Windows 11 SE, Surface Laptop SE debut as Microsoft’s newest take on Chromebooks

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Windows 11 SE was released as Microsoft’s latest attempt at adopting Google’s Chrome OS. The new Windows operating system is intended for entry-level laptops – for students and teachers. It’s also optimized for Microsoft apps including the Office suite and the Edge browser. However, users can also get third-party apps like Zoom and Chrome. In addition to Windows 11 SE, Microsoft launched the Surface Laptop SE as the answer to Chrome OS-based Chromebooks. This new device runs under Windows 11 SE by default and is specially designed for students.

Windows 11 SE features

Microsoft introduced Windows 11 SE as a stripped-down version of Windows 11 to work on entry-level devices. It is touted to provide students with a “distraction-free” environment in which they are not allowed to install third-party apps themselves. Windows 11 SE also doesn’t include a Microsoft Store for downloading new apps. Still, IT administrators can use certain third-party apps. Chrome and Zoom are among the first apps available for Windows 11 SE, although Microsoft has not yet detailed all of the apps it supports.

Aside from the lack of Microsoft Store, Windows 11 SE doesn’t have the Snap Layouts interface that is available in the regular Windows 11 version. The Widgets section is also missing in the new Windows version.

Microsoft says it developed Windows 11 SE after soliciting feedback from teachers and IT administrators at the school. This means that the new operating system may not be useful for all use cases.

IT admins can control the Windows 11 SE experience with the cloud-based mobile device management service, Intune for Education or Intune. The operating system is also preinstalled with Microsoft Edge so that users can access web-based apps and websites.

Microsoft Office apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and OneDrive are also available for offline use on Windows 11 SE devices. Additionally, Microsoft has promised to expand support for third-party apps on the new platform over time to include apps from categories such as shared testing, accessibility, content filtering, and classroom orchestration.

On the user interface side, Windows 11 SE has a similar appearance to Windows 11. There is a centralized start menu button and the updated taskbar. The operating system is also said to contribute to better battery life by using less hardware resources.

Windows 11 SE is not available for all device configurations and only for machines with 4 GB or 8 GB RAM and 64 GB or 128 GB storage, as described in the details on an FAQ page. Users who use Windows 11 SE are also not offered a native option to switch to the standard Windows 11 or Windows 10. Although IT administrators can install a Windows operating system on a Windows 11 SE device, in this case the device will no longer be able to switch back to Windows 11 SE.

Importantly, Windows 11 SE isn’t Microsoft’s first attempt at adopting Chrome OS as it has taken similar steps in the past as well. The most recent was the launch of Windows 10 S in 2017, which was later converted to the S mode of the regular Windows 10 solutions via Chrome OS.

Surface Laptop SE price, availability

Surface Laptop SE price starts at $ 249 (approx Rs 18,500) for the base configuration of 4GB of RAM + 64GB of storage. The laptop is also available in a variant with 8 GB of RAM + 128 GB of storage, which costs 329 US dollars (about 24,400 rupees), reports The Verge. Both options will be available through educational channels in the US, UK, Canada, and Japan from early 2022.

In addition to the Surface Laptop SE, PC manufacturers such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, Dynabook, Fujitsu, HP, JP-IK, Lenovo and Positivo will launch their Windows 11 SE models this year and in 2022.

Surface Laptop SE specifications

The Surface Laptop SE runs out-of-the-box under Windows 11 SE and has an 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16: 9. The laptop is powered by an Intel Celeron N4020 or N4120 processor, along with Intel UHD Graphics 600, 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB or 128 GB of eMMC storage. It comes with a 720p webcam for video chatting.

In terms of connectivity, the Surface Laptop SE houses a single USB-A port – alongside a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The laptop also has stereo speakers and is designed for a battery life of up to 16 hours on a single charge.

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