Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Studio is both familiar and unique at the same time. The similarities to Apple’s MacBook Pro are indisputable. But in typical Surface fashion, there’s something different going on when you look closer. Though you can use the Laptop Studio just like a standard laptop, you can also pull the screen forward to bring it closer to you for touch interaction, or lay it flat to write on it like a tablet. Microsoft is not the first manufacturer to deploy such a design, but the Surface Laptop Studio is certainly the sleekest laptop yet with it.
The Most Powerful Surface Laptop to Date
The Surface Laptop Studio is the successor to the Surface Book 3, another innovative device for creative professionals that Microsoft will continue to sell for the time being. Similar to the Book 3, the Laptop Studio has a convertible touchscreen. However, unlike the Book 3 that has a detachable keyboard, the Laptop Studio is not. But what really makes the Laptop Studio different is that its screen can be pulled forward to create an easel, or pulled even further forward to lay flat on your desk as a digital canvas on which to spill your thoughts or draw your masterpiece with a digital pen.
Robust with Full Functionality
One of the main complaints about the Surface Book 3 is that its tablet functionality is not as robust as its laptop functionality. In the 15-inch version of the Book 3, the Nvidia graphics card and one of the two batteries are located in the keyboard base, which means that once you detach the screen from the keyboard – prepare yourself for a much short battery life. The Surface Laptop Studio doesn’t suffer from this problem, since its screen doesn’t detach. You never have to worry about closing apps or drastically reducing battery life.
To pull the screen forward, you simply grasp the upper right or left corner of the screen and twist your wrist gently. The magnetic middle hinge, made of woven fabric with embedded power and data cables that supply the screen, detaches. The display lid then folds along the middle hinge. You pull the screen toward you, slowly closing the bottom hinge, until the bottom edge of the screen is aligned with the gap between the keyboard and the touchpad. Here, another row of magnets snaps it into place.
In this arrangement, which Microsoft calls “stage mode,” you’ve got a rock-solid surface on which to write or draw with a stylus. It’s far sturdier when the Laptop Studio’s screen is in conventional laptop mode, since there are two points of support instead of just one. As a result, there’s no screen bouncing, something that nearly every other convertible and clamshell laptop suffers when you tap, write, or draw on the screen.
While tapping on the touch screen is much more satisfying when the Laptop Studio is a stage than when it’s a laptop, the most useful part of the stage orientation is presenting content, not creating it. You can watch videos or play games (using a console controller) more enjoyably without the keyboard in the way.
For more serious writing or drawing sessions, you’ll want to convert the Laptop Studio into a canvas: Grab the corner of the screen and apply slight pressure again to release the magnetic bond and move the display to the fully flat position, where it will again magnetically lock. Now, the Laptop Studio is essentially a digital version of a pad of paper, and really the only difference between it and a detached tablet like the Surface Book 3 or even smaller convertible 2-in-1s like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is that it’s too heavy to hold in your hand.
Further more, the Surface Laptop Studio has improved all-round hardware such as 120Hz screen display, better Windows Hello Webcam sensor, higher screen brightness and many more. There’s no doubt that the Surface Laptop Studio is groundbreaking. We’ve come to expect such things from the Surface lineup, so it’s always nice to see a product that exceed expectations.