Chromebooks have made inroads in the education field in recent years partly because they’re simple, easy-to-manage solutions for teachers, IT administrators and students. They also tend to be pretty cheap… at least if you opt for entry-level models.

But Windows devices can be pretty cheap too… and Microsoft is driving the point home by introducing seven new Windows PCs for use in classrooms. They come from PC makers Acer, Dell, and Lenovo and have starting prices ranging from $189 to $300.

New models include five clamshell-style laptops and two convertible tablet-style notebooks:

  • Acer TravelMate B1 (B118-M)
  • Acer TravelMate B1-141
  • Dell Latitude 3300 for Education
  • Lenovo 100e
  • Lenovo 14w
  • Acer TravelMate Spin B1 (B118-R/RN)
  • Lenovo 300e 2-in-1

That last one is one of the most interesting. Not only does it have a touchscreen display, but it comes with a stylus that slides into a hole in the case when you’re not using it… and you can also use a No.2 graphite pencil to “write” on the screen if you can’t find the stylus.

Microsoft implies that the notebooks will ship with S Mode enabled, which means they’ll come with a streamlined (and somewhat locked-down) version of Windows 10 that prohibits users from installing apps from outside the Microsoft Store to reduce bloatware and improve security and performance.

Most computers that ship with S Mode enabled can be switched to a full version of Windows 10 free of charge though, so I suspect schools or individuals that purchase these systems will likely have that option.

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8 replies on “Microsoft unveils 7 new cheap laptops for classroom use”

  1. I think MS is getting serious about low-end performance. I updated my old win 10 box to build 1809 and it boots faster and is snappier (Sandy Bridge Celeron 847). I use this box for taxes and I believe it is the minimum build that Win 10 supports.

    1. I bought a low end ($350) notebook with an i5 processor and 128GB SSD running S Mode windows, and it’s shockingly fast. I just use it for web browsing.

      1. I5 is not low end. Try celeron. I bought a Liva q (4/32) and for whatever reason, it wasn’t stable with 1803, freezing once or twice a day. I updated to 1809 and it’s been running for almost 2 months without a hiccup. Only restating for updates installations.

  2. Did anyone spot anyone in the wild using the foldback feature or the pen input? How about folding back into tablet mode. Who spotted a fellow coffee drinker in a coffee shop doing that? Beats a newspaper any day of the week. No?

    Isn’t it funny to think what a “netbook” was and to see how the partners strategy backfired. Google says thank you very much. Now after the fact? Geez, maybe there was a real market there after all. You think?

    1. I think the Netbook comparison is often made but really doesn’t make much sense. Or at the least modern Chromebooks (and cheap Windows laptops too) have more in contrast than in comparison with the Netbooks of old.
      Those things typically came with smaller and crappier screens. The keyboards were also typically not full size. Windows of the time was also horribly bloated for the skimpy drive-train provided.
      Chromebooks came with limited features – more so at first. But they had larger screens and not all of them horrible. Though some were. They had full sized keyboards. And the OS was lightweight so while it may have been limited in capability what it did came speedily enough on the low end drive trains due to the stripped back OS.
      Windows stumbled a bit more trying to match those early Chromebook hardware prices. Their software wasn’t up to such a limited drivetrain. They have gotten better with it over the few years they’ve been back on the court though.
      Mostly if somebody introduced hardware today which was true to those old Netbooks they would probably get the same limited and ultimately negative reception that they got back then.

      1. You missed the point entirely. They made them to suck. They took away profits and were a thorn. They “collectively” did what they could to steer the market away from them and into “thin and lights” or whatever else they could cook up. An alternative to high cost laptops. That was the inspiration for the category. They killed it and Google says thanks.

        1. Netbooks took away profits…Being an alternative to high cost laptops was bad for everyone. (not able to edit comment above)

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