Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio Review
This is the surface laptop studio, kind of a weird name, its both, i guess, a combo, the surface laptop with some ideas from the surface studio desktop uh. Just call it this the sls thats, what people are doing, even if it does sort of sound like a lexus or an acura model right. So this replaces the surface book family surface book 3, which was a 13.5 and a 15 inch option set there for you. So this sits in between at 14.4 inches, and i think the new design is something that most people, but not everybody is going to like were going to find out now. This is a surface product, so dont expect it to be budget priced right, its premium design. Everything is put together really well here. We still have that magnesium alloy casing where surface pro 8 and surface laptop have gone to recycled aluminum, and it starts at sixteen hundred dollars for a core i5 with 16 gigs of ram and 256 gig ssd and integrated graphics. Only my guess is most people who have their butts in their seats right now watching this video probably are watching this because theyre more interested in the higher performance model, which is what we have. We have the core i7, which has the nvidia rtx 3050 ti gpu. 16 gigs of ram and a 5 12 gig ssd thats 2100 that aint cheap. But when you compare this to surface pro 8, which i know some of you are doing and trying to decide which you want its actually priced the same as a surface pro 8.
With the same i7, the same amount of ram same ssd capacity, plus a type cover, so if youre kind of on the fence and youre thinking, youre saving money by getting a surface pro, you know youre, not all right, so you can go even higher with the Configurations here you can go up to 32 gigs of ram and a one or a two terabyte ssd. If you go with that one terabyte ssd, though the price starts to get i bleedingly painful at twenty eight hundred dollars. I dont even remember the prices of the two terabytes. Just just shoot me now its expensive right. So at least this has an upgradeable ssd if you wan na, do it after the fact. Well talk a little bit more about that its hard to default. The build quality in any way it is really well put together and it has updated design language. The bezels have gotten a little bit smaller theres, rounded corners on board and the most obvious and interesting. Two design features are well first, the pedestal design which looks pretty weird in photographs and if you focus on it just from a side view. But when you use it, when its sitting on a desk or something that you actually dont see the inset pedestal at all, it kind of looks like its just floating slightly off the desk, its kind of clever it makes it look thinner, because this is by no Means a particularly thin laptop, clearly its not as thin as surface pro 8, which is just a straight tablet right that pedestal.
I like it a lot why? Because it really works for cooling, first off theres, no vents on the bottom to block with your legs. You know like a lot of gaming and performance laptops always say: dont put it on your legs, youre, going to block the vents and cook that thing, thats, not a problem here and the vents run all around. There are two fans inside and it vents out mostly on the sides and it disperses the heat very effectively. Youll feel warm air coming out from there, but not blowing at you and not frying your legs, its really pretty remarkably effective, and i have to applaud microsoft, because this is a product thats designed for creators that sort of crowd, not the gaming laptop crowd, were used To putting up with a lot of heat and a lot of noise – and we put desk fans behind them and do anything else that we can. This is something thats actually usable for somebody whos doing adobe premiere or compiling some code, or working in photoshop or doing some stuff in blender without taking the hair off your legs. If you know what i mean and the fans on it are actually pretty quiet. Most of the time too, even when playing games like i was playing a plagues tale, which is a modern enough title, you could hear the fans but way quieter than the gaming laptop. So for those of you thinking. Well, i you know, i couldnt go with an asus, rogue zephyrus g14.
Well, yes, you could, if you dont, need the convertibleness, the pen and all the things that this brings to the table in terms of performance, but lets face it. The g14 is a hotter and louder machine too, and creatives bring these things into workplaces and dont want to annoy everybody so thats, starting to sound promising and as a surface book 3 replacement. You want to see some horsepower and the gotcha with the surface book 3 was always the fact that it still had a basic 15 watt, ultrabook cpu in the tablet section, which is where the brains were thats, why you could detach it and still use it? There was a second battery and a gpu in the base and those you would lose the functionality of. If you detached it right. I tried using a surface book as my main computer and that were well that didnt last more than two months because of the things that i used it for it was throttling. The fans were always loud. I feel like i was going to kill the thing early and this one has enough horsepower the intel h35 35 watt cpu that it can hold up to my kind of workloads, which is occasionally video, editing. We, my video editor, has their own machine to use. So i dont actually do a lot of that on my machine, but still it can handle that it can handle photoshop, it can handle some blender, it can handle lots of tabs and chrome and all that sort of thing.
So it is creator suitable and it handles real time export of 4k video in adobe premiere, which means you got a 5 minute 4k video. It takes five minutes to export sure you can get a much more powerful, desktop or alienware gaming, x17 laptop or something and do it even faster, but for something thats, 14.4 inches thats, not a difficult thing to carry around. It looks premo its fair enough. So for the cpu again, this is a quad core. This is not a six core cpu. So keep that in mind, if you for those who need the most horsepower you can find actually get, the gpu is actually pretty good. That nvidia rtx the 3050 ti is 50 watt. You can get that card anywhere from 35 to 80 watts, depending on the configuration so microsoft didnt just go with the lowest. They possibly could go with there. So thats not too bad, so horsepower wise. They probably found a good balance here, more powerful than an ultrabook, certainly or surface pro 8, or an intel surface laptop, but not up there with the dell xps 15 in terms of horsepower or gaming laptops. But this is the convertible model for people who are not looking for a sole purpose. Gaming machine or super duper compute power thing something you can use adobe programs on, for example, and thats, because it has the poll forward hinge design. I wont call it new because way. Back in 2013, we reviewed the sony vaio duo, which was one of the first.
