Microsoft is gearing up to take its Chromebook competition plan to the next level with a new low-cost laptop designed exclusively for the school market. This laptop is created in the same style as other low-cost EDU laptops, such as the Lenovo 100W or HP Stream series, with the goal of being purchased, managed, and distributed in mass by educational institutions.
This new laptop, codenamed Tenjin, has a totally plastic shell, a 1366×768 11.6-inch display, an Intel Celeron N4120 processor, and up to 8GB RAM, according to my sources. This is a no-frills laptop meant to be as low-cost as possible, and it is intended for student use in a classroom setting. According to my sources, the device has a full-sized keyboard and trackpad, one USB-A port, one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a barrel-style AC port.
Tenjin symbolizes the start of Microsoft’s new K-12 education approach. In addition to the new hardware, Microsoft is going to release “Windows 11 SE,” a new variant of Windows 11 designed exclusively for low-cost school PCs like Tenjin. This SKU, I’m informed, focuses on particular optimizations, adjustments, and features designed for educational institutions using low-end hardware.
Tenjin is also said to be shipping under the Surface Laptop brand, potentially branded “Laptop SE” to match the Windows 11 edition that’s loaded. I’m not sure what “SE” stands for, but I’m guessing it’s something like “Student Edition” or “School Edition.” In any case, Tenjin will be priced lower than the Surface Laptop Go, which starts at $549 and is a more premium gadget.
Tenjin will fight head-to-head with low-cost Chromebooks from HP, Dell, and Lenovo, all of which have had great success launching sub-$400 Chromebook devices for the education market. While I don’t have specific pricing information, I expect Tenjin will aim for a price point under $400 in order to compete with Chromebooks. According to sources, the device is nearly finished and will be unveiled before the end of the year if plans do not alter.
Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE are built for school kids
The 249$ Surface Laptop SE is Microsoft’s stance to Chromebooks.
Microsoft has marketed low-cost Windows laptops as appropriate educational PCs for years. They can perform all of the functions of a comparable Chromebook while also running Windows software. With the $249 Surface Laptop SE, Microsoft is finally ready to enter the budget, kid-friendly PC fight. It’s one of the first PCs to run Windows 11 SE, a stripped-down OS aimed for K-8 children (and their beleaguered teachers). Other PC manufacturers, such as Dell, HP, Acer, and ASUS, are expected to release Windows 11 SE PCs.
Microsoft hasn’t had the best track record with Windows versions in the past: Windows 10 S was a clumsy attempt to give a simpler experience for the original Surface Laptop, and the dual-screen-focused Windows 10X was finally scrapped. (Windows 11 is essentially a reincarnation of Windows 10 X.) However, according to Aaron Woodman, Microsoft’s General Manager of Windows, this latest OS is primarily focused on tackling a specific problem: how can Microsoft create the ultimate OS experience for students and teachers?
Windows 11 SE makes an attempt to achieve so by emphasizing simplicity. Installing apps isn’t possible through the Microsoft Store (but IT departments can deploy whatever Win32 and Universal apps they want). It’s been tweaked to work well on older hardware. Microsoft also limited the options for window snapping by enabling apps to only be on the left or right side of the screen. One of the finest features of Windows 11 is the ease with which you can move apps to different corners of your screen, but that’s probably too hard for elementary school students who use laptops with small screens.
The Surface Laptop SE is designed in a similar way. It’s a plastic-shelled notebook that looks vaguely like the Surface Laptop line, particularly the $549 Surface Laptop Go, which was the previous low-cost entry. It boasts an 11.6-inch TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels, which is higher than 720p but lower than the Laptop Go’s sub-1080p display. The Surface Laptop SE is limited to dual-core Celeron chips (either the N4020 or N4120) and either 4GB or 8GB of RAM, so don’t expect anything strong under the hood. There are 64GB and 128GB eMMC cards available for storage.
But, with a starting price of $249, what else would you expect? What’s more intriguing about the Surface Laptop SE are the higher-end features that managed to sneak in. According to Woodman, Microsoft transported the Surface Laptop Go’s great keyboard and trackpad, as well as its easy-opening lid, over. In addition, the Laptop SE has a 720p webcam, which is crisper than other comparable priced notebooks. And, based on a quick Teams video conversation with Dave Alles, General Manager of Surface Laptop SE, the camera and microphone quality are quite impressive. (It was far superior to the $1,200 laptops I’d tested.)
The Surface Laptop SE appears to be more than adequate for an average grade-school student. It’s only 2.45 pounds, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to carry in small backpacks. And, despite its limited onboard capacity, it should be sufficient for working on Microsoft Office tasks when offline. With “average device usage,” Microsoft promises 16 hours of battery life, but Woodman tells us that the designers had students without consistent internet connection in mind. They could download assignments from school, work on them at home, and have their work synchronized when they returned to class.
