Technically, the Surface Laptop Studio is a successor to the Surface Book 3, but it couldn’t be more different.
Microsoft launched the creator-centric Surface Laptop Studio, its most powerful Surface 2-in-1 on Wednesday night at its fall hardware event. Technically, it’s successor to the Surface Book 3, but it couldn’t be more different. In every sense of the word. It has a new, more flexible—some might say weird—design and more powerful hardware including discrete Nvidia graphics.
The redesign particularly stands out as Microsoft has literally ‘flipped’ the script on the detachable elements of the last-gen Surface Book. Now, everything comes one piece.
The concept remains the same which is to say, it will still offer you a laptop slash tablet experience, but unlike the last Surface Books, the display here is permanently attached to the base but it can be physically moved around at ‘select’ angles. Think of it like a Surface Pro on a pedestal.
Being a first-gen product, this also means it’s a little restrictive in terms of how many angles it can support—three to be precise—but regardless, Microsoft is covering a lot of ground. In addition to being a ‘regular’ laptop, the Surface Laptop Studio gives you a ‘stage mode’ for slick multimedia playback (the trackpad remains accessible in this mode) and another ‘studio mode’ where it lays flat turning into a canvas for creative tasks. Speaking of which, it supports Microsoft’s newly announced Surface Slim Pen 2 as well with its own dedicated storage cum charging slot below the keyboard.
There are other upgrades too. This starts with the screen. The Surface Laptop Studio packs a 14.4-inch 3:2 ‘PixelSense Flow’ touch display with a 2400x1600p resolution, 120Hz ‘dynamic’ refresh rate and Dolby Vision support. It does not seem to have Adaptive Colour like the Surface Pro 8.
The other big update comes by way of connectivity. The Surface Laptop Studio has two Thunderbolt 4 ports letting you hook multiple 4K monitors, high-speed external storage or, even an e-GPU to it.
Expectedly, the Surface Laptop Studio brings faster hardware and will be available in both consumer and commercial SKUs. More specifically you’re getting two processor options—11th Gen Intel Core H35 i5-11300H and Core H35 i7-11370H. The i7 model comes with two different graphics options—Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti and another RTX A2000 option that’s commercial-only. The i5 model comes with integrated Iris Xe graphics. Microsoft will offer the Surface Laptop Studio with up to 32GB RAM and up to 2TB ‘removable’ storage.
The company is promising up to 19 hours of battery life on the i5 model. The i7 model is rated for up to 18 hours.
Rounding off the package are Windows Hello-ready 1080p front camera, dual far-field mics, quad speakers with Dolby Atmos and 3.5mm audio jack.
Surface Laptop Studio will start at $1,599 and will be available in select markets starting October 5-same day Microsoft launches Windows 11.