Why a Surface gaming laptop is a terrible idea
Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled its latest line of Surface products, and there were no surprises from the American tech giant.
The Surface Pro 9, Laptop 5, and Studio 2+ are nothing to be excited about unless you’re seriously considering an ARM-based device. However, things could have been very different if the earlier rumor had turned out to be true.
Back in September, two fairly well-known tech sites (NotebookCheck and WCCFtech) posted a “leaked” spec sheet for a new Surface-branded gaming laptop. With display up to 165Hz Intel 12th-gen H-Series and RTX 3070 Ti GPU, it instantly became the most powerful Surface laptop to date.
However, none of the sites seem to have properly verified their source, which turned out to be The Prime Gaming website, whose only page was a list of specs. Take a look at the site and you will quickly come to the conclusion that I did: it is a fake.
That means you shouldn’t expect a Surface gaming laptop any time soon, and here are four reasons I’m sure Microsoft isn’t secretly working on a gaming device.
1. Surface is performance
It’s important to consider what the Surface brand represents for Microsoft and the PC market in general.
Ever since this original device was released a decade ago, Surface has always been performance-focused. It helped popularize the 2-in-1 form factor for work, but that philosophy has been extended to mainstream clamshell laptops and other hybrid PCs. Even the Surface Duo is positioned as a mobile productivity device.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Something specifically designed for games will be contrary to what came before it. Especially since there is an obvious alternative to Microsoft…
2. Any gaming laptop must have the Xbox logo.
The Surface line is over a decade old, but its longevity pales in comparison to the Xbox. It started life back in 2001 as a single gaming console and has become a major player in the booming video game market.
Considering its huge popularity and high reputation, building any Xbox-branded gaming laptop seems like a no-brainer. There were many calls for it in the past Now that cloud gaming is starting to take off, this could be the perfect time.
3. Sleek Surface design will (probably) be compromised.
However, it will almost certainly have a completely different look and feel compared to any Surface device currently in existence. Surface is known for its thin and light design, with good looks as important as great performance.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Hardcore gamers will happily put up with an ugly, bulky device as long as it delivers a top-notch gaming experience. Potential Surface owners, not so many.
There are examples of great gaming laptops that remain relatively thin and light. But they are few and far between and usually cost more than thicker, heavier devices.
4. Most Surface products are already too expensive.
If Microsoft did release a Surface gaming laptop, it would almost certainly be a high-end device. It’s possible to get a great cheap gaming laptop, but affordable versions usually come after we’ve already seen premium hardware. This is what we’ve seen Microsoft do with their Go-branded devices.
Moreover, it would be almost impossible to achieve with the declared characteristics. They will likely rank it above the Surface Laptop Studio as Microsoft’s most expensive laptop.
Eniron Koopman / Foundry
Gamers are willing to pay over $1,500 for a great experience, but not for a first-generation device from a company that has never made a gaming laptop before.
Microsoft must make a more powerful Surface laptop
Given the current economic climate and people’s spending patterns, I strongly believe that Microsoft should focus on making its products as affordable as possible. But the company still has the opportunity to introduce a truly high-end Surface laptop.
The Surface Laptop Studio is great for certain situations, but maxing out the RTX 3050 Ti’s GPU means it lacks the sheer power of some of the competition. Gaming, of course, isn’t the only activity where you need this extra productivity – 4K video editing, graphic design, and 3D modeling are complex tasks that put strain on your internal organs.
Right now, Microsoft doesn’t have a great solution for people with these kind of workloads, especially if you want a traditional clamshell laptop. The company has the option to introduce a “Surface Laptop Pro” or something similar – it just shouldn’t be positioned as a gaming device.
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