Help at Hand

Print Edition: September 2011

Q: I want to buy an all-in-one PC primarily for gaming and for regular use by my kids at home. Can you suggest a decent machine at a reasonable price?

Sanjay Kumar , on email

G&G: All-in-one PCs are a blessing if you don't have much space at home. As everything is contained within the monitor frame, the PC does not take up a lot of space. A decent one for home use is Lenovo's B320 which costs ` 30,000. The looks are very modern and you can use it for light gaming, multimedia and web access.

Q: For the past 10 years I have used a Compaq desktop for my computing needs (web surfing, Word docs, movies, etc.). Since my computer has started showing its age, I want to upgrade to a basic laptop. But with so many tablets around and talk of laptops becoming redundant, I am confused. My questions are:

- Is it wise to invest in a laptop or should I go for a tablet instead?
- If it has to be a laptop, please suggest specifications and which screen size betwen a 14 inch and 15 inch is better.
- Is the lack of Flash support in a tablet as important as made out to be?
- Is online shopping/ transaction safe on a tablet?
- Is it okay for a tablet to lack a DVD/Blu-ray drive?

Shrinivasprasad, on email

G&G:The usual life expectancy of a computer is about five years. You managed to run it for 10 years which makes you a hero for Compaq. As for your queries, laptops are not going out of fashion anywhere in the near future. Tablets and laptops are going to co-exist because they fulfil different needs.

So it'd be a good idea for you to invest in a laptop for your needs. As you want to use Word docs and watch movies, a larger screen with a physical keyboard will suit you well. Go for a 15-inch one which will be better for movies and web surfing. A configuration of the Intel Core i3 processor, 3 GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive should serve you well.

Flash support does not affect work much unless you keep feeding the tablet with movies and music. Usually a tablet comes with 16 GB space, which is adequate enough. As for online shopping, transactions on a tablet are as safe as on a computer with, say, a Windows operating system. You have the same or similar web browsers to faciliate commerce even on a tablet.

Today, most people have videos in digital format. But if you know that you are going to use a lot of DVDs or CDs, then tablets are not ideal for you.

Q: I'm desperately looking for a good and future-ready streaming media player as I have a huge cache of movies on my hard disk and don't want to convert them to DVDs. Can you please help me find a good media player and provide me with its price, format and features? Also, why do DVD player these days have USB slots? Can one play files inserting USB cable from HDD to DVD player, thus making them behave like a media player?

Deepak N Mer, on email

G&G: The iOmega Screenplay 1 TB is a great player that can store your movies and other media files. Its specs include USB 2.0, 1080P resolution, HDMI, Component, Composite, Coaxial ports, MP3, JPEG, DivX, MPEG support, PC/Mac Compatible. It weights 1 kg and is available for ` 10,000. Yes, these days DVD players have USB ports, which enable them to play media files from USB pen drives. Some players support plug-andplay hard drives as well, but most do not. They can only power up a USB pen drive. So check with the dealer before purchasing a DVD player with USB support.

Q: I want to purchase the iPhone but I am totally confused about what I should consider while buying an Apple phone. There are different models like the iPhone 3G, the 3GS, and the iPhone 4 available in the stores with different capacities of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB. If I purchase any version, would I be able to access the full Apple App Store or would I face restriction on access to apps, depending on whether my device is 3G, 3GS, or 4?

Anand Nayyar, on email

G&G: As you are anyway bent on getting an Apple iPhone for yourself, we recommend that you opt for the iPhone 4. Since there are hardware differences among all the three devices, there are naturally a lot many applications that benefits from the iPhone 4's better hardware. In any case, there are many applications that are not compatible with the iPhone 3G/3GS versions. As for different storage capacities, the iPhone 4 is available in 16GB and 32GB models. While we suggest you buy the iPhone 4, which capacity you should choose is a decision that you would have to take yourself since it depends on the funds you have to spare. Your choice also depends on how much data you want to transfer to your phone. With these in mind, you can decide the model.

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