Microsoft plans affordable Surface laptop for students

Surface Pro
Microsoft's Surface Pro

Redmond teases return to the Surface Laptop's roots as a basic PC

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9 September 2020 | 0

Microsoft apparently is going back to its roots with a new “Surface for students” – a smaller, cheaper Surface Laptop that it reportedly plans to announce this autumn.

A smaller, 12.5″ Surface Laptop priced somewhere around $600 might not be the most exciting device Microsoft has ever produced, but there’s something to be said for cutting out the sparkle and simply selling a general-purpose Surface that targets price-conscious consumers.

The new laptop, code-named Sparti, is scheduled to be part of the traditional autumn refresh of Surface devices, according to Windows Central. Microsoft has typically used this period to release an updated Surface Pro tablet, as well as new Surface Laptops, and sometimes new Surface Studios as well.

 

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Windows Central is reporting that the Sparti Surface Laptop will start with a Core i5, 4Gb of RAM, and 64Gb of storage, for somewhere between $500 and $600.

If so, this sounds very much like a trial run for Windows 10X, the simplified operating system which Microsoft now intends as a Windows 10S-like operating system for managed devices. Windows 10X, however, is reportedly designed to be released in 2021. On the other hand, Microsoft has already missed the back-to-school window, anyway.

Keep in mind what made the original Surface Laptop so great, however: a simple clamshell design, all-day battery life, and a straightforward design that emphasised everything you should want in a budget laptop: a great screen, a great keyboard, and a great battery.

Any Surface Laptop with just 4Gb of RAM will be somewhat disappointing, even if Microsoft anticipates a ‘cloud PC’ environment where students work entirely in the browser. But an 8Gb machine with a Core i5? If you’re assuming that students won’t be running Fortnite after hours, an inexpensive Surface with minimal storage could work, and work well – as long as its understood that students aren’t undergrads studying for a degree in architecture, but primary and secondary school aged.

With the exception of the somewhat underpowered Surface Go, Microsoft has focused on PCs that buyers aspire to. This Sparti Surface Laptop sounds like a more practical approach, a mass-market PC that goes back to the Laptop’s roots as an everyman option. Is it weird that this otherwise boring PC sounds so exciting?

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