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Guide: Surface Laptop Studio vs Surface Laptop 4: Which one should you buy?
Microsoft recently introduced a brand-new member of the Surface Laptop family, the Surface Laptop Studio. Taking inspiration from the Surface Book and the Surface Studio, this is Microsoft’s most powerful Surface PC yet. It isn’t a replacement for the Surface Laptop 4 however, so how does the Surface Laptop Studio compare to Microsoft’s mainstream laptop?
As the name sort of suggests, the Surface Laptop Studio is more geared towards creative professionals, and it has specs and a design to match that. Meanwhile, the Surface Laptop 4 is more of a device meant for more mainstream use cases, like school or office work. They’re fairly different devices, and each of them has pros and cons that make them more appealing to different types of users. Let’s take a closer look to find out which one you should choose for yourself.
Performance: The Surface Laptop Studio has H-series processors
The first big difference you’ll notice in the table above is that the Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Laptop 4 have very different processors. The Surface Laptop Studio is using Intel’s H35-series processors, which is a new family of CPUs launched this year. These processors have quad-core CPUs and Intel Iris Xe Graphics, similar to the 15W processors inside the Surface Laptop 4, but because of the higher power rating, they can sustain that performance for longer.
In benchmarks like GeekBench, you’ll see that the models aren’t too far off from each other, and the AMD processors in the Surface Laptop 4 yield even better results in multi-core tests. However, this is a short benchmark, and the Intel H35-series processors will hold their performance much better than anything inside the Surface Laptop 4.
What that means is that for day-to-day 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 slow down when high performance isn’t as necessary. But for demanding tasks like video rendering and editing, the Surface Laptop 4 will hold its own much better. It’s also worth mentioning that AMD processors are notorious for much lower performance when a laptop is disconnected from an outlet, so if you’re using it without plugging in, you’ll notice a big difference.
An even bigger advantage of the Surface Laptop Studio is in its GPU, specifically in the higher-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 massive advantage in performance compared to the integrated graphics on the Surface Laptop 4. With this GPU, you can feasibly use the Surface Laptop Studio for gaming, plus it also helps with tasks like video editing and more.
The rest of the specs aren’t too far off between the two laptops. Both of them can be had with up to 32GB of RAM, though the Surface Laptop 4 has a base configuration with 8GB, while the Surface Laptop Studio starts with 16GB. Regarding storage, the Surface Laptop Studio can have 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 much in line with the Surface Laptop 4. Depending on the configuration, both laptops offer up to 19 hours of typical usage on a charge. However, this is taking into account the AMD processors in the Surface Laptop 4, and that battery life is only achieved thanks to significantly reduced performance on battery.
Display: Two sizes for the Surface Laptop 4
Moving on to the display, there are some similarities between the two laptops. First, both have the typical 3:2 aspect ratio of Surface devices, and the have the same pixel density, too, 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 lets you choose how to balance portability and screen size. The Surface Laptop Studio is somewhere in the middle with its 14.4 inch display, but that’s the only option you get.
But the Surface Laptop Studio has a few aces up its sleeve. First off, the display on the Surface Laptop Studio supports up to a 120Hz display, the first of its kind in a Surface device. With a high refresh rate like this, animations and transitions will all look much smoother, and it’s great for gaming too. Another big advantage for the Surface Laptop Studio is that it supports Dolby Vision, so if you want to enjoy HDR content, it’s going to do a much better job at it.
Another advantage is if you use the new Surface Slim Pen 2, which now supports haptic feedback to make it feel like you’re writing on paper. This won’t work on the Surface Laptop 4.
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