Surface Event 2021: Surface Laptop Studio is Microsoft’s new ultimate laptop for creative pros

Laurent Giret

Microsoft is extending the Surface Laptop family today with the Surface Laptop Studio, a new convertible laptop with powerful specs that looks quite different from the previous Surface Book 2-in-1 PCs many of you know. While many expected Microsoft to announce a Surface Book 4 today, the Surface Laptop Studio takes some inspiration from the Surface Studio family of all-in-one PCs that has been a bit neglected in recent years.

Microsoft’s Surface Studio 1 and 2 really impressed back in the day with their thin touchscreens and zero gravity hinges, which allow users to tilt the display with just one hand until the panel reaches a nearly flat position. The Surface Laptop Studio introduces a new Dynamic Woven Hinge that also lets users tilt the display until it lays flat above the keyboard, providing creative professionals a large 14.4” canvas to draw, write, and sketch.

According to Microsoft, this new Dynamic Woven Hinge will let Surface Laptop Studio owners seamlessly transition between three modes: a classic “Laptop Mode,” a “Stage mode” where the display is pulled forward to cover the keyboard, and a “Studio mode” where the screen sits above the base to provide a portable digital canvas. The Surface Book family provided a similar portable studio experience, though users had to detach the screen and then reconnect it to the base so the back of the screen was facing the keys, and that process wasn’t very elegant or convenient.

The Surface Laptop Studio also comes with a storage and charging emplacement for the new Surface Slim Pen 2 under the keyboard. This new Slim Pen 2 brings a sharper pen tip and improved design, and it supports haptic feedback functionality on the Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro 8 running Windows 11.

The fact that the Surface Laptop Studio doesn’t use a detachable design like the Surface Book 3 probably helped Microsoft to make it the most powerful Surface device on the market. The base model uses a quad-core Intel 11th Gen Core i5 CPU coupled with Iris Xe Graphics, but consumers can also opt for a more powerful 11th Gen Core i7 chip with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU with 4GB of RAM. Microsoft will also offer a commercial model with a different Nvidia RTX A2000 laptop GPU with the same amount of memory.

The base Surface Studio model with a Core i5 CPU, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage will start at $1,599. The more expensive options include up to 32GB of RAM, up to 2TB of removable SSD storage, and the 14.4 PixelSense Flow touch display also offers optional 120Hz support, just like on the new Surface Pro 8. It’s worth noting that the Surface Laptop Studio’s screen also supports Dolby Vision, Dolby’s premium HDR format that is starting to become popular in the entertainment industry.

All Surface Laptop Studio models also offer 2 USB 4.0 ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a Surface Connect port for charging, as well as a headphone jack. There’s also a 1080p front-facing camera that supports Windows Hello, dual far-field studio mics, and quad omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos support. Microsoft also included the latest wireless technologies with Bluetooth 5.1 and WiFi 6, and the company promises up to 19 hours of battery life on models with Intel Core i5 processors.

Microsoft said today that the Surface Laptop Studio has been “designed in concert with Windows 11,” and that the new Surface device represents the “culmination of years of Surface innovation.” Overall, it’s nice to see Microsoft move away from the detachable design of the Surface Book 3, though it’s hard not to notice some similarities between the Surface Laptop Studio and some popular Apple devices: In Laptop mode, the Surface Laptop Studio could almost be mistaken for a MacBook Pro, and the two other modes also have some similarities with Apple offers with its latest iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

The Surface Laptop Studio is available for pre-order today in the US Microsoft Store, and it will start shipping on October 5. Again, the base model with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage is priced at $1,599, just like the new Surface Duo 2. However, the most expensive model with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of SSD storage is priced at $3,099 on the US Microsoft Store.

Along with the new Surface Duo 2 and the Surface Pro 8, this is definitely one of the most exciting new Surface products Microsoft announced today, and make sure to check our dedicated hub to catch up with all of Microsoft’s Surface announcements today.