Microsoft launches new Chromebook rival and other devices for students

Surface Laptop SE
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has launched its Surface Laptop SE and this new student laptop (opens in new tab) aims to take on Chromebooks (opens in new tab) in the K-8 education market.

First announced in November of last year, the Surface Laptop SE (opens in new tab) is the software giant's most affordable device yet starting at $249 in the US and £229 in the UK. This slim and sleek laptop features a long-lasting battery, an HD camera for video conferencing (opens in new tab) and a modern processor to load apps and files quickly.

Microsoft is also launching a new version of Windows 11 (opens in new tab) called Windows 11 SE (opens in new tab) that will power this new device and optimize performance with curated, education-first apps designed for budget-friendly devices according to a new blog post (opens in new tab). At the same time, students can get the best of Microsoft 365 (opens in new tab) including Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab), Office 365 and Minecraft Education Edition to help them build the skills they'll need for the future in a secured and simplified environment designed to limit distractions.

Students will be able to access files for school and productivity apps (opens in new tab) both online and offline with built-insecurity while IT can manage downloads, deployment and security settings. However, unlike the rest of Microsoft's Surface devices, the Surface Laptop SE will only be available for schools to purchase through authorized Microsoft Surface Resellers like CDW, Staples, Verizon and Insight in the US and Softcat, BT and Computacenter in the UK.

Surface Laptop SE accessories

To complete the Surface Laptop SE experience, Microsoft's partners will offer a number of accessories for the device that can be purchased separately.

These include gumdrop cases and headsets (opens in new tab) that are tough and designed to withstand heavy use and the JCPal keyboard protector with easy-to-read large print letters and color-coded keys to improve key contrast and recognition. To improve device security, the Kensington Nano Security Slot controls physical access when the Surface Laptop SE is closed. These new accessories join a range of mice, adapters, display cables and more to help round out the Surface Laptop SE experience.

Meanwhile, commercial customers will be able to order spare SSD (opens in new tab) doors, kickstands and covers for a selection of devices in the Surface portfolio which will enable IT technicians to service devices onsite.

In addition to the Surface Laptop SE, Microsoft also highlighted how the Surface Go 3 (opens in new tab), Surface Pro 8 (opens in new tab), Surface Pro X (opens in new tab) and the Surface Laptop Studio (opens in new tab) are ideal solutions for educators and high school students that need additional performance, reliability and a modern design. 

We've also featured the best student laptops (opens in new tab), best Chromebooks for kids (opens in new tab) and best school tablets (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.