Today, Microsoft announced Surface Laptop SE, a $249 laptop that’s designed specifically for the K-8 education market.
“Surface Laptop SE is our most affordable Surface PC ever at $249,” Microsoft vice president Paige Johnson explains. “It’s the first Surface specifically made for K-8 students, with an 11.6-inch screen, front-facing 720p HD camera, and stereo speakers. Surface Laptop SE offers the same high-quality typing experience as the rest of the product portfolio but offers new levels of repairability for IT admins.”
Before I get to the bad news, Surface Laptop SE—previously codenamed “Vivian”—is user-serviceable, and components like its display, battery, keyboard, and motherboard can be easily repaired onsite.
And from then on, it’s all pretty much down-market. The Surface Laptop SE is powered by an Intel Celeron N4020 or N4120 processor with Intel UHD Graphics 600, 4 or 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, and 64 or 128 GB of eMMC storage, and its 11.6-inch 16:9 TFT display offers an old-school 1366 x 768 resolution with just 135 PPI. So it’s also the only modern Surface PC without a 3:2 display.
Wi-Fi is previous generation 802.11ac, but it supports Bluetooth 5.0 and allegedly offers up to 16 hours of real-world battery life and sort-of fast charging to 80 percent in 90 minutes. Surface Laptop SE offers one USB-A port, one USB-C port, and a proprietary barrel-type power connector (so no Surface Connect) with a 40-watt power adapter.
So, yes, it’s about as crappy as any other education laptop because there’s no avoiding that.