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Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio Review: Design

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Surface Laptop! Which is better for you?
  • Hinged sliding display feels sturdy and works well, once you get the hang of it
  • MacBook Pro-like design and a good one

The Surface Laptop Studio is a relatively compact but weighty laptop, measuring 12.7 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches and weighing 3.8 to 4 pounds . Its magnesium and aluminum casing comes in one color, Platinum, and theres a small lower lip running around the base of the whole laptop, making it appear to sort of float slightly above the table.

If you buy a Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus, it can magnetically attach to the front side of this lip, allowing you to stash the stylus away when not in use. This is how you charge the stylus on the Surface Laptop Studio, and it only charges if you attach it under the front edge of the laptop attach the Slim Pen to the keyboard deck and it doesnt seem to charge.

Lift the Surface Laptop Studio’s lid and youre greeted with the most MacBook Pro-like Windows laptop Ive seen all year. Theres no speaker grille flanking the keyboard, but otherwise youre looking at a very similar matte silver chassis with thick black bezels around the screen, soft gray plastic keys in the keyboard, and a haptic touchpad laid out below them.

MacBooks have had haptic touchpads for years, but theyre still pretty rare in Windows laptops. Theyre potentially better than physical touchpads because there are no moving parts: instead, the Surface Laptop Studios touchpad uses software and haptic motors to make it feel like youre clicking on something.

Display: The Surface Pro 8 Has A 120hz Refresh Rate

One of the biggest changes the Surface Pro 8 brought to the table and one of its biggest advantages is the 120Hz refresh rate for the display. Alongside the Surface Laptop Studio, its one of the first Surface devices to include this feature, since most Surface PCs still have a 60Hz display. A higher refresh rate means animations, transitions, scrolling, and inking will all feel smoother than ever. Of course, that comes at the cost of battery life if the refresh rate is always turned up to 120Hz. Additionally, the Surface Pro 8 also supports Dolby Vision.

The Surface Pro 8 has a higher-resolution 13-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision support.

Aside from that, the Surface Pro 8 also has a much sharper display, coming in at a 2880 x 1920 resolution for its 13 inch panel. Despite having a larger display, the Surface Laptop 4 has lower-resolution screens 2256 x 1504 for the 13.5 inch model, and 2496 x 1664 for the 15 inch version. Thats not to say its not sharp enough of course, this is still a very high-resolution panel. But the Surface Pro 8 can look even better if you have keen eyes.

Surface Pro 8

Finally, both devices have dual far-field microphones, so no matter which one you get, youll be heard loud and clear during calls.

Smaller Lighter Version Of The Surface Pro With Lte Options

Physically, the Surface Go is tiny, like somebody shrunk a Surface Pro. It has the same kickstand as its older sibling, albeit slightly smaller. It has a similar Type Cover, which is also shrunken to fit the 10.5-inch, Full HD display. And it definitely has a smaller price tag than the Surface Pro.

This is no cheap knockoff, though. The Surface Go 3 has a full complement of premium features, including an infrared camera that supports Windows Hello facial recognition, a backlit keyboard on the Type Cover, and LTE options that reinforce the Go part of the name.

The Surface Go 3 is right for you if …

  • You value portability and mobility above all else. At 791 g with Type Cover, you’ll hardly notice the weight in your bag.
  • You’re looking for a PC for the kids. This downsized package is just right for kid-sized hands, and the Surface connector means you can attach a dock with a full-size keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
  • Top performance is not required. The 10th Generation processors in the Surface Go 3 should be significantly faster than their predecessors they should be more than adequate for doing homework and checking in with the home office on a business trip.

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Surface Pro Is Available With Lte And Esim

Those constantly on the go will no doubt want to consider a Surface Pro with LTE connectivity. It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem and has a Nano SIM slot as well as embedded SIM technology that allows you to buy data and use it basically no matter where you are.

The rest of the hardware includes a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and a 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300U CPU, a well-rounded collection for everyday tasks. Expect to pay about $1,450 for this model.

Surface Laptop : $799

You Can Now Buy the New Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop Go

This brings the base cost of these Surface devices in line with what you would expect from some high-end smartphones. As the least expensive item at base price, the Surface Pro wins in this category . It should be noted that any additional features, services, and accessories/upgrades will affect the final cost of a Surface device.

However, cost isnt always the best criteria to use for choosing a productivity tool. There are many other factors to consider that may prove to be far more important when choosing a productivity tool for your business.

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Surface Pro Vs Surface Laptop Which Is Better

During the last month, I’ve been extensively using Microsoft’s new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop, even jumping between different models to compare and contrast the experiences. I’m often asked which one I prefer. It’s an excellent question as there is significant overlap between the two PCs but also quite a few differences.

I’ll explain here which Surface I grab the most often and why. I’ll also talk about the pros and cons of each.

Should You Get A Microsoft Surface Pro Or Microsoft Surface Laptop

So, which Microsoft Surface device is right for you? Once again, the answer depends on what youre looking for in your productivity tool .

