Surface Laptop Studio Hands-on Review
Published Sep 22 2021 09:18 AM 4,896 Views
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Surface Laptop Studio is our most versatile laptop with unparalleled performance, all while delivering the best possible experience with Windows 11. Chris Greiser, from the team that engineered and designed Surface Laptop Studio, gives an in-depth, hands-on tour of the newest member in the Surface family.


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Core to the innovation in the Surface Laptop Studio, is the flexible, and ultra-durable hinge. It uses a special form of woven fabric together with advanced cable management on the display pivot point and the base of the device, so it can bend up to 180 degrees. 


This is also the most powerful device in the Surface portfolio, performance tuned with the latest generation of discrete NVIDIA GPUs and 11th generation Intel® Core™ processors. GPU performance is the highest of the Surface family with discrete NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050 Ti or NVIDIA® RTX™ A2000 for business. Also, with two USB-C Thunderbolt™ 4 ports, Surface Laptop Studio is capable of high-speed data transfers of up to 40 Gbps and it works with the breadth of peripherals. 


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Its PixelSense™ Flow touch display is 14.4” with a 3:2 aspect ratio at 2400 x 1600 resolution and it has a 120Hz refresh rate. The optional Surface Slim Pen stores at the front of the base with integrated wireless charging, so it’s always ready when you need it. The screen when paired with the optional Surface Slim Pen 2’s built-in haptics and tactile signals in Windows 11, enable a natural inking feel. 


The 1080p front-facing camera has been optimized to perform well in low light conditions and even as you move or cover your face. Combined with Dual Studio Mics and accurate omnisonic sound reproduction, it’s the perfect device for Microsoft Teams.




00:38 — Designing the hinge 

01:09 — CPU and GPU performance 

01:58 — AI-powered app demo — NVIDIA Canvas 

02:58 — SSD options and serviceability 

03:16 — Ports and battery 

03:42 — Exterior design and display 

04:16 — Inking experience with tactile feedback and haptics 

04:55 — Camera and audio optimizations


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Video Transcript:

-Welcome to Microsoft Mechanics. I’m Chris Greiser from the Surface Engineering Team. And in the next few minutes, I’ll give you an in-depth tour of the design and engineering of the all new Surface Laptop Studio, the most powerful Surface to date. When we set out to design Surface Laptop Studio, we challenged ourselves with how we could build our most versatile laptop with unparalleled performance all while delivering the best possible experience with Windows 11. We didn’t have to look too far for inspiration as the design incorporates some of the best improvement elements of Surface Book, Surface studio, as well as Surface Laptop. That combined with the net new boundary pushing innovations has made Surface Laptop Studio what it is today. 


-Now, core to this is the work done to design a flexible and ultra durable hinge. We engineered a hinge using a special form of woven fabric. Together with advanced cable management on the display pivot point and the base of the device, the device can bend up to 180 degrees without putting stress on the cables for durability. And when you’re ready to work, magnets keep everything securely in place. The different modes are a result of months of research into the human factors of how you might interact with Surface Laptop Studio. Ultimately, we want the device to adapt to how you like to work. 


-This is also the most powerful device in the Surface portfolio. It’s performance tuned with the latest generation of discrete Nvidia GPU’s and 11th Generation Intel Core H Series Processors. In fact, GPU performance is the highest of the Surface family with discrete Nvidia G-Force RTX 3050 Ti or Nvidia RTX A2000 for business. Both options run up to 50 Watts, thanks to Dynamic Boost 2.0, which balances power consumption between the CPU and GPU to optimize the power flow. We also balance the thermal load across the CPU and GPU using our tuned dual fan active system with heat pipes that are connected across both processors, allowing for shared cooling. This way the CPU also benefits under demanding workloads. It can see up to 64 Watts of power and the heat dissipation is there where you need it. 


-Air flow is also noticeably improved compared to other Surface devices. Let me put this performance into context for you. I’m running the Nvidia Canvas app that uses the power of AI and the Nvidia RTX GPU to predict what you’re trying to draw and transform it into a photo realistic image. Nvidia Canvas is part of the Nvidia Studio platform that includes drivers and apps for creators. On the left, you’re seeing a map view, which is literally the canvas for our drawing. 


