Today, Microsoft announced a new variant of Windows 10 for users in education. Much like with the Creators Update, however, Microsoft didn’t simply announce software but instead is backing it with superb hardware that showcases off this software.
While Microsoft didn’t refresh the Surface Pro and Surface Book today, instead, the firm announced something more approachable for the vast majority of student PC buyers – a Surface laptop.
Unlike the Surface Pro and Surface Book, this device isn’t a tablet that can become a laptop or a laptop that can become a tablet. No, this is a plain old Surface laptop that does laptop things in a laptop form-factor for people who need laptops that can rival Apple’s MacBooks and need them to be from Microsoft, and that’s a good thing.
You get the lovely typical powerful Intel core i-Series hardware of a Surface, with a thin and light aluminium chassis. There’s a good sized keyboard – albeit Alcantara covered like the Surface Pro 4’s premium keyboard – paired with a large trackpad for making use of gestures on Windows 10. Like with all Surfaces Microsoft is throwing in touch support with its QHD screen and while there’s no USB type C, it comes with the Surface Connect for support for compatibility with older Surface accessories. As for pricing, it starts at $999 for the base i5/4GB/128GB configuration.
Microsoft has long since been conceding the education market to Google, with Chromebooks both cheap and chic coming from Microsoft partners like Samsung and HP.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has tried taking on Chromebooks with software or hardware – Windows 8.1 with Bing, the HP Stream, the Surface 3 arguably all constitute attempts to tackle the education market. This isn’t even the first crop of Windows 10 Cloudbooks – Acer created a few to try and take on Chromebooks. It’s hard to deny that Microsoft isn’t on to something here, cheap PCs that perform well, with lightweight apps and are easy to support seem like a no-brainer.
Like with Windows tablets and two-in-ones however, the market may just be waiting for Microsoft to produce a premium device that spurs innovation – let us see how that works out.
Microsoft is now taking pre-orders of Surface Laptop. The device starts at $999 for the i5/4GB/128GB base variant and it will be shipping from June 15th later this year.