Microsoft has launched the new Surface laptop SE that is priced at just $249. The laptop offers an 11.6-inch HD+ display having a 16:9 aspect ratio. The laptop features an Intel Celeron N4020/4120 processor that is coupled to a max of 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of ROM. Microsoft also introduced a new Windows 11 variant named Windows 11 SE that would be running on the laptop and which the company claimed has been specially tuned to allow for a more optimized learning experience.
The laptop has a plastic build which helps in keeping a lid on costs. Also, with an Intel Celeron processor at its core, the laptop can well run the full-fledged Windows 11 version as well but will be running Windows 11 SE instead to match its status as an education-oriented device.
Microsoft said the Windows 11 SE has a similar look and feel as that of Windows 11 though the apps would always open in full-screen mode. The apps would also be tied to OneDrive by default though it remains to be seen if users will have the option to change that setting. The laptop otherwise will come pre-loaded with Microsoft 365 for Education.
Other hardware specs of the laptop include Intel UHD Graphics 600. There is a 1 MP webcam on board as is a 2 W stereo speaker. For ports, there is a single USB Type-C port and a USB Type-A port. Plus, there is the 3.5 mm headphone jack as well. Microsoft said the battery will be able to sustain operation for up to 16 hours of general usage, which no doubt is a decent figure. The laptop is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 LE enabled as well.
Coming to price, the base model with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage is priced at $249 while the top model with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage will set one back $329. At these price points, Microsoft is targeting the Chromebook segment which has been a hot favorite among the student community owing to its low cost.
Chromebook buyers have a nice option in the form of the Surface Laptop SE given that the Microsoft offering runs a Windows OS which is capable of running desktop apps. In fact, the latest Surface iteration can also give the iPad a run for its money as it comes across as a full fledged laptop device with decent specs and battery life.
In contrast, the iPad starts at $299, with the keyboard required to be bought extra. While it is true the iPad is compatible with the Apple Pencil and hence can be used to take notes, that too is going to add to the cost. Plus, the iPad runs iOS and won’t be able to run desktop apps. So, if cost is a huge consideration, the Surface Laptop SE sure has an edge among its competitors. Meanwhile, more laptop devices based on Windows 11 SE are expected to come out in 2022. Stay tuned to remain updated.