HP Laptop 14s Review: Laptops With 4G Are Cool In The WFH Age, And This Leads The Way

Laptops are back in vogue. And how. All those estimates and research numbers and analysis about the smartphone and convertible computing devices replacing the PC as a work tool and laptops being the unnecessary and avoidable stage in the evolution, have been turned on their head. With millions around the world still working from home as the world comes to terms with the Coronavirus pandemic, the need for laptops to get work done, is more urgent than ever before. Almost all laptop makers have seen a spike in laptop demand over the past few months. Those “that’ll-do” old and slow laptops don’t cut it anymore, when the boss wants a report urgently. The reactions have been as you would expect—new launches, more offers to entice potential customers and easier availability on the online and offline stores. However, HP has really taken the game forward with an added connectivity feature which could make life easier for many who may not have a reliable broadband connection at home, or in fact, no broadband at all. Yes, 4G LTE integrated in the laptop itself.

HP is adding three laptops to its line-up in India that integrate 4G LTE connectivity. The HP Laptop 14s with the Intel Core i3 processor and the HP 14s with the Intel Core i5 processor which are now available for Rs 44,999 and Rs 64,999 respectively, while the HP Pavilion x360 convertible will sport a price tag of Rs 84,999. Mind you, the 4G LTE connectivity in laptops isn’t exactly new. But thus far, its utility and uptake were restricted to the enterprise-focused laptops. Those cost significantly more too. At this time, the HP Laptop 14s doesn’t really have any rivals, if 4G capabilities are what you really need—these are the most affordable laptops with the integrated LG LTE capabilities at this time.

HP Laptop 14s-2

Having 4G LTE in your laptop isn’t as complicated as you may imagine. Basically, the laptop has an integrated SIM card slot and an LTE modem that allows you connect to a mobile network for data. Much like how you may have seen or used an Apple iPad or other Android tablets that may have also had the 4G LTE connectivity option

Design: Simplicity And Sophistication

As far as the looks go, there is absolutely no way for anyone to guess that your laptop has a secret superpower. This looks pretty much like any other HP laptop, and by that, I have to note that this is a rather classy and sophisticated design. There are straight lines and there are rounded edges and yet, there is a nice symmetry to the whole thing. It is built well, with just the HP logo on the lid and a nice brushed look to the palm-rest area. The keyboard gets the same Natural Silver colour as HP calls it, and there is that sense of cheerful personality that is usually missing in laptops meant for work. There is definite slimming down of the bezels around the display, particularly to the left and the right of the screen.

No shortage of ports either. There are two USB 3.0 ports, one USB-C port, an HDMI out, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a SD card reader. You still have a conventional power port because the USB-C is only for data and not power delivery. This tips the scales at around 1.5kg and you really wouldn’t have a problem carrying this around once the world hopefully becomes better and you can travel again.

And then there is the SIM card slot on the right-side spine. No complications. Simply press inwards for it to pop-out, set the SIM card on the tray and slot back in.

How Does 4G Work On A Laptop?

Having 4G LTE in your laptop isn’t as complicated as you may imagine. Basically, the laptop has an integrated SIM card slot and an LTE modem that allows you connect to a mobile network for data. Much like how you may have seen or used an Apple iPad or other Android tablets that may have also had the 4G LTE connectivity option. In HP’s case, they are using the Intel XMM 7360 4G LTE6 hardware with the 10th generation Intel Core processors. You simply slot in a SIM card into the laptop, allow Windows 10 to configure it for you and that’s it—you get connected to the mobile network of your SIM card provider, for data access while at home or on the move. If Windows 10 cannot, you’ll have to go to the Network Settings and enter the APN details for your mobile service provider, which will allow the SIM to connect to the data network.

Any SIM card will be compatible with the 4G LTE connectivity that the laptop provides. As long as you have a valid prepaid recharge or an active postpaid billing plan that also offers data, you are good to go. That means in India, you can use any Airtel, Vodafone or Reliance Jio SIM card with the HP laptops. There is no restriction on any prepaid recharge pack or bill plan. Everything will work seamlessly.

What you will need to be careful about is the data usage when you are on a mobile network. During testing, we realized that it is quite easy to exhaust as much as 1.5GB data in just a couple of hours of web browsing and article uploads on the content management system. Ideally, if this is what you need, look for the highest daily data bundle options from Airtel, Vodafone or Reliance Jio to provide a comfortable usage buffer.

