Microsoft has announced a new, low-cost Surface Laptop, codenamed Tenjin, and dubbed the Surface Laptop SE. It's a device designed for the K-8 education market, featuring low-end specs and not so premium design reach a vital price point $249
The education sector is rife with low-cost, low-power 11-inch laptops, and the Surface Laptop SE is supposed to fit right into that category. With low-end specs and materials, the device is officially Microsoft's most affordable Surface offering so that education establishments can buy and manage in bulk, handing them out to classrooms and students who need them.
Surface Laptop SE: Price and availability
Surface Laptop SE starts at $249 and is available to order through education channels only starting now and leading into 2022.
Surface Laptop SE: Specs
|Category||Surface Laptop SE|
|Operating System||Windows 11 SE|
|Display||11.6 inches, 16:9 aspect ratio|
1366x768 (135 ppi) resolution
|Processor||Intel Celeron N4020|
Intel Celeron N4120
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 600|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2x2), Bluetooth 5.0 LE|
3.5mm headphone jack
Barrel-type DC port
|Audio||2W stereo speakers|
Single digital microphone
|Battery||Up to 16 hours|
|Dimensions||11.17 x 7.6 x 0.70 inches|
|Weight||2.45 lbs (1112.4g)|
Surface Laptop SE ships with an Intel Celeron N4020 and N4120 CPU, with 4GB or 8GB RAM options, 64GB or 128GB storage, and an 11.6-inch 1366x768 display. The display is not touchscreen, which is a first for the Surface line.
Regarding ports, the Surface Laptop SE features one USB-A port, one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a barrel-style AC port. The exterior is all plastic, with a full-sized laptop keyboard and trackpad borrowed from the Surface Laptop Go.
It's fair to say that this is not a powerful or premium laptop, but that's by design. This is a laptop designed for kids in a classroom environment, passed between students all throughout the day.
Surface Laptop SE: Who is it for?
Microsoft has built Surface Laptop SE for schools buying laptops in bulk to hand out to students in classrooms and to take home. This is a PC for kids in kindergarten all the way up to grade 8, which explains the low-end specs and plastic design. This laptop is more than equipped enough for student work in this age range.
It's important to stress that Surface Laptop SE does not compete with "consumer facing" laptops on the market. You can get way more capable and "nicer" laptops for more money which have been built with more general audiences in mind such as the Surface Go or Surface Laptop Go.
But with a starting price of $249, the Surface Laptop SE is the most affordable Surface yet. Microsoft says it's only available to buy through education channels, meaning normal consumers won't be able to grab one of these anyway. This laptop is designed to be bought in bulk by education establishments for deployment to classrooms and students with OS configurations specific to their school.
Surface Laptop SE: Windows 11 SE
Surface Laptop SE ships with a new edition of Windows 11 called Windows 11 SE, designed specifically for education PCs. This is not an edition of Windows that you'll find on normal consumer or professional grade PCs, as it's a SKU that only hardware makers can order to pre-load onto devices designed specifically for the low-end education sector.
It features optimizations, tweaks, and policy changes designed for the education sector. Some of the tweaks made to Windows 11 SE include limiting the multitasking/snapping options to just side-by-side, locking down access to This PC in the File Explorer, and much more. Windows 11 SE PCs are required to be Intune managed too.
The Surface Pro 7/8, and the Surface Go, being not very good products (performances & autonomy ratio) I'm afraid this gonna be even worse. Good luck trying to compete even with ChromeOS, it's not just a matter of hardware. Microsoft doesn't understand the consumer market anymore.
Anymore? (should do, but I am required to add more words)
You sure about that? Windows in S mode was kind of a failure yes, but allowing applications like Chrome and Zoom to be installed on Windows SE is a good thing.
I think the most important piece of info is 'available to order through education channels only".
ARM makes more sense here especially due to the battery life. Especially Mediatek CPUs would have allowed OEM partners to hit even lower price points allowing Microsoft to offload/sell more W11 education licenses. Sigh, damned bean counters strangling UWP resource allocation, curse their idiocy.
Maybe a future SE laptop will have ARM, like how some ChromeOS laptops have ARM. Besides, 16 hours is pretty good for a laptop.
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