The Surface Laptop Studio (from $1,599) is what we thought the Surface Book 4 would be. It reimagines the Surface laptop as a workstation for content creation, a unique gaming PC and a slick laptop for everything in between.
The hallmark feature is a 14.4-inch touchscreen that you can use in three modes, including for entertainment or drawing on the display. Microsoft is calling it "the most powerful Surface Laptop" yet, and we're intrigued by its unique design and beefy specs, which includes an Intel 11th gen Core processor and up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics.
- The best laptops right now
- Windows 11: Everything you need to know
- Plus: Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is the MacBook Pro Apple is afraid to make
Other highlights of the Surface Laptop Studio include include a 120Hz display, Quad Omnisonic speakers, Surface Slim Pen 2 support and a sharp 1080p camera. Here's everything we know so far about this convertible, which looks like it has a chance of making our best 2-in-1 laptop list.
Surface Laptop Studio release date and price
The Surface Laptop Studio is available for pre-order now, and starts at $1,599. The new Surface Laptop Studio launches with full retail availability on October 5.
In the box you'll get the Surface Laptop Studio, a Surface power supply that includes a built-in USB charging port, along with a quick start guide and safety and warranty documentation. The starting price is likely for the Core i5 version of the laptop, with the Core i7 model with Nvidia graphics expected to sell at a higher price.
Surface Laptop Studio specs
|Display||14.4 PixelSense Flow touch display|
|Processors||Quad-core Intel 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i5-11300H; Quad-core Intel 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i7-11370H|
|Graphics||Core i5 Model - Intel Iris Xe Graphics; Core i7 model - Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, or Windows 10 Pro|
|Memory||16GB or 32GB LPDDR4x RAM|
|Storage||Removable Solid-state drive (SSD) options: 256 GB, 512 GB, 1TB, 2TB SSD|
|Battery||Intel Core i5 - Up to 19 hours; Intel Core i7 - Up to 18 hours|
|Ports||2 x USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4; 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack; 1 x Surface Connect port|
|Audio||Dual far-field Studio Mics; Quad Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos|
|Dimensions||12.7 x 9.0 x 0.7 inches|
|Weight||Intel Core i5 models - 3.83 lb; Intel Core i7 models - 4.0 lb|
Surface Laptop Studio: Design
The biggest changes coming with the introduction of the Surface Laptop Studio is a switch in form factor, from a detachable laptop / tablet hybrid to a new multi-mode laptop that uses an easel hinge and a floating display to put the 14.4 inch-touchscreen display at different angles for different types of work.
The Surface Laptop Studio has three distinct modes, allowing you to use it in a standard Laptop Mode with a full keyboard and touchpad, Stage Mode pulls forward the display and sets it back at an angle for presentations and content focused use, such as gaming or streaming. And Studio Mode puts the display at a lower angle for comfortable touch screen and pen use.
The chassis seems to ditch the sleek designs of Surface tablets and Surface Book laptops in favor of a stepped design that leaves the keyboard deck looking like it's floating above the table top. It doesn't look particularly slim, or comfortable for mobile use, but it's possible that Microsoft built it with more stationary use in mind.
The 14.4-inch size sits neatly between the 13.5-inch and 15-inch models that were offered on the Microsoft Surface Book 3. Measuring 12.7 x 9.0 x 0.7 inches, the 14.4 inch laptop is a bit larger than the Surface Book 3's 13.5 inch models, and just a tad smaller than the 15-inch Surface Book 3.
It's also thicker than the Apple MacBook Pro, which is on the chunky side itself, measuring 0.61 inches thick. The weight is also just in between the two Surface Book 3 models, with the Surface Laptop Studio weighing 3.83 or 4 pounds depending upon the configuration.
Speaking of the pen, the Surface Laptop Studio can store the new Surface Slim Pen 2 underneath the keyboard with a magnetic attachment, but the pen itself is sold separately.
Holding it all together is what Microsoft calls the Dynamic Woven Hinge, an ultra-durable, flexible hinge that can transition from one mode to another smoothly. The new Surface Laptop Studio draws upon familiar touch points from past Surface designs, from the kickstand of a standard Surface tablet to the adjustable display of the Surface Studio desktop. But it's not the first to imagine a laptop with an adjustable display, and the result looks like a cross between the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel and the HP Elite Folio.
