Get ready as Xiaomi is going to bring a new product category to India very soon.
Last Updated: May 28, 2020, 1:23 PM IST
Xiaomi’s laptop range including the Mi Notebooks and the fairly new RedmiBook have been one of the most anticipated products for the Indian market. Well that is happening very soon as the company has started teasing the arrival of the new products.
Now there is no clarity on how many models will be introduced, but assumingly, we can expect the Mi Notebook range to arrive first followed by the RedmiBook range. A number of Xiaomi India employees including Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain have started teasing the upcoming product through their social media accounts.
The official Xiaomi India has also teased the upcoming laptop launch on Twitter by saying ‘Hello’ to existing laptop OEMs in India including Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and HP.
There are several notebooks that the company sells in its hometown and it will be interesting to see how many of them Xiaomi plans to bring to India. There are three variants under the Mi brand including the Mi Notebook Pro, Mi Notebook Air, and Mi Gaming Laptop. The company recently launched its new RedmiBook lineup including the RedmiBook 13, RedmiBook 14, and RedmiBook 16.
The launch of Xiaomi’s first notebook product couldn’t happen at a better time considering a large section of people have been working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. It could very well be a key driving force for Xiaomi provided the range comes at a nominal price point.
This could include computing device, work furniture, peripherals and accessories as well as any other equipment required to make work from home smoother and more comfortable.
Last Updated: May 27, 2020, 9:28 AM IST
Even as Google, along with pretty much every company in the world, finetunes its strategy to balance the work from home and return to work formats for employees, the company has announced that every Googler will get $1000 as an allowance to buy anything they need to make the work from home situation more comfortable for them. This will most likely include computers and laptops for those who may not have a very good computing device on their hands at the moment, furniture such as a computer table or equipment that helps while working from home.
“Because we still expect that most Googlers will be largely working from home for the rest of this year, we’ll be giving each Googler an allowance of $1,000 USD, or the equivalent value in your country, to expense necessary equipment and office furniture,” says Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, in an email sent to all Google employees. This allowance will most certainly ease the burden on employees as they work from home and have to buy necessary hardware. And it also helps boost morale of employees in these tough times, in the sense that they can be reassured that the company is looking out for them. Depending on what all you need, it may not cover everything, but $1000 will be a big help nevertheless.
Google is also working on the roadmap that should see them re-open more offices in more cities around the world by July 6, depending on local conditions, and is looking at around 10% occupancy in each. “This will give Googlers who need to come back to the office—or, capacity permitting, who want to come back—the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis,” says Pichai. Google will have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines.
Pichai does talk about the Google work culture and how chance encounters in office helped develop some of the best ideas but is also factoring in the current global situation amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. “Moving ahead, we are looking to develop more overall flexibility in how we work. Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community—in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office—and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose,” he says. “At the same time, we are very familiar with distributed work as we have many offices around the world and open-minded about the lessons we’ll learn through this period,” he adds.
E-commerce is open again. This means you can now order from Amazon and Flipkart and the orders will be delivered to you in all parts of the country, except in containment zones. This must come as a great relief for those who suddenly shifted to the world from home routine ahead of the lockdown to flatten the COVID curve, a few weeks ago. Chances are, you may not have had a good laptop or PC at home, for it perhaps wasn’t really a critical requirement thus far. But now, you can buy a new laptop or PC to rock the work from home situation, and not be bogged down by an aging and sluggish PC, a bad keyboard, a cracked screen or something you were simply bored of. It is also expected that work from home will be quite a regular thing for a lot of workers in a lot of companies, which means you should be armed with a good computing device.
Do not make the same mistake again of thinking the smartphone can be a PC replacement, because when it really comes down to it, you will need a laptop to get genuine work done. Here are some of the best budget laptops, some running Windows 10 and some Google Chromebook options, which you must add to your arsenal of work from home tools. So that this purchase remains light on your pocket, we are looking at laptops under the Rs 40,000 price point—to get the perfect blend between performance and longevity without breaking the bank. Plus, they should look good too.
