Surface Laptop SE is Now Available

Posted on January 18, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 16 Comments

Microsoft announced today that Surface Laptop SE is now available for schools to purchase through authorized Microsoft Surface resellers.

“Devices are more important than ever to the K-12 education experience, whether students need to participate in class remotely or in-person, complete digital homework or connect with educators to get support,” Microsoft senior director Michael Cowan writes in the announcement post. “Surface Laptop SE is our most affordable [PC] yet, a slim and sleek classic laptop with a new edition of Windows 11 streamlined for students in primary and secondary education.”

Surface Laptop SE is a low-end laptop aimed at the K-12 education market and powered by the new Windows 11 SE, a stripped-down version of Microsoft’s flagship client platform. It starts at $249 and features an 11.6-inch 768p TFT display, a front-facing 720p HD camera, and stereo speakers. And it’s 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.

The big deal here, of course, is serviceability: Surface Laptop SE can be taken apart with minimal tools and customers can easily replace components like the keyboard, display, and battery. This video has more details.

Microsoft also announced a handful of third-party accessories for Surface Laptop SE, including Gumdrop cases and headsets, the JCPal keyboard protector, and the Kensington Lock. There is also a “range of mice, adapters, display cables and more” for Surface Laptop SE, Microsoft says.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Surface Laptop SE is Now Available”

  1. sherlockholmes

    Even the pic looks cheap.

    • shark47

      It's a $249 laptop. I'd consider getting one for my kid if they sold out in retail channels.

    • dmitryko

      So these entry-level tablets are the real reason why touch-oriented Windows 10X UI, with a taskbar that looks like a dumbed-down ripoff from ChromeOS and MacOS/OS X, was forced on all desktop users worldwide in the guise of Windows 11? Just to sell a few more of these dirt-cheap, USA-exclusive children's toys, by attaching a "NEW! Windows 11 SE" sticker which they considered more attractive than "NEW! Windows 10X"? Microsoft's logic totally escapes me...

      • wright_is

        Well, the Windows 10S sticker was already a little the worse for wear...

      • hrlngrv

        Hey! That insipid UI is the Windows 11 UI.

        Ponder what that means for older users using more capable/expensive PCs running Windows 11.

        • dmitryko

          There are no implications. Celeron N4020/N4120 from 2019 may be slower than Core 2 Quad from 2007, but it's OK by Microsoft because Goldmont Plus supports their 'Secured-Core PC' DRM requirements - specifically HyperVisor-protected Code Integrity (HVCI) (aka Device Guard) and Mobe-Based Execution Control for EPT (MBEC) from VT-x.

  2. bluvg

    Re: serviceability: one might logically conclude that the device with the highest cost would warrant the best options to replace broken parts. There's logic for ya.

    I heartily applaud the serviceability and anything done to reduce e-waste. Would love to see this throughout the product line (and industry in general), though.

  3. lecter

    Since they don't sell it at retail, I guess one will have to wait for eBay & co. My only issue with this is the 768p instead of 1080p screen, the difference in sharpness is huge and would have allowed for 1080p video playback. Otherwise, it seems a great buy if it were made available.

  4. hastin

    Yeah, being interested about Win11 SE myself, I'll somehow getting my hands on one of these. Really curious about not only the platform, but the hardware compared to Chromebooks.

  5. BizTechSherpa

    I remember when Microsoft led the way in "reference platforms" (I think that is what they called it), the way a PC could look - Surface, Surface Books, etc. But now that I think about, pretty much nobody makes a tablet with a detachable keyboard (oddly enough other than Apple iPad), and nobody makes a laptop with a detachable screen like the Surface Book. And Microsoft is rolling out dumpster fire devices at Walmart. Leadership and innovation seem to be lacking.

  6. harrymyhre

    Not everybody has a Beverly hills budget. I wouldn't buy one if these but I'm sure a lot of schools would as their budgets are strapped.

  7. jimchamplin

    Can we get an Insider image of Windows 11 SE to try? They really need some way to let enthusiasts and IT Pros install this in a similar way to how CloudReady lets you run Chromium OS on standard PC hardware.

  8. lightbody

    Its a Netbook !

    • solomonrex

      Yes! And Microsoft’s constant remakes, retreats and redos of the netbook market really resemble the “Detroit 3” trying to compete in the Economy car segment in the USA. Is this the limited OS that they will finally stand behind, or another pet project for the schools around Redmond, Washington that will be awkwardly sidelined until Windows 12? Time will tell.

  9. hrlngrv

    Re uptake in schools, while these might be easier to physically maintain than Chromebooks (depends on the cost of replacement parts and the robustness of connectors for them, so remains to be seen how practical), are they as simple to administer as Chromebooks?

    For me, this is a HUGE problem for MSFT. If they could make cheap Windows laptops simple to administer for, say, the Los Angeles Unified School District with hundreds of thousands of child users, why can't enterprises have simple administration for mere tens of thousands of PCs? In blunter terms, what happens to the value of MSFT systems admin certification if a VP's secretary could administer hundreds of PCs without much training and no certification?

    Like IBM before it, MSFT has built up an IT client base among its customers which thrives on the perception that PC system admin is moderately to exhaustively difficult. If MSFT were to make it too simple, they screw their enterprise IT clients.

    I believe this will go the way of all previous MSFT forays into education. The value in Windows comes from enterprises and at least moderate complexity. Dumbing down Windows enough to be appealing to K-12 (or more likely K-5 or K-8) education markets would do violence to Windows cash cow which MSFT probably can't afford to risk.