HP Laptop 14s-3

The 14-inch Full HD display ticks off most boxes on the checklist. It is bright, it has fairly good viewing angles and colours look good on this. It is a tad reflective though

Performance: You’ve Seen It Before

You get the HP Laptop 14s in two avatars—one powered by an Intel Core i3 processor and one powered by an Intel Core i5 processor. What I am testing here is the latter, the 10th generation Intel Core i5-1035G1 with clock speeds up to 3,6GHz, and this part of the Ice Lake family of processors. You have to look for the HP Laptop 14s-er0003tu model to get this exact configuration. For most mainstream laptops in this price range, that processor type paired with 8GB RAM is par for the course. What you will get all through is consistent performance. Interesting enough, the HP Laptop 14s gets a 256GB SSD to go with a 1TB HDD. The former is designed to make everything faster, since SSD are much quicker when it comes to data read and write speeds compared with conventional hard drives. You should not expect, and you will not get extraordinary fast performance, but what you will get is the experience of using Windows 10 that doesn’t involve frustrating stutters or inexplicable slowdowns.

The thing is, HP stills tends to preload a lot of apps and bundles in laptops that it sells. It is not a unique problem, because most laptop makers do the same. The best course of action would be to uninstall what you don’t need, and let the resources be freed up from potential unnecessary use.

Battery life is quite robust too, with around 6 hours of backup on offer when used as a primary machine for work tasks while at work from home. If you are a bit more careful with the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge tabs as well as the screen brightness, this can creep up closer to the 7-hour mark on a single charge.

Display: Rich, Bright Yet A Tad Reflective

The 14-inch Full HD display ticks off most boxes on the checklist. It is bright, it has fairly good viewing angles and colours look good on this. It is a tad reflective though and isn’t exactly a matte screen. If you have irritating overhead lights in office, they will probably reflect back in your eyes. The workaround is to stay away from darker wallpapers and the dark mode for apps, with white and brighter backgrounds also reducing the reflectiveness a bit

HP Laptop 14s-4

You will get the hang of this keyboard in no time, which is great if you have to churn out a lot of written word, and time is running out

Keyboard: As Good As The Experience Can Be In The World Of Windows 10

Keyboards and the typing experience have always been one of the strong points of HP laptops over the years. The key size, spacing and the responsiveness of the HP Laptop 14s keyboard is no different. It is just very easy to get used to it, even if you are switching from a 15.6-inch laptop, and the key press elicits a consistent response. You will get the hang of this in no time, which is great if you have to churn out a lot of written word, and time is running out.

The Last Word: The Beginning Of A New Era For Laptops

Laptops and productivity are a match that is being rediscovered by many who had been fed the whole spiel about convertibles and tablets and smartphones killing off the laptop as we know it. The fact that the laptop becomes even more versatile and mobile with 4G LTE integrated means you can get more work done without stressing about inconsistent Wi-Fi at home or struggling with a mobile hotspot while traveling. Convenience is topped off nicely with the HP Laptop 14s delivering on the performance front as well, and the looks too.


Microsoft is Extending Support for Windows 10 Version 1809 Until November 2020

Less than a month after Microsoft extended the service lifetimes of certain editions of Windows 10 version 1709 for the ‘next six months’, the tech giant is doing the same for Windows 10 1809, the feature update to Windows 10 that was released in 2018. The company also attributed the new support extension to the ‘current public health situation’ because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an update to its support site on April 14, Microsoft said that the security update for Windows 10 version 1809, Pro, Pro Education, Pro for Workstation and IoT Core will all be released on November 10, 2020, instead of May 12, 2020. The update said: “In addition, we are temporarily pausing Microsoft initiated feature updates for Home and Pro editions running on version 1809. The rollout process restarts for Microsoft-initiated feature updates for devices running on Windows 10, version 1809 will be dramatically slowed and closely monitored in advance of the delayed November 10, 2020 end of service date to provide adequate time for a smooth update process.”

Therefore, with six more months added to its original expiration date, it is safe to assume, that Microsoft’s latest move will take some pressure off of some IT companies who are already bothered with issues related to COVID-19 outbreak across the world.


Windows 10 Now Running on One Billion Devices Worldwide

In a matter of five years, Windows 10 has managed to reach a billion devices across 200 countries worldwide. In its announcement, Microsoft said that 100 percent of the Fortune 500 are now using Windows 10 devices making it a critical platform for driving business transformation in the enterprise and beyond.

“One in seven people, from developers, business professionals, students and families are planning, creating, ideating, executing, and doing great things with Windows 10,” said Microsoft in its press release. It is notable that Windows 10 is the only operating system that runs in over 80,000 models and configurations of laptops and 2-in-1s from over 1,000 different manufacturers. Apart from laptops and PCs, it powers Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft HoloLens and the entire Xbox family of consoles, including the latest Xbox Series X, which will be launching later this year.

One of the reasons Windows 10 adoption has increased massively is because Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. This means any PCs or laptops running Windows 7 will no longer get any new updates, bug fixes, security patches or even technical help by the Microsoft customer service.