HP Chromebook x360 – 12b-ca0006tu
The biggest advantage of the Google Chrome OS software for computing devices is the sheer simplicity of everything. It is incorrect to assume that you must be locked into the Google ecosystem to be able to use a Chromebook—the variety of apps available for the Chrome OS is as wide as Android phones. That is why the full-fledged Play Store is also available on the Chromebooks. Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps? The Spotify app? Video streaming apps. You name it, and the whole wide world of productivity, utility and entertainment apps are available. For any Android phone user, the switch could prove to be close to seamless—and that is a genuine value addition. In fact, this works brilliantly with the Intel Celeron N4000 processor with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage and a card slot if you wish to use that for adding more storage space. What’s most interesting is the square-is aspect ratio of the 12-inch display, and the hinge allows it to be folded all the way back into a sort of a tablet mode. Windows machines have never performed as well on this sort of hardware.
Dell Inspiron 14 5490
Around Rs 35,585
This started out with a price tag above the Rs 40,000 mark but price corrections have now pushed this beneath that virtual ceiling we have for this buying advice. That means you get the newer 10th generation Intel Core i3-10110U processor with 4GB RAM and a fast 512GB SSD. There is a 14-inch Full HD display which should do well for most productivity and entertainment tasks. The keyboard is not backlit though—perhaps you need to keep that in mind in case working in a dimly lit room is your thing. Dell’s ExpressCharge Boost tops up a fully discharged battery to 35% in 20 minutes and up to 80% in 60 minutes—great if you need to splash and dash. Then there is the Dell Mobile Connect app which pairs your iPhone or Android smartphone with your laptop, which mirrors most things from your phone on the laptop itself, thereby reducing distractions.
Lenovo IdeaPad 330
Around Rs 19,990
If you really are on a strict budget, the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 (model number: 330-15IKB) could be a steady enough pick. Do not expect this to be powerful or do anything more than basic computing, but what you get is a comfortable 15.6-inch HD display. This runs an Intel Celeron processor, along with 4GB RAM. There is a 1TB hard drive, and these basic specs are really all you should expect at this price. While there are many similarly priced laptops that don’t give you a preloaded Windows 10 operating system, this one does—and that is very important. A keyboard that is well laid out and the build quality doesn’t really betray its budget price tag.
Acer Aspire 5 A515-43
Around Rs 38,369
This started out in life with a price tag around Rs 50,000 and that means you get specifications which are quite powerful. This runs the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U quad-core processor (for some reason, many potential laptop buyers still have a bit of mistrust towards AMD machines). This has 4GB of RAM to get Windows 10 and your apps purring along. What should also make a difference is the 512GB SSD, which will speed up performance. You get a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display. The keyboard isn’t backlit. The laptop weighs around 1.8kg. You should probably also consider this if you are taken in by the large screen goodness of the Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (model number 81W800FXIN).
Lenovo IdeaPad S145
Around Rs 35,010
We are specifically talking about the Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (model number 81W800FXIN) which runs the Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor with 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD. It looks like it means business and has the sort of serious personality that most good productivity centric machines have. This is ideal if you prefer large displays—this has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen for you to work on. Not the lightest, tipping the scales at 1.85kg, but that’s the compromise for a large screen laptop. You will quite like the keyboard, which has the sort of inspiration from the more expensive ThinkPad laptops, which make these genuinely good to type on. Lenovo also doesn’t clutter Windows 10 too much by preloading apps, which should also be good in the long run.
HP Notebook – 15s-du0093tu
And this price point, you get multiple laptops running the older generation Intel Core processors as well as some Celeron versions. However, this HP Notebook – 15s-du0093tu should hold up well with the Intel Core i3-8145U processor, with 8GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive. What you get is a 15-inch Full HD display, Windows 10 preloaded and six months of 25GB bundled Dropbox storage. This weighs 1.74kg and is 19.9mm thick. You also get a fingerprint sensor as an added authentication layer to keep your data safe. The HP Fast Charge feature charges a fully discharged laptop battery to 50% in 45 minutes, which should be handy in case you need to get stuff done in a hurry and don’t have access to power at the time. Oh, and the keyboard is backlit too.
