In the past, the notebook market was the exclusive domain of the serious business traveller, who could afford the expensive technology required to own a portable computing device. However over the years, as the technology has matured, these devices have become increasingly affordable, and are now seen as a viable replacement in many cases for the traditional desktop machine.
Even as recently as a year ago, notebook prices were higher than they are today by a few hundred rand, and in keeping with Moore’s law the technology available was half of what it is currently, writes Deon Botha, HP personal systems group and magnetic media business unit manager at Drive Control Corporation.
The rate at which technology is improving is in fact inversely proportional to the pricing on this tech, and the notebooks available now come in at a lower price point with far superior technology and specifications. Consumers can expect this trend to continue into the future, with the devices becoming more and more sophisticated with price points continuing to lower.
This trend has meant that notebooks are now more affordable than ever, which has opened the market up for students and scholars.
Advancements in technology which are now also readily available on lower end machine, such as built in 3G and lower cost per Mb of 3G data, have enabled these users to take advantage of access on the go to the Internet, e-mail and social media, again something which was previously the domain of the serious mobile business person.
With more affordable pricing on notebooks and greatly lowered entry points, students are now no longer tied to using the computers available in libraries, which tend to be slow and unreliable when they were available at all. Using these notebooks students can even connect into school and university networks, to take full advantage of the available facilities on their own computers.
While the ill-fated first generation netbooks of recent years, and to some extent the very low cost notebook solutions, have failed to deliver on expected performance and quality, the solutions available today at entry level pricing offer rugged and durable builds along with specs that are more than adequate for everyday use.
The HP offering includes several notebooks in different ranges that are perfectly suited to the school and university environment, delivering HP’s signature build quality in affordable notebooks with good specs and a host of optional features that enable productivity on the go while keeping prices down should they not be needed.
The HP 630 and 635 Notebook PCs start at a recommended retail price of just R3799.00, and come standard with a sophisticated design incorporating a fingerprint resistant matte surface, internally powered by Intel processors and Windows 7 operating system, with an energy efficient 15.6″ LED display and out of the box productivity.
They offer integrated WiFi, and both devices come with the option of an integrated Web cam. For presentations in class, these notebooks have a built-in HDMI port and Altec Lansing speakers to ensure superior sound quality.
One of the important innovations HP has built into these particular notebooks is Fast Charge, which enables users to charge the battery up to 90% in just 90 minutes when the machine is switched off. This is particularly advantageous for students and scholars, who are away from external power supplies for long periods of the day.
The 630 and 635 also come with HP Recovery Manager, which enables users to quickly recover the operating system and drivers should the system become corrupted, something which is probable given the number of users on educational networks and the likelihood of picking up a virus in this fashion.
For users who need more sophisticated technology at a still affordable price, other ranges such as the HP Probook 4330 and 4530 provide higher specs, additional features and functionality and more storage space and RAM and optional 3G, for a slightly higher price.
All notebooks in both ranges also offer extended onsite warranty upgrades at an additional charge to ensure problems can be fixed quickly and the life of the notebooks can be extended.
The old argument that entry level machines do not provide the features and performance required has fast become out of date as technology has advanced.
The price to entry has actually dramatically lowered over the years, and the specs that were once only available on high end machines are now common in value priced notebooks. This makes the notebook the ideal device for students and scholars, who need portable productivity, robust design and an affordable price point.