Windows 10 S laptops: Our pick of the latest software’s laptop lineup
Following the launch of Windows 10 S in May, manufacturers unveiled a range of Windows 10 S-compatible devices, including the marquee Surface Laptop, durable 2-in-1 convertibles for students and cheaper versions of existing laptops. Details, particularly regarding UK prices and release dates, are still thin on the ground, but here’s what we know about them so far.
1. Microsoft Surface Laptop
Microsoft has made a great fuss of its Surface Laptop – a notebook designed to showcase the best of the new OS and, according to the firm’s website, “empower people to bring their ideas to life”.
Built with MacBook-toting university students in mind, the Surface Laptop packs a 7th generation Intel Core processor and has a claimed battery life of 14.5 hours, which Microsoft suggests you use to “watch 14 episodes of your favourite TV show in one sitting”. Nobody needs that much Game of Thrones.
It’s certainly stylish. Weighing 1.25kg and measuring 14.47mm at its thickest point, the Surface Laptop has a 13.5in Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen display, as well as a palm rest and keyboard covered in velvety Alcantara – a supposedly stain-resistant type of polyester. Will that be enough to stop it getting grubby after a couple of months? Who knows…
Controversially, there’s no USB-C port in sight on the Surface Laptop, with Microsoft favouring its proprietary charging cable instead.
The laptop will ship in four subtle colours: Platinum, Graphite Gold, Cobalt Blue and Burgundy (perfect for hiding red wine stains). At the time of writing, only the Platinum edition was available to pre-order in the UK, with the lowest spec model (Intel Core i5 and 4GB of RAM) priced at £979 inc VAT and the highest (Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM) at a wallet-draining £2,149 inc VAT. There are sizable discounts for eligible students and teaching staff.
The Surface Laptop is due to be released in the UK on 15 June.
2. HP ProBook x360 11 G1 Education Edition
HP is revamping one of its existing models for the new OS, with the ProBook x360 11 G1 Education Edition 2-in-1 set to be powered by Windows 10 S. Originally launched last year, the device features a 360-degree hinge, an 11.6in HD display (1,366 x 768) and an HD camera embedded in the keyboard, as well as a USB -C port and two USB 3.1 ports. Inside, there’s an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
So why would it appeal to schools and students? Ruggedness is its chief attraction: the ProBook is MIL-STD 810G-certified to withstand spillages and drops. Moreover, HP claims that the battery can handle 11 hours of school activities or homework.
In the US, the new version will cost $299, which is $30 less than the full-fat Windows 10 ProBook. However, there were no UK prices at the time of writing.
3. Acer TravelMate Spin B1
Acer’s Windows 10 S offering, the TravelMate Spin B1, shares the HP’s robust aspirations: the 2-in-1 convertible’s 11.6in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display is framed in shock-absorbent rubber and the touchscreen itself can withstand an impact of just under 60kg. The Spin B1 also has a 360-degree hinge, meaning it can be shaped into the four familiar modes: notebook, stand, tent and tablet.
As with HP’s ProBook, the Spin B1 has an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, as well as USB 3, USB 2 and HDMI ports. On the other hand, it has a much longer-claimed battery life at 13 hours and includes Acer’s education-orientated TeachSmart technology – four coloured LEDs on the cover that allow students to answer their teacher’s questions, along with a host of other useful tools.
4. Asus Vivo Book E201 and Flip TP203
Asus is also hopping on the Windows 10 S wagon with the VivoBook E201 and Flip TP203. Unsurprisingly, both devices include an 11.6in Full HD screen, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The main difference is that the former is a conventional laptop, while, as the name suggests, the Flip TP203 is a 2-in-1 convertible with a claimed 11-hour battery life.
5. Dell Latitude 3189 and 3180
As with the two Asus Windows 10 S models, the only real difference between the Latitude 3189 and 3180 is the form factor: the former is a rugged-looking 2-in-1 convertible with a claimed ten-hour battery life, while the latter is a laptop with a projected eight-hour battery life, as well as a microSD, an HDMI and two USB 3 ports. It almost goes without saying, but both pack an 11.6in Full HD screen, Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The Windows 10 version of the 3180 is $309 in the US, while the 3189 starts at $579.
6. Toshiba Portégé X20W
With a weight of 1.12kg, the Toshiba Portégé X20W (see p57 for our review of the Windows 10 version) is even more svelte than Microsoft’s Surface Laptop. The 2-in-1 convertible has a 12.5in Full HD touchscreen, with its Windows 10 S incarnation featuring 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and a claimed ten-hour battery life, putting it at the higher end of the Windows 10 S scale. As yet, there’s no word on a UK price or release date.
7. Samsung Notebook M
Samsung’s slim Notebook M stands out from the crowd: it’s dazzlingly white, weighs a shade over 1.2kg and is 17.5mm thick.
However, and you’d be forgiven for pulling a face like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day here, it will have an 11.6in Full HD screen, an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
The Windows 10 version of the Notebook M costs £299.