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How to Choose a Laptop for Online Learning on a Budget

Looking for the best budget laptop for online classes? Well you’ve come to the right place. We’ve already explored the various types of budget desktops that are available in the Indian market and now it’s time to look at laptops. While everyone wants a slim and powerful laptop, spending a lot of money might not…

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How to Choose a Laptop for Online Learning on a Budget

Looking for the best budget laptop for online classes? Well you’ve come to the right place. We’ve already explored the various types of budget desktops that are available in the Indian market and now it’s time to look at laptops. While everyone wants a slim and powerful laptop, spending a lot of money might not always be the right answer, especially if attending online classes and basic productivity apps are all you’ll be using the computer for. There are plenty of inexpensive options in the market, and in this guide, we’ll run through some of the popular series and models you should keep an eye on from well-known brands. Just like our desktop guide, we’re focusing mainly on the established brands for one simple reason — better after-sales support. Laptops might not be as flexible as desktops when it comes to upgrading components but unlike a desktop, they are highly portable so you can take your work with you wherever you go. If you need a laptop for just attending classes or writing assignments and are not dependent on any app for your work or studies, you should also consider Chromebooks. These are laptops that run Google’s operating system called Chrome OS, which is lighter and easier to run on low-end hardware compared to Windows. You have access to the entire Google suite of apps and you can also download Android apps from the Google Play Store. Matching your expectations with your budget Before you head out, it’s important to identify your budget and accordingly, set your expectations. You can get a Windows 10 laptop starting at around Rs. 20,000 but finding one from a big-name brand is tough. Hyderabad-based startup RDP has its ThinBook 1010 and so does local brand Avita with its Essential series. Most laptops around this price come with an Intel Celeron or Pentium CPU, 4GB of RAM, an HD resolution display, and a low-capacity eMMC for storage. Local brands such as Avita offer laptops starting at around Rs. 20,000   Bumping up your budget to around Rs. 30,000 will get you many more options from established players such as HP and Lenovo. In this segment, you should be able to expect slightly more powerful CPUs such as AMD’s Ryzen 3 series and Intel’s older 10th Gen Core i3 models. Hard drive sizes are typically 1TB in this segment, but this would be a mechanical hard drive and not flash storage. The RAM will still be 4GB with most of them, which is not ideal for Windows 10 so it’s better if you upgrade to at least 8GB after purchase. Pushing your budget to around Rs. 45,000 opens the doors to better CPUs, more RAM and full-HD displays. You can also find models in this price range with mechanical drives and SSDs, which should offer a snappier Windows experience. Of course, there’ll always be better models as you go up the price ladder, but that’s beyond the scope of this guide. Now that you know how much you wish to spend and what sort of components you can expect, let’s take a look at what’s available in the market from some of the well-known brands. Microsoft Windows laptops 
Dell has a decent selection of budget laptops from its Inspiron and Vostro lines. The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 series starts at around Rs. 29,500 which gets you an AMD Athlon Silver 3050U CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch HD display, and either a 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD or a 1TB hard drive, based on which model you pick. Bumping your budget closer to Rs. 40,000 will get you 8GB of RAM, an AMD Ryzen 3 3250U CPU, and a full-HD display. The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 series offers decent specs for the price   Dell’s Vostro series is aimed at small business users but works well for basic home use too. The Dell Vostro 15 3500 is the least expensive at around Rs. 30,000, and offers basic specifications such as an Intel Pentium Gold 7505 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 1TB hard drive, but a full-HD 15.6-inch display. Spending around Rs. 10,000 more will get you a better Intel Core i3 10th Gen CPU, 8GB of RAM, and options for SSD storage. HP has a similar distinction with its product lines for home and business users. Its 14s and 15s series of laptops for home users can be found at heavily discounted rates online. You can expect similar specifications as Dell’s Inspiron 15 line with choices of AMD or Intel CPUs, mechanical or flash storage, and 8GB of RAM in the models costing closer to Rs. 40,000.HP’s business line of laptops might be less flashy