Today, during a special event, Microsoft announced Surface Laptop SE—its cheapest computer in the Surface family, aimed squarely at the education market to rival Chromebooks.
Surface Laptop SE is a small computer with an 11.6-inch display and 1366x768 resolution. It is based on Intel's Celeron N4020 and N4120 CPUs equipped with 4 or 8GB of RAM. Storage options include 64 or 128GB of eMMC memory. Ports-wise, Surface Laptop SE offers one USB-C, one USB-A, regular barrel-type DC charger port, and headphone jack. There is also a bare-bones 1MP 720p front-facing camera, single microphone, and 2W stereo speakers. Microsoft promises up to 16 hours of battery life, perfect for classes and homework.
Surface Laptop SE also offers much-improved reliability and repairability. Microsoft claims IT admins at schools can easily replace vital components on-site: display, battery, keyboard, and even motherboard. Parts will be available through partners and will not require exotic tools for installation. That is one step toward the promised goal to make Surface computers easier to repair, and you can expect similar changes in consumer-oriented devices next year.
The latest addition to the Surface family runs Windows 11 SE—a special Windows 11 edition for low-end hardware. Windows 11 SE contains numerous software optimizations to provide the education market with the optimal experience while retaining the most-needed Windows features, such as classic apps and third-party browsers support.
Unfortunately, regular buyers will not be able to purchase Surface Laptop SE directly from Microsoft. The company will sell the new laptop to schools through various partners starting in early 2022. It will be available in the US, UK, Canada, and Japan. Other manufacturers, such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Dynabook, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, and others, will offer similar cheap laptops with Windows 11 SE onboard.
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