Drawing on the Surface Laptop Studio Review
Is this the dream windows computer ive been looking for? Lets. Take a look at it, hello. My name is brad. I review tech for creative professionals and im just gon na cut to it and spill the beans. Here. I love this thing. This computer feels like it was built for me: ive been looking for the perfect windows, art and illustration laptop for a while. Now and this it has the crown why well number one the pen, it is greatly improved, number two, the rotation of the screen, how you can slide it down into different orientations. Really, nice number three: it nails the details. The sound from the speakers is very good. The trackpad, oh my gosh, the trackpad and the fans, the fans are crazy, quiet. Its almost like microsoft, said: hey lets, make a laptop for brad and forget about all of the other users and what they care about and just make a thing that only brad cares about and boom. You got it here this. This is the laptop. We need an art project for this review. This was sent to me by black cat. I dig it im drawing it in my style if you want your character or your artwork redrawn in a future review. Remember to tag me on instagram im, always looking for new stuff, so lets check the specs. The surface laptop studio is half laptop half tablet, actually its probably like three fourths laptop and maybe a quarter tablet, and this is replacing microsofts old surface book line.
That was their 201, which was a tablet that had a keyboard, so it looked like a laptop, but they could store an extra gpu down on the keyboard base. So the idea behind this laptop is to be beefier than say the surface pro i picked up the lowest configuration, so this has an intel core, i5 processor, 16 gigabytes of ram and 256 gigabytes of storage. If you jump up a couple configurations, you can get this with an nvidia geforce graphics card. When im looking at a computer oftentimes the base configuration isnt going to have enough ram here, 16 gigabytes. That is plenty for any of the art illustration that i need to do even for a lot of the video editing that i need to do. I think, if i was going to use this as my daily driver, i probably want to go for more. You know more storage there, but for the most part i i thought this was solid for what i needed it to do. Im a fan of the screen and not just the way it folds down, but this actual screen itself its a 14.4 inch display with a refresh rate of up to 120 hertz, which is not something you see on many laptops and a resolution of 2 400 pixels By 1600 pixels, yes, thats thats, a nice aspect, ratio thats three by two and like all of microsoft, surface products – that is a touch, enabled display.
If you follow a lot of tech videos, you might think that 120 hertz is like this magical number, because people are talking about it being on phones or on tablets. Here i thought it was just kind of okay, and that was mostly not because of the refresh rate itself on the screen. The screen looked good, its that i dont feel that windows or the animation in windows takes advantage of that, for example. One thing i hear a lot of people say: is they really notice that high refresh rate when theyre scrolling through a web page or reading text – and i dont doubt this – but i dont really feel like the scrolling animation in windows – is particularly good. It doesnt feel as weighty or as smooth as it does on a lot of android builds or on ios, but for the most part, moving things around windows. Didnt seem super snappy or no snappier than usual to me since it didnt. I just went into the settings and i toggled this back down to 60 hertz. I did this partially because im an old carmuchan, but also because thats going to save on battery life, does the refresh rate help with pen lag. Yes, but i dont think its that much flipping between these two refresh rates, i can tell that there is a difference, but this is not a magical lag fix now the battery life that i was getting on this drawing in something like adobe photoshop or loading.
A lot of apps or jumping between a lot of things was far lower than the stated average. I was getting three to four hours, which i thought was. You know thats solid. Obviously, a lot of the apps that i use are more on the power heavy side. So theyre gon na drain that battery a heck of a lot faster, but at the same time i think, with this laptop thats thats, really what its good at you dont want. This laptop. If the only thing youre going to be doing is scrolling through the web and checking your email, youre, probably wasting your money, i do really like this screen hinge. I used something similar on some acer products last year now, unlike the acer products, this one only sits at three different angles: theres one which is our laptop angle, theres two, which is kind of this pull down mode. That covers your keyboard and then theres three, which is pulled all the way down, which kind of turns it into almost a tablet. One thing to note is, as you pull the screen down, you are gon na lose access to those keyboard shortcuts. A lot of artists rely on for their day to day work. I got used to the lowest angle. It was fine. I found this to be comfortable when i was using it on my lap, but on a desk it felt just a little bit too low. I think 15 to 30 degrees is a good like drawing angle for something like this.
This was at like three or four degrees. This is a little thing, but when you first pull it out its really wiggly, especially when that like magnet disengages, i wish that hinge was just a little bit tighter. The other thing i absolutely loved about this laptop was the trackpad im used to macs, which have had these haptic keyboards for years now, and when i go back to any windows device, it just doesnt feel as good. This feels just like using a mac trackpad, and i think once you try this and have used it for a few weeks, you are never going to be able to use anything else again now. The big thing that we have to get to is this slim pen, 2. ive, already told you that i like it so well just get that out of the way. But to me this feels like a major upgrade over many of the surface devices that ive used in the past, and if i had to apply one word to it, it would be the word consistent, my biggest problem with surface devices. Well, i had two two. My two big problems with surface devices was one the pen wobble, but number two was how inconsistent the pen was from device device or even from use to use one minute id be drawing in one app, and the pen line would look pretty okay and id jump To another app or id put it down or put it to sleep and come back and id get jitter or wobble, and it would look horrendous and awful and id pair and unpair the pen and change the batteries and try it in different apps.
