Microsoft announces Windows 11 SE cloud-first operating system, and a Surface Laptop SE that costs $249

Nov 11, 2021

Microsoft has announced Windows 11 SE, a cloud-first operating system that has been built for education. The software giant says the Azure-powered OS is intended for K-8 classroom students and teachers.

Windows 11 SE announced

The new OS has the same GUI design as the regular Windows 11 operating system, with an identical Start Menu, centered taskbar. Windows 11 SE will support Microsoft Edge (with extensions), Paint, and third-party apps like Zoom, Chrome, etc. The announcement article states that devices with a Microsoft 365 subscription, will be able to use Office apps offline, this includes the likes of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and OneDrive. All Office apps support Immersive Reader for a distraction-free experience, and other accessibility options such as magnifier, color filters, and high contrast modes.

Windows 11 SE is designed for low-cost devices with limited storage, and has restrictions to the kind of app it can run. In other words, it will compete with Chrome OS. This should come as great news for schools, since online classes have become the norm due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Take a look at this comparison chart, which explains the differences between Windows 11 and Windows 11 SE.

Windows 11 vs Windows 11 SE differences

The important thing to note here is that only IT Admins can install apps on the computers, which will help keep the devices secure and up-to-date. They can manage the devices using Intune for Education, while Windows Autopilot makes devices ready-to-use out of the box.

Surface Laptop SE

Surface Laptop SE with Windows 11 SE

The Redmond Company also unveiled a new device in its Surface lineup, the Surface Laptop SE, that runs Windows 11 SE. The Chromebook rival, has a 11.6-inches display, with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, 135 PPI, 16:9 aspect ratio. The device has an integrated GPU, which is the Intel UHD Graphics 600. The Surface Laptop SE will be available in 2 variants: with 4GB DDR4 RAM and 64GB eMMC storage, and 8GB DDR RAM with 128GB of storage.

The laptop is powered by an Intel Celeron Processor (N4020/4120). The Surface Laptop SE has a USB Type-C port, a USB Type-A connector, a Barrel type DC connector, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 2W stereo speakers, a microphone, a Hall-effect Sensor, a TPM 2.0 security chip, and a 1MP front camera that supports 720p 30fps video. Connectivity-wise, it supports Bluetooth 5.0 LE, Wi-Fi: 802.11ac (2x2). The device weighs 2.45 lb (1,112.4 g), and measures 11.17” x 7.6” x 0.70” (283.70 mm x 193.05 mm x 17.85 mm). The laptop has a 135° open angle hinge. The battery capacity is not mentioned in the specs sheet, but it does say that the laptop offers up to 16 hours of typical usage.

Microsoft has priced the Surface Laptop SE starting at just $249, that is quite an affordable price tag, especially if you compare it with the Surface Go 3 which retails for $449.99, though to be fair the latter has a touch-screen display. Here is a video that highlights the laptop's design and key features.

That isn't the only laptop which features the new operating system, a bunch of computers from other OEMs like ASUS, ACER, DELL, HP and Lenovo, that run on Windows 11 SE, have also been announced. You can find them on Microsoft's website.

If you like the new colorful Bloom wallpaper, you can find it here. (courtesy: reddit).

Does your school use a Chromebook, or would you prefer Windows 11 SE?

Microsoft announces Windows 11 SE, a cloud-based OS
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Microsoft announces Windows 11 SE, a cloud-based OS
What is Windows 11 SE? Let's find out what the cloud-first operating system has to offer.
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  1. Anonymous said on November 11, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    I rather buy a Surface Go or something near this price range without this SE nonsense. With this you are locked in Microsoft’s crappy Azure cloud, no freedom.

  2. Mike said on November 11, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Every time Microsoft pushes to transform Windows into something it is not, the resulting product takes off in the market with all the grace of a CRT monitor that has been dropped from a cliff.

    * Windows RT

    * Windows 8/8.1

    * Windows 10 S/S mode

  3. ULBoom said on November 11, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    If this works, fine; it will take a huge effort to dethrone Chromebook in schools. MS did so well with Win RT and phones. Considered to be an excellent OS in its time, MS’s apps for school should be far superior to that Google junk but they’ll have to prove this isn’t just this weeks publicity stunt.

    I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot of look at me stuff regarding all the things that can be done win Win 11. Most will evaporate.

  4. John G. said on November 11, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    I think it is a reasonable price, however an AMD Athlon Silver CPU would be expected, mainly because the Celeron is well known for being a bottleneck in multitasking. :]

  5. Broken Glass said on November 11, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Don’t reward a convicted monopoly and their proprietary software and/or hardware with your money.

    Use Linux. Heck, start with Linux Mint or Ubuntu if you really need to, then move on from there when you’re more experienced.

  6. Paul(us) said on November 11, 2021 at 9:59 am

    For the specific task there intended for being work at home education K-8 classroom students and teachers, I quit sure its Chrome.

    But much better than windows 11SE and Google chrome is any Linux o.s. on a laptop.
    I think Linux has much more future than Google o.s. and Microsoft o.s.
    The Unix and Linux software right now used on the mainframes and mini will come down even more to the Linux p.c. from today, in the future.

    And where better to begin to learn about the future than when you young.

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