Wait or buy? The laptop dilemma

Nandagopal Rajan | Print Edition: September 2012

Planning to buy a laptop or PC? Well, this might not be the right time, with Windows 8 and new devices inspired by the touch-centric interface of the Microsoft OS just round the corner. Do what do you do? Here are your options.

If you can't wait, then take the plunge and buy a laptop with Windows 7 . However, you must make sure that it has at least an Intel second generation processor-Core i3, i5 or i7, depending on your requirement-500GB RAM and a good graphics processor. You won't be shut out of the new OS as Indian consumers with Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an expected retail price of just Rs 699. The other option is to buy a Mac, which has just got a new OS in Mountain Lion as well as a slew of upgraded devices. But consider this option only if you are comfortable working on Apple. It could be a bit difficult to fit in a Mac to an otherwise Windows-heavy environment.

Windows 8 is expected to be available for consumers from October 26 this year. So, if you can wait for a couple of months, it is better to buy a device running on the new OS. Even then, we wouldn't suggest that you take the plunge on October 27 itself . It would be better to hold on for another month to see what the first consumer reactions are. By then chances are that the teething problems would also have been ironed out. Recalling Microsoft's experience with Vista, that might just be a good idea. Windows 8 has already reached the release-to-manufacturing stage and by the yearend, you will also see new devices optimised for the OS. While there will be tablets, including Microsoft's own Surface, there will also be hybrid devices that work equally well with touch as well type.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and Asus Taichi, both of which can transform from Ultrabooks to tablets, have already given the world a sneak peek of what this new tribe will look like. You might not want to be stuck with an old laptop when these devices gain currency. These might not be an option if you are on tight budget though. Even if you don't want to buy an expensive hybrid, there will be a slew of laptop and Ultrabooks which will have features like the 'magic trackpad' which will let you use some touch-based gestures using the trackpad. This will ensure that you are not completely left out of the touch features of Windows 8. By then, Intel 3rd generation Ivy Bridge processors will also become a standard-only a handful of devices have Ivy Bridge now.

Life is not as confusing if you just want to buy a tablet. Yes, you will have to wait till the end of the year if you have decided on getting one of the first Windows 8 tablets. But otherwise it is a good time to buy a tablet. Here is why:

The new iPad is just a few months old and is still spanking new. It runs iOS 5, which is a top notch software even though the spectre of iOS 6, which has 200 new features, looms large. But software upgrades are something all Apple consumers have to live with. Just cross the bridge when you come to it. There are also rumours of a smaller 7-inch tablet from Apple, but such reports are better ignored till you actually see one of them in a store window.

Android is also in a sweet spot with version 4.0 Ice-Cream Sandwich devices finally becoming available in India. Users with older versions are also slowly upgrading. Buy a tablet with ICS and you will be happy. Just don't bother about any of the earlier versions. The next version, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, is round the corner. But knowing Android, the upgrades and new devices won't be here anytime soon. The only exception is the recently announced Google Nexus 7 tablet, which is now selling in India at a hefty premium.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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