At their MicrosoftEDU Event, Microsoft finally took the wraps off Windows 10 Cloud, now known as Windows 10 S, their new much more stripped down version of Windows 10 aimed at targeting the mass popularity of Chromebooks, specifically in the education market, more of which we talk about further down, but first let’s look at the hardware they announced to go with it, main being this, the Surface Laptop … great name!
Introducing Microsoft Surface Laptop
Video provided by Microsoft Surface on YouTube.
The Surface Laptop looks very geared towards those looking for a MacBook Air / Pro competitor in terms of design and build, plus the fact it’s a 13.5 inch (2:3 aspect ratio) PixelSense Display, which we imagine is also Touchscreen. The device features a single USB 3 Port, DisplayPort for video out, SD Card Slot and a headphone jack.
The device supports a decent Intel Core i5 Kaby Lake Processor, with an i7 configuration available for those who want it, though the device does kick off at $999, so it’s definitely a premium Notebook at that, which maybe a hard sell when you consider it comes running Windows 10 S, however if you check out our take on Windows 10 S, you’ll soon see why that may not be the end of the world.
The Surface Laptop of course needs to run and work all day, and Microsoft claim you’ll get 14 hours of battery life out of it, now that may not translate to that, but that’s still a great claim to base on. The incredible thing for us however is that whilst you won’t need to buy a Type Cover for this, as it’s genuinely this time a laptop, the material for the Keyboard and Trackpad base is the same, just that it’s attached permanently which is nice.
To add to all that, the Surface Laptop comes in 4 colours, though only for the upper models, Platinum is the default, with Burgundy, Cobalt Blue and Graphite Gold also available. The only downside to this, they’re US only for now, and as we mentioned the higher configs.
The Surface Laptop will be available starting at $999 on June 15th, and pre-orders will also be available for the Platinum model in Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom where available at Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com and BestBuy.com. Surface Laptop will come to China later this year.
New matching Arc Mouse
Introducing the new Surface Arc Mouse
Video provided by Microsoft Surface on YouTube.
Released alongside the Microsoft Surface Laptop, was Microsoft’s new Arc Mouse, which comes in matching colours, and works using Bluetooth, so naturally anyone can get one really should you so wish.
At their MicrosoftEDU Event, Microsoft finally took the wraps off Windows 10 Cloud, now known as Windows 10 S, their new much more stripped down version of Windows 10 aimed at targeting the mass popularity of Chromebooks, specifically in the education market. Such talk of Chromebook popularity maybe rather hard to believe for us in the UK, but across the US, they’re more than winning in the Education market leaving Microsoft and Apple falling far behind, so it’s clear that Microsoft in particular needed to do something to push the idea of Windows to those markets.
A lower cost version of Windows to create lower cost PCs is nothing new, we all remember the Netbook stage and those were terrible, thankfully with Windows 10 S, Microsoft have thought it a bit more through than that, no XP and Vista Starter for you this time. The license for Windows 10 S is practically free for OEMs, meaning much higher quality hardware per buck, which also aligns well with what Google bring to their Chromebooks.
Windows Store apps only
The major caveat of Windows 10 S is the fact that you will only be able to run apps provided through the Windows Store, however let’s not forget this is targeting Education, and you’d be hard pressed to find much good in the Chrome OS Store, plus the fact most of what people do involves browsing the Web, though of course that will need to be done using Microsoft Edge.
Whilst the Windows Store has had quite a lacklustre start, some major apps are available now and for the most part you’re left with quite a solid foundation, Spotify is the latest app to arrive in the Windows Store, as the Desktop EXE version will not run on Windows 10 S.
BUT, what if you’re wanting these as your only PC, well we’d ask you the same question on getting a Chromebook and get a similar answer, you’ve bought the wrong PC, though thankfully Windows 10 S is A LOT MORE FORGIVING;
What about running non-Store Apps?
Thankfully Windows 10 S is not Windows RT, which means should you really require .EXE programs, which for the majority of Students is ironically yes, you can indeed upgrade your copy of Windows 10 S to the traditional Windows 10 Pro, and the deal breaker of that is it’ll only cost $49.99, which is an incredibly low price compared to the price of even upgrading Windows 10 Home to Pro, so that’s an incredible deal. Plus, the fact that Windows 10 S is bloat-free, you’ll likely end up with the cleanest installation of Pro possible!
Naturally running Windows 10 Pro on a Chromebook level spec machine may not realistically be worth the buck, we are expecting, and have seen, some rather decent Spec Windows 10 S machines already, including many from Dell, HP, Samsung etc starting at a crazy $189, so you’ll be hard pressed to find too many complaints on those, especially as they’ll be cheaper due to lack of a major license fee cost. Then naturally once you’re running Windows 10 Pro, it’s a regular PC so you can put what you like on it.
Free 10 Pro upgrade and more for those in Education
Similar to how many companies offer University / College based discounts, should you have a Windows 10 S running machine actively in use in education, you will be eligible to get Windows 10 Pro upgrade FOR FREE, which just adds to the great deal.
Microsoft will also be throwing in subscriptions of Minecraft Education Edition (for coding purposes only of course) and Office 365 for Education, though no mention of the length of those subscriptions.
YOU CAN REWATCH THE EVENT RIGHT HERE!
#MicrosoftEDU Event Keynote
Video provided by Microsoft on YouTube.