Microsoft has hit the mark. The Surface Laptop Studio is in fact the perfect link between the desktop computers and the notebooks of the Redmond company. Ideal for professionals in certain fields (especially graphics and 3D design), it can also be configured to meet the needs of common users. This is true on a technical level as well as in terms of the price at which it can be purchased.
It should be noted that an important outlay is still necessary. An investment that gives access, however, to a one-of-a-kind laptop. A machine that will be supported for a long time and with a versatility of use that has few equals in the sector. Thanks to the particular design (with the screen equipped with a particular tilting mechanism) and to the solutions created by Microsoft capable of positively impacting the user experience.
Surface Laptop Studio: one design, a thousand uses
Our story could only start from the particular constructive approach with which this device was made. Imagine a classic laptop resting on a sort of cooling base, a little smaller than the perimeter of the body and welded to it. This is where Microsoft has placed all the components, which conveys the hot air generated by the operation of the notebook.
A solution that allows you to always keep cold all the upper portions of the body that come into contact with your hands. This has resulted in a significant increase in thickness (and weight) compared to what classic notebooks have accustomed us to. On the other hand, however, the Surface Laptop Studio manages to manage heat flawlessly, never going into difficulty even with particularly complex operations.
This is also due to the materials used for the body – magnesium and aluminum – which among other things give an incredible sensation of solidity to the touch. However, this does not mean that the weight is not important: it reaches 1.8 kilograms for a thickness of 1.8 centimeters. The MacBook Pro 14 (with the same diagonal of the display), stops at 1.6 kilograms and 1.5 centimeters in height. And we are already talking in a notebook that is anything but threadlike. Numbers that make it clear how much the Surface Laptop Studio is actually bulky, especially to carry.
The tilting mechanism of the screen is simply ingenious. You can tilt it forward, covering the keyboard and leaving the trackpad in view. In this way it becomes perfect for the use of multimedia contents such as films and TV series, but also for all those areas where it is necessary to have the display physically closer to the eyes (think of photo retouching). By flipping it on the back, it can be used, for example, to show a presentation to a customer while the Surface Laptop Studio is connected to an external monitor.
Furthermore, by folding it on the back and closing the body, you can use it like a tablet. The screen is in fact touch-screen and is compatible with the Surface Pen, similar to the Apple Pencil of the iPads. It can therefore be transformed, if necessary, into a graphics tablet or notepad. Too bad that Microsoft does not include this accessory in the package, forcing you to buy it separately. A revisable choice.
Surface Laptop Studio: professionals at work
Considering the type of product, we could not limit ourselves to a standard use. For the professional part we therefore involved the Concept Architettura studio in Bari, specialized in Interior Design. A pool of specialists who, for a few days, implemented the Surface Laptop Studio in their stream. The challenge was to use a notebook for operations that are usually managed by a desktop computer for reasons of power and heat dissipation.
Desktop computer features
- AMD Ryzen 9 3900X processor (you can find it at this address)
- 80 Gigabytes of RAM
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super graphics card (you can find it at this address)
Surface Laptop Studio features
- 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
- 16 Gigabytes of RAM
- Nvidia RTX3050 Ti graphics card
The most difficult test was that of 3D rendering. An operation that, in relation to the rendering of an entire house, often literally requires days of continuous work for the computer. The important thing is that the Surface Laptop Studio was able to always complete the renders, without crashing. In some cases the time difference compared to the desktop computer used was very important, in others it was much less. Let’s see in detail.
- Desktop computer 2 hours and 34 minutes
- Surface Laptop Studio 6 hours and 31 minutes
External render 1
- Desktop computer 32 minutes
- Surface Laptop Studio 52 minutes
External render 2
- Desktop computer 54 minutes
- Surface Laptop Studio 1 hour and 40 minutes
The technical difference between the two computers in favor of the desktop, at least on paper, is abysmal (also in terms of price). In fact, however, the Surface Laptop Studio defended itself very well. It is evident that it was not designed to be used as the main computer for rendering, an operation in which, moreover, the amount of RAM is very important (so it would have been interesting to test the 32 Gigabyte version of RAM).