If you thought having a laptop at home was optional, that was only valid in the previous world order. Here and now, when work from home is something that millions are doing around the world during the COVID pandemic, you need a good computing device at home to get the job done. And eventually, when we do step out of home, you will most likely still need a good enough laptop that is slim and light enough to carry around. It is a good thing then that ecommerce is now opening up in India in the yellow and green zones, which means you can order one and have it delivered.
Convertibles and slim laptops are something that have become common in the ecosystem of machines running the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. Slim laptops pretty much define themselves, whereas convertibles are those that have hinge mechanism that allows you to push the display all the way back into a tent, presentation mode or a tablet mode. There are many options, in either category to choose from. The likes of HP, Microsoft, Lenovo and Dell have been making slim laptops and convertibles fashionable for a while now. While approaching this story, we did exactly what a consumer would do and went around shopping for the best prices and the possible deals. That is what a potential buyer would want, wouldn’t they? All the info in one glance, so they can weigh the options and make a decision.
The Dell XPS 13 has remained one of the best ultra-slim laptops even as the generations passed by. For some strange reason, the Dell India website seems a little shy about listing the variants and the individual pricing. It is just inconvenient to have to either call a toll-free number or chat with a human being just to get the price tags. That is a business decision by the company, and we are no ones to criticize it, but as a consumer, we wouldn’t want to spend much time on it anyway. Update: Dell has shared the pricing of the two XPS 13 models currently on sale in India via their Dell Exclusive Stores, large format retail and multi-brand outlets. These are the 2019 updates mind you, and the entry-spec variant with the 13.3-inch Full HD display, the Intel Core i5-10210 processor with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD is priced at Rs 113,990. The higher spec option, with the Ultra HD display, the Intel Core i7-10510, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD is priced at Rs 173,990. Nevertheless, here are some really cool slim laptops and convertibles that you can splurge on right now. At least get the feel-good factor going as you slog during work from home.
HP Pavilion x360 14-dh0107tu
Around Rs 44,990
HP was one of the first PC makers, and remains one of most aggressive, with convertible PCs for consumers. The Pavilion x360 line-up has grown leaps and bounds over the past year and a bit more. The version that we are looking at here, specifically, is the HP Pavilion x360 14-dh0107tu. This gives you a 14-inch touchscreen with a geared hinge that goes all the way back to make this into a sort of a tablet. It is not short on power either, though you pay a slight premium for the convertible functionality. It runs an 8th generation Intel Core i3 processor, with 4GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. The SSD really helps with the performance aspect as well. The screen is a HD one, with the 1366 x 768 resolution, and that is adequate for most work as well as media streaming functionality—another positive being good battery life as well. The speakers are tuned by Bang & Olufsen, which certainly shows its results because the sound is richer and more detailed than what laptop speakers usually manage. You can buy this in the Mineral Silver and Natural Silver colour options.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Rs 72,999 onwards
The Surface Pro design, over the years, had not really been matched by anyone else. Not for lack of trying, but Microsoft has pretty much gotten this spot on to balance functionality as full-fledged laptop and the convenience of a tablet. The latest arrival, the Surface Pro 7, is no different. It is just the right size, just the right form factor and doesn’t compromise either on performance or battery life. But do remember, the Signature Type Cover keyboard, the Arc Mouse and the Pen are all optional accessories. The keyboard itself costs around Rs 10,000 depending on offers and deals, which adds to the cost. But once you do put this all together, it is worth the experience.
The Surface Pro 7 will be available in four variants in India, in the Platinum and Matte Black colour options. The Core i3 variant with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage costs Rs 72,999. The Core i5 version with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage costs Rs 88,999 while the Core i5 option with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is a lot more expensive at Rs 1,16,999. The top spec Core i7 option with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage costs Rs 1,41,999.
