Surface Laptop SE splits Windows Central readers regarding role of the Surface brand

Surface Laptop Se Se Render
Surface Laptop Se Se Render (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Most Windows Central readers believe that the Surface brand has a place in the budget space.
  • Over 36% of polled participants disagreed, stating that the Surface brand should be reserved for premium devices.
  • The Surface Laptop SE will be one of the first devices to run Windows 11 SE.

Microsoft announced the Surface Laptop SE last week. It's a budget-friendly device built for education that will run the newly announced Windows 11 SE. With a starting price of $249, the Surface Laptop SE is a bit different than most Surface devices, which often carry a premium price tag. Over the weekend, we ran a poll asking if the Surface family has a place in the budget space or if Microsoft should reserve the Surface name for premium devices.

The Surface Laptop SE isn't the first affordable device in the Surface family; the Surface Go 3 was already one of the best budget laptops. But with a focus on K-8 education, the Surface Laptop SE is in a new market for Microsoft's Surface hardware.

The poll's results lean toward people who believe the Surface brand has a place in the budget space, who make up 63.34% of the votes. Almost 37% of voters believe that the Surface brand should be reserved for premium devices.

The comments section of our poll includes passionate people on both sides of the issue. "I was always under the impression that Surface devices were aspirational and meant to help drive innovation by the various device makers," said Dradzk. "As such, a concept device in any area seems like fair game. Now for the Dells and HPs to take the torch and run with it."

In response to that comment, Cramleir strongly disagreed. They said, "There is nothing aspirational about this hardware. It is a carbon copy of dozens of PCs already serving this market. The device is pointless and the branding could poison the rest of the lineup. There's a reason dell, hp, and Lenovo have differently named lines, so the crappy low end stuff doesn't color the good stuff."

Some believe that the success or failure of the Surface Laptop depends greatly on its operating system. "To determine if this device 'deserves' the Surface branding (meaning pushing the boundaries to inspire other OEMs to follow) depends mostly on windows 11 SE performance," said ElRodeo. "I think this device is only there to showcase the performance tweaks in the operating system with the purpose to inspire OEMs to make more education market focused devices."

When Microsoft announced Windows 11 SE, it shared that several PC manufacturers will make devices to run the new OS, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Dynabook, Fujitsu, HP, JK-IP, Lenovo, and Positivo. Many Windows 11 SE devices will launch later this year and in 2022.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • They can't be that torn, nobody has made any comments.
  • What??? There are dozens of comments on the poll post. This post quotes several of the comments.
  • Microsoft needs a brand ambassador in the EDU space. Without it, kids will only know Chromebooks and the occasional Apple IIe.
  • Are there still Apple //e machines in schools? That would be nearly 40 years old. What are they being used for?
  • Apple is pushing iPads in schools mostly, not really Macs.
  • I think this device would have been OK if they had proceeded with CoreOS/Windows 10X. That could have been a true ChromeBook competitor in that like ChromeOS, it would have run extremely well on low end hardware. They also need to just look what Google has done with management and copy it. Managing Windows devices is too complex for the average person, you need an IT staff to do it right and that is something small schools and districts don't have a lot of access to. And finally they need to throw more money at educational app development and get 10 to 20 just really good education apps out.