Business Today

Another low-cost wonder?

HCL has launched a low-cost laptop, but it isn’t revolutionary.

Print Edition: February 24, 2008

HCL’s MiLeap X-series laptop
HCL’s MiLeap X-series laptops
Let us explain why we do not think HCL’s MiLeap X-series laptop is a revolutionary piece of engineering. It is an Intel Classmate PC wearing an HCL logo. Don’t believe us? We actually got both machines and without their fancy faux-leather outfits, they’re the same in every way. Well, there’s one difference really: HCL’s machine runs Edubuntu, a version of Ubuntu Linux optimised for school kids and the Intel machine with us was running Windows XP.

At Rs 13,990, however, the HCL machine is attractive. Think of this as the ultimate e-mail-on-themove machine. Sure, the seveninch screen is rather small for a laptop, but it beats any email-enabled mobile phone hollow. Even with a data card for around Rs 2,500, the machine is still cheaper than most BlackBerrys, Nokia E-series or Windows Mobile devices.

But the screen is very small, and that is strange considering that there is so much grey space around the screen. The biggest drawback comes in the form of in-built storage of 2 GB. If you load Windows XP on it, there is barely 800 MB left. The device has two USB-slots and an SD-card slot for additional storage memory, but with mobile phones offering so much these days, one would have expected more. And that ultimately is the device’s problem.

Kushan Mitra

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