Hey, what’s up, I’m gonna be HD here. And this laptop is kind of trying to be three things at once, kinda. So this is the surface laptop studio, it’s the studio version of the surface laptop, or the laptop version of the Surface Studio. I mean, it’s both either way, it’s an interesting idea. It’s not completely unique. But it is kind of curious now to see this in Microsoft’s own surface lineup.
We’ve been so busy with so many other reviews that this is the first time I’m really getting to check it out. But here we are. So the idea is, you have three different modes with this form factor, you have the standard laptop setup, then you have the halfway folded down easel setup, where you’re covering the keyboard, but you still have the trackpad and the touchscreen. It’s called stage mode. And then you have a completely folded flat tablet setup. All in one device. I guess it’s like a three in one.
So the idea is like, pretty cool. I but every time I see something like this, my first thought is always okay. What do you what do you use each mode for so of course, the laptop mode, that’s the most familiar, right, it’s the surface laptop studio for reason, it’s perfectly capable of that, you’ve got a three by two aspect ratio, like other Surface devices, which is really nice for taller applications and multitasking in Windows 11 here, and then when you pull the laptop towards you and want to put it in this sort of easel position, you sort of pop the bottom of the laptop out from the magnets, and then it naturally sort of wants to land on some more magnets in this 45 degree position.
In this easel stand mode, it’s the only angle that you can set it up that now this is this always happens whenever I go, Well, who would want to use a something like this. I mean, it’s cool that it can do it. But who would use it like this. And then everyone who does use like this comes out of the woodwork and loves to explain exactly how but I’m just gonna say from my own use of laptops, there’s only a couple reasons I would want a laptop to be folded over covering the keyboard but still having the trackpad like this. So it is a touchscreen. And of course you still have access to the trackpad. But yeah, the way it’s sitting kind of reminds me of an iPad. In a Folio Case, this is fine for watching videos, or watching movies.
Also gaming with a controller, which I’ve seen a lot of in there as with this guy. And any touch first apps now there are Android apps coming to Windows 11. And those don’t work as of yet, but they should be in an update soon. But if you do have touch first apps, though work here, the screen also definitely wobbles a lot less and feels much more sturdy at this sort of anchored angle as you touch the display with your finger. But also Yeah, there aren’t that many touch first apps that I use, and I’ll get more to the app situation in a second. Anyway, lastly, you can just pop it open and fold it completely flat and tablet, you know, it’s not necessarily as fun to hold and use like an iPad or even a Surface Pro. But when it’s totally flat, there’s your tablet, this would be your full time touchscreen interaction. And where a lot of your use of the new Surface slim pen two would come into play. It doesn’t sit totally flat. But from what I hear a lot of artists would like it to be slightly propped up because it’s easier to sketch on like that. So the idea, I really like I think it’s pretty cool. You could even maybe get away with watching a video not at perfectly 45 degrees if you want it to. But yeah, you might have heard of like the Acer concept D or the HP Elite folio.
This is more of like this surface refined version of those ideas. But even at that, I’ve noticed this version does have some weird built quality issues. So of course, when this thing is in full on laptop mode, the screen portion is a bit thicker than a normal laptop, it’s way better than previous surfaces where the whole computer is up top. But you can see it’s still thicker than a normal single screen because it’s two layers instead of one for the hinge mechanics. And that’s fine, you barely ever have to look at that. But the air gap around the outside of this display, I noticed is very inconsistent. Like I can see little gaps all the way around the screen that I just like wanted to squeeze shut. I thought that was really odd. But the rest of the hardware is pretty solid. It’s the magnesium and aluminum casing that’s very rigid. And if we’re being kind of honest, it looks a bit like a double decker MacBook Pro type thing. So the silver is the only color and it’s got this top level which is pretty slim, and it’s the full width all the way around and has all the ports. Then the bottom piece here is a smaller inset but it obviously gives it much more internal volume. So when it’s just sitting on a desk it kind of gives this illusion of a thinner laptop that’s kind of hovering slightly off your desk depending on your lighting. Honestly I don’t mind it. I do hate the ports layout though on this thing for all the positioning as like a creator focus laptop and something creative professionals will use. It’s like a MacBook Pro. Like every creative professional I know. I think all of them use an SD card for something at Some point, no SD card reader on this laptop, and then there’s only two USB C ports on the side here with a surface connect port and headphone jack on the other side. Now I’m happy to see if those two USB C ports are Thunderbolt four, that’s awesome for data transfer. So my SD card reader dongle will be fast as ever. But that leaves one port left for a mouse or any accessory I might use. Not amazing. But the rest of the design fundamentals are definitely here.
