Today my uncle asked me to help him shop for a laptop for his daughter who is studying her graduate course from CA institute. Requirement was a Windows PC (trust me I asked her about Google Chromebook she didn’t want one and Apple Macbook was way out of budget), Microsoft Office and Tally accounting software (which is free for download from their website for education purposes). My uncle’s budget was Rs.30,000 (USD 500). I did some research online on models available and average pricing, then took him to Croma electronic store in Phoenix Mall, Velachery. I should have known better, going on a Sunday evening to this mall was a bad idea, the car parking entry was clogged for miles.
In the store I selected HP 15 R036TU laptop which was selling at a discounted price of Rs.22999. I ruled out any of the higher end models which were around Rs.30000 which will no money for buying MS Office, Mouse or an Antivirus.
HP 15 R036TU specs (below) was ideal for what as a commerce student my cousin sister will be needing:
- Intel Pentium (4th Gen) Quad Core (though not i3 or i5 enough for the purpose)
- Good Display at 15.6 Inches, 1366 x 768 LED Blacklit
- Sufficient memory at 4GB, 500GB HDD (most other models even those at Rs.30000 came with only 2GB which is inadequate for Windows8)
- 3 USB Ports, 1 HDMI port to connect to TV/Projector, Ethernet Port, 3.5 mm headphone port
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- DVD Drive for using learning DVDs & occasional movie watching
- SD media card reader for copying photos from their digital camera
- Dual speakers which were loud enough for normal music & movie viewing
- Lastly at 2.25 Kgs quite easy to carry with them daily to college
- A shoulder carrying bag for the laptop that was sporty
Software & Accessories
Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 was retailing at Rs.5499 at Croma. I spotted the same was selling Rs.1000 less in Snapdeal and Flipkart. Noticing this Croma manager offered to match the price and I got it for Rs.4400 from Croma itself. I didn’t go with Office 365 subscription as I don’t see them needing any of its features for next 3 years till they graduate.
Next item was a Logitech wireless mouse at Rs.700. Croma gave an “Enter” accessories kit (USB light, Mouse, Headset, etc) as complimentary with the laptop. The kit included a small mouse but I was not comfortable with it.
Last in my list was Antivirus, for which I went with a brand I trust. I got K7 Computing’s Antivirus Premium 1 PC/3 Years for Rs.1199. This edition of K7 was the right mix of features and protection that was adequate for this need. Buying subscription for 3 years meant for the expected lifetime of this laptop they should be covered.
Now the total spend for my uncle was Rs.29298, a good Rs.700 below his budget. I felt good !!!
The setup was straight forward except for two irritants. One was that I had to spend two hours in burning the 5 Recovery DVDs manually, I would have been happy to pay USD 10 more to HP for shipping this out of box. Second was installing all the Microsoft Updates (which happens in all platforms now whether its Apple or Google) and uninstalling of HP Crapware (like some games, 3rd party tools and mcAfee Antivirus
I was pleasantly surprised to find the Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 including for free “Hindi Language Pack for Office 2013” which separately retails for Rs.1299. The Hindi language pack includes features for spell checking & grammar which are needed for all other Indian Languages like Tamil as well.