As far as i remember, pull forward design, though it didnt pull forward to cover the keyboard area. Weve seen this with the acer concept, the easel, which are really gaming, laptops and more powerful and more heavy, and not quite as pretty and weve seen in the hp folio that vegan leather, clad laptop that had the design like this. So what that means is instead of detaching the display and having that complex serpentine hinge that i think, in the end discourage some people from detaching their surface book tablet from the base. Youve got something you can always keep it facing forward, which is kind of nice. It doesnt take you out of the flow of things. Ive discovered, i really do enjoy it here. So, like many folks, i have a feeling i sit down and im just going to watch a video or surf through reddit, or something like that. I think i dont need a keyboard, and i do this with my ipad and then sure enough. You want to respond to a post or start doing something like that and then youre like okay. Now i got to flip it back to where the service pro and get the keyboard out in front of me again and its kind of annoying with this. If i have it in that tent pull forward mode, which is great for the touch screen, use the pen, use and consuming content. All i do is there are magnets, just lift it up.
Put it back in laptop position, got the keyboard, do what i need to do, pull it back and forward forward. If i want to use it as a tablet granted a heavy one, this thing is around four pounds or so weighing in between a surface book. 3. 13 and a half and 15 inch model, then you can put it in tablet mode as well and use it on a table, obviously its kind of on the heavy side. You can put it on your legs if you want to flip it over backwards to present something to somebody else. You can do that, though. That gets pretty weird because you cant see whats going on on the screen anymore, but you could do that without detaching the display, picking it up turning it around remounting it waiting for the gpu to connect disconnect all that thing, its pretty good and thats, who this Laptop is for its for people who want convertibles its not for people who want a 16 inch macbook pro or a dell xps 15 or a dell xps 13.. They want something that turns into a convertible. They want the touchscreen and the pen experience they want to be able to put it in tablet, mode or tent mode for consumption, nice on airplane tray tables, for example, that sort of thing – and that gets us to the pen which the new slim pen too, is The one youre supposed to buy to go with this, which is not in the box thats a hundred and thirty dollars, and no comp no longer comes with a charging sled, and i tried the last chance charging slide it didnt work, maybe itll, be a firmer update For the base, but anyway, the pen charges, by connecting under the pedestal right under the front, lip its real easy to slide it in there.
In fact, you get anywhere near there, the magnet just sucks it in there and it holds it. So you probably wont lose it in your bag, but this is a good pen and i have never really loved surface pens and entering technology. The line jitter the palm rejection used to not be so good. They got better at that, just the line quality. I do a lot of artwork for note, taking youre, probably less picky and now its really enjoyable in part, because the new nib design is a much longer conical tip sort of like an apple pencil too, and its more grippy. So youre not skating across the glass and they have the haptic feedback on board here. So when youre writing for apps that support it like sketchable or microsofts own journal program, which is really actually pretty excellent, i you it feels like a pencil. You feel that little bit of scratchiness going along if youre doing a paint brush its a little swooshy feeling if you use the eraser, it really feels like its scrubbing, and that makes you feel more connected to what youre doing. And it gives you a greater sense of control its very hard to describe. You just have to experience it. I thought it was just going to be a party trick, but its actually excellent, and we also have 120 hertz display here so that helps too just like. With apples promotion, so you get a faster refresh, so the line draws more immediately to reflect what youre doing and thats something that i think a lot of people like you should only see this on a gaming laptop right and to see this on a creator.
Laptop is kind of cool. Not only is it pleasant to use if youre scrolling up and down and you dont want to see the shmeary looking thing but its great for art. Now that said out of the box, its set to 60 hertz, so you have to go to advanced display settings to enable 120 hertz variable refresh is supposed to come with an os update later. I think this year from microsoft for windows 11, which this ships with, but so far not there. So it also depends on how you feel about your battery life theres about an hour run time difference between 60 hertz and 120 hertz. The display itself is still billed as ips and a pixel sense display. It is not as high resolution as the surface book 3 15 inch, so thats a bit of a downgrade. It still looks really good so im. Okay, with that, i cant see the individual pixels on this. The colors on this are very nice uh, but still for this price, i would like to see a hundred percent p3 color gamut. Instead of the 90 that we got here, you got a full srgb. You got a decent adobe rgb, but they could have done a little better there. I feel its certainly bright at 500 nits of maximum brightness, which means you theres another way to kill your battery life. For those of you just like to max the brightness out and seared eyeballs be who cares right? Uh yeah thats, the only thing there but very nice, looking display great for consuming content, supports dolby vision.