If portability and connectivity on the go are your paramount concerns, then the Surface Pro X is probably your best option. The built-in cameras and LTE connectivity of this device, combined with its light weight and form factor, make it the king of mobile work environments.

Meanwhile, if you need more processor power and a bigger screen for working with Photoshop or other design software, but still want to be able to pack up your computer and take it with you wherever you go, the Surface Laptop 3 may provide the biggest bang for your buck.

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Apple Ipad Pro: Flaws But Not Dealbreakers

A Mac or a Windows PC can do many common computery things that an iPad still cant. Generally you can run only two apps on the iPads screen at the same time . Even with a USB-C port, the iPad has limited support for monitors and other external accessories the latest version of iPadOS can handle many kinds of external drives, but you can generally only mirror the iPads display on an external monitor, which is a big downside for heavy multitaskers. Apple doesnt allow coding apps like Xcode or Visual Studio in the App Store, and even third-party web browsers on the iPad need to use the same rendering engine Apple uses for Safari, so the iPad is a bad choice for coding apps or testing Web pages.

We dont like that theres no standard 3.5 mm headphone jack on the iPad Pro, something still included on most Windows tablets and Apples own MacBook lineup. Either youll need to get a dongle to use existing headphones or youll need to switch to Bluetooth headphones.

Weve already mentioned the iPads less-than-optimal first-party keyboard options, but the point is worth reiterating. The Smart Keyboard Folio and its stiff, shallow keys are fine, not greatthe keys arent backlit, and the case doesnt include a trackpad. The Magic Keyboard is excellent, but it adds hundreds of dollars to the price of the tablet. The Surface Pros Type Cover is a much more straightforward recommendation, and the ThinkPad X12s excellent keyboard cover is included with that tablet.

Surface Pro Review Roundup: The Good The Bad And The Ugly

The best used laptop in 2021? [Surface Pro 3]

ByCortney Moore19 June 2017

Microsoft’s new Surface Pro provides portability and power. Starting at $799, this new Windows 2-in-1 boasts a stunning PixelSense touch screen display and improved Type Cover keyboard and great performance from its 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor. But it’s certainly not perfect.

While the Surface Pro has received largely positive reviews, critics have spotted a few flaws, too. Here’s a summary of our Surface Pro review, plus other critiques from around the web.

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Now About That Keyboard

As a tablet, the Surface Pro line is perhaps best known for its built-in kickstand, but the keyboard is right up there with its core features. This has always been a noteworthy point of dissonance because, while the device is often shown with the detachable keyboard, it has always been sold separately from the tablet itself. That hasn’t changed. Microsoft suggests that the Surface Pro can be used on its own as a good Windows tablet while keeping the base cost down, and it can be. But the company also positions it as a laptop replacement for getting real work done. That makes the keyboard, more or less, essential.

We wont belabor the specifics of the keyboard base’s functionality too much, as it has remained roughly the same through the Surface Pros existence, but there are a few new aspects to discuss. First and foremost, a new detachable keyboard launches with the Pro 8, named the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard.

This is not the same Type Cover used with previous iterations. In fact, those keyboards are not compatible with the Pro 8 at all. Only the Signature Keyboard and the Pro Xs keyboard are cited as compatible keyboards for the Surface Pro 8 on its product page. The Signature Keyboard is a new design, with a built-in slot or trench forward of the keys, which houses and charges the Slim Pen 2…

As a result, on the interface side, you’ll see a whole different connection between tablet and keyboard…

But What About The Ipad

Of course, the other great contender for Microsofts hybrid crown is Apples iPad line-up, especially now even the entry-level model comes with keyboard and Apple Pencil stylus support and Apple recently created iPadOS to specifically bridge the gap between tablet and laptop. Realistically, Microsoft still holds the trump card in this arena and its called Windows 10. Thats to say you get the full incarnation of this desktop software with the Surface Pro, so you can use the exact same applications as your colleagues without compromise.

There’s also a pair of useful USB-C and USB-A ports, as well as the significantly more questionable Surface Connect port for charging, which really should be a multitasking USB-C slot at this point in time. Also, the Surface Type Cover sold separately, annoyingly is as good a keyboard as you could possibly hope for with chunky keys that travel and a bona fide trackpad.

With the standard iPad a Smart Keyboard is best thought of as a handy accessory. As for the iPad Pro itself? Its an exceptional accompaniment to your iMac or MacBook, but not something wed recommend as a one-stop productivity shop. The Surface Pro 7 just about meets that benchmark, even though it does so imperfectly, especially for anyone who wants to do any heavy-duty photo or video editing.

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Which Surface Device Has The Best Battery Life

In the real world, measuring battery usage is an individual exercise, dependent on your work patterns as well as intangibles like the quality of your network connection. If we were placing bets on which models would win a Last Laptop Standing competition, we would push most of our chips onto the new Surface Laptop Studio, which has a massive 58 WH battery commensurate with its hefty dimensions. Microsoft claims that the Core i5 model can get up to 19 hours of “typical device usage,” with the Core i7 model rated for only an hour less.

