June 22 2015: Recalling Mark Twain's classic quip when he read his own obituary in the newspaper, it's time to say about the laptop computer: Rumours of its death are an exaggeration.
Industry surveys speak of laptop and notebook travails in the face of the tablet onslaught. But the fact remains: the laptop form factor is still the best for productivity on the hoof. A few companies , continue to roll out business laptops , which cannily offer the best of both worlds: traditional portable PC features with the tablet's touch functions added. The Dell Latitude 14 model 3450, part of the 3000 series of 14 inch laptops is a good example.
The configuration I tried out, is fueled by a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i5 chip with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM and 500 GB of hard disk. It runs a 64-bit professional version of Windows 8.1 -- and by end July it can be upgraded for free to the upcoming Windows 10. This is reassuring for diehard fans of the look-n-feel of Windows 7 and earlier, because Windows 10 is a case of Back to the Future: with the option of switching any time between the tiled Windows 8 look and the classic Windows desktop of old.
For me the icing in the cake is the combo of a standard HD ( 1366 by 768) screen with the touch controls that tablets have made so popular ( there is another model with non-touch full 1080p HD). I quite enjoyed switching at will from using the laptop touchpad to swiping the screen with my finger.
The 14 inch screen and the full keyboard is about right for productive office apps - but I think a 500 GB HDD is on the lower side -- as it is, hardly 430 GB, on a single drive, is left after the factory software installations. With no DVD drive, I would have thought 1 TB should have been the entry level of a laptop that flaunts its business plumage.
At 2 kg this is not exactly a lightweight -- nor is the asking price of Rs 73,000. But its combo of touch and touch pad controls will appeal to mobile professionals who look to throw in some play after a hard day's laptop work.
- Anand Parthasarathy