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There’s a new Surface in town

At Microsoft’s virtual Surface event yesterday, it unveiled the Surface Laptop Studio, a new flagship notebook aimed at creatives. BRYAN TURNER reports from the event.

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Gone are the days of the removable laptop display. At the virtual Microsoft Surface event yesterday, it unveiled a wide range of new Surface devices, including the new flagship Surface Laptop Studio. Its design features a display that pulls forward from the bottom, instead of one that detaches or flips backwards. 

Apart from the new hinge design, the 14.4” PixelSense Flow display (2400 x 1600 resolution) now supports up to 120Hz and Dolby Vision. This is one of the major differentiators from other manufacturers that make stylus-compatible displays, because smoother motion from pen inputs result in a more natural design experience. 

The Surface Laptop Studio supports three modes: laptop, studio, and stage. None of these requires the keyboard deck to face downwards. The laptop mode, as the name implies, makes the device look like a laptop, with a full keyboard and touchpad with haptic feedback. The stage mode is where things get interesting: there is a hinge on the back of the display that allows the user to get an angle in on the display for gaming, drawing with the Surface Pen, or watching TV shows. This mode covers the keyboard but leaves the trackpad exposed.  

The studio mode is a flat, tablet-like mode where the display sits nearly flat on the keyboard deck, and is swivelled almost 180 degrees on the hinge. This mode is for users who want a flat surface to write, sketch, or do other creative activities. 

At 1.8cm thick and 1.8kg in weight, we can see why Microsoft didn’t call it tablet mode. In this case, however, the weight of the laptop’s base (where nearly all the components are housed) provides a hidden advantage: sturdiness while working with the device. Heavy issue aside, the tech is impressive and has proven successful in the past, for example with Acer’s creative-focused Ezel laptop range.  

The inside hosts an 11th gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, with Intel Iris Xe graphics on the former and Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti graphics on the latter. The RAM options are 16GB and 32GB, and it comes with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of removable SSD storage. 

The i7 variant of the Laptop Studio gears it up for the latest range of PC games available on Xbox Game Pass, while the i5 variant will likely play lighter games or stream heavier games from XCloud. 

It features two USB-C ports (at USB4 / Thunderbolt 4 standard), a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the proprietary Surface Connect magnetic charging port.  

The Surface Laptop Studio will be available to purchase in the US from 5 October starting at $1 600. South African pricing and availability have not yet been announced.  

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