Most frustrating part was just troubleshooting. The pen constantly now ive only been using the surface laptop studio for a little under a week at this point, but my experience has been far different. This pen behaves the same way pretty much. Every single time, ive also been testing. The surface pro 8, at the same time with the same pen and ive, been getting the same results there. So you know cross fingers so far, its been really consistent and ive been really happy with the way its performing. This also means i dont have to turn up smoothing on brushes, which means i just get a very natural feeling pen, while im drawing the pressure sensitivity of this pen is good. I thought the initial activation rate or how light you have to press in order for a line to appear again was very, very good. The palm rejection on this pen was very good and, of course, the main thing im looking for in these pens and the main thing that theyve improved is the wave which is when im drawing slow, angled lines. I want them to be as smooth as possible. These arent perfect, but they are far far better than what i was getting with the old pen. Occasionally i am going to get a little bit of jitter on rounded lines or at weird angles. In fact, if i grab an old pen and use it on this new screen, you bet i get more waves.
I dont know if its the sensors in the screen or the pen or a little bit of both but whatever theyre doing here its improved, and that made me really happy before. I had to turn up the smoothing to get the lines that i wanted, which made me lose a lot of control which felt less organic, which made me just enjoy the experience less and the main thing i could say about this entire experience is i just i Had fun looking at the design of the pen, i think its probably going to turn some people off. A lot of people are used to drawing with a stylist that looks like a regular stylist. This looks like a carpenters pencil now this isnt, something that has ever bothered me and ive, had the opportunity to use it for several hours. Drawing now – and i found it to be pretty comfortable – the stylus also charges along the bottom of the surface studio and it attaches magnetically. This is all the rage with styluses and tablets these days. However, this might be one of the strongest magnets i have ever seen on anything. It also means you got ta exercise your fingers to take it off the main thing. A lot of people wanted to know, and i saw a lot of comments, whether its on twitter or the comment section down here when i was talking about the surface slim pen 2 was how does it work on older devices or how do older patterns work? On the new device – and i havent had the opportunity to fully test that out – im probably going to be talking about that more in my surface – go 3 review thats coming out, hopefully in the next week or two just for fun.
I paired this with the surface pro 7, which has now come out two years ago, and i just drew a line and it was horrendously bad jitter everywhere it was, it was bad, it was nasty. This goes back to the consistency thing i was talking about before. Sometimes pens on surfaces would just do this and it drove be absolutely bonkers. Im going to still continue to troubleshoot this and figure this out and provide more information in a future review. But one thing i do want to point out is what i think a lot of people want to know is: if you already have an older surface, can you buy a new pen for a hundred dollars and get much better results and so far from the tiny Bit of testing ive done, the answer is no. The other big addition to this pen is the haptic feedback, and this is something microsoft talked about a lot and where do i fall on this? Is it good? Is it bad im im somewhere in the middle? At times i i didnt think it was too bad. So what it ends up doing is when youre drawing with the pen uh. If you push a little bit harder its going to shake a little bit more and give you a little bit of feedback – and they say that this makes it feel more like youre drawing on real paper now, i will say it feels nothing like drawing on paper, But as an effect, i didnt think it was too bad.
This was a feature that i almost forgot about for a little while, because not many programs actually support it. I was drawing in clip studio. I was drawing in photoshop, most of the stuff youre gon na see in this video was shot in photoshop and most of these apps just dont support this haptic feedback. Yet now i did pop open an app called sketchable, one of my favorite little apps to sketch and draw in, and they support it and in there i thought their implementation was really really good. If you draw really lightly with the pen, youre not going to get any haptic feedback at all, but as you apply more pressure or like tilt the pencil a little bit, youre gon na get a little bit of haptic feedback in there the way theyve implemented. It is very subtle which is good, because i think there is a a temptation when you have a new feature like this to just be like lets, make it shake as much as we can because its there. So, if youre using this and the app youre using, is trying too hard and putting too much energy in there and you dont like it right away, one thing that i would suggest is going to the settings and turning that down a little bit, i think, when Its used subtly its really nice effect when its used too much its too much pen itself has a hard tip and the older surface pens had this rubbery tip, which gave you more control on the smooth glass screen, but felt incredibly unnatural.
So, even though the harder pen tip at first, my nets seem ideal, i did prefer it to what we had before now. Windows 11 just launched this product just launched, so i did run into some quirks here and there. One of them is the settings for this pen. For example, i mentioned the haptic feedback thats in the settings underneath the bluetooth menu, but if you want to adjust the pressure sensitivity of that pen, you have to go to the surface app in order to go in and change that for the pen, the other quirk. I ran into was just trying to figure out how much power is left in this stylus im used to android tablets or the ipad, where you snap your stylus into place, and it tells you hey. This is how much power your stylus has left, and it indicates that it is currently charging up here. It snaps into place, so you assume its charging but theres, no indication that its charging quick edit. Since i recorded this video, i have discovered that there actually is an indicator light if youre looking at the pen when you connect it. So there is some indication that the pen is charging mystery solved, scooby doo, and, to add to that, i dont know how often this like battery indicator refreshes right now, my guess would be approximately. Never penn was sitting at 74 for the better part of a day. I rebooted the laptop for something completely different and when it rebooted up – and i looked at the pen charging, the pen was at 100, which meant it had been charging the whole time.
But it doesnt tell me when the pen charge went down and it didnt tell me when the pen charge went up. So, in conclusion, what do i think i think this product isnt for everyone, but clearly this product is for me this is the first time in a long time that ive used a windows, product and thought. I could see myself switching from a mac to use this. In fact, there is part of me that is a little bit sad that i bought the lowest configuration of this instead of going for something bigger, so i could use it longer and use it for more things. There are definitely some things about this laptop that i think other people would see as cons. I dont think the battery life is all that great. The price is very, very high. I think some people really arent gon na, like the tablet part of the form factor. I totally get that this is definitely not a gaming pc, even though it has 120 hertz and even though it can run a lot of games at the end of the day, the big things that im looking for, i dont, really see any cons here. What do you think, let me know down below in the comments? Thank you all for watching and ill talk to you.