The new Surface Laptop Studio is here — Microsoft flips the script with foldout display

It’s a Surface Laptop, but with a twist or maybe a fold or a pull? Microsoft recently announced a new Surface Laptop and it got some brand new tricks up its sleeve. Instead of targeting students and mobile professionals, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is making a beeline for creators with an adjustable display that folds out and works with the company’s new Surface Slim Pen 2 in case you want to jot down some notes or create a digital masterpiece.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio configuration

We don’t have pricing or availability yet for the Studio, but we do have plenty of specs. The laptop offers two Intel 11th Gen processors: Core i5-11300H or Core i7-11370H. Storage starts at a 256GB SSD, but goes all the way up to 2TB. The consumer version of the Studio will feature integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics while the enterprise model will ship with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio design

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio looks like the lovechild of an earlier version of the Surface Laptop and Surface Go. The lid chassis is made of anodized aluminum colored that familiar Surface Gray. In the bottom center of the lid is a silver glossy Microsoft logo and the seam that demarcates where the Dynamic Woven Hinge resides.

Opening the laptop, you get more of that Surface Gray aluminum for the deck accented by the dark gray keys of the keyboard. A large touchpad sits directly beneath the keyboard in the center of the palm rest. If you look along the bottom of the front lip of the laptop, there’s an oblong indentation designed to hold the Slim Pen 2 when it’s not in use.

At 3.8 pounds (4 pounds, i7 model) 12.7 x 9 x 0.7 inches, the Studio sits between the Dell XPS 15 (4.3 pounds, 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches) and the M1-powered Apple MacBook Pro (3 pounds, 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches).

So let’s talk about the hinge. The Dynamic Woven Hinge allows users to manipulate the display into several different modes. You’ve got the traditional clamshell Laptop mode, Stage Mode allows you to pull the screen forward in a sort of presentation mode. Finally, there’s Studio mode, where you can lay the panel flat on top of the keyboard, letting users write or draw on the screen. The design is very reminiscent of the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio security

Although there’s no fingerprint scanner, Microsoft still added a couple security features starting with the Windows Hello-compatible webcam. The consumer model of the Studio has a TPM chip while the enterprise model has the more advanced TPM 2.0 chip.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio ports

Such a slim frame doesn’t allow for many ports, but what the Studio does provide can transform the laptop into a solid battlestation if necessary. Along the right, sits a headphone jack and the Surface Connect port and a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio display

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio has a 14.4-inch touchscreen with a 2400 x 1600 with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. Microsoft has yet to share nits (a standard brightness measurement) or color gamut percentage, but being that Microsoft is targeting content creators, it’s a safe bet that the display will be both bright and vivid.

But as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding and I’m eager to see the Studio in action soon. I’m especially curious to see how the panel deals with some light gaming with its high refresh rate.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio battery life

Microsoft is touting some serious battery life with the Core i5 getting an estimated 19 hours of battery life while the Core i7 iteration quoted at 18 hours. Now, it’s very rare that we see a product, laptop, tablet, smartphone or otherwise, that lasts as long as advertised on the Laptop Mag Battery test. I’m not holding out any hope, but I’m always glad to be wrong.

Bottom line

Sometimes a change in perspective is good. In the case of the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, it’s giving rise to a whole new class of notebook – one that can straddle the fence between spreadsheets, art and gaming. With the convertible design, the Studio brings the versatility of the Surface Go and combines it with the beefy specs of the Surface Laptop for an entirely different animal. One that I’m eager to put through its paces.

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