Microsoft is building an 11.6-inch low-cost laptop designed for K-12 education markets

Surface Laptop Logo
Surface Laptop Logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is working on a low-cost 11.6-inch Surface Laptop.
  • It's designed specifically for the K-12 education market.
  • It's codenamed Tenjin and features an Intel Celeron N4120.

Microsoft is preparing to take its Chromebook compete strategy to the next level with a new, low-cost laptop made specifically for the education market. This laptop is designed in the same vein as other low-cost EDU laptops such as the Lenovo 100W or HP Stream series, built primarily for education establishments to buy, manage, and distribute in bulk.

According to my sources, this new laptop is codenamed Tenjin and features a fully plastic exterior, a 1366x768 11.6-inch display, an Intel Celeron N4120 and up to 8GB RAM. This is a no-frills laptop designed to be as low-cost as possible, built for student-use in a classroom environment. I'm told the device features a full-sized keyboard and trackpad, one USB-A port, one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a barrel-style AC port.

Tenjin marks the beginning of a new K-12 education strategy for Microsoft. In addition to the new hardware, Microsoft is also preparing to launch a new edition of Windows 11 titled "Windows 11 SE" built specifically for low-cost school PCs like Tenjin. I'm told this SKU focuses on special optimizations, tweaks, and features built for education establishments deploying low-end hardware.

I also hear Tenjin might ship under the Surface Laptop brand, possibly dubbed "Laptop SE" to match the Windows 11 edition that's installed. I'm not sure what "SE" stands for specifically, but I'd guess it's something along the lines of "Student Edition" or "School Edition." Either way, Tenjin will fall in line below the Surface Laptop Go, which starts at $549 and is a more premium device.

Tenjin will compete head-to-head with low-cost Chromebooks from the likes of HP, Dell, and Lenovo which have seen huge success shipping sub $400 Chromebook devices for the education market. While I have no concrete info on pricing, I'm expecting Tenjin to target a sub $400 price bracket to remain competitive against Chromebooks. I'm told the device is pretty much ready to go, and will be announced before the end of this year if plans don't change.

Microsoft officials declined to comment.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads