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Microsoft's latest Surface laptop is its cheapest one yet (for a reason)

Microsoft's new machine is a Windows-based Chromebook challenger.

Published onNovember 10, 2021

microsoft surface laptop se 1
  • Microsoft has announced the Surface Laptop SE, a device chiefly for students and schools.
  • It packs an Intel Celeron CPU, an 11.6-inch display, and runs Windows 11 SE — effectively Microsoft’s Chrome OS competitor.
  • Pricing starts at $249.

Microsoft’s Surface range doesn’t conjure up immediate thoughts of affordability. Sure, the Surface Go 2 tablet comes in at ~$399, but even that is a stretch for most people. Now, the company has dropped a new entry-level laptop in the form of the Surface Laptop SE.

The Laptop SE comes in around $400 cheaper than the Surface Laptop Go, which probably says more about the new machine than its specs or feature list could. However, the Surface Laptop SE is tailored for students and learning institutions. Its all-plastic shell can take some abuse, while Microsoft also claims the machine is easier to repair and manage for admins.

Speaking of the latter, the Surface Laptop SE lands with Windows 11 SE — effectively Microsoft’s rendition of Chrome OS packing an already baked-in list of its cloud apps and services. The company calls the laptop a “cloud-first” device.

In terms of specs, the Surface Laptop SE wears an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display, either the Intel Celeron N4020 or N4120 CPU, and up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC internal storage. There’s a 1MP front-facing camera, one USB-C port, another USB-A port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Microsoft believes that the battery can eke out 16 hours per charge, and a barrel-like charger is responsible for topping it up once more.

Microsoft Surface Laptop SE: Hot or not?

400 votes

Microsoft Surface Laptop SE: Price and availability

The Microsoft Surface Laptop SE starts at $249 for the 4GB/64GB model and runs up to $329 for the 8GB/128GB config. How does this stack up against alternatives? Well, Samsung’s Chromebook 4 also goes for ~$249 on Amazon and packs a similar all-plastic build and internals. It ultimately comes down to the OS. That said, you’ll probably have better luck finding budget Chromebooks out in the wild.

Microsoft hasn’t confirmed any general availability details of the Surface Laptop SE. But if you’re a student, you might see a few popping up in your classroom in due course.

If you could, would you buy one? Let us know if you think the Laptop SE is hot or not by voting in our poll above.

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