Laptops become thin-n-light to take on tablets

27th November 2017
Laptops become thin-n-light to take on tablets

Bangalore, November 27 2017: Sometimes,  numbers don't tell  the full story.  Industry monitors  regularly  record the shrinking market for  laptop computers in the face of tablets and larger smart phones.  Yet, the full-function portable PC refuses to roll over and die.
Two industry trends have helped to  keep laptops alive -- for professional users: One, is BYOD or Bring Your Own Device:  Corporates encourage their staff to work in office on their personal  machines. The other, is Work From Home: another  canny move  by employers who are OK with employees  connecting to the office network, but doing their work  from home or hotel.
No wonder lakhs of  professionals,  opt for a full function laptop or notebook PC to  do this dual duty.  If the device is thin-n-light, so much the better. If it also offers a touch screen like a tablet or smart phone, that also attracts  many  lay users  who need to  occasionally do a bit of  word processing,  accounting or  imaging. 
Hyderabad-based  RDP who made  their name and fame with   screen-less thin client PCs,  now have a good range of what they call ThinBooks:   lightweight laptops that  unlike tablets, offer a full featured Windows environment.  To achieve the level of portability that young millennial  customers demand, such devices jettison  the DVD drive and on-board hard disk drive. The storage offered is  minimal   --around 32 GB of solid state storage -- and the RAM memory too,  is bare bones: typically 2 GB.  On-the-move users demand a working day of usage, so the  battery  is 8000 - 10,000 mAh, good for   8-10 hours. 
RDP  currently has 3 Thinbook models in the market  and I have been trying them out for  a week now. All are fueled by a quad core Intel Atom chip. The lightest ( weight-wise and on purse!) is the Thinbook 1130,  at 1.2 kg. Its display is 11.6 inches across and like  the other two models,  comes with a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels -- not quite full HD. The common camera in the series is a 0.3 megapixel front camera, just about adequate for a Skype-type Video call. Two USB ports (one of them USB 3), a   mini HDMI port and a 0.3 mm earphone jack are standard in all three models.  The 1130 is currently offered at Rs 9999 by online sites. For Rs 3000 more, you can go for the 1430b which has a larger 14.1 inch screen  and weighs 1.36 kg.  All other specs are identical to the 1130, including the preloaded  Windows 10 Home operating system. If you prefer the Windows 10 Professional version,  go for the 1430p  at Rs 13,999.
The flagship of RDP's Thinbook range seems to be the 1100 which  has the useful addition of a touch screen.  We are so used to  touch controls on the phone that our fingers itch to touch and  swipe/move/ select  stuff on the screen.  For that reason alone I'm guessing a lot of users will be most comfortable with the 1100 -- even though  it only offers the Win Home OS and   at 11.6 inches is smaller than the 1430  and is priced Rs 13,999.  There is another feature that was a clincher  for me. The 1100  has a 360 degree hinge --  that means you can prop it up on the table in a "tent" mode or swing it all the way and use it like a tablet. You can't then access  the keyboard, but who needs it with a touch screen! ANAND PARTHASARATHY
Somewhere among the three options, most users will find their sweet spot. But while  great as highly portable computers, these thin books assume you are 'always on' the Internet  and store most of your work in one of the  cloud  services like Google Drive or OneDrive. There is no room on the machine for heavy tools like Office or Photoshop, though you could store some lite versions on a  plug-in microSD card  up to 128 GB.
If you are OK with this caveat, you might well find that 'Thin is In'  for you --  notebook-wise.