But we would also take a long look at the Surface Pro 8, which weighs about half of the Surface Laptop Studio and Microsoft has a smaller battery but still has a 51.5 WH battery. Microsoft claims it’s capable of squeezing out 16 hours of “typical device usage.” And, of course, the Surface Pro X, with its Arm processor, was made for long running times. Microsoft claims it can go for 15 hours, but in the real world it might prove hardiest.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio Review: Price And Availability

Microsoft
  • Expect to pay between $1,600 – $3,000+
  • $129 Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus pairs nicely

The Surface Laptop Studio is available for purchase from Microsofts website right now at a starting price of $1,599. For that, you get this hinged ultraportable configured with an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB NVMe SSD. The Surface Laptop Studio’s SSD is removable, so you should be able to upgrade it pretty easily down the road. For another $200 upfront, you can get the same model with a 512GB SSD.

Pay $2,099 and you can get a Laptop Studio with a more powerful 11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card. This version of the Studio has enough muscle to double as a decent gaming laptop, in a pinch. If youre willing to pay gaming laptop prices you can get an even beefier model: $2,699 gets you the i7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU alongside 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, while $3,099 gets you the same model with a 2TB SSD.

Microsoft also offers a number of optional accessories you can bundle in with your purchase, from Bluetooth headphones and mice to USB hubs. The one you should really consider investing in is the Surface Slim Pen 2, a $129 stylus that you charge by magnetically attaching it to the Surface Laptop Studio.

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So About That Keyboard

As for using the Surface Pro as both a laptop and a tablet, the same pros and cons remain given the unchanged design. I won’t assume everyone is as familiar as I am with the Surface line, though, so here’s a rundown.

The built-in rear kickstand, which has been the subject of mimicry since its debut, is executed just like on the previous model. A fully adjustable hinge allows you to recline the screen through 165 degrees of range, including nearly flat, which can be helpful when using the stylus for sketching or note-taking. The original Surface models featured a hinge with a limited number of set adjustment points, so this “free range” system is still very much preferable.

The kickstand is just half the battle in turning the Pro 7 into a laptop. It’s the Surface Type Coverthe detachable keyboard also subject to many copycats over the yearsthat makes the magic happen. As it always has, the keyboard easily attaches to the bottom of the Surface Pro magnetically, making transformation a breeze.

Also as it always has been, the Type Cover is sold separately. It hardly seems worth it to continue beating this drum, as Microsoft clearly doesn’t plan to include the keyboard with the tablet, but I wish it would. The Surface Pro is already on the pricey side, but adding another expensive peripheral to get to full functionality is a bitter price pill. Microsoft sent us the fancier Signature Type Cover for $159.99, but the standard model is $129.99.

The Design Of The Surface Pro X With None Of The App

by Andrew Cunningham – Oct 5, 2021 1:00 pm UTC

  • The Surface’s signature kickstand is the same as ever.

  • Andrew Cunningham

    Surface Pro 8 in profile.

  • Andrew Cunningham

    The Surface Pro 8 has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, in addition to the Surface Connect port.

  • Andrew Cunningham

    The Surface’s touchpad is smaller than some 13-inch laptop trackpads . But it’s still accurate and pleasant to use.

  • Andrew Cunningham

    The new Type Cover has a charging and storage compartment for the Slim Pen 2.

  • Microsoft needed three tries to get the Surface Pro right. The 2nd- and 3rd-generation models both improved aggressively on the first model’s small screen and mediocre battery life, arriving at something that was laptop-y enough to fill in for a laptop but tablet-y enough to be unique.

    And then, things just sort of… stood still. Some of the ports changed over the yearslate 2019’s Surface Pro 7 finally got USB-Cbut the basic design and accessory compatibility have been exactly the same in every mainline Surface Pro between 2014 and now.

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    Smaller Laptop Smaller Price Tag

    In the Surface brand, Go apparently means “smaller, lighter, and less expensive,” which is how this laptop compares to its larger sibling. It has the same build quality as the bigger members of the family, and body options include Platinum, Sandstone, and Ice Blue. All models include a 10th Generation Core i5 CPU and a 12.4-inch display with a native resolution of 1536 x 1024. Higher-priced models include a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button.

    It uses the same Surface Connect port as other Surface models and also includes a USB Type-C port. You can use either option to connect the laptop to a desktop docking station.

    The Surface Laptop Go is right for you if …

    • You prefer the traditional laptop form factor but the Surface Laptop is too big, too expensive, or both.
    • You’re willing to give up many of the premium features associated with other Surface models, including Windows Hello facial recognition and a backlit keyboard.

    Pricing: As with the Surface Go devices, the $500 base configuration is a little underpowered, with only 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of eMMC storage, and no fingerprint reader. The 8GB configurations, with 128GB or 256GB of SSD storage, are a better long-term value at $700 and $900, respectively.

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