Microsoft's Chromebook carbon copy: the Surface Laptop SE and Windows 11 SE

By Andrew Romero & Abner Li

November 9, 2021

In almost every single aspect, Microsoft's new Surface SE laptop line and companion Windows 11 SE is a try at the success of Chrome OS.

At its core, the Surface Laptop SE is basic, and, of course it is! The Surface SE relies on cloud-based computing and is meant to cater to the educational industry much as Chrome OS does.

The Surface SE

Internally, the Surface Laptop SE has a humble 11.6-inch LCD screen. As far as a camera goes, there is a 1MP/720p front-facing camera for remote learning. The laptop also has stereo speakers and a single microphone. Students can also expect a 16-hour battery to give them more than enough juice for remote learning.


Internally, an Intel Celeron N4020 or N4120 processor powers the cloud-based computer. In addition, 4-8GB of RAM assists in everyday processing.

Specs cont'd

The Surface Laptop SE is powered by something called Windows 11 SE. Stripped of it's complexities and distractions, Windows 11 SE is barebones, optimized for educational purposes. Students aren't able to install software without an IT admin's permission first, though OneDrive stores files locally for offline access.

Word, Powerpoint, Excel, OneNote, OneDrive, and a few other Office apps work without an internet connection on Windows 11 SE. Additionally, Windows 11 SE will support other web-based learning programs. These include programs like Chrome and Zoom for student participation.

The Surface Laptop SE is quite comparable when it comes to Chromebooks, and Windows 11 SE seems all too familiar. For students, a price tag of $249 will be hard to beat.

Companies like Acer, ASUS, Dell, and Lenovo are already planning on making Windows 11 SE-based laptops. Those will be powered by Intel and AMD will become available over the next year.