On Tuesday, the tech giant launched its latest laptop to coincide with the arrival of Windows 11, the next operating system for PCs.
It looks like a MacBook. It feels like a MacBook. But Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Studio is more than just a modest laptop.
To drum up buzz for Windows 11, Microsoft has deployed a new wave of its Surface devices, including two-in-one gadgets that can serve as both tablet and laptop.
I’ve used the Surface Laptop Studio for several days now, and this new Microsoft laptop is ideal for consumers who want a computer with versatility.
The star of Microsoft’s line is the Surface Laptop Studio, a fully functioning laptop that can transform into a media hub for playing video games or watching Netflix, as well as a hefty tablet users can pair with a digital pen to get even more creative.
At Surface Laptop Studio’s core is the 14.4-inch touchscreen with a dynamic woven hinge allowing users to operate it in three modes. In laptop mode, it’s a laptop, obviously. However, it feels like a legit laptop. This isn’t a tablet with a super thin – and in some cases too cozy – keyboard. In fact, I typed this all on the Surface Laptop Studio, and it feels just as good as any MacBook.
But that’s just the beginning. When you grab the top left corner of the screen and bend, the bottom of the screen will shift forward past the keyboard and magnetically attach to a spot between the bottom row of keys and the trackpad. In this media style mode, which transforms the laptop into something akin to Amazon’s Echo Show or a Facebook Portal, users can watch videos or play games while using the touchscreen.
Paired with Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s monthly streaming video game service, you can pair an Xbox controller and play streaming consoles fairly easy.
Users can also bend the hinge all the way back so the screen lies flush with the keyboard, transforming it to a big tablet. I tested out the tablet mode using Microsoft Whiteboard and the company’s new Surface Slim 2 Pen, which magnetically attaches to the bottom of the laptop. Writing with the pen and touchscreen feels smooth and simple. Getting the screen back to laptop was a little tricky for me at first, but became easier the more times I flipped between modes.
About Windows 11 Exploring Surface Laptop Studio also opened the door to trying out Windows 11, which offers a cleaner interface compared to previous Windows entries.
Similar to Macs, Windows 11 has a taskbar along the bottom of the screen where users can park their favorite apps. The beloved Start Menu lives there, too, to gain quick access to apps and other functions. The main attraction with Windows 11 is Snap Assist, where users can snap their apps in different layouts to maximize productivity. When you go to an app and hover over the resize window at the top right, you’ll see options for different layouts. You can go side-to-side, or fit as many as four apps on screen at once. It works with multiple Microsoft Edge browser windows, too.
Even with four apps snapped simultaneously, the screen didn’t feel cluttered. In most cases, apps snapped neatly into place and still fit within the smaller space to allow you to stay productive. Windows 11 also improves widgets, making them more customizable both in content and where you want them positioned. Also coming soon, but not available at launch: the arrival of Android apps.
So is it better than MacBook? Set aside those minor adjustments you have to make when you go back and forth between a Mac and PC, and Surface Laptop Studio feels just as comfortable to use as any MacBook. On top of that, you have the versatility to flip from a laptop to a display mode to a tablet.