Surface Gaming Review BannerThe Surface Laptop Studio is the most powerful new laptop in Microsoft‘s Surface line yet, packing plenty of features gamers will love. The hardware has a large, high-resolution display, faster processor and a more powerful graphics card in the RTX 3050 Ti. This all adds up to making it a great candidate for portable gaming, and a variety of other multi-media applications. I really enjoyed the hardware’s compact size and lightweight design— it’s great for life on the go. Over the last few months, I’ve been able to put the Studio through its paces with a plethora of games and content. Let’s dive in and explore the hardware’s gaming performance, along with everything you need to know about the laptop.

The Surface Laptop Studio packs in excellent performance

The first thing you’ll notice about the Surface Laptop Studio is its sleek, modern design. It’s made from a single piece of aluminum, so it’s both strong and lightweight. The hardware is just a touch under four pounds, so it’s easy to carry with you wherever you go. Don’t let its small size fool you—the Surface Laptop Studio is a powerful machine. It packs a quad-core powered 11th generation Intel i7 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti graphics card, so it can handle a wide variety of more demanding games. Plus, with a baseline of 16GB of RAM, you won’t have to worry about your system bottlenecking. It’s the most powerful Surface hardware yet, resulting in smoother gameplay and better overall performance. Variants of the Surface come with an i5 processor, 32GB of RAM, and 256 GB SSD, 512 GB SSD, 1 TB SSD, or 2 TB SSD of storage.

Surface Laptop Screen Halo

Games look great on the Surface Studio screen

Even in its compact design, the Surface Studio houses a decent sized, crisp HD touchscreen display. The high-resolution screen provides an immersive gaming experience with the Surface Laptop Studio’s 14.4-inch PixelSense display. When it comes to gaming, this is one of the device’s best features. It’s got a resolution of 2,400 x 1,600-pixels, a 3:2 aspect ratio, along with a 120Hz refresh rate, so it’s incredibly sharp and clear. The hardware also packs Dolby Vision compatibility with enabled supported video content. Overall, the screen produces beautifully accurate colours that make your games look great, with Forza Horizon 5’s lush tropical environments and beaches being the standout with what I played. The display real estate means you’ll have plenty of room to see all the action in your games.

The Surface Studio provides excellent sound for immersive gaming

The Surface Studio also features “Quad Omnisonic” speakers with powerful subwoofers and very detailed tweeters. The subwoofer lives on the sides of the internal hardware and tweeters push the sound through the keyboard. Overall, the Surface Laptop Studio outputs some of the best sound I have ever experienced with any laptop. I could hear subtle enemy movement in games like Halo Infinite, and I never had to max out the volume to hear more environmental nuances. When the audio is maxed out, it is enough to easily fill a large space, and will help to enhance your immersion. The hardware is also compatible with Dolby Atmos content, giving you a better spatial sound experience with dozens of games that feature it.

Flexible form factor on the Surface Studio to meet your needs

Fold Forward TMNT

When it comes to gaming, the Surface Laptop Studio can transform to better suit your needs. Out of the box it looks like a traditional laptop, complete with a good size keyboard and track pad. But there is more than meets the eye with the Surface’s form factor. You can actually fold the screen forward bringing your content front and centre. The gaming focused position uses a magnet on the base of the device to prop the screen up. This will give you the best viewing angles for gaming and also temporarily takes the keyboard out of your viewing space. I did a majority of my gaming this way and really loved the viewing angle. The Surface Laptop Studio’s hinge is strong and sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about the screen wobbling or shaking while you play. I highly recommend pairing this setup with a Xbox Wireless Controller for an optimal setup.

Finally, you can tilt the screen down into a flat tablet mode and use the pen (sold separately) to create content. Depending on what game you are playing, you can use direct screen contact with your fingers and thumbs to navigate through supported gaming content. This mode is great for certain types of games, but won’t work with every title.

Surface Laptop Studio game compatibility

A big benefit of the Surface Laptop Studio is it functions just like any Windows 11 PC. You get plenty of software compatibility, along with a fair amount of power in a sleek, portable form factor. Because of this, you can run a plethora of PC Games with mid-range performance settings. If you have a specific title you are hoping to run on your Surface, be sure to compare hardware requirements before making the jump. That being said, I was able to run well over a dozen games on the Surface without any major issues, just minor tinkering with graphics settings.

Pair the Surface with Xbox Game Pass PC

Surface Xbox Game Pass

One of the best ways to get instant access to over 100+ PC titles is an Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription. I did all my testing of the Surface with titles from the Game Pass library and was impressed with the performance. From blockbusters like Forza Horizon 5 to Halo Infinite, the Surface Laptop Studio was able to run the games with only minor performance hiccups. Again, lowering certain graphical fidelity options like fps, shadows, and texture quality would help with improving the performance with some visual tradeoffs. From new AAA games to all-time classics, Game Pass PC had me covered, giving me access to a huge library of games right from the start. I can’t recommend getting a Game Pass subscription enough with the Surface, it will level up your gaming experience in a big way.

Final thoughts on gaming with the Surface Laptop Studio

The Surface Laptop Studio is a great choice for gamers who want a powerful laptop that’s easy to take with them on the go. It’s got a fast processor and a large, high-resolution display, making it perfect for gaming. Plus, its compact size means it won’t take up too much space in your backpack or carry-on bag. You might have to tinker with a few performance settings with select games, but overall the Surface gaming experience is top notch.

Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things tech related since the start of the digital era. He shares his passion for technology in his day job as a teacher and via multiple media platforms. As a long-time veteran of the video game and tech industry, he's covered interactive entertainment and esports on the web, in video series, podcasts, and on international television. You can follow Matthew's tech-venture filled lifestyle on twitter, instagram @dapper_tux.