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Surface Laptop Studio review roundup: What experts are saying about Microsoft's Surface Book successor

Surface Laptop Studio Hero
Surface Laptop Studio Hero (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft's Surface Laptop Studio introduces a new form factor, the non-detachable 2-in-1. Like many Surface devices, it's earned positive marks for its design and the engineering required to make it, but several reviews bring up its lack of power compared to the best Windows laptops. Here's how industry experts feel about Microsoft's new Surface Laptop Studio.

In his Surface Laptop Studio review, our executive editor Daniel Rubino gave the unique device 4 out of 5 stars. Despite the high price of the Surface Laptop Studio, Rubino came away impressed by its flexibility:

Surface Laptop Studio delivers a powerful, flexible, workstation-style PC perfect for artists, engineers, and some light gaming. No other laptop currently does everything it can do at this level. But, like all Surfaces, you pay for that experience.

Surface Laptop Studio Stage Mode

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The folks over at Engadget were pleased with the design of the Surface Laptop Studio, but wish it was more powerful:

Ignoring how it competes on a hardware level, the Laptop Studio is a solid performer for everyday computing tasks. It's also fast enough to reach between 90 and 100fps in Overwatch at the Studio's native resolution and ultra graphics settings ... For most people, it'll be very capable for media work with some light gaming on the side. Still, I can't help but sigh at some of the benchmarks: how is it only slightly faster than the Surface Pro 8 — a tablet — in Geekbench 5?

Our sister site TechRadar also brought up the lack of power in its Surface Laptop Studio review. The laptop earned a 3.5 out of 5 for its good display, design, trackpad, and webcam, but it lost points for its price and use of an Intel H35 processor:

The Surface Laptop Studio follows in the footsteps of the Surface Book lineup, and brings about one of the most compelling laptops in Microsoft's history. Microsoft could have gone for more powerful hardware, but in the end, it probably won't matter too much, as the unique form factor is probably the biggest selling point here.

In what appears to be a trend across several reviews, Tom's Hardware also lauded the design of the Surface Laptop Studio but criticized its lack of power:

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio has a flexible design for both traditional and touch-based computing, with a great keyboard and trackpad and a bright 120 Hz display. But if raw CPU power is key, look to competitors that offer 8-core CPUs.

Overall, the reviews for the Surface Laptop Studio echo similar sentiments. It isn't as powerful as some of its competitors, but it stands out for its unique design. Microsoft may not view that fact as a bad thing. In his Windows Central writeup, Rubino points out that the Surface Laptop Studio is designed for a specific niche:

That's the takeaway message for performance: Surface Laptop Studio is a powerful Windows laptop for work, but only a mediocre one for gaming. That experience fits with Microsoft's intended use of Surface Laptop Studio.

You can also read reviews of the other latest Surface devices here on Windows Central, such as the Surface Pro 8.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

14 Comments
  • They need AMD Ryzen options and at least a SKU with an RTX 3070 or 3060 Ti option. 3050 sucks.
  • 3050 is fine for the target audience. I have a 3070 now and the fan is so loud it sounds like I'm on a runway. The Surface line has never catered to top tier specs.
  • And that is exactly why I'm abandoning the surfacebook like for an Acer ConceptD 3 Easel. I currently own a Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 7, Surface Book and a Surface Book II. Microsoft is consistently selling us design over power. Until they can deliver the power with their design, I'm looking elsewhere!
  • That's fine with them. Their goal has never been to really compete with their partners. They still get the Windows license fee.
  • MS happy to let their partners like Acer, Dell, and HP to grow the concepts. Some customers prefer to top end specs while other customers prefer a streamlined user experience. It's great to have the choice.
  • Unbelievable how utterly stupid tech journalists can be. The device is extremely powerful PLUS HAS 11 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE. Wish it had 8 cores? Didn't beat the SP8 enough in one benchmark? These people are idiots. And they have zero concept of the target audience here. They should read Daniel Rubino first, then do their reviews. These people are not "experts." They're clueless. There is basically no point in reading or watching the vast majority of Windows device reviews out there.
  • They do the same with phones. They're so used to being given the latest, greatest device to review, if something is not the greatest ever, it sucks. They have no idea how the real world works, and how everything is not meant to be a race to the top of the spec wars.
  • They absolutely do not care about how people actually use their tech. They only care about specs and their favorite brands. They have to come up with something important-sounding to say because they have absolutely no clue how to actually usefully review a device, even a non-productivity one.
  • I would say the idiots are the people who just associate a powerful CPU and GPU with gaming.
  • There are these things called Gaming Laptops for PC gaming, people that want to game on a laptop might want to look into that.
  • Why do they always go for only Intel version? If they made an surface book with AMD cpu, they wouldn't have to kill surface book instead they could have packed a 6 core CPU. Even Microsoft could have offered both IPad pro and Macbook at the same time with AMD powered Surface book . Thank God they are working with AMD for windows on ARM, not with Intel. Even surface pro 8 could have a 6 core AMD CPU. But they just wasted the potentiality of a such good devices. I will be buying both surface laptop studio 2 and surface pro 9 only if they come with either ARM CPU or AMD. Really very sad to see wasting beautiful design with underpowered CPUs.
  • No Thunderbolt 4 then. Buying a $2,600 creator laptop with no TB is a kick in the ass in 2022.
  • Thanks for your reply. What I am saying is that they should offer latest AMD CPU along with intel. Consumers will decide whether they want intel version with thunderbolt or AMD version without thunderbolt. I bet most of the users would love to go for AMD version because of their faster performance.
  • Most users never heard of AMD and could careless about CPU or GPU power. This is why individuals, schools, governments, and businesses keep their computing devices for 5 to 7 years. What people want is good hardware innovations...