When Microsoft talks education, they’re not just talking Minecraft. At their MicrosoftEDU event in New York today, the company announced the Surface Laptop, along with a new version of Windows 10 called Windows 10 S. The end result is something like a Chromebook, although you wouldn’t know it from the $1,000 price tag!
The Surface Laptop is just that — a laptop. Unlike the Surface Pro or the Surface Book, this isn’t a 2-in-1 that can be used as a tablet. Instead, it’s a high-powered standard laptop that runs Windows 10 S. We’re not sure exactly what S stands for, but it might as well be Store. Windows 10 S is a simplified version of the operating system that will only run programs and apps downloaded from the Windows 10 Store, putting an emphasis on security and efficiency.
If you’re getting flashbacks to the days of Windows 8 and Windows RT, this isn’t quite the same thing. The Windows 10 S UI still looks the same as Windows 10, and Windows 10 S has been designed to take advantage of high-powered devices, not the low-spec devices the mobile-friendly RT was made for. It’s an operating system made for people who just want a straightforward computer that will let them get some work done and watch some Netflix, without worrying about device security as much.
It’s more secure because only Windows 10 Store apps are allowed. Microsoft is taking cues from Apple and Google here — Apple keeps users on iTunes on mobile devices, while Google’s Chrome OS locks Chromebooks into only Google web apps. Those companies can control what ends up on their stores, allowing them to weed out malware before it can ever get to users. If you’re looking for a device for a novice that might not know how to tell a threat from a legitimate program, it’s a good approach.
But, let’s not emphasize the Chromebook comparison too much, because the Surface Laptop isn’t cheap in price or appearance! It’s made of anodized metal, and is super thin at just 14.5 mm. At 2.76 pounds, it’s not the lightest laptop out there, but it’s not bad for a 13.5″ laptop. Microsoft has used a 3:2 aspect ratio 2256 x 1504 resolution touch display, which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
And, especially unlike Chromebooks, this laptop has some serious horsepower. The Surface Laptop is powered by a 7th generation Intel Core i processor, 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB or 256 GB SSD. Microsoft got 14.5 hours of video playback on the 8 GB/256 GB model despite all that power, which is pretty good news for any student who might consider this as an everyday laptop.
And, if those students do opt for that 8 GB/256 GB model, they’ll have some nice color options to choose from. Microsoft is offering the usual platinum color, along with a metallic gold, blue, and burgundy. The Surface Laptop will be on June 15 starting at $1,000. Oh, and if the owner ever decides that Windows 10 S just isn’t enough, they’ll have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $50.