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Sunday, January 14, 2024

Microsoft Floor Laptop computer Studio 2 assessment: nonetheless distinctive however ought to be higher | Microsoft

Microsoft’s newest top-end laptop computer sticks with its novel screen-flipping type, with upgrades on the within aimed toward maintaining with the powerhouse competitors – however these enhancements include a really steep value enhance.

The Floor Laptop computer Studio 2 begins at £2,069 (€2,239/$1999.99/A$3,343) – a £620 enhance over the outgoing mannequin. That takes it distant from the conventional premium client vary on which Microsoft has constructed its Floor fame, and locations it firmly within the artistic workstation class of machine usually utilized by programmers and video and picture editors.

It could have “laptop computer” within the identify, however the Laptop computer Studio 2 is a little bit of a beast, weighing virtually 2kg in its high spec – heavier, barely thicker and product of aluminium reasonably than the magnesium of its predecessor.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2’s screen brought forward, so that it is in front of the trackpad
The twin-hinged display screen is the Laptop computer Studio 2’s get together piece, enabling it to take a seat at totally different angles or modes for various makes use of. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The remainder of the machine is similar to the 2021-22 mannequin. The great-looking 14.4in LCD display screen is hinged within the center, permitting it to tug ahead to change between stage, drawing and laptop computer modes. With the wonderful Slim Pen 2 stylus (£120), this flexibility is the machine’s huge draw. A further USB-A port and microSD card slot within the facet are appreciated, however the lack of a full-sized SD card slot is a miss in a machine of this measurement.

The webcam with Home windows Hey face recognition, mics and audio system are nice, as are the keyboard and trackpad, even when the entrance lip of the machine is sort of excessive due to the bottom’s thickness.


  • Display: 14.4in LCD 2,400×1,600 (201 PPI; 120Hz)

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-13700H (Thirteenth era)

  • Ram: 16, 32 or 64GB

  • Storage: 512GB or 1TB

  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 6GB, RTX 4060 8GB or RTX 2000 8GB

  • Working system: Home windows 11

  • Digicam: 1080P front-facing, Home windows Hey

  • Connectivity: wifi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 2x Thunderbolt 4/USB 4, USB-A, microSD, headphones, Floor Join

  • Dimensions: 323 x 230 x 22mm

  • Weight: 1,890 or 1,980g

Thirteenth-gen Intel and Nvidia RTX 40 collection upgrades

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2’s screen folded flat on to its keyboard
The display screen can fold flat on to the keyboard for drawing or writing on it like a pill. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The largest modifications are on the within of the machine. Microsoft has ditched the selection of Intel processors and is now sticking solely with the Thirteenth-gen Core i7 H-series chip, as seen within the glorious Samsung Galaxy Ebook 3 Extremely.

It’s a highly effective laptop computer chip, however it’s to get replaced very quickly in Intel’s lineup. The corporate introduced a dramatic shift in design, and probably efficiency, with 14th-generationCore Extremely” processors in September. The timing is unlucky for Microsoft, significantly with a machine of this normal.

There are a alternative of graphics choices. The beginning machine ships with Intel’s low energy built-in graphics, with upgrades to Nvidia low-end GeForce RTX 4050 or 4060 costing extra, and topping out with an RTX 2000, which is designed for modelling and related actions reasonably than video video games or enhancing.

The mixture of Intel and Nvidia chips is fairly highly effective. When the laptop computer is switched to its high-performance mode, it is going to even deal with some high-end gaming with the appropriate graphics settings. However the Laptop computer Studio 2 comes up somewhat quick on uncooked energy in contrast with the competitors, together with the Galaxy Ebook 3 Extremely, Dell’s newest XPS 15, and Apple’s M3 Max MacBook Professional.

One space the place the Laptop computer Studio 2 is decidedly behind its predecessor and key rivals is battery life. The machine lasted solely round seven hours of sunshine workplace work – two hours wanting final yr’s mannequin, and about half what you’d get out of a top-spec 14in MacBook Professional. When pushed with picture and video enhancing, the determine drops, which suggests it will likely be superb for brief bursts of artistic work on the go, however you have to to convey the charger.

