Friday, November 6, 2015

REVIEW - PC On a Stick

WHICH PC Is Right For You?

If you're considering a PC on a stick, there are currently two devices available in India: iBall Splendo and Panache Air PC. Since both these devices are based on Intel's reference design, they look exactly the same and come with a glossy, piano black finish. Each stick plugs directly into an empty HDMI port on your TV , so it is best placed on a side HDMI port so that you have easy access to ports and the power button.If you don't want it sticking out the side of your TV , there is an extension HDMI cable in the box.

 Each stick gets a full size USB for accessories or flash drives, microSD slot for storage expansion, USB host port (adapter cables are provided) and another microUSB port for power. If you don't have a spare power socket, you can use a power bank. One issue is that the USB ports feel limit ed. If you use a wireless keyboard mouse combo then the USB adapter takes up one of the USB ports and if you plan to connect a USB webcam then the second port is also used. So if you have to connect something else like a printer, you will have to unplug something else. A USB hub can be used to expand the number of available ports.. In terms of performance, both devices work seamlessly for light usage. Panache Air Pc comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 while the iBall Splendo comes with Windows 8.1. You can upgrade it to Windows 10 for free, but that means you will be downloading a significant amount of data. Of the two options, the iBall Splendo is available for as low as Rs.7,999 online and the price includes a wireless keyboardmouse combo making it much better value for money .

Windows machines come in various form factors, with prices starting as low as `4,999. But how do you know which one is right for you? Hitesh Raj Bhagat and Karan Bajaj expound their views

Different Form Factors

There are many different form factors in laptops today -just like there used to be with mobile phones. Each style can offer certain advantages to a type of user. Typically, you pay a premium for unique form factors as compared to the conventional laptop style -but if one of these form factors can replace two devices for your kind of use, you save money in the long run.
Lenovo pioneered the Yoga form factor almost three years ago. It was called so because of the unique twoway hinge that allowed the screen to swivel a complete 360 de grees. The flexibility allows you to use it in multiple ways: as a conventional lap top, as a stand (with the screen facing outwards and keyboard facing down), as a tent (you can hang it on something), flat on a table (screen facing up, for col laboration around a table) and as a tablet (for media consumption).
The ferris wheel style was a different take on the flexible screen -Dell has this design on the XPS 12, a premium ultraportable from their high-perfor mance XPS range. You could use it as a conventional laptop and as a tablet, but since this design was more focused on style, the various modes in between were left out. Apart from the eye-catching style, the other advantage was that it could be made much sleeker as a tablet.

Detachables and convertibles are fairly new developments in the laptop world ­ you'll a l s o hear them being called hybr i ds an d 2-in-1s. The idea is simple: tablets are lighter than laptops and you can only use one device at a time, so why not dispense with the extra weight and bulk when you don't need it. Various such designs exist now, with the prices starting as low as `13,000 for basic Intel Atom powered machines like the Micromax Canvas Laptab and iBall WQ 149i, going up to `1,60,000 for ultra-premium business machines like the ThinkPad Helix.

A PC for less than 10k

Up till last year, if you told someone that you can get a full Windows computer for less than `10,000, you would have been laughed at. The scenario has changed quite dramatically. Not only there are devices running with the full version of Windows available in the sub-`10,000 segment, they have fallen as low as `4,999 (case in point, the iBall i701).You have two kinds of devices in this price range. First, lets talk about the tablet. You can get the 7-inch iBall i701 mentioned earlier -the cheapest Windows tablet available today . The 8-inch NotionInk Cain 8, priced at `9,999 offers better hardware.
The second type of device is the PC on a stick. It's a full Windows system on a large TV dongle that connects directly to the HDMI por t of an existing TV monitor. The stick offers a USB port, WiFi, Bluetooth connectivity as well as expandable storage.
The cate gory was created to meet the demands of the budget users ­ students, housewives and elderly people who do not want to spend a large sum of money on a laptop or a desktop. Their re q u i re m e n t s are basic: web surfing, document editing, video calling and multimedia consumption.Thanks to the large number of apps, many users we
reopting for budget Android devices that of fered all these functions at a frac tion of the cost, even if it there was a lear ning curve involved.

To gain a foot hold into this seg ment, Intel and Microsoft worked with vendors to create this category of budget-friendly devices with full Windows functionality. To achieve such price points and considering the requirements, the hardware specifications are basic.
All the devices available so far are powered by Intel Atom processors with 2GB RAM and built-in flash storage of 32GB. So what kind of performance can you expect from this hardware? Well in our testing, we found that the boot time was really fast, thanks to flash storage and the devices had no issues switching between multiple open windows of Chrome and Office documents. They can easily playback full HD video (we used VLC media player for testing) and do ba sic photo editing using GIMP.

Should You get a Touchscreen Laptop?

There's a lot of talk about this and opinion is obviously divided. However, for a generation that has been brought up on touchscreens ­ the digital natives ­ a touchscreen laptop offers an intuitive method of interaction.The question is, should you opt for a touchscreen if you're in the market for a new laptop? Is the increase in price justified? The primary argument against touchscreens on laptops is that they're not needed. Plus, that the interface has not been designed with stubby fingers in mind ­ it's better suited to control with a tiny cursor.While that was true till Windows 7, Windows 8 and 10 have changed all that. With the interface, many apps and now games that support touch input, it's now better to get the touch.

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