Apple MacBook Air
Rs 92,900 onwards
Refreshed just a couple of months ago, the new MacBook Air gets the latest 10th generation Intel Core processors and now start with twice the storage, which is a 256GB SSD. At this moment, you can buy the MacBook Air in the Core i3 and the Core i5 options—but you can have this configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor and as much as 2TB of storage. The 13.3-inch Retina HD display remains one of the best in the laptop space—and supports True Tone as well which matches the colours on the screen according to the ambient lighting, to reduce eye strain. You can connect a 6K external display as well. This is also the first time the Magic Keyboard comes to the MacBook Air, a journey that started with the MacBook Pro 16 late last year and culminated a few days ago with the refreshed MacBook Pro 13. It runs macOS Catalina. The trackpad is 20% larger and you get the Touch ID security feature as well. Speakers have been upgraded as well, with the ability to sound louder and also reproduce twice the amount of bass the predecessor could. Design remains the sleek wedge-shape, and this is made of 100% recycled aluminum. Your colour choice remains between Space Grey, Gold and Silver. Weighs just 1.29kg.
HP ENVY X360 – 13-ar0118au
Around Rs 74,998
This is a very powerful Windows 10 convertible. For starters, there is the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. That’s paired with 8GB RAM and a fast 512GB SSD. This mid-range chip should be more than powerful enough for most productivity tasks and even the occasional gaming sessions for casual gamers. What you get is a 13.3-inch Full HD resolution display. There is also the geared hinge that goes all the way back to make this into a tablet if that is what you need. There is a kill-switch that closes the webcam to protect your privacy. You also have a fingerprint scanner as an added layer of security for your Windows 10 installation and files. The backlit keyboard is very well laid out and a delight to type on. This is a very powerful convertible for enterprises as well as home users—it fits brilliantly in either usage scenario.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7
Around Rs 1,31,028
Business users and enterprises tend to swear by the Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, and the X1 Carbon is one of those machines. This slim business laptop is now in its 7th generation, which should give you an idea of how popular it really is. In fact, its popularity isn’t just restricted to the men in suits. This runs the Intel Core i5-10210U processor and gets 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD with it. It is incredibly light, at 1.08kg and even lightest laptops have not been able to shed so much weight. This is robust too, with the military-spec ruggedness ratings—for extreme temperature changes, spills and drops. By default, you get a 14-inch Full HD IPS display, but you can configure this to a 4K screen as well. You’ll get a fingerprint reader, but a lot of the other stuff is optional, which means you will pay more for the likes of NFC and mobile broadband modules. Lenovo claims battery life of up to 18.3 hours on a single charge.
MarQ Falkon Aerbook
Around Rs 41,990
This is a pick out of the left field but hear us out on this. You get a 13.3-inch display in a form factor that is slightly smaller than most 13-inch laptops. And every little bit shaved off means more space in your bag, less bulk to carry around and is lighter as well. More to that point, this machine weighs 1.26kg, which is quite light for a laptop that isn’t compromising on specs. The MarQ by Flipkart Falkon Aerbook runs an 8th gen Intel Core i5-8265U processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. The keyboard is well laid out, the display is bright as well as crisp and the design doesn’t betray that this is a slim laptop on a budget. In fact, the silver finish gives it a very sophisticated look. Windows 10 loads quickly, app response is snappy, and it doesn’t feel sluggish for most tasks in your regular workflow. If you need a compact machine that doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket, and gets your work done, this is a very reasonable laptop to consider.
ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UM462DA
Rs 64,990 onwards
This is another one of those convertibles that really don’t hold back on the style and the performance bit. Your choice is between the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U and the AMD Ryzen 7 3700U processors, along with 8GB RAM and a fast 512GB SSD. We would recommend the Ryzen 5 for most users, unless you really intend to multitask and run really processor intensive tasks and apps, in which case do consider the Ryzen 7 for the extra performance headroom that it’ll offer. The 14-inch display is Full HD and Asus slimmed the bezel on the ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UM462DA by 10% compared with the predecessor ZenBook Flip 14. The ErgoLift hinge allows you to push the display back as much as you want, all the way till it is flush with the base to become a large tablet. And when you are using this as a laptop, the keyboard tilts and lifts up, to give you an even more comfortable typing position. Asus claims battery life of up to 9 hours. The speakers on the convertible are configured by Harman Kardon, so expect better sound too compared with most laptops.