If necessary, however, it is able to render and, above all, allows you to move easily within them. As the architects and the engineer of Concept Architettura explained to us, it is a perfect machine to show the customer a render on the go, perhaps directly on site. Context in which, moreover, the touch-screen and the compatibility with the Surface Pen can really make the difference to take notes on the fly directly on the project.
Furthermore, the quality of the screen should not be underestimated. It is a 14.4-inch panel with a resolution of 2,400 x 1,600 pixels and a refresh rate of 120 Hertz. Perfect therefore for multimedia content, to amaze above all its fidelity in the reproduction of colors. A crucial aspect for those who work in the world of graphics and 3D design. In the photo gallery above you can see all the rendered images made with the Surface Laptop Studio and relating to a project of a villa for residential use that will actually be built.
Surface Laptop Studio – A wonderful all-rounder notebook
As written in the title, this is not a computer only for professionals. Keyboard and trackpad are at the top of the category, probably the only ones to really play it on a par with those of Apple’s MacBook Pro. Writing with the Laptop Studio and moving around in the Windows 11 interface is a pleasure, so this notebook becomes the perfect companion for those who, for work or study, write and surf a lot with the browser. In the version we tested, equipped with a dedicated graphics card, you can also venture out with video games. The excellent screen, together with the excellent cooling system, return an excellent user experience considering how it is a laptop.
Analogous discourse with multimedia contents. In this case, the quality of the display is assisted by the tilting mechanism and, above all, by the excellent audio sector. There are, in fact, 4 2-way stereo speakers and two invisible woofers, which deliver full, clear and powerful sounds in any mode. Watching a movie or TV series through the Surface Laptop Studio is a real pleasure. The only negative about this computer is the provision of doors. Considering, in fact, the thickness it would have been reasonable to expect an HDMI output, an SD reader and at least a full-size USB port. He instead offers two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports (to connect monitors and high-performance peripherals), a 3.5 mm jack output and the proprietary port for charging.
Good autonomy, which in any case does not scream a miracle. With such power and such a screen, you cannot expect extraordinary battery life from a notebook. A professional use will require, after about 6 hours, a recharge. On the other hand, use by an average user will also allow you to cover 9/10 hours away from the electrical outlet.
Surface Laptop Studio: how much it costs
The version we received in the test (Intel Core i7, 16 Gigabytes of RAM, 512 Gigabytes of memory, Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti graphics card) costs 2,239 euros. Practically in line with a MacBook Pro 14 configured in the same way, wanting to take a notebook designed for professionals as a reference point.
However, considering the main target for which the Surface Laptop Studio was designed, we believe that the best version to bet on is the one with 32 Gigabyte of RAM and 1 Terabyte of memory. Price of 2,849 euros, absolutely sensible for those who work in the fields of graphics, 3D design, photo and video editing.
For those who want to buy a notebook for use anyway, with the logic of making an investment that can last over time, the advice is to refer to the basic version: Intel Core i5 processor, 16 Gigabytes of RAM, 256 Gigabytes of internal memory and integrated graphics card. List price of 1,729 euros, but it is already possible to buy it around 1,600 euros. Little more than a MacBook Air configured in a more or less similar way.
Surface Laptop Studio, the main rivals
It’s really hard to spot the Laptop Studio rivals, especially considering the particular design. The 14-inch MacBook Pro caters to a similar target, especially in the world of graphics and video editing. It is positioned at similar figures but, in this case, everything revolves around the operating system. If the software used in the professional field are compatible with macOS, he can certainly represent the fiercest rival (even superior in some areas).
By staying in the Windows world, Acer Contept D7 is certainly the most similar notebook to the Microsoft model. It has the same tilting mechanism as the screen, lots of power available and a screen designed to be used with graphics programs. In this case, however, the price spikes above 4,000 euros.
To know more:
To receive all updates on offers, our tests and guides, subscribe to the newsletter of The Right Choice.