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Microsoft recently introduced a new member of the Surface Laptop family, the Surface Laptop Studio. Taking inspiration from the Surface Book and Surface Studio, this is Microsoft’s most powerful Surface PC yet. It’s not a replacement for the Surface Laptop 4 though, so how does the Surface Laptop Studio compare to Microsoft’s mainstream laptop?
As the name suggests, the Surface Laptop Studio is more geared towards creative professionals, and it has specs and a design to match that. Meanwhile, Surface Laptop 4 is more of a device designed for more common use cases, like school or office work. They are quite different devices, and each of them has advantages and disadvantages that make them more attractive to different types of users. Let’s take a closer look to find out which one you should choose yourself.
Performance: Surface Laptop Studio has H-series processors
The first big difference that you will notice in the table above is that the Surface Laptop Studio and the Surface Laptop 4 have very different processors. Surface Laptop Studio uses Intel H35 series processors, which is a new family of CPUs released this year. These processors have quad-core CPUs and Intel Iris Xe Graphics, similar to the 15W processors inside the Surface Laptop 4, but due to the higher power rating, they can sustain that performance longer.
In benchmarks like GeekBench, you will see that the models are not too far apart from each other, and the AMD processors in the Surface Laptop 4 produce even better results in multi-core tests. However, this is a short benchmark, and the Intel H35 series processors will maintain their performance much better than anything else inside the Surface Laptop 4.
What that means is that for everyday tasks like browsing the web and writing documents, the Surface Laptop 4 will do just fine. Its processors can be just as fast in short bursts and throttle when high performance isn’t so necessary. But for demanding tasks like video playback and editing, the Surface Laptop 4 will hold up much better. It’s also worth mentioning that AMD processors are known to have much lower performance when a laptop is unplugged from an outlet, so if you use it unplugged, you’ll notice a big difference.
An even bigger advantage of the Surface Laptop Studio is in its GPU, specifically in the high-end models. If you choose an Intel Core i7 processor, you also get an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and that gives you a huge performance advantage over the integrated graphics on the Surface Laptop 4. With this GPU, you can use the Surface in a feasible way. Studio for games, plus it also helps with tasks like video editing and more.
The rest of the specs aren’t too far between the two laptops. Both can be had with up to 32GB of RAM, although the Surface Laptop 4 has a basic configuration at 8GB, while the Surface Laptop Studio starts at 16GB. In terms of storage, the Surface Laptop Studio can be up to 2TB, which is double what the Surface Laptop 4 can offer.
Despite the more powerful hardware, the Surface Laptop Studio promises a battery life very similar to the Surface Laptop 4. Depending on the configuration, both laptops offer up to 19 hours of typical use on one charge. However, this takes into account the AMD processors in the Surface Laptop 4, and the battery life is only achieved thanks to a significant reduction in battery performance.
Screen: two sizes for Surface Laptop 4
Moving on to the screen, there are some similarities between the two laptops. First, they both have the typical 3: 2 aspect ratio of Surface devices, and they also have the same pixel density, at 201 PPI. That means all of these displays are equally sharp.
One of the big differences between these two models is that the Surface Laptop 4 comes in two different sizes: 13.5 inches and 15 inches. This allows you to choose how to balance portability and screen size. Surface Laptop Studio is somewhere in the middle with its 14.4-inch screen, but that’s the only option you have.
But the Surface Laptop Studio has a few tricks up its sleeve. First of all, the Surface Laptop Studio display supports up to 120Hz display, the first of its kind on a Surface device. With a high refresh rate like this, animations and transitions will look a lot smoother, and it’s great for gaming too. Another great advantage for the Surface Laptop Studio is that it supports Dolby Vision, so if you want to enjoy HDR content, it will do that much better.
Another plus is if you use the new Surface Slim Pen 2, which now supports haptic feedback so you feel like you’re writing on paper. This will not work on Surface Laptop 4.
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