The conveniently accessible screws on the bottom would undoubtedly be appreciated by IT teams, making it simple to open and repair notebooks on-site. Because of the Laptop SE’s low pricing, schools should be able to purchase enough machines for each student rather than sharing a few PCs in class.
I’m interested to see how Windows 11 SE handles the Laptop SE’s sluggish hardware. And part of me worries if giving youngsters a more limited version of Windows will hinder their capacity to tinker with computers later in life. However, as a former IT support specialist, the Surface Laptop SE appears to be the low-cost notebook that I’ve always wished elementary school children had. Sure, it’s not as versatile as the $400 Surface Go 3, but that won’t matter too much for basic coursework. While I enjoyed the Surface Laptop Go, it starts at $549, which means schools could get two Laptop SEs for the same amount.
Microsoft is only planning to sell the Laptop SE to schools later this year through education resellers. Ordinary people and businesses will not be able to order them. However, if it proves to be a huge success, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft finds a method to make this low-cost computer available to the general public.
The Huawei MateBook 14s is now available globally
It has a glorious 90hz 14.2″ touchscreen display.
The Huawei MateBook 14s features an Intel 11th generation (Tiger Lake) processor with up to 54W TDP, which can be accessed through the Fn+P shortcut. Fn+R activates the 90Hz refresh rate, which is another significant selling point.
The laptop is made of aluminum alloy and weighs 1.43kg (3.15 lbs) with a thickness of 16.7mm (0.66″). Despite this, it uses two shark fin fans and two heat pipes to keep the powerful processor cool. In comparison to typical designs, the hinge inlet design claims a 25% increase in the air intake.
The standard configuration comes with 8GB of dual-channel LPDDR4X RAM, but you may expand to 16GB. Similarly, the base storage capacity is 512GB (NVMe), with the ability to increase it to 1TB.
The front-facing 14.2″ display has a resolution of 2,520 x 1,680 pixels, a 3:2 aspect ratio (meaning it’s taller than a 14″ 16:9 display), and a pixel density of 213 pixels per inch. As previously stated, this panel can operate at a frequency of 90Hz (as well as 60Hz). It has a brightness of 400 nits, a contrast ratio of 1,500:1, 1.07 billion colors, and 100% sRGB coverage. This touchscreen is also capable of tracking up to ten fingers.
Both the Intel Core i5-11300H and the Intel Core i7-11370H are 4-core, 8-thread processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics. The i7 model has 96 execution units and a larger L3 cache (12MB vs. 8MB) (vs. 80).
The Huawei MateBook 14s has two USB-C connections, one for data, one for charging, and one for DisplayPort. A USB-A 3.2 Gen1 port, a full-size HDMI port, and a 3.5mm combo headphone/microphone jack are also included. Wi-Fi 6 (ax) with 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.1, and rapid pairing of Bluetooth headphones are all included in the wireless connectivity area.
Huawei has loaded its AppGallery on the laptop, which allows it to run Android apps as well as Windows software. However, because this function isn’t included in the English language standards, it’s possible that it’s only available in China. Android app functionality will be added to Windows 11 (which this laptop supports) in a future release.
If your tablet runs HarmonyOS 2.0, you can connect it to your laptop and use it as a second screen. You can also drag and drop files between the two devices and use the laptop’s keyboard and trackpad to manage the tablet.
The keyboard is scissor-style, with 1.5 mm key travel and three levels of brightness. Face unlock or fingerprint unlock are both options, just like on a phone (which is built into the Power button).
The Huawei Matebook 14s audio hardware is quite amazing. It’s the first featuring Huawei Sound, which creates a surround sound experience using the four built-in speakers. There are also four microphones that can pick up your voice from a distance of 5 meters (16 feet) and eliminate background noise.
A 60 Wh battery powers the laptop, which also comes with a 90W USB-C charger (which can be used with tablets and phones too).
Huawei Matebook 14s Pricing and Availability
In the Philippines
There are two versions of the Huawei MateBook 14s. The 8GB + 512GB variant with the Intel i5-11300H chipset costs PHP 68,999. The 16GB + 1TB with Intel i7-11370H chipset model, on the other hand, costs PHP 89,999. However, the i7 variant is only exclusively available in Space Gray.
Both variants come with Huawei Freebuds Pro (PHP 7,999), Microsoft 365 (PHP 3,499), and the Huawei Watch GT 2e Mint Green Edition are all included as freebies (PHP 6,990). Both are available for pre-order from Huawei’s official website and participating retail outlets from October 29 to November 11.
The Huawei MateBook 14s is already up for pre-order in China at a price of CNY 7,000 ($1,100/€940/₹81,500) for an i5 model with 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage. The i7 version (16/512GB) is INR 8,000 ($1,240/€1,075/₹93,000). The hero color is Spruce Green, but you can also have it in a standard Space Gray. The 14s will be available in the UK starting on October 27 and will roll out to Europe and Asia after that.
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