Microsoft gets ready for class with education-focused Surface Laptop SE
Microsoft has announced a slimmer version of its Windows operating system and a low-cost laptop to run it on. The Surface Laptop SE has been designed exclusively for use in the classroom, and is the first of a number of Chromebook rivals powered by Intel and AMD.
As you may already know, Redmond computing titan Microsoft launched the latest full-fat version of its operating system for desktop computer and laptops last month, Windows 11. Now a stripped-down flavor has been revealed and one of the first device in line to run it is the Surface Laptop SE.
The new device, which joins a recently refreshed Surface portfolio, has been designed specifically with K-8 students in mind, and will no doubt be looking to slice into a student pie dominated by Chromebooks. Similar offerings from Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and others are also set to join the party in the coming months.
Within the all-plastic housing of the 2.45-lb (1.1-kg) Laptop SE sits an 11.6-inch display at a rather disappointing 1,366 x 768 resolution (135 ppi) and with a 16:9 aspect, a rarity in the Surface family. Intel's entry-level Celeron N4020 or N4120 processors power the device, with integrated UHD Graphics 600, and support comes from 4 or 8 GB of RAM and either 64 or 128 GB of eMMC storage.
Students can connect to the school's internet via 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and there's Bluetooth 5.0 too, as well as a USB Type-A port, a single USB-C port and 3.5-mm combo audio jack. A 720p camera to the front caters for video chats (paired with just the one digital microphone), and two 2-W speakers output audio from videos and tutorials.
You don't get a magnetic charging port here, just a plain ol' barrel-type DC connector, and users are promised up to 16 hours of per-charge typical use from the 35-Wh battery.
The operating system will allow students to use Office apps like Word and Excel offline so that they don't have to worry about not having access to the internet at home, with OneDrive saving files locally and then sync with cloud storage to update any changes the next time the machine connects to the school internet.
Interestingly, it looks like the laptop has been designed for repair rather than replacement, with IT managers able to swap out things like the display, battery, keyboard and motherboard themselves, without needing to ship devices off to third party specialists.
The Surface Laptop SE is expected to be available through education channels later this year or early next for a starting price of US$249.
Product page: Surface Laptop SE