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(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft is attempting to compete with Chromebooks again. This time, it's with a $249 Surface Laptop SE, the most wallet-friendly Surface yet

Available exclusively to schools and students, the Surface Laptop SE starts at $249 and comes running a new student edition of Windows. Called Windows 11 SE, think of it as Microsoft's response to Chrome OS. Windows 11 SE will ship with a variety of affordable laptops in the coming months.

Early partners promising Windows 11 SE machines include Acer, Asus, Dell, Dynabook, Fujitsu, HP, JK-IP, Lenovo, and Positivo.

As for the Surface Laptop SE, it has the same keyboard and trackpad found on Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go, but it has an all-plastic body with an 11.6-inch (1366 x 768-resolution) display. It's a 16:9 device, too, whereas all other Surface devices since 2014 have 3:2 displays. Other specs include Intel’s Celeron N4020 or N4120 power with 4GB / 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of eMMC storage.

There is also a 720P 1-megapixel front-facing camera, a single USB-A port, one USB-C port, a barrel DC connector, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

It's worth noting, in the US, Chromebooks own the K-12 market. If you went to elementary, middle, or high school, you've needed to use a Chrome OS laptop in class and for homework. Microsoft has been trying for years to regain this segment, and its latest effort could be its truest Chromebook rival yet

Microsoft said it even spent over a year discussing with IT admins their chief concerns - and they all said repairability. So, the company is allowing schools to replace components inside the Surface Laptop SE on-site and also plans to sell them the necessary parts through authorised service providers.

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The Surface Laptop SE is launching in early 2022. It will be available in the US, UK, Canada, and Japan.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 9 November 2021.