We also have dolby atmos and speaking of dolby atmos. We have quad stereo speakers on board, two of them fire up. The sides of the pedestal base and two from under the keyboard, and the audio is very good here, were approaching the 16 inch macbook pro level of audio very clear highs gets quite loud has bass. I actually ended up not using headphones when playing games on this and when watching videos, its good stuff, the keyboard and trackpad. On this also excellent, i mean typically microsoft with their surface products does a good job at the keyboard. I like this even better than surface book three, so its very tactile. It kind of made me feel like i was going back like eight years in time when laptops had very tactile keyboards with actual key travel, its 1.3 millimeters. It actually feels deeper on this, but boy did i love typing on and its backlit in white, the trackpad is large and its a haptic trackpad, much like what apple uses and its scentsy. So ive seen this used in some other windows laptops and i wasnt as impressed, but they did a good job here. It never misses a beat. It responds to taps and clicks just the way they should and the click isnt too too loud, which sometimes can be a problem with some surface products. Now for ports, no legacy ports, thats the bad news other than the 3.5 millimeter headphone jack. We have two thunderbolt 4 ports, so which means no more surface docks and problems with multiple monitors and all that sort of thing you can use thunderbolt 3 and thunderbolt 4 docks and usb c docks.
Here. You want multiple monitors, no problem. You want to use an e gpu, you can do that and though i still dont think the cost is worth it between the egp and the cost of a graphics card these days and the challenges of having an internal and an external nvidia card. Well, you know, anyway, that thats reasonably good connectivity by todays, so called modern standards where we dont get legacy ports anymore. The one thing that i will complain about and something thats geared towards: creators, theres no sd card slot so immediately youre going to need an sd card reader with this or a usb c dock with an sd card slot. So how about battery life right? Something else to give here we got a 58 watt hour battery, which isnt really that big a battery for a 35 watt, quad core cpu and an nvidia dedicated gpu as well. Well, if youre using this unplugged, i could say, microsoft did a pretty good job of not pulling up the gpu unnecessarily, which does help, and this does support whisper mode and xq technologies for the dgpu and all that sort of thing. Its highly dependent on what you use it for if youre doing, productivity tasks, office and slack and all that sort of thing i it can run at 60 hertz up to eight hours which isnt too bad its, not class, leading but thats, not too bad. Given how small the battery is on this, if youre running at 120, hertz knock an hour off that run time when playing video, which usually is where you see more efficiency for laptops these days? Actually, i got a bit shorter run times than that about six and a half hours streaming.
Video high resolution, high quality video – and i imagine just the big high resolution three by two aspect – ratio display – has something to do with that or maybe theres some future optimizations. So lets before we close talk about that upgradable ssd, so its not like surface pro 8 or the latest surface laptop that has a nifty little magnetic door that leads to a half height, m.2 2230 ssd. With this one. You have to take the bottom cover off and i dont know why not that theyre, finally, using a fairly conventional laptop design that they didnt make it a little bit easier. You have to pull off the two rubber strips on the bottom to remove seven torx screws. Now these strips dont deform like hp, spectres strips do at least, and then you have to pull off some rubber around the back edges near the hinge to get two more screws and then one under the trackpad. So you got to work for it to replace that ssd. The good news is, is the ssd is compatible with both 2230 that microsoft likes to use and the full 2280 full height, more common m.2 ssd, so its upgradable, but you got to be pretty geeky. If you want to do that, one thing i will complain about sort of is the hinge on this. This is not like surface studios hinge, which is stiff at a variety of positions, pretty much. They expect you to use it in tent, laptop or tablet modes where its super stable, no screen balance.
Anything like that in laptop mode is well done or intent mode, but the hinge doesnt support other positions. I would like to see that in the future. No doubt that kind of design would add weight to it, and that was a consideration for them and the fabric cover in the hinge assembly, where the cables run its just odd. I dont know, but i guess it does the job, but certainly, if you put in any position in between this girls, flippy floppy flippy floppy, which might be a little disconcerting to some so thats the surface laptop studio and really they have done a very good job. Here and for the price they should have too, but i think for the creator. Types who are looking for the pen experience the touch, the convertible design, something thats easier to use on a tray table and is more portable than a 15 inch surface. Bug 3. Certainly, but thanks to the 3×2 aspect ratio, you still feel sorry like youre, using a 15 inch laptop, it checks a lot of boxes. You know there are a few caveats, though you dont get the six core cpu and this price range you might be hoping for. It even though then youd be complaining about the heat and the noise right and theres no sd card slot. The hinge is great and the design is useful, but it is flippy floppy in the middle positions which may be disconcerting for some and compared to the hp spectre, x360, 14 and 16 inch well, the 14 inch is less performant.
The 16 inch is more of a competitor, it really depends on which kind of design youre looking for doesnt it. The acer concept, d easel, i think, is a gaming laptop, really its a different market, bigger heavier hotter louder, not out yet for the latest generation too. But uh compared to the pricing on surface book, three back in the day. Also, this is more attainable and affordable. The fact that you can get this in the same configuration plus a gpu versus a surface pro 8 in the same price. It means that this is not as bad of value as some surface products. Im lisa from mobile tech review be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel for more cool tech videos and hit the notification bell.