Google has been dominating the education market for some time now; the company licenses Chrome OS to the likes of Samsung, Asus, Lenovo, HP, Acer and Dell, all of whom make one or more Chromebook laptop ready for school use. Microsoft has been left lagging behind, but the company is hoping to bridge that gap with the just-announced Windows 10 S, a simpler yet more secure version of Windows 10 (and a direct competitor to Chrome OS) that runs apps directly downloaded from the Windows Store. This includes Microsoft Office apps like Excel, Powerpoint and Word, which most other Chromebooks don’t support. Microsoft announced that several manufacturers, including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Samsung, are making Windows 10 S devices, which should start at just $189.
Microsoft also announced the Surface Laptop, a $999 device that’ll serve as the standard-bearer for Windows 10 S. It has 13.5-inch touchscreen, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, an Intel i5 or i7 processor, and a keyboard made of Alcantara, the same material as Windows’ first-party Surface Pro covers.
There are a couple big selling points for the new Surface Laptop. Microsoft promises that it will be extremely secure (since it’ll only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store) and outperform other devices running Windows 10. (One downside, however, is that you won’t be able to download and use the Chrome web browser.) The other noteworthy feature is the Surface Laptop’s impressive 14.5-hour battery life. Both features should appeal to college and high school students (and their parents). Plus, it’s significantly less expensive than Apple’s $1,299+ MacBooks and $1,499+ MacBook Pros.
The Surface Laptop is available for preorder today and is expected to ship June 15. It’s available in four colors: burgundy, platinum, cobalt blue and graphite gold.