticks to the same price structure when introducing new generations of products.
The Surface Studio 2 currently has a starting price of £3549, so we think Microsoft will go for something around that figure when it finally launches the Surface Studio 3.
Related: Microsoft Surface Pro 8
Microsoft Surface Studio 3 rumours
There aren’t many rumours about the Surface Studio 3, although Thurrott writer Brad Sams claimed in his 2018 book, Beneath A Surface, that Microsoft would launch a new modular Surface Studio in 2020.
Sams suggests this modular Surface Studio would allow owners to swap the computer unit, which could potentially include the processor, GPU, RAM and storage. Since monitors don’t need to be upgraded or updated as often as the internal components, a modular all-in-one Surface Studio does make sense, saving you a lot of money in the long term.
Such a concept has also already been done by rival manufacturers too, with the all-in-one Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra allowing owners to swap out the computer unit or even the attached monitor. Although this all-in-one computer admittedly showed weak CPU speeds, and certainly isn’t capable of the high-level performance that the Surface Studio family is renowned for.
However, if a modular Surface Studio 3 was still on schedule to launch in 2020, we’d have thought there would have been a lot more rumours and leaks in the preceding months. Since Sams made this claim back in 2018, it’s likely that Microsoft’s road map has changed dramatically. So we’re not going to rule out the existence of a modular Surface Studio, but 2021 currently seems to be a more realistic launch window.
Related: Surface Laptop 4
Microsoft Surface Studio 3 wish list
There might not be many rumours doing the rounds about the Surface Studio 3, but we’ve got plenty of hopes and predictions for Microsoft’s next-generation all-in-one computer. Here’s our wish list:
A serious performance upgrade
The 7th Generation Intel Core processor felt outdated when the Surface Studio launched back in 2018, and now it feels practically prehistoric in 2020.
Intel has since launched its 10th Generation desktop chips, and Apple has already integrated them into the iMac 2020. The Surface Studio 2 is seriously lagging behind the competition in this regard, making that £3549 price hard to justify.
It’s about time Microsoft made the jump to Intel’s latest desktop chips, or even wait for AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 4000 series.
And while not quite as urgent, the Surface Studio 3 could also do with a GPU refresh, with the GTX 1660 Ti since replacing the GTX 1060 as the go-to Nvidia entry-level graphics card. The next-gen graphics cards, Nvidia Ampere and AMD Big Navi, are also set to launch very soon, giving Microsoft even further incentive to upgrade the graphics options.
Microsoft actually has the edge of many competitors, including Apple, when it comes to desktop design. The Surface Studio 2 bezel is one of the thinnest we’ve seen on an all-in-one desktop computer, but we think Microsoft can make it even slimmer.
The Dell XPS 13 (2020) laptop has shown us how skinny a bezel can go, and while the XPS is admittedly a laptop, we see no reason why Microsoft can’t implement it into a desktop design.
This would not only make the monitor look more stylish, but also allow for additional screen space which could come in handy for sketching. We’re not holding out much hope on this upgrade though, with Microsoft rarely making major changes to the design of its products.
Thunderbolt 3 is an important feature for creation-focused computers, allowing for faster data transfer speeds and for users to daisy-chain multiple screens together.
Somewhat controversially, Microsoft has refused to use Thunderbolt 3 on any of its Surface devices, citing security concerns. Microsoft does make a fair case, and Intel is making steps to ensure Thunderbolt 4 overcomes these security issues.
When Thunderbolt 4 does launch, we could potentially see Microsoft make a U-turn on Thunderbolt, although some suspect the company wants to use its own Surface Connector instead.
Should I wait for the Microsoft Surface Studio 3?
Again, with so few details on the ground, it’s hard to give a definitive recommendation against the Surface Studio 3 at this point in time.
However, if you find yourself in need of an all-in-one machine right here and now, then there are plenty of solid options out there, and some with a cheeky discount or two.
While we’ve yet to review the iMac 2020, it does boast some of the most souped up specs we’ve ever seen on an all-in-one machine, with a 5K display, 512GB SSD and 8GB RAM.