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Best Windows 10 Laptops Around $250 for Schools

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Recently Microsoft and its OEM partners put to market inexpensive Windows 10 laptops ideal for school-issued devices. The price and hardware specifications position them against Chromebooks in competing for the K-12 procurement dollar. Can new these Windows laptops unseat the current market leader for 1:1 mobile computers for school districts in North America?

The laptops here run full-on Windows 10 Professional.  Last year at this time, Windows 10 laptops under $400 found some traction in the education sector; these appeal to the same customer and deliver value at an even lower price point.

Earlier this year Microsoft targeted school users with Windows 10 S, a browser-based version of Windows 10 that runs in Edge. Positioned as a sleek, R2-like variant of Windows, the S-version has limitations on compatible applications it can run.

Does Windows 10 S fit your school ecosystem?

For its learning ecosystem. MS ran QA on 200+ top education web applications to ensure compatibility with Edge, which the company proffers as a faster, safer alternative to Chrome. A laptop with Windows 10 S will not run applications unless they are purchased from the Windows store—concessions were made for G Suite apps that are retooled to run in the Edge browser.

A run-down of features that educators should find useful:

  • New cloud-based device management features, a popular selling point for K12 inventory keepers, implemented by connecting devices to Azure Active Directory.
  • Since the OS is less I/O intensive, Windows 10 S laptops have a battery life up to 14 hours.
  • MS Office, specifically One Note, are cornerstone apps for educators and students. For example, teachers can make free-hand mark-ups on html web pages. Filing pages into student cloud storage eliminates paperwork for lessons and assignments.

Why might a “Google-less” laptop make sense for your school?

In building a learning ecosystem for Windows 10 S for schools, MS ran extensive QA on 200+ top education web applications to ensure compatibility with Edge, which the company positions as a faster, safer alternative to Chrome.

  • Part of the safety features prohibits a laptop with Windows 10 S from running applications unless they are purchased from the Windows store. Google retooled its G Suite apps to run in the Edge browser and are available to add to a Windows 10 S laptop.
  • New cloud-based device management features, a popular selling point for K12 inventory keepers, offers simple implementation with Azure Active Directory.
  • Since the OS is less I/O intensive, Windows 10 S laptops have a battery life up to 14 hours.
  • MS Office, specifically One Note, are cornerstone apps for educators and students. For example, teachers can make free-hand mark-ups on html web pages. Filing pages into student cloud storage eliminates paperwork for lessons and assignments.

When is Windows 10 Pro a better fit for educational IT?

The device management simplicity of Windows 10 S is attractive to a school district that wants to keep its students on task and safe online. There are drawbacks in certain situations.

Windows 10 S limitations may pose difficulty for administrators if legacy learning tools are incompatible with the operating system. Installing Windows 10 Pro on student laptops circumvents incompatibility issues in mixed infrastructure districts.

If you purchase a pre-installed Windows 10 S laptop, it costs $49 for a Windows 10 upgrade. Windows 10 Pro hardware cannot downgrade to Windows 10 S with one exception—the Surface Book sold with Windows 10 S and later upgraded to Windows 10 Pro may revert back by reinstalling the original image.

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Best Windows 10 Laptops Around $250 for Schools
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Best Windows 10 Laptops Around $250 for Schools
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Recently Microsoft and its OEM partners put to market inexpensive Windows 10 laptops ideal for school-issued devices. The price and hardware specifications position them against Chromebooks in competing for the K-12 procurement dollar. Can new these Windows laptops unseat the current market leader for 1:1 mobile computers for school districts in North America?
Author
HardBoiled | NeweggBusiness
HardBoiled | NeweggBusiness
Adam Lovinus

Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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