The company is also working on a new version of Windows 10 made specifically for dual-screen devices. Showcased last year, Windows 10X is all set to power the Surface Neo, a dual-screen foldable device that will is set to launch at the end of this year.

“With Windows 10, our focus has always been to put the customer at the center, to listen to feedback, and to have that feedback shape the development process. One of the strongest examples of this customer focus is our Windows Insider Program which now has over 17.8M Insiders in every country of the world,” said Yusuf Mehdi, CVP Modern Life, Search and Devices, Microsoft. “We have also strived to make Windows an open, inclusive, and accessible platform that can empower everyone to achieve their goals. Our Windows Accessibility team focuses on human-centered design, a method where engineers and designers work to deeply understand peoples’ needs, and then co-design and continuously iterate on solutions directly with them.”


Latest Windows 10 Update Improves Accuracy of Windows Hello Face Authentication

The new update will also deal with an issue causing a grey box to appear when you search within Control Panel and File Explorer.

Latest Windows 10 Update Improves Accuracy of Windows Hello Face Authentication
Image for Representation

Microsoft has released a new update with version number KB4532695, which applies to Windows 10, version 1903, Windows Server version 1903, Windows 10, version 1909, Windows Server version 1909. According to Microsoft, Windows 10, versions 1903 and 1909 have a common core operating system and an identical set of system files. The new update will improve the accuracy of Windows Hello face authentication and will also help fix several bugs.

The new update will also deal with an issue causing a grey box to appear when you search within the Control Panel and File Explorer. Besides, it will help solve the problem of incorrect indicators for offline and online files. It will prevent File Explorer’s search bar from receiving user input and it will also handle the issue that sometimes caused an error when a user unplugged a USB Type-C hub or flash drive.

Microsoft has recommended installing the latest servicing stack update (SSU) for the operating system before putting in the latest cumulative update (LCU). SSU upgrades the reliability of the update process to mitigate potential issues while installing the LCU. Users can update the new feature through Windows Update. To do so, users have need to go to the Settings option and then navigate to the Update and Security option. Under Update and Security, head to Windows Update. Users will get the link to download and install the update in the Optional Updates section.


Google Chrome Users May Soon Get Better Battery Life on Windows 10 Laptops

As per reports, Google Chrome is planning to begin experimenting with Microsoft’s power saver feature soon.

Google Chrome Users May Soon Get Better Battery Life on Windows 10 Laptops
Image for Representation
(Twitter/Sundar Pichai)

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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| Edited by: Chhavianshika Singh


This is How And When Microsoft Will Roll Out The New Edge Browser to Your Windows PC

Google Chrome finally has competition. Most of will purely be relieved that our PCs can now breathe a bit easier, considering the resource intensive nature which Chrome had adopted over time. The much-awaited Chromium based Microsoft Edge web browser is now available for download for Windows and Apple macOS computing devices. In a way, this works the same way as a Chrome web browser would, because the foundations are the same. That helps, primarily with website compatibility, availability of extensions if you need those, and a general sense of familiarity which most PC users wouldn’t want to give up. However, what Microsoft has in store for the Chromium based new Edge web browser is a bit more elaborate.

The first rollout phase, which began yesterday, sees the new Edge browser available as an optional download, in the standalone format, from the official Microsoft Edge website. At this time, you can choose to manually download this on any computing device running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 as well as the Apple macOS powered MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro, iMac Pro and Mac Mini. On Windows machines already running the previous generation of the Edge browser, downloading and installing the Chromium based Edge will replace the older browser. All the data that you may have stored there, including bookmarks and login details, will be carried forward to the new version. There is also the option to import data from any other web browser you may be using at the time—Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Opera, for instance.

The next stage involves Microsoft pushing the new Edge browser as an update via Windows Update. This is a multi-stage process, which first sees the update being rolled out to a limited number of devices in the Release Preview ring of the Windows Insider Program as a final check, before the larger roll-out to all users. Microsoft suggests that once the new Edge browser is installed on your Windows 10 PC, it will continue to get regular updates adding new features or fixing bugs or performance issues independently and not necessarily via Windows Update.

Microsoft has also made the new Edge browser available to OEMs, who will now painstakingly integrate it with the Windows 10 which they will ship with new PCs in the coming months. Chances are, sometime in the next few weeks, PC makers will ship new devices with the new Edge browser preinstalled.

As for the rollout of the Edge browser via Windows Update, Microsoft confirms that PCs running the Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 for Education and Windows 10 on Workstations will not get this automatic update. The idea is to give the organization’s IT administrators full control over whether they want to, and if as well as when, they want to install the new Edge browser on the systems in use in their organization.