Surface Laptop Studio debuts slick new touchscreen hinge and Thunderbolt 4

Chris Davies - Sep 22, 2021, 11:00am CDT
Surface Laptop Studio debuts slick new touchscreen hinge and Thunderbolt 4

The rumor mill was right: Microsoft had something big planned for its latest notebook, and the Surface Laptop Studio is arguably the biggest departure for the company’s Windows PCs that we’ve seen so far. A 14.4-inch touchscreen notebook, the newest addition to the Surface line has a clever dual hinge that allows the display to pull forward, either to fold flat over the keyboard or to hover in front of it.

As you’d hope, it’s no ordinary display, either. Microsoft is calling it PixelSense Flow, and the 2400 x 1600 resolution 3:2 touchscreen supports Dolby Vision and up to a 120Hz refresh rate.

For regular use, you’ll be able to treat the Surface Laptop Studio as a standard notebook. For art and entertainment, however, the touchscreen can be pulled forward, covering up the keyboard in the process. Or, you can push it down completely flat, turning the notebook into a (fairly thick, at 0.7-inches) tablet.

Microsoft calls it the Dynamic Woven Hinge, and underneath it is a dock for the new Surface Slim Pen 2. There, the redesigned stylus charges up for when it’s needed; it has a sharper tip for more precise sketching, writing, or annotation, as well as supporting zero pressure force and low-latency. There’s also a haptic motor inside, which Microsoft says will give subtle feedback as you interact with Windows 11 and Microsoft 365 apps.

Powering it all is either a quad-core Intel 11th Gen Core H35 i5-11300H CPU, or a Core H35 i7-11370H. On the Core i5, it’s paired with Intel Iris Xe Graphics; the Core i7 gets a choice of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU with 4GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory or, in the commercial SKU, an NVIDIA RTX A2000 GPU with 4GB of its own memory.

Otherwise, there’s either 16GB of 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and a choice of 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB SSDs – the latter being removable for later upgrades. A 1080p webcam with Windows Hello support is above the display, and there are dual far-field Studio Mics along with Quad Omnisonic Dolby Atmos speakers.

For connectivity, there’s a welcome change from previous Surface models, with Microsoft finally adding Thunderbolt 4 support. There are two USB 4.0 ports with compatibility, together with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect port. On the wireless side, you get WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1

As for power, the Core i5 model should last for up to 19 hours of typical use, Microsoft says, while the Core i7 should last for up to 18 hours. The former comes with a 65W Surface Power Supply that still packs a useful 5W USB-A accessory charging port. The latter gets a 102W supply, with a 7W USB-A port.

The Surface Laptop Studio is available for preorder from today, priced from $1,599.99. As for the Surface Slim Pen 2, that’s priced at $129.99 separately.


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