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Buyer's Guide

Standard Windows models

Following a review of the market, the University has standardised on Microsoft Surface devices.  This table shows the devices which are available to buy from XMA.

Important: Laptop purchases are non returnable to XMA as they have University device and asset management software pre-installed.

Device Surface Laptop 4  Surface Go Surface Pro 7+
Processor Intel Core i5 (quad core) Intel Core i5 (quad core) Intel Core i5 (quad core)
Memory (RAM)  8 GB 8 GB 8 GB
Solid State Drive (SSD) 256 GB  256 GB 256 GB
Screen size 13.5" touchscreen  12.4" touchscreen 12.3" touchscreen
Weight 1.265kg  1.11kg 1.085kg
Best for Traditional laptop 

Everyday Office365 users

A tablet device aimed at teaching and mobile staff

Further information Microsoft Surface Laptop 4  Microsoft Surface Go  Microsoft Surface Pro 7+
Price £872  £716 £1036 (with pen and cover)
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, cabling for external monitors, or peripherals such as wireless keyboards or mice which would need to be purchased separately.

 

How do I choose which device is best for me?

Laptops have come a long way since we first started offering them to staff, and we are now able to provide different options so that you can take advantage of improved functionality. We have made a video showing the different devices: Surface Devices (October 2021).

 

Microsoft also have a comparison site where you can see all the technical specifications side by side, click Compare Surfaces.to see the Laptop 4, Surface Laptop Go and Surface Pro 7 compared. 

 

If you can't decide, please get in contact with us through the IT Service Desk and we can go through the options with you.

 

Microsoft Laptop 4 i5

The default laptop supplied for staff (med-high computing). It is a traditional laptop with a 13.5” touch screen, Intel i5 quad core processor, 8 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).

 

Surface Laptop 4 picture

Suitable for

General user (med-high computing): Staff who would generally work using Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams) but also need more heavy computing processing or graphic work (except for extremes of this, for which the i7 may be needed). This device is suitable for Camtasia video editor and Yuja Learning Capture software coming in 2022.

 

Microsoft Laptop 4 i7

As the Laptop 4 i5, but with an Intel i7 quad core processor and 16 GB RAM. Please note these are by special order and do not appear on the XMA Hub. If you feel you need this rather than the standard i5 Laptop, you will need to complete the IT Hardware Exception form. 

Note: If you have been pre-approved for an i7 device through the staff device replacement programme, you should complete the staff device replacement form you have been sent instead.

 

Surface Go Laptop

This is a lightweight, basic performing device for staff who do not need a lot of heavy computing power for daily tasks. It has an Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage.

Microsoft Surface Go picture

Suitable for

General user (low computing): Staff who would work using Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams) and do not do anything that involves heavy computing processing or graphics. 

 

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ i5

One of the new generation of highly portable tablet/laptops, with a detachable keyboard (Surface Typecover) and a built in kickstand which allows you to set it up on a table without carrying round an additional stand. The bundle also comes with an e-pen.

Surface Pro 7 picture

Suitable for 

Roaming user or teaching staff (med-high computing): Again, this is for staff who would generally work using Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams) but also for more heavy computing processing or graphic work (except for extremes of this). The bundle comes with an electronic pen (Surface e-pen) which is is excellent for using MS Whiteboard or notes in OneNote, and a Surface Type Cover, which is the detachable keyboard. This could be good for lecturers constantly moving between lectures who want a lightweight device, with the added advantage of being able to draw or annotate on the screen. This device is suitable for Camtasia video editor and Yuja Learning Capture software coming in 2022.

 

Is there anything else available?

The majority of staff will use one of the standard Windows options. If you believe you need something else to meet your personal specifications, please complete the IT Hardware Exception form so we can discuss your requirements. 

 

Peripherals

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 need a new one)
  • Video adapter (if using docking station and separate monitor). This adapter should work regardless of the type of connection to the monitor (VGA , DVI or HDMI).
  • Separate keyboard and mouse
  • Headset (for Teams calls)
  • USB hub - to allow easy connection of several USB devices (e.g. mouse, keyboard, headset)
  • USB-C video adapter (if using a separate monitor) - the connection from the Surface to a separate monitor is a USB-C. 
  • Laptop riser (if not using a separate monitor) - to raise the screen to a more comfortable height 
  • Separate keyboard and mouse
  • Headset (for Teams calls)

Docking station or USB hub

Surface Dock

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. A new device supplied by DTS will come with a Surface dock. 

Details: https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=PF3-00012 (XMA item number: PF3-00012)


USB 4 port hub 

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. This plugs in to the single USB-A port on the Surface. 

Details: https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=DA-70220 (XMA item number: DA-70220)

 

Monitor and cables

24" monitor

The standard University monitor is the iiyama ProLite computer monitor 61 cm (24") 1920 x 1080 pixels Full HD LED Black. Details: https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=B2483HSU-B5 (XMA item number: B2483HSU-B5)

Note: If this is out of stock and/or you need one more quickly, please check the XMA website to see what is available Computer Monitors | HE Hub (xma.co.uk)

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: https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=MDP2VGDVHD (XMA item number: MDP2VGDVHD) 

 

Other items available

Logitech MK270 Wireless keyboard/mouse

Wireless standard UK QWERTY keyboard and mouse, which requires a USB port for the wireless receiver. Other types are available, including ergonomic if required.
Details: https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=920-004523 (XMA item number: 920-004523)

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.  
Details: https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=8032001 (XMA item number: 8032001)

Headset

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 is suitable. There are several on the XMA Hub in the University of Reading recommended section. 

 

Webcam

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 in the University of Reading recommended section.

 

Carry 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.

 

Standard Mac models

There are two standard Mac offerings with the following specifications available from XMA:

Device

MacBook Air

MacBook Pro
Processor Apple M1 processor
Apple M1 processor
Memory (RAM)
8 GB
16 GB
Solid State Drive (SSD)
512 GB 
512 GB
Screen size
13.3" touchscreen
14" touchscreen
Weight 1.290 kg
1.400 kg

As these are non returnable, if you want a Mac rather than Windows you will need to complete the IT Hardware Exception form. We will discuss suitable docks and peripherals etc. with you when we are talking to you about your requirements. 

 

Note: If you have been pre-approved for a Mac device through the staff device replacement programme, you should complete the staff device replacement form you have been sent instead.

 

Information on this page is correct as at 06/05/22.