Microsoft is leaving the low-end Windows 10 S education PC market to its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners, and will instead focus on positioning its Surface Laptop to compete against the Apple MacBook, which is popular among higher-education students. Acer is an important Microsoft OEM, and it’s acting fast to jump into the fray against Google’s Chromebook education initiative.
First out of the gate is the Acer TravelMate Spin B1, a convertible 2-in-1 device that ships with Windows 10 S education OS, Cortana, Continuum, and Ink, along with an active pen that works with the obligatory touchscreen display. This is the first convertible in the TravelMate line, and it features a 360-degree hinge that supports the four standard modes — stand, tent, tablet, and traditional notebook.
The TravelMate Spin B1 offers an 11.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display. Power comes by way of an Intel Celeron processor and integrated HD graphics, and it also boasts 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Connectivity is provided by a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI connection, and a 3.5mm headset jack. Wireless connectivity includes 2×2 MIMO 801.22ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Acer promises up to 13 hours of battery life.
Acer is touting the TravelMate Spin B1’s overall rugged design, which is aimed at maximizing uptime and minimizing maintenance requirements. The machine is built with a shock-absorbent middle rubber frame, offers a pressure-resistant screen that can withstand a front impact of up to 132 pounds, and features a spill-resistant keyboard that protects against up to 11 ounces of water.
The TravelMate Spin B1 runs Windows 10 S, and supports Acer TeachSmart software, which works with embedded LED lights on the notebook cover to enable students to easily and unobtrusively communicate with teachers, receive class materials, take quizzes, and more. Windows 10 Ink support makes it easy for students to take notes and create drawings.
Acer is releasing the TravelMate Spin B1 this month in North America. It will cost $300, and comes with an active pen and Windows 10 S.