Many examples of neat details can be easily seen on this laptop. For example: the firmness with which the magnets connect the screen to the rest of the chassis, the behavior of the hinge when it is open or closed, the location of the connectors, the aesthetics of the equipment, the inclusion of a magnetic charger that protects the equipment in case someone accidentally pulls the cable, the
feeling of the trackpad, the experience of using the keyboard… So many details that many PC manufacturers leave in the background or do not just don’t know how to deal with it. But all of them make the difference between a good machine, and one that, in addition to being powerful, is pleasant to use.
Another example I mention is
how well the Surface Laptop Studio integrates with Windows 11 . After turning on the machine for the first time we have no bloatware the firmware of the machine is updated regularly you have all the Windows security options (like encryption) without having to worry… Again , details that other PC brands do not always care about but which, in fact, have a direct impact in the user experience.
The same goes for the screen. It’s relatively easy to find PCs with high-resolution or high-frequency screens. But
the quality of a display is determined by many other factors that are not always taken into account in the specifications table. I’m talking about things like maximum brightness level, color calibration accuracy, touch system behavior, and more.
Microsoft here has done a good job . The Surface Laptop Studio’s screen isn’t the most technically cutting-edge – that award goes to the MacBook Pro in this product segment – but it supports those nuances that are particularly important in a machine that targets the industry. creative – like color accuracy. Moreover, its pixel density is around 200, the maximum brightness level is 500 nits, it has a refresh rate of 120 Hz…
But what I like the most about her is that she
Format 3:2 . That is to say: it is a little higher than usual. And honestly, I think everyone should follow in Microsoft’s footsteps in this regard. This extra square footage comes in really handy when using the machine as a productivity machine.
This laptop, moreover, has one of its main features in its screen, which can adopt three different positions: conventional mode, presentation mode and tablet.
I find the second mode particularly useful in two situations. The first is when you are traveling, for example, on an airplane and want to watch a movie without the screen touching the seat in front of you. Beyond that, I don’t see any clear utility compared to the classic mode.
The third mode, on the other hand, is quite handy if you want to draw on the touchscreen using the
stylus . The experience is relatively similar to a Wacom Cintiq, a touchscreen often used in creative environments.
And some may wonder:
Doesn’t this third mode also allow you to use the Surface Laptop Studio as if it were a tablet? And the answer is as simple as “no”. The main thing is both in the thickness and in the weight of the equipment. Holding it in your hands while you move around isn’t exactly comfortable – as you would say of an iPad or Surface Pro X. So while it’s technically possible to use it in tablet mode , I don’t think that’s the use case that Microsoft intended for this product.
And if you’re worried about the robustness of the mechanism that allows these three positions, don’t worry. Everything is in order. I don’t know how it will age, but since I’ve been able to use it, it has always felt firm.
A powerful machine
The combination of Nvidia 3050 Ti GPU + Intel Core i7 CPU makes
the creative working experience quite good . Especially if applications – like the Adobe suite – know how to take advantage of the Nvidia component to speed up processes. The laptop handles tasks like editing dozens of RAW images in Lightroom or exporting 4K video using Premiere Pro with ease.
it is possible to enjoy video games with a fairly good quality given the type of product we are talking about . Obviously, it can’t hold a candle to state-of-the-art gaming laptops or purpose-built desktops, but for those looking to run titles without shaking everything in Ultra quality at 120 FPS with throw of spokes activated, it’s more than enough. .
The fan that cools the interior I must say
turns on relatively easily when working with the machine . In fact, you can feel the surface around the trackpad heating up, though it never reaches an awkward point. Sure: it does a good job oxygenating the interior to avoid the dreaded Heat throttling that so often happens when you subject the machine to lengthy processes like exporting a video in Premiere Pro.
The fans, moreover,
they obtain and expel the air thanks to grilles located in the lower part of the chassis , which has a particular step. It is a curious Microsoft solution which, by the way, the brand takes advantage of to protect the style that adheres magnetically. an unfavourable context
So far everything is in order. The Surface Laptop Studio generally does what you’d expect from a Microsoft product, it’s got enough power to handle all sorts of creative tasks – and even play the occasional game – and, on top of that, it has that extra flexibility that its screen brings.
However, the Surface Laptop Studio review doesn’t stop there.
Microsoft’s laptop arrives in Spain in a complicated context . And I’m not saying this because of the chip shortage. The key, in this case, is the change in Status Quo going through the semiconductor industry right now.
In 2020, Apple released the first computers with Apple Silicon processors, based on ARM technology. A move that undoubtedly
stirred the waters from the first moment. Apple’s chips have not only proven to be incredible in terms of performance; they were also much more power efficient than Intel’s or AMD’s proposals. And Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio, which uses this type of component, suffers from this reality.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro processor – which costs almost the same price as the unit I tested over the past few weeks –
outperforms the Surface Laptop Studio in several performance tests. And, on top of that, it offers better battery life – where Microsoft’s laptop doesn’t shine – or an even higher quality screen – and yes, the Surface Laptop Studio is good, but the MacBook Pro is simply the best of its segment -.
On the other hand,
Microsoft’s laptop arrives a little late in Spain . When presented at the end of 2021, the Intel chip that it housed inside was one of the best options that the manufacturer had in its catalog. However, in these first months of 2022, many other brands – such as Dell or HP – are already selling, for a price similar to that of the Surface Laptop Studio, computers with twelfth generation Intel processors which significantly improve those of the previous one. . And those with a processor similar to the Microsoft laptop are usually less expensive.
Is the Surface Laptop Studio worth it?
My aftertaste from the Surface Laptop Studio has been, in general, quite good. It’s a well-designed machine that I felt quite comfortable working with. Part of the reason the final aftertaste was positive is, as I said earlier, Microsoft’s attention to detail, which to me is clearly differential.
On the other hand, the curious mechanism of the screen, although in my case I do not find it very useful, I recognize that it is well resolved. And for people in the creative world, having the option to turn your laptop into a Cintiq is a huge bonus.
However, if I judge this machine from a bit of a broader perspective, it’s easy to see that
crying out for a CPU upgrade . The Intel Core i7 that mounts the unit I tested doesn’t outperform a MacBook Air with an M1 processor (which costs half that) in benchmarks like Cinebench or Geekbench. And the situation is even more unfavorable if we compare it with the MacBook Pro with M1 Pro, which is the team it really competes with.
A simple upgrade to Intel’s 12th Gen chips
could dramatically improve this situation . And yes, these components are still behind Apple in terms of performance per watt (efficiency); but, at least, they are able to measure themselves in raw power – even if that consumes more energy.
On the other hand, one aspect where I also think Microsoft could go further is the screen. The Surface Laptop Studio panel, I insist, is of good quality, but Apple, with its miniLED technology, is clearly ahead. And in another type of laptop, this factor might be a little less relevant. But in a computer clearly aimed at the creative sector, having the best display technology is essential. Given the above, and despite the fact that the aftertaste the machine left me with was good, I have to admit that I find it hard to recommend the Surface Laptop Studio on a large scale . At least when mounting the aforementioned eleventh generation processors, a component that in my opinion is its main burden compared to the competition.
If you particularly appreciate the differential factors of this machine (like the refinement of certain details or the flexibility of its screen) and don’t mind giving up a fraction of the power, the Surface Laptop Studio may be an option to consider.
However, for the majority of people who just want the most complete laptop, the smartest thing right now is not to go for this Surface Laptop Studio, but for the MacBook Pro with M1 processor.