Alongside the new Surface Pro 8, Microsoft is introducing an all-new computer: the Surface Laptop Studio. It’s the successor to the Surface Book 3, but instead of featuring a detachable screen, it has one that flips into tablet mode. Where other 2-in-1s usually just go for a 360-degree hinge that flips the screen to the back, Microsoft’s system has it settling in on top of the keyboard.
The Laptop Studio starts at $1,599.99, which is a premium price for what Microsoft is clearly positioning as a premium device. While it looks just like a MacBook when it’s in laptop mode, that comparison is mostly down to it being a very well-made device with a silver, aluminum body. Once you start moving the screen, it becomes another kind of device entirely.
It’s a clever design that Microsoft has implemented somewhat more elegantly than we’ve seen on other laptops. Only somewhat, though: unlike the desktop Surface Studio that inspired it, the Laptop Studio can’t hold its screen up at any angle when it’s out of laptop mode. It can’t float out over the keyboard. You can only set it into three modes: laptop, flat as a tablet, or up in a kind of tent mode, leaving the trackpad visible. There are magnets in the laptop that help guide the screen into place.