-The idea is that you can use simple shapes and lines to inform the image view on the right. For example, I can select from materials like sky clouds, grass hills and more to build the drawing. Here, I’ll add a hill on the left side. I’ll fill it in. As I do watch what happens on the right. Now, let’s add some sand, I’ll select it as a material and I’ll draw some in at the bottom. Finally, I can add a few clouds in the sky with a few simple lines. 


-Notice how fast and realistically everything renders. That’s due in part to the third generation Tensor cores, and there are 80 of them to ensure more processing power for AI powered applications like this one. And the GPUs also support ray tracing hardware acceleration for faster graphics rendering. Additionally Surface Laptop Studio also has options for up to two terabytes of storage using M.2 NVMe SSDs. 


-It’s also been designed with serviceability in mind. For example, if you’re an authorized technician, you can follow the Microsoft instructions to remove the bottom of the Laptop Studio to access the SSD. Next, Surface Laptop Studio comes with two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports. They’re capable of high speed data transfers of up to 40 gigabits per second. And it works with the breadth of peripherals to make it easier to customize your home or work setup. 


-And even with its powerful capabilities and discreet GPU, Surface Laptop Studio still offers all day battery life with up to 19 hours of typical use. So Surface Laptop Studio is super versatile and powerful at the same time, but it doesn’t end there, let’s tour the device a bit more starting with the display, which was a super important area of focus for us, especially in lighting up the Windows 11 experience. It also supports Dolby Vision, which enhances bright and dark images along with subtle details for greater definition. 


-The PixelSense Flow Touch display spans 14.4 inches, and it uses our signature three by two aspect ratio with a 2,400 by 1600 resolution. Notice that the entire display surround is black to minimize distractions. You can adjust brightness from 500 nits all the way down to two nits to reduce eye strain and adjust for low-light conditions. The faster 120 Hertz refresh rate in the display also helps Surface Laptop Studio deliver the best and most realistic inking experience ever for Surface. 


-And the screen when paired with optional Surface Slim Pen 2’s tactile signals in Windows 11 enables a natural inking feel. Undocking the pen brings up the Windows 11 pen menu, which is customizable. So you can get to your pen friendly apps right away, the sharper tip and haptics of the slim pen also help to precisely navigate controls. And as I select and organize clips, I get reassuring tactile signals as they snap together. The haptics work also carries on with our precision haptic touch pad. It’s the largest Surface touch pad to date. As you click it, super responsive, moving to the top of the device, you’ll see the 1080p full HD front camera array with integrated IR sensor supporting Windows Hello. 


-There are also dual studio mics for natural voice capture with crisp detail and clarity. And another area we’ve labored over is the camera experience. Not only does it have a larger sensor, but it also uses AI based face detection. On the left, you can see a video with optimizations and on the right, We have one without tuning optimizations, from our engineering tests. Our engineer Ranga is in a highly backlit setting. As he moves his head, the cameras wide dynamic range automatically adjusts exposure as well as the white balance and it stays in focus. Notice the difference as he covers his face with his hand on the Surface Laptop Studio side, his lighting and skin tones are consistent and more accurate. And this makes Surface Laptop Studio perfect for online meetings. 


-And for audio, another first for Surface, we’ve designed a Quad Omnisonic speaker system with four drivers that incorporate Dolby Atmos to deliver rich spatial sound. In fact, we’ve done a lot of work to provide the best experience in sound, as you adjust the device to different postures. Additionally Surface Laptop Studio dynamically modifies the sound curve to adjust bass and treble using adaptive equalization so that the sound is fuller and richer as you go through the volume range resulting in the best Quad Omnisonic sound in a Surface device. 


-So that was a quick tour of the all new Surface Laptop Studio. I use this device as my daily driver every day and it’s amazing. It’s a device that truly adapts to you. And I can’t wait for you to try it out for yourself. To learn more and for availability, check out, subscribe to Microsoft Mechanics for the latest in tech updates and thanks for watching.


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