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Microsoft’s new $249 Surface Laptop SE is a Chromebook killer

The laptops will be tailored to students’ needs and also easily repairable.

microsoft surface laptop se
Image: KnowTechie

The battle for low-cost computers for the education space is going to heat up next year, as Microsoft throws its hat into the ring with the $249 Surface Laptop SE. It’s the first time the company has made a dedicated device to go head-to-head with the Chromebook’s popularity in the space.

As you’d probably expect from such a low-cost device, the tech specs aren’t especially exciting. It’s got an 11-inch screen at 1366 x 768 resolution, is powered by either a Celeron N4020 or N4120, with 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and either 64GB or 128GB of eMMC storage, but that’s not really the point.

These are fairly standard specifications for Chromebooks, so they should provide a similar experience, with Windows instead of Chrome OS.

READ MORE: Microsoft unveils the Surface Laptop Go 2 for $599

Powered by Windows 11 SE, which is Windows 11 tailored to students’ needs, the Surface Laptop SE is also repairable. Yes, in a big departure from Microsoft’s prior devices, you can unscrew the base and replace components like the display, battery, keyboard, or even the motherboard.

While designing the laptop, The Verge reports that Microsoft spent 18 months talking to IT admins in schools, and repairability was a key concern.

That means authorized service providers will have spare parts in stock, letting those IT admins breathe a sigh of relief instead of worrying about damage to laptops that are used all day, every day for e-learning. That also means repairs can be done on-site, instead of having to send devices away to swamped repair centers.

With Chromebooks overtaking Macs in market share earlier this year, mainly attributed to their use in school settings, Microsoft is probably hoping that the use of the familiar Windows operating system will be a winner with the Surface Laptop SE.

The Surface Laptop SE is launching in early 2022, in the UK, US, Canada, and Japan. The 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage version is $249, and the 8GB RAM, 128GB storage model will be $329.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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