Microsoft announced a brand new laptop, the Surface Laptop Studio, at its annual Surface hardware event on Wednesday. Long dubbed the Surface Book 4, the new device replaces the Surface Book as the most powerful Surface device ever made.
It is equipped with an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti for graphics and a 35-watt Intel processor of the 11th generation of the H series. This is the highest wattage CPU built into a Surface device, making this the first Surface laptop with separate graphics.
That means Microsoft finally has a real MacBook Pro competitor – a device with a lot of power for the creative. It should be noted that laptops like the Dell XPS 15 or MacBook Pro 16-inch have a processor advantage over the Surface Laptop Studio. These laptops use 45 watt CPUs with up to eight cores of computing power compared to the quad-core chip used by Microsoft.
According to Microsoft, the device is designed for “developers, creative professionals, weekend gamers and designers”. As usual, however, Microsoft prefers an experimental design over a sheer performance. The Surface Laptop Studio has a unique hinge that allows the device to be used in different modes. The standard mode is just like a laptop, of course. But from there you can pull the screen forward, which separates the floor into what Microsoft calls “Stage Mode”.
However, this stage mode covers the keyboard, which means it’s a great option when you’re watching movies, playing games with a controller, or interacting directly with the touchscreen. This type of “pull-forward” 2-in-1 approach has been used with laptops such as the HP Elite Folio or the Acer ConceptD Ezel, but never with a device of this caliber.
Finally, the Surface Laptop Studio can be used in “Studio Mode”, which allows the screen to be folded all the way down until it is almost flat. According to Microsoft, this mode should “use the optimal canvas for uninterrupted writing, sketching and other creative activities”. Based on the name, it’s inspired by the Surface Studio All-in-One, which was not mentioned at the Surface event for the third time in a row.
Overall, this hinge feels like a more graceful concept than the Surface Book, which required a lot of physical mechanisms to switch from one mode to the next.
With a device like this, the screen itself is important. The Surface Laptop Studio has a 14.4-inch screen with a resolution of 2400 x 1600 and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. This 3: 2 aspect ratio has become a hallmark of Surface products, as has compatibility with the Surface Pen. The Surface Laptop Studio even includes a way to magnetically stow and charge the Surface Pen under the edge of the case.
Other key features include a 1080p webcam, the introduction of Thunderbolt 4 ports, upgradeable storage, and a large haptic trackpad (a first for Microsoft). In terms of ports, the Surface Laptop Studio only offers two USB-C ports, a headphone jack, and a Surface Connect dock.
The Surface Laptop Studio starts at $ 1,600 in its base configuration, which includes a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of SSD storage, and integrated graphics. Pre-orders begin today, with a launch next week to begin with the Windows 11 release.
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