Microsoft announced the Surface Laptop SE last week. It’s a budget-friendly device built for education that will run the newly announced Windows 11 SE. With a starting price of $249, the Surface Laptop SE is a bit different than most Surface devices, which often carry a premium price tag. Over the weekend, we ran a poll asking if the Surface family has a place in the budget space or if Microsoft should reserve the Surface name for premium devices.
The Surface Laptop SE isn’t the first affordable device in the Surface family; the Surface Go 3 was already one of the best budget laptops. But with a focus on K-8 education, the Surface Laptop SE is in a new market for Microsoft’s Surface hardware.
The poll’s results lean toward people who believe the Surface brand has a place in the budget space, who make up 63.34% of the votes. Almost 37% of voters believe that the Surface brand should be reserved for premium devices.
The comments section of our poll includes passionate people on both sides of the issue. “I was always under the impression that Surface devices were aspirational and meant to help drive innovation by the various device makers,” said Dradzk. “As such, a concept device in any area seems like fair game. Now for the Dells and HPs to take the torch and run with it.”
In response to that comment, Cramleir strongly disagreed. They said, “There is nothing aspirational about this hardware. It is a carbon copy of dozens of PCs already serving this market. The device is pointless and the branding could poison the rest of the lineup. There’s a reason dell, hp, and Lenovo have differently named lines, so the crappy low end stuff doesn’t color the good stuff.”
Some believe that the success or failure of the Surface Laptop depends greatly on its operating system. “To determine if this device ‘deserves’ the Surface branding (meaning pushing the boundaries to inspire other OEMs to follow) depends mostly on windows 11 SE performance,” said ElRodeo. “I think this device is only there to showcase the performance tweaks in the operating system with the purpose to inspire OEMs to make more education market focused devices.”
When Microsoft announced Windows 11 SE, it shared that several PC manufacturers will make devices to run the new OS, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Dynabook, Fujitsu, HP, JK-IP, Lenovo, and Positivo. Many Windows 11 SE devices will launch later this year and in 2022.