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Buyer's Guide for Windows

Standard Windows models

This table shows the devices which are available to buy from XMA.

Laptop purchases cannot be returned to XMA as they have University device and asset management software pre-installed.
  Surface Laptop 5 i7
Processor  Intel Core i7 (quad core) 
Memory (RAM) 16 GB
Hard Drive (SSD) 256 GB
Screen size 13.5" touchscreen
Weight 1.3kg
Details Surface Laptop 5 
Price (ex VAT) £1310.50

Note: Details in the above table are correct as at 22/05/24. Depending on stock availability, updates and changes may be made to the specifications at any time.

Pricing is ex VAT and should be confirmed with XMA at time of order. 
Prices are for the device only and do not include a docking station or hub, cabling for external monitors, or peripherals such as wireless keyboards or mice which need to be purchased separately.

What is available?

Microsoft Laptop 5 i7

The default device supplied for staff. It is a traditional laptop with a 13.5” touch screen, Intel i5quad core processor, 16 GB RAM and 256 GB storage (solid state). This is suitable for the majority of users in the university, and is a good replacement for a desktop computer as it can be used for medium-high computing tasks. It can be plugged into two monitors (cables purchased separately).

Photo of a Surface Laptop 5  
Suitable for

General user (med-high computing): Staff who would generally work using Microsoft 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams) but also need more heavy computing processing or graphic work. This device is suitable for Camtasia video editor and Yuja Learning Capture software.


Is there anything else available?

The majority of staff should find the standard Surface Laptop is suitable. We no longer offer a desktop device by default. If you would like us to explore different options to meet your personal specifications, please complete the IT Hardware Exception form so we can discuss your requirements. 




For long-term working on campus or at home, we recommend you connect your laptop to an external monitor, a separate keyboard and a mouse. This table shows the extras you need to set yourself up working.

Working on campus Working at home

Docking station - to allow easy connection to the wired network, separate keyboard and mouse.  

External monitor (if you don't have one) plus cable

Multi video adapter (docking station to monitor). This adapter should work regardless of the type of connection to the monitor (VGA , DVI or HDMI).

Separate keyboard and mouse

USB Headset (for Teams calls)

USB hub - to allow easy connection of several USB devices (e.g. mouse, keyboard, headset) and a separate monitor. 

USB-C video adapter and cable (Surface to monitor) if using a separate monitor.   

Laptop riser (if not using a separate monitor) - to raise the screen to a more comfortable height 

Separate keyboard and mouse

USB Headset (for Teams calls)

Docking station or USB hub

Microsoft Surface Dock 2: £158.54

A docking station allows easy connection to the wired network as it has an Ethernet port. It also has two mini display ports (if you are using more than one monitor you will need a dock) and four extra USB ports (USB-A). It also charges the laptop battery. XMA item number: 1GK-00005



USB hub: from £8 

If you need more USB ports for your peripherals (e.g. if you have a mouse, keyboard and a headset to plug in), as the Surface only has one port. There are several options on the XMA Hub, we recommend this USB 4 port hub - connects to the USB-A port on the Surface and provides four additional USB-A ports. 

Please see the UoR peripherals page for details of current stock available. 


Monitor and cables

24" monitor: from £100

The standard University monitor is a 24" height adjustable monitor, such as the Dell P Series 24 Monitor (24") 1920 x 1080 pixels Full HD LED. Please check the UoR monitors page for details of current stock available.


27" monitor: price varies

DTS do not provide this size and any purchase must be raised with your department. 

This larger alternative to the standard University monitor is also iiyama; there are two variants at this size:  

  • A 4K Ultra High-Definition monitor with 3840 x 2160 pixels: Suitable for users that needs a better colour accuracy and colour gamut for their work. Details: (XMA item number: XU2792UHSU-B1)
  • A Quad High-Definition monitor with 2560 x 1440 pixels: Suitable for users that need a bigger screen size and a sharper screen and a better overall user experience. Details: (XMA item number: XUB2792QSU-B1)


Hub monitor

This is a new type of monitor that has an inbuilt hub which allows multiple devices (for example, USB and network connection) to be connected through the monitor. This means you don't need to purchase a separate dock. Devices such as mouse, keyboard, webcam and network cable etc. connect into the back of the monitor, and only the monitor needs to be connected to a power supply. 


If you are interested in purchasing a hub monitor please contact the Device Lifecycle team to discuss your requirements as not all hub monitors on the XMA website are compatible with UoR equipment.


Monitor connections

To connect a monitor directly to a Surface:

To connect a monitor into a dock (one cable per monitor) 

Mini Display Port Adapter

Most recent monitors are HDMI, however if you don't know what the input is, then choose the 3-in-1 Mini Display Port Adapter. This will connect any monitor type (HDMI/VGA/DVI) to your Surface dock (Mini display port). Useful if you don't know what type of input your monitor has, or if you are ordering for someone else.


Details: (XMA item number: MDP2VGDVHD) 


Other items available

Keyboard & Mouse

A wireless UK keyboard and mouse, which requires a USB port for the wireless receiver. 

Alternatively, a wired keyboard and mouse, which will need a USB-A port each:

Other types of keyboard and mice are available, including ergonomic if required.


Laptop riser

Use instead of books to get your laptop to the recommended height if you aren't using a separate monitor. There are various different types available on the XMA Hub, this is just one option. 


You will be most comfortable on long Teams calls using a headset, which also leaves your hands free to take notes. Any headset with a microphone and USB connection (check which your laptop has) is suitable. There are several on the XMA Hub in the University of Reading recommended section.



Desktops don't have a webcam and the camera on some of the older laptops might not have the best picture. If you're using a desktop, or you'd like a separate camera for your laptop, you can buy a webcam. There are several on the XMA Hub, we recommend these:


Carry case, slip case or rucksack

If you are travelling with your laptop, a case is useful to keep it all together with your cables, headset etc. There are various types available on XMA.


Updated by lm920207 on 22/05/24