Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio Review: Surprisingly expert
Where the Surface Laptop Studio is interesting if you upgrade to Core i7 models, which get Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards. The cheapest of these is $ 2,100, and you can keep adding RAM and SSD space until you get to the top-end model with 32 gigabytes of RAM and a 2-terabyte SSD for $ 3,100.
The model I tested featured a Core i7 chip with 32 gigabytes of RAM and a 1-terabyte SSD, which sold for $ 2,700. That’s a lot of money, but it’s in the same ballpark as a similarly appointed The Macbook Pro and the Dell XPS 15.
No matter which model you choose, you get one of the most beautiful looking screens I’ve seen in a long time. It is 14 inches in size, with a 2,400 x 1,600-pixel resolution, running up to 197 pixels per inch. That’s not as sharp on the 4K Dell XPS 15, but next to it I didn’t notice a difference. Like the rest of the Surface devices, the Laptop Studio screen has a 3: 2 aspect ratio.
Where the Laptop Studio screen stands out from almost everything in the consumer market (except the new Surface Pro 8) is the 120-Hz refresh rate. You can read our instruction on screen refresh rates for the nitty-gritty of what it means and why you want it, but the short story is the smoother animations and interactions, formerly the province of high-end gaming machines, apply now on mainstream laptops. The result is noticeable. Windows 11 in Laptop Studio is an enjoyable visual experience. I’m less sold on Windows 11 active, though. That’s more than a minute.
What’s almost as impressive is the build and unlock battery life. Studio always lasted a full working day and conducted nearly 12 hours of our loop-video battery drain test. That’s not the 18 hours Microsoft claims, but it beats the XPS 15.
Sound is also a famous feature of this Surface. It has four speakers, including subwoofers, and it sounds great. The trackpad is also the best I’ve used, without the bar. It’s great, has excellent motion support, and has a haptic feedback system that makes you feel like you’re pressing a button even when you’re not.
The Problem With Windows Tablets
Windows 11 is many steps ahead, and almost same amount back. You can read our overall look at Windows 11 to see new shapes and some of the problems. The most common problem from Laptop Studio’s perspective is that there are almost no desktop apps optimized for Studio Mode. That’s not to say you can’t use apps like Adobe Illustrator or Lightroom, but they lack the tablet -friendly aspects of their iOS counterparts.
What’s great about the iPad is that apps are forced to deal with the strangeness of the experience on a tablet. What’s great about Laptop Studio is that apps don’t have to deal with the power limitations of the iPad. Somewhere in the mix of these two different poles is the ideal, but even the system is not there yet.
It’s tempting to think that running Android apps on Windows 11 might solve this, but if you’ve already used Android on a tablet, you know you need to hold your breath. A laptop with a separate screen will start running Android if you remove it and seamlessly go back to Windows when reinstalled, all without closing your apps or otherwise interfering with your work , the feeling is gone. As well as tablet optimization in Windows 11.
The world is a series of compromises, and Surface Laptop Studio wears these device lines better than anything I’ve used. It’s not perfect, but for a class user, you can almost get it now.