Especially with just the hardware, it’s very rigid. Even the keyboard itself is pretty nice. So it’s just a tiny bit of board flex, but the keys themselves are very clicky. And well laid out. I haven’t gotten a chance to test the battery yet, since I haven’t had it for long enough. But I have noticed the trackpad is really nice. This is something I was hoping to see more of with Windows 11 and more well optimized Surface devices. And I am very impressed with the trackpads responsiveness and the haptic feedback. It’s honestly it’s on MacBook level. For me, it’s reached that level, which is especially helped by the fact that the display is also 120 Hertz. Love that. Even the webcam is pretty good. It’s only two megapixels, but it’s 1080 P. So I guess I’m only saying this because of how low the standards have been set. But hey, it’s really quite decent with colors and exposure. I will say though, the one letdown was definitely the speaker’s not a whole lot of room to have great speakers in this anyway. But there’s no grills anywhere it sounds to me like the sound is coming from the keyboard. And like from the side events. Either way, there’s almost no bass. If you care about good speakers on a laptop, this ain’t it. But anyway, Microsoft has this laptop starting at 1599. And that’s kind of where it starts to fall apart a little bit. Because first of all, I don’t think you’d ever want this spec without the dedicated GPU. So that means you’re looking at at least $2,100 And that’ll get you the core i 716 gigs of RAM, half a terabyte of SSD and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, and again, haven’t had it for very long haven’t been running the benchmarks, but we know that’s a decently capable CPU and GPU.
But in the AMD world, there’s stuff dramatically, outperforming this. And even the GPU is not super powerful. The one upside is if you do want to go the external GPU route, which some people do with their laptop, you do have Thunderbolt four. But yeah, this doesn’t have the highest end specs in the world. So one of my favorite surfaces ever was surface laptop three than that black version. And whenever I would consider using like a Surface Book or something else that would sort of convert into a two in one, the question was always okay, am I going to use the tablet version am I going to use the laptop version is it worth getting something slightly worse at each to have both. So then this surface laptop studio has a slightly different proposition, which is in the name, you’ve probably heard about the Surface Studio by now the all in one desktop PC that tilts down dramatically into this easel position for all kinds of pen art and drafting and things like that. So this laptop brings that third form factor on the go. But unlike the desktop, tilting it down, like this immediately covers the keyboard, which probably makes the new slim pen to a pretty mandatory accessory if you’re going to get one of these.
Now, again, if you know me, I’m not the greatest artists in the world, I’ll admit, but I can still appreciate a good responsive pen. And while this definitely isn’t Apple Pencil levels of responsive, it is very usable. And it has some interesting features like a small vibration motor in the pen to simulate the feeling of writing on actual paper, which I don’t know if it feels exactly like paper so much as I can feel the pen vibrate a little bit when changing directions. And it sort of feels like it adds a bit of a texture with certain tools. But nevertheless, it really works well with this laptop, it’s got the shortcut button, it’s got the side button. And whenever you’re done using it, you can just snap it underneath the front lip of the laptop where it charges and lives with a very strong magnet, you basically just you slide dependent upside down. And it is strong and it is not going anywhere. Kind of have to peel it back off. Now, here’s the fun part. If you do slide it in the wrong way, right side up, it kind of misses the laptop, but then I got to do is just lift it up and it snaps into place. It’s very satisfying. So look, there’s gonna be a ton of new windows 11 machines, laptops coming out over the next weeks and months. And they’re all going to have different focuses some will have much better performance than this one.
Some will have better screens, some will have more ports, of course, but the theoretical advantage to the surface one is support this design and the pen and Windows 11 has treated me pretty well for a couple of days with the New START menu and the new animations and window controls for multitasking. I like those a lot. Also, I noticed the touch targets get slightly larger and a little further apart when it detects that you’re going out. laptop mode, but it’s also got a lot of weird quirks and missing UI features. I would highly recommend watching the verges full Windows 11 review video on their channel, I’ll link it below, since I generally don’t do desktop OS reviews, but yeah, they cover a lot of stuff and, you know, as Windows 11 improves, this whole laptop will too. So I didn’t get this laptop expecting to recommend it to most people. It’s obviously for a smaller group who will find this easel thing useful or who will find this pen useful. But I’m also I’m glad it exists like where else you’re going to find a laptop with a design like this with a double decker layer to it like this with this cool hinge. It’s just a lot of cool stuff going on. So that’s been it. Thanks for watching and definitely get subscribed here if you haven’t already to be among the first to see what is coming up. You’re not gonna want to miss it. guys in the next one face Hey, what’s up MKBHD here and this laptop? Hey, what’s up MKBHD here and this laptop? Oh, it didn’t and this laptop it haha. And this laptop is trying to be and this laptop and this laptop hooked up MKBHD here and this laptop