The latest Surface is a $250 laptop that takes a swing at cheap Chromebooks

Enlarge / Microsoft’s Floor Laptop computer SE.


Microsoft’s subsequent Floor machine is the corporate’s newest and most direct try to compete with Chromebooks in faculties. The $250 Surface Laptop SE is a low-end, 11.6-inch laptop computer made for fundamental searching, doc modifying, and distant studying. The Floor Laptop computer SE runs Windows 11 SE, a cloud-focused model of the working system that preserves the essential feel and look of Home windows 11 however permits college IT admins to manage which apps are put in and retains most information and consumer settings within the cloud slightly than on-device.

The Floor Laptop computer SE’s specs are uninspiring, and I’ve my doubts about whether or not its processor is enough for classroom Zooms with dozens of scholars in them. However the {hardware} can be about what you’d anticipate from equally priced Chromebooks; the machine has a dual-core Intel Celeron N4020 or quad-core Celeron N4120 processor, built-in graphics, 4 or 8 GB of RAM, and 64 or 128 GB of storage. It weighs 2.45 kilos and consists of one USB-A port, one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a proprietary energy connector. A netbook-esque 11.6-inch 1366×768 display, a 720p webcam, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity spherical out the important thing specs. That is all largely in keeping with leaks from late last month.

One element that Microsoft offered extra data on was repairability. Whereas current Floor gadgets have made use of user-replaceable storage and some different components, the Floor Laptop computer SE is supposed to be easy to restore. In response to Microsoft, “important elements just like the show, battery, keyboard—even the motherboard—will be simply repaired onsite, saving money and time for IT admins and faculties.”

The Floor Laptop computer SE consists of Home windows 11 SE, Microsoft’s newest stab at a stripped-down model of Home windows to compete with Chrome OS. To not be confused with Home windows 11 operating in S mode—which remains to be a factor and might simply be switched to a traditional Home windows 11 set up—Home windows 11 SE is supposed to be run strictly in faculties on {hardware} managed by college directors. Microsoft says it has been tuned to run higher on low-end gadgets just like the Laptop computer SE, and it removes a handful of options included in an ordinary Home windows 11 set up within the title of making a extra streamlined, distraction-free expertise. The model of Microsoft Edge in Home windows 11 SE may also be configured to run Chrome extensions by default, to ease the transition for faculties that at present depend on ChromeOS extensions.

Directors have unique management over what apps are put in and run on Home windows 11 SE laptops by way of Microsoft Intune for Education. And as with Chrome OS, consumer profiles and information are related to consumer accounts and saved to the cloud by default, although Microsoft Workplace and different apps can use native storage when offline and add to OneDrive when Web connectivity is restored. And in contrast to Home windows operating in S mode, Home windows 11 will be capable to run third-party apps “together with Zoom and Chrome” slightly than being restricted to choices from the Microsoft Retailer.

The Floor Laptop computer SE will not be the one laptop computer to run Home windows 11 SE. Microsoft is partnering with the usual suspects to ship equally low-end, low-cost laptops underneath the Home windows 11 SE aegis, together with HP, Dell, Lenovo, Dynabook, Acer, Asus, and others. These gadgets begin as little as $219, and canopy a wider vary of processor sorts and display resolutions and sizes; they will launch all through the rest of 2021 and into 2022.

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