Home windows 11 with Copilot

Microsoft Copilot writing a message on Windows 11.
Copilot can generate textual content, photos and reply questions when on-line in a separate pane in Home windows 11. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Home windows 11 expertise on the Floor is second to none, operating easily and simply. The appear and feel of Home windows has been modernised in the previous few years, together with improved stylus and contact experiences that play to the Laptop computer Studio 2’s strengths.

The large new addition to Home windows this yr is Microsoft’s AI system, referred to as Copilot, which is a conversational generative AI assistant that pops up in a vertical bar on the appropriate of the display screen. You possibly can ask it questions, search the net and perform different common assistant actions. However it will possibly additionally generate textual content and pictures, which you’ll be able to then paste straight into an e mail, message or doc. You need to make sure you test the textual content/photos fastidiously earlier than sending, because it routinely made errors, equivalent to producing a PlayStation joypad in a picture of somebody enjoying an Xbox, or placing the fallacious information or figures in textual content.

It’s enjoyable to play with as a tech demo, however the entire processing is finished remotely on Microsoft’s servers. Responses take 10 seconds or so to course of, however then it’s important to look ahead to it to kind all of it out, which might take one other minute or so, relying on how lengthy the response is. It takes a equally very long time for picture era, and none of it really works with out an web connection.

Presently, Copilot can’t open apps in your pc or change settings equivalent to turning off Bluetooth with out having to click on a button. And since it usually pulls data from the net while you ask it a query, equivalent to “how one can flip off the 120Hz display screen to save lots of battery”, it is going to begin telling you how one can do it on an iPhone, not the Floor. Copilot actually has potential, however it is going to require a whole lot of work to be a vital, dependable software.


The lid of the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2.
The aluminium lid has a dividing line throughout it the place the second hinge permits its transformations between modes. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Microsoft doesn’t present an anticipated lifespan for the battery, nevertheless it ought to final in extra of 500 full-charge cycles with no less than 80% of its unique capability. Battery substitute prices £437.88, and display screen restore prices £583.86 out of guarantee.

The SSD storage is modular, however Microsoft states that it ought to solely be eliminated by technicians. The corporate operates recycling schemes for outdated machines and publishes a company-wide sustainability report, plus a breakdown of every product’s environmental influence.


The Microsoft Floor Laptop computer Studio 2 prices from £2,069 (€2,239/$1999.99/A$3,343), with fashions with Nvidia graphics coding from £2,469 (€2,719/$2,399.99/A$3,989) and costing £3,369 (€3,799/$3,299.99/A$5,156) as reviewed.

For comparability, the Floor Laptop computer 5 prices £999, the Dell XPS 15 with related specs prices about £1,500, the Razer Blade 15 prices £2,500, and the Apple M3 Max MacBook Professional prices £3,299.


The Floor Laptop computer Studio 2 is an effective machine caught in an odd place. It’s too costly for a client laptop computer, and nobody can buy the entry-level machine for £2,000.

It additionally struggles when matched up in opposition to rivals, significantly on uncooked energy and battery life – two areas that shall be crucial to the audience of builders, photographers, videographers and so-called creators.

It has some benefits, together with the fold-forward display screen, the perfect stylus assist, a superb set of audio system, an important keyboard and trackpad. However Microsoft’s lead on the fundamentals right here is being eroded by Home windows rivals or overwhelmed by Apple, so whether or not that’s sufficient to justify the fee, I’m undecided.

The Floor Laptop computer Studio 2 is a beautiful machine, however one which isn’t a agency advice apart from Microsoft followers or those that really want the folding display screen.

Professionals: good display screen with articulating modes, nice keyboard and trackpad, Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 and USB-A, microSD card slot, discrete Nvidia graphics card possibility, Home windows Hey.

Cons: very costly, chunky, heavy, common battery life, down on efficiency in contrast with rivals, Slim Pen 2 not included, Copilot wants work.

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