Though images were leaked ahead of today’s official launch, the Surface Laptop Studio name was not. Most people thought the images showed the Surface Laptop 4, but the Studio is – in Microsoft’s words “a fresh take on our powerhouse laptop”.
It doesn’t have a detachable screen, so can’t be used as a tablet. Instead, just like the all-in-one desktop version (the Surface Studio), the Surface Laptop Studio is for creative pros, designers, artists and what Microsoft calls ‘weekend gamers’.
It has a 14.4in screen and, thanks to the Dynamic Woven Hinge, it can be tilted back just like any laptop as well as pulled forward over the keyboard for ‘Stage mode’. This is useful for presentations, watching videos, even gaming (using an Xbox controller, for example).
The final mode is Studio mode. The screen lies almost flat on top of the keyboard and is what you’d use for sketching, writing and “other creative pursuits”.
When will the Surface Laptop Studio be released?
- 5 October in US
- Pre-order now
- Early 2022 for UK & other countries
The Laptop Studio is available to pre-order right now (in the US) and will go on sale on 5 October – the same date Windows 11 launches. Elsewhere, such as in the UK, it won’t be available until early 2022. Microsoft hasn’t given an exact date, though.
How much does the Surface Laptop Studio cost?
- Starts at $1600
- RTX 3050 Ti only available on Core i7 models
It’s not cheap. It starts at $1599.99, and goes up from there (we’re still waiting for international pricing from Microsoft). The base model has an 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i5-11300H, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Here are the other options:
- Core i5, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1799.99
- Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2099.99
- Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2699.99
- Core i7, 32GB RAM, 2TB storage: $3099.99
If you want one with the Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU, you’ll need to go for the Core i7 model.
Note that, while the top storage capacity is 2TB, that’s only in the US. Elsewhere, the biggest option will be 1TB.
Surface Laptop Studio design & features
- 14.4in, 2400×1600, 120Hz screen
- Dimensions: 322x229x17.7mm (12.7” x 9.0” x 0.7”)
- Weight: 1.74kg / 3.83lb (Core i5); 1.82kg / 4lb (Core i7 models)
If you’re in any doubt about this being totally new, the 14.4in screen should help. No Microsoft Surface laptop has had a display this size before, and it sits right in the middle between the 13.5in and 15in Surface Book 3 models. However, Microsoft does refer to it as the Surface Laptop Studio 15″.
It has a 120Hz refresh rate, a resolution of 2400×1600 (that’s 3:2) and support for Dolby Vision. Oddly the contrast ratio is only 1500:1 according to Microsoft’s specs and no brightness figure has yet been given. The screen’s corners are rounded, which is another first for a Microsoft laptop.
As with other new Surface devices, the Laptop Studio runs Windows 11, but you can opt for Windows 10 Pro if you prefer.
No surprise at this price there’s the latest standards for connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 and a pair of USB 4.0 ports with Thunderbolt 4 support. But you also get old tech: the 3.5mm headphone jack is welcome. On-board audio is supplied by four ‘Omnisonic’ speakers and support for Dolby Atmos. There are dual far-field mics and a 1080p front-facing camera (which supports Windows Hello) for video calls.
The keyboard is both full size, with a separate row of function keys, and it’s backlit. Microsoft says the touchpad is new and has haptic feedback. It’s not the first Windows laptop to have a haptic touchpad, but it’s still relatively unheard of.
Another feature worth mentioning is that the Surface Slim Pen 2 can be ‘docked’ under the front edge of the Laptop Studio where it’s held by magnets and also recharges. The stylus itself, though, isn’t included: it’s a $129.99 optional extra.
Battery life claims are impressive: the Core i5 models can run for up to 19 hours of ‘typical device usage’, and it’s only one hour less for the Core i7. However, those are almost certainly based on a very low screen brightness and undemanding tasks, such as reading a document. Expect much shorter runtimes if you’re going to be using demanding software (including games) and using the screen at its brightest.
Microsoft announced other Surface devices you may like to read about: