Marketed as the Surface Laptop built for creative pros, developers and gamers, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio (SLS) is said to bring the portability of a laptop along with the power of a desktop all-in-one. This premium Windows PC is part of the flagship Microsoft Surface lineup that is designed to compete with the likes of the MacBook in terms of design and architecture.
The Surface Laptop Studio comes as a totally reimaged design and a new form factor for the Surface line of devices. Featuring a pivotable display that can move from a standing position (laptop mode) to a partially angled (stage mode) and lie-flat mode (Studio Mode) along with a dedicated GPU (NVIDIA GeForce RTX Series) the SLS finally brings some extra power to the Surface lineup.
Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop design
From the ground up, the Surface Laptop Studio is a total rethink of design from Microsoft. The device is built using a Magnesium and Aluminum alloy that is silky smooth to the touch and gives it a premium feel. Unlike other Surface devices, the entire body is made of this material instead of opting for other soft-touch materials. The keyboard features mechanical (moving) keys with a backlight and a full QWERTY layout with a complete set of function keys. The keyboard feels sturdy and has a decent amount of travel. There is no fingerprint sensor or colour calibration device included available, and the device only comes presently in the Platinum colour.
Microsoft Surface studio laptop display
Arguably the best feature of this device is the stunning 14.4″ Pixel Sense Display. This display includes support for HDR and Dolby Vision video, which shines as being one of the most beautiful displays on any Windows PC on the market at the moment. With a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, gaming on the system is snappy and watching dynamic content is very pleasing. The display also incorporates a 1080p webcam that outperforms most other systems in this category and dual far-field microphones.
The display itself pivots into several different positions: laptop, stage and studio. This gives the device a lot more flexibility when it comes to creative work and allows users to get the best of a tablet with the power/performance of a desktop/laptop. We found that while it was convenient to use the device in the different modes, we found the least useful of the pack the be the “studio mode” as it doesn’t go completely flat.
Is Surface Laptop Studio good for editing?
Our test unit was configured with an 11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-11370H @ 3.30GHz, 3302 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s), 16GB of RAM and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card with 4GB of GDDR6 Laptop GPU. What we found in our testing is that while the Surface Studio Laptop can take on most tasks, overall the performance we found didn’t make it ideal for all situations.
If you’re working in Photoshop, InDesign and other photos/document editors, it performances as expected. Editing videos or other more render-intensive processes will take a hit in performance with this device despite the NVIDIA dedicated graphics card. In our testing, we found that the performance with creative work was slightly outpaced by the performance of this device in terms of productivity activities (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.). So does it perform competently for editing? Yes, but it’s not ideal.
Is a Microsoft Surface good for music production?
Another stand-out feature of the Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop is its speaker system. While this may not be ideal for someone looking for a music production setup, the Quad Omnisonic speakers that are built into the body are Dolby Atmos-certified and do make a pleasurable audio experience. The device does have a 3.5mm jack and two USB 4 – Type C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, which can be useful for connecting other audio equipment with greater fidelity.
As previously indicated in our editing remarks, the device does perform well with non-complex rendering tasks and mild workloads. This means that it will handle almost all audio compiling and editing work with some degree of ease.
What is the surface studio good for?
This laptop is definitely designed for the buyer that is looking for a sort-of hybrid type PC that easily swings between work and home tasks. During the day you can easily rely on the performance of the device to handle everyday work with some creative tasks, and wind down at night catching up on Netflix or gaming with Xbox Live games. We loved the flexibility of incorporating multi-touch and the Surface Pen devices to enhance your creative performance, along with the adjustability of the screen to adapt to different environments.
Are surface laptops worth it?
Overall with the Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop and the Microsoft Surface laptop line overall, you’re paying a premium price for a premium device. The Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop that we featured in this review, as configured, was priced at $2099.99USD. At this price point it came with:
- 11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-11370H @ 3.30GHz, 3302 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s)
- 16 GB of LPDDR4x RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card with 4GB of GDDR6 Laptop GPU
- 512 GB, solid-state drive (SSD)
- 1-year limited hardware warranty
At that same price point, devices like the similarly priced Dell XPS 15 or the Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel ($1399USD) are good competitors. The Surface Studio Laptop, however, is top of this pack with a well-designed chassis, excellent display and well-performing hardware. We particularly prefer the Surface Studio Laptop over the Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel as the entire package feels more premium and has an overall better design. This is the most powerful Surface laptop in 2022.