Chinese tech giant Xiaomi is reportedly rolling out a new update for its fitness trackers, the Mi band 3 and Mi Smart Band 4. The update reportedly lets users unlock their Windows 10 laptops straight from either of the fitness trackers. According to Tizenhelp, the new updates for both the Mi Band 3 and Mi Smart Band 4 bring firmware version 22.214.171.124 to the fitness trackers. Both the devices were running on version V126.96.36.199 previously. The new update is also said to bring improvements for the step counter as well and the feature is said to be only available to Indian users for now.
The ability to unlock your Windows laptop using the fitness tracker is technically not a new feature, as it was available to users through third-party apps on their phones. Well, it seems that you no longer need to do that. Notably, the Mi Smart Band 4 gets frequent updates, almost every month, but is finally getting a major update.
The Mi Smart Band 4 features an AMOLED display and is compatible with both Android and iOS phones. The battery life on the smart band lasts for about 20 days. The Mi Band 3, on the other hand, is packed with similar features, but it sports an OLED non-colour display. Hence, the noticeable difference in pricing. Apart from the bands, the Mi Fit App has also been upgraded to version 4.0.17. The new update will fix bugs, and also adds an Apple ID sign in for the fit app. But existing users need to update the aforementioned version. Once they do that, the Mi Smart Band 4 and Mi Band 3, will automatically get all the updates.
Intel has finally launched its high-performance 10th-generation laptop processor range. This means that we would finally get to see more powerful gaming laptops as well as high-end studio notebooks. The highlight of the new range is that the company has managed to break the 5GHz barrier with the new six and eight-core i7 processors reaching up to 5.1Ghz (boost speed) on a single core.
If you think that is not enough, then you probably need the eight-core Core i9-10980HK which can go up to 5.3GHz and is also unlocked for overclocking. The new range includes two Core i5 models, three Core i7 models and the top of the line Core i9 mentioned above.
With this new range, Intel should stand tall against AMD’s 4000 series Ryzen mobile processors, which also offer up to eight cores, but lower 4.4GHz maximum clock speed. Having said that, AMD’s chips are based on the 7nm architecture, so they are more power-efficient and also offer better eight-core Radeon Vega graphics. Of course, nobody relies on integrated graphics, especially on gaming notebooks.
Now Intel says that one can expect around 44 percent improved performance on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at 1080p resolution with high settings when compared to the three-year-old Core i7-7700HQ. The Core i9 variant is said to be 54 percent faster in Red Dead Redemption 2, compared to the i7-7820HK. Click here for more info on the new chips.
Apart from that, the chips come with integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (Gig+) which is said to offer three times faster downloads and low-latency wireless performance. There is Intel’s Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, Adaptix Dynamic Tuning Technology and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility for intelligent performance tuning. The chips also support Thunderbolt 3 offering four times more bandwidth than USB 3.1, Intel Optane memory as well as support for DDR4-2933 memory.
As per reports, Google Chrome is planning to begin experimenting with Microsoft’s power saver feature soon.
Image for Representation
It is a well-known fact that Google’s web browser Chrome is quite notorious when it comes to consuming battery, especially on Windows 10 devices. The browser is both resources and energy-intensive. Recently, Microsoft proposed a solution that can probably address the battery backup concerns of Chrome users. In August last year, Microsoft had stated that there is a possibility to reduce Chrome’s battery usage which can be done by eliminating unrequired disk caching while watching videos.
Another thing that the company has revealed is that it will add a check to verify that the device is running on battery. Another change is to compare the HTTP response content size to the backend maximum file size. This will not cache the content when size is larger than the maximum file size, according to reports.
The report asserts that Google Chrome is planning to begin experimenting with Microsoft’s power saver feature after a Google Chrome engineer, on the Chromium platform, confirmed that the search giant is indeed planning to do so. However, as of now, it is not known how the brand plans to test the battery saver feature.
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