Surface Laptop Studio: Models and configurations
With only a single 14.4-inch screen size available, the Surface Laptop Studio is available in two primary configurations, the base model with a Quad-core Intel 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i5-11300H processor and a more powerful Core i7 model, that uses a similar 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i7-11370H chip.
The Core i5 model will be offered with Intel Iris Xe graphics, while the Core i7 models can be configured with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics, with 4 GB of GDDR6 memory.
There will also be a commercial version of the Surface Laptop Studio available with the Nvidia RTX A2000 GPU with 4 GB of GDDR6 memory.
Beyond these main configuration options, the Surface Laptop Studio can be outfitted with 16GB or 32GB of LPDDR4X RAM, similar to the offerings on the Surface Book 3, but without an 8 GB option. Internal SSD storage is available in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB sizes, but unlike the Surface Book 3, these drives are removable and likely upgradeable after purchase.
Surface Laptop Studio: Display and audio
The Surface Laptop Studio offers a number of upgrades over the Surface Book 3, with enhancements to both the display and sound systems, but it may not be as clear cut as you would expect.
The 14.4-inch display offers the expected PixelSense touch display with excellent resolution, contrast and 10-point multi-touch support. However, compared to the Surface Book 3, the Surface Laptop Studio's 2400 x 1600 resolution display has a slightly lower pixel density, with 201 pixels per inch (PPI) as compared to the 267 PPI of the 13 inch model and a 260 PPI of the 15 in Surface Book 3.
Pixel density aside, the displays seem very similar, but the Surface Laptop Studio has the addition of Dolby Vision support for high dynamic range (HDR) content, a must-have for both content creation and gaming.
The Surface Laptop Studio also gets an upgrade in the sound department, replacing the front-facing stereo speakers of the Surface Book 3 with quad OmniSonic speakers, and Dolby Atmos support.
Built for voice interaction as well as touch and the traditional keyboard and touchpad, the laptop also boasts a pair of far field studio microphones, which seems to match those of the Surface Book 3.
Surface Laptop Studio: Features
Some of the highlights of the Surface Laptop Studio include the addition of Dolby Vision support for HDR content and gaming, removable solid state storage options and the stunning multi-position screen design.
The port selection has been streamlined considerably, with the new Surface Laptop Studio outfitted with a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports, a single 3.5mm headphone jack, and one Surface Connect port. That's a significant reduction from the Surface Book 3, which included a combination of USB-A and USB-C connections, a full-sized SD card reader and a pair of surface connection ports – one on the base and one on the tablet.
Interestingly absent in any of the specs and materials we have seen is mention of support for the Microsoft Surface Dial, one of the more unique interface options available on past Surface models, including the Surface Book 3 and the Surface Studio desktop.
Surface Laptop Studio: Battery life
According to Microsoft, the new Surface Laptop Studio will offer 18 or 19 hours of battery life under typical device usage, depending on whether it's using the Core i5 or Core i7 hardware. That's an improvement from the 15.5 hours offered on the 13-inch Surface Book 3, as well as the 17.5 hours offered on the 15-inch Surface Book 3.
We will run the Surface Laptop Studio through our own battery test to see how it stacks up to other 2-in-1 laptops.
Surface Laptop Studio: Windows 11
All hardware changes aside, the new Surface Laptop Studio is built with Windows 11 in mind, and though it can be configured with Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro will be the default operating system options for the new Surface laptop.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio: Outlook
Overall, the Surface Laptop Studio looks like one of the most versatile 2-in-1 laptops we've ever seen, and we're excited to try out the multiple modes. The specs also seem quite competitive on paper, so this Surface should have no problem keeping pace with the MacBook Pro and other laptops for creative pros.
We do have some concerns. For one, this laptop is on the thick and heavy side, and the $1,599 price is relatively expensive. We also wonder how reliable the hinge will be over time, and if it might scratch the keyboard.
But for now we're impressed with what Microsoft has accomplished here and appreciate how it's trying to stand out. Stay tuned for our Surface Laptop Studio review.
- The best tablets you can buy right now