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Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 Hands-On Review: Is It A MacBook Pro Killer?


The s were true. As we expected, Microsoft unveiled the , at the Surface event on Thursday. For the uninitiated, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is the Windows laptop you get if you want that extra kick in graphics and processing power.

The new-generation Surface Laptop Studio 2 comes with up to an Intel Core i7-13800H CPU. You can also choose between an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 or 4060 GPU. There’s an option with Nvidia RTX 2000 graphics available, too.

But what’s interesting is that Microsoft made a bold claim that would make Apple shake in its boots. The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is allegedly powerful enough to take down one of the burliest laptops on the market: the MacBook Pro. No, Microsoft isn’t talking about the MacBook Pro with lower-powered M2 chip.

No, it’s referring to the MacBook Pro with the , the most herculean chip you can find in a MacBook. At the event, Microsoft demonstrated that the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is capable of outpacing the M2 Max MacBook Pro in a Blender task, leaving the Apple laptop in the dust. After hearing that, I couldn’t wait to explore the Surface Laptop Studio 2 for myself when I saw it sitting in all its splendor in the showroom floor.

Let’s breakdown what’s new with the Surface Laptop Studio 2. As mentioned, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is updated with new internals, including a new Intel Core i7 H-series chip as well as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 and 4060 GPUs. As a cherry on top, the Microsoft stuffed a new NPU processor inside the new-generation Studio.

This is the first Intel NPU inside a Windows laptop. What does the addition of an NPU mean? The Studio 2 can tackle AI tasks like a pro. I saw this in action with the 1080p webcam, which taps into the NPU for its operations.

For example, when I fired up the camera app, I was impressed to see the camera “sense” my presence. It followed me, whether I shifted to the left or hopped to the right. It’s like autofocus on steroids.

(It reminds me of the Center Stage feature in the iPad Pro. ) You can also turn on background blur right in the app, demonstrating that it “knows” which part of the picture is the foreground. However, I wish that the webcam was more crisp and detailed.

The smudgy video compression had me looking like a watercolor painting on the viewfinder. Laptops are notorious for having poor webcams, so this isn’t just an affront against the Studio 2. I can’t wait ‘til we leave the 1080p shooters behind and move on to 5MP or better.

I also tested the keyboard on the Surface Laptop Studio 2, and while I found the keys to be quite clicky with satisfying tactile feedback, I’d rate it only a decent 7 out of 10. I just wish it was a tad springier; it’s a bit on the mushy side. However, keep in mind that I’m a keyboard snob who has reviewed countless laptops.

The average Joe will find the Surface Laptop Studio 2’s keyboard to be just fine. And can we talk about the screen? One of my pet peeves is a dim display, and thankfully, I didn’t find that on the Surface Laptop Studio 2’s 14. 4-inch, 120Hz, 2,400 x 1,600-pixel display.

Microsoft claims it has a peak brightness of 600 nits, and I believe it. With this laptop, you can sit next to a bright window or a sunny outdoor park — and you won’t find yourself squinting for dear life. Another new feature worth pointing out is the touchpad.

Microsoft claims that the Studio 2 has the most inclusive touchpad on the laptop market, allowing users with disabilities (e. g. , users who can only use one hand) to customize the touchpad in a way that supports and assists them.

The Redmond-based tech giant invited Solomon Romney, Microsoft’s accessibility program manager, to demo the feature, showing that he is able to fine-tune the touchpad to fit his unique needs. There isn’t much that I dislike about the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 so far. However, I would say that there are some users who may be disappointed in the Surface Laptop Studio 2 if they’re seeking a more lightweight, ultra-portable form factor.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 isn’t heavy , but it certainly isn’t a featherweight machine (it weighs up to 4. 37 pounds) – so you’ll definitely feel a slight tug on your shoulders if you slipped it inside your travel bag. As such, you’d be better off snagging the Surface Laptop Go 3, which is far lighter and more portable for travel.

I also wish that Microsoft shipped its Surface Slim Pen 2 with the Studio 2. You can purchase it separately and attach it magnetically to the bottom edge of the chassis, but with a starting price of $2,000, it’d be nice if it accompanied the laptop. Finally, one of the most striking features of the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is its ability to transform into three modes: a traditional clamshell posture, tablet mode, and a digital easel position.

Tablet mode feels a little bit bulky, so I’m not convinced that artists would find it comfortable to draw and scribble on. The digital easel posture is cool to look at, but would probably only serve a small subset of users, namely creatives. Overall, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a sleek, aluminum chassis with a swanky Microsoft logo stamped on the back.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 comes with up to 2TB of storage and 64GB of RAM. It features a USB-A port, two USB-C ports, a headset jack, a Surface Connect port, and a microSD card reader. It starts at $1,999 and will hit store shelves on Oct.

3. Here’s how . .

From: in_mashable

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