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Microsoft Takes Aim At Chromebook With Cheap Surface, Windows 11 SE

Microsoft has made a big move at clawing back some of its market share in the student space, releasing an ultra affordable Surface laptop, as well as a slimmed-down version of Windows 11, aimed at younger users.

The Surface Laptop SE comes with Windows 11 SE pre-installed for roughly A$339, and is designed to help students avoid the many distractions that the internet provides. All apps open in full-screen mode, and the Microsoft Store and widgets bar have been removed.

Schools can also customise Windows 11 SE depending on a classroom’s needs, adding specific apps, and restricting others.

Basically, it sounds like a teacher’s dream, and a student’s nightmare.

More importantly, at least for Microsoft, it gives them a horse in a race that Google’s Chromebooks have been winning since the start of the pandemic forced education online and to the home.

Windows 11 SE includes the entire Office 365 suite, and the Chromium Edge browser. Microsoft has teamed with Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, Dynabook, Intel, AMD and Lenovo to create Windows 11 SE devices, which will bode well for them dominating this space.

The Surface Laptop SE is made for kids, with its plastic casing, large bezels, 11.6-inch screen, and backpack friendly 1.1kg weight. It lasts for 16 hours of “typical use” on a single charge, too.

As you’d expect from the low price point, it has the bare minimum of processing power: Intel Celeron processor N4020, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, 1mp webcam, stereo speakers, inbuilt microphone, and a rather paltry 1366 x 768 resolution display.

Maybe it’s to dissuade students from streaming Marvel movies in class.

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