Since its introduction years ago, Microsoft has been stepping up their hardware game with their Surface lineup including the latest addition, the Surface Laptop Studio.
Design & Hardware
From the outside, the Surface Laptop Studio takes inspiration from past Surface products like the clamshell of the Surface Laptop to the hinge design of the Surface Studio.
With this hinge design, you can put the device in three modes: Laptop mode which is the standard placement, Stage mode which brings the display closer and Studio mode which puts the display flat like a tablet.
The display on the Surface Laptop Studio is a 14.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen with a 120Hz refresh rate. The laptop’s display also supports Dolby Vision for HDR and has a 2400 x 1600 resolution.
The Surface Laptop Studio’s display looks great and can get pretty bright in most lighting conditions. The laptop also features a 1080p webcam with Windows Hello support, dual far-field Studio mic and Quad Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos support.
Powering the Surface Laptop Studio is either the 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7. All i5 models get the Iris Xe graphics while the i7 models get Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti. You can configure the laptop with up to a 2TB SSD and 32GB of RAM.
For review, Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio review unit had an i7, 16GB RAM, RTX 3050 Ti and 512GB SSD.
Battery life is up to 18 hours on the i7 model and 19 hours on the i5 but these numbers aren’t usually telling of actual real-world usage. In my usage of the Surface Laptop Studio, I got closer to 10-12 hours.
You can charge the Surface Laptop Studio using the USB-C ports but you’ll want something that is at least 100W or more. Something that matches the included 127W Surface charger would be ideal.
When looking from its side profile while closed, the Surface Laptop Studio looks almost floating but in actuality, the bottom is much smaller than the main section of the laptop. Like most other Surface products, the laptop does support the Surface Pen and for review, I was able to test out the new Surface Slim Pen 2 (which is sold separately and doesn’t come with the laptop).
The Surface Slim Pen 2 is much smaller than Surface Pens of the past with a much more compact and flat design that can magnetically attach to the front lip of the laptop, which also doubles as the charger.
When you write or draw on the screen, you get a bit of feedback through the pen that makes it feel like using a regular pen and paper.
To make it feel more premium, the Surface Laptop Studio uses a combination of Magnesium and Aluminum. While that’s nice in theory, this put a damper on the typing experience on the laptop.
The keyboard and trackpad on the Surface Laptop Studio are great but your wrists will rest on the laptop’s case next to either side of the trackpad, which is also made from metal. After typing a few reviews, it can get very uncomfortable.
Other specs of the laptop include Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. For ports, the Surface Laptop Studio is very limited, on one side you get two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, on the other you get the Surface Connect port and a 3.5 headphone jack.
I feel that an additional USB-C port or two could have been added to the Surface Laptop Studio instead of relying on docks or dongles sold separately.
Here’s the Canadian pricing for the Surface Laptop Studio.
- Intel Core i5: 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD – $2,049 CAD
- Intel Core i5: 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $2,299 CAD*
- Intel Core i7: 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – $2,649 CAD
- Intel Core i7: 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD – $3,449 CAD
- Intel Core i7: 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD – $3,949 CAD
*The model that was sent for review
Since the Surface Laptop Studio launched in October 2021, it was one of the first to be pre-installed with Windows 11.
Windows 11 comes with several new features such as a new Start menu that shows your pinned apps, and recent files along with a newly redesigned Microsoft Store.
Another feature of Windows 11 is Snap Group Layouts. This basically allows you to keep a set of apps together and open them in just one click.
The new OS update has some gaming-specific features such as Auto HDR, and Direct Storage API that let games load faster.
While Windows 11 looks nice and modern, it’s kind of like a revamped version of Windows 10.
You can read more about Windows 11 on Microsoft’s website.
Overall, the Surface Laptop Studio is a nice laptop with a unique design, Surface Pen support and great overall performance, productivity-wise and gaming-wise.
- Beautiful 120Hz display
- Solid performance
- Unique hinge design
- Great stylus support
- Good battery life
- Limited ports (only two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports)
- Hinge design limited to three positions
- Uncomfortable typing experience
- Surface Pen sold separately