but it does offer competitive specifications within our budget. Look out for the G7 and G8 series of laptops which have AMD Ryzen 3 and Intel 11th Gen CPUs for between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000. HP’s G8 line of business laptops isn’t exactly eye-catching but gets the job done   You’ll find plenty of Lenovo V14 and V15 series laptops priced at around Rs. 40,000 (lower if you look online) which offer decent designs and current-get specs such as Intel’s 11th Gen CPUs. If you’re looking for something more stylish and portable, you can try Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 3i which, at a starting price below Rs. 40,000, has an Intel 11th Gen Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a full-HD 15.6-inch display. You can also find some interesting deals for student laptops on its website. If you fancy a budget Acer laptop then you should be focusing on its Aspire 3 and Aspire 5 series. Going by Acer’s own online store, prices start as low as Rs. 26,499 for which you get decent specs such as an AMD Athlon Silver 3050U CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive with the option of adding an NVMe SSD later. The Aspire 5 range starts a bit higher, at around Rs. 38,999, but this series offers a slimmer design and better CPU specs. Acer’s Aspire 5 series offers stylish looks while still being easy on the wallet   Acer also has its Extensa range of mainstream models if you’re on a really tight budget. We also spotted an Acer TravelMate series laptop with impressive specs (Core i3 11th Gen, 8GB RAM, full-HD display, 1TB hard drive) going for just Rs. 37,999 on Amazon. If you’re looking for value-for-money specs, then it’s hard to beat Xiaomi’s RedmiBook 15 e-Learning Edition, which was recently launched at Rs. 41,999. For this money, you get a full-HD display, Intel Core i3 11th Gen CPU, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. If you need more storage, there’s a 512GB SSD variant for Rs. 44,999. Realme also recently launched its first laptop called the Realme Book (Slim), which goes slightly beyond the scope of this guide but is a decent option if you don’t mind spending around Rs. 46,999. The base model gets you an Intel Core i3 11th Gen CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 2K (2160×1440) resolution display. The Xiaomi RedmiBook 15 e-Learning Edition is a good budget option to consider    Asus has long offered value-for-money laptops in the Indian market and that continues today. Its VivoBook 14 and 15 series offer competitive specs for the price. The Asus VivoBook 15 X515 for instance starts at roughly Rs. 30,000, which gets you an Intel Pentium Silver N5030 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a full-HD display. Asus also offers a stylish EeeBook 14 E410 series which comes with an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for about Rs. 24,990. Google Chromebooks If your work or studies do not require the use of any specific Windows application, then you really should consider getting a Chromebook. Google’s lightweight OS should offer better performance than Windows on the same hardware, plus longer battery life. Chromebooks can get really expensive, as much as Windows thin-and-light laptops, but there are affordable options too. The Lenovo Duet Chromebook is an affordable 2-in-1 which can be used as a tablet or laptop   The HP Chromebook 14a is available at Rs. 27,999 which gets you an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage which is expandable, and a 14-inch HD display. Earlier this April, the company also announced an 11-inch model called the HP Chromebook 11a with a MediaTek MT8183 SoC, 4GB of RAM and a promise of up to 16 hours of battery life. Lenovo has a nice budget-friendly offering called the Duet Chromebook. It’s a 10.1-inch convertible laptop with a detachable screen and built-in kickstand, starting at Rs. 26,999. Last but not least, Asus has a few mainstream models too with varying screen sizes, including the Chrombook Flip which comes with a 360-degree rotating keyboard. Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.
Roydon Cerejo writes about smartphones and laptops for Gadgets 360, out of Mumbai. He is the Deputy Editor (Reviews) at Gadgets 360. He has frequently written about the smartphone and PC industry and also has an interest in photography. With over a decade of experience covering the consumer technology space, he is also an avid sci-fi movie and TV show geek and is always up for good horror flick. Roydon is available at [email protected], so please send in your leads and tips.
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Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) With 11th Gen Intel Core i9 Processor, 4K Mini LED Display Launched in India

Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) was launched in India on Monday. The laptop comes with an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 and features a 120Hz mini-LED display. It also carries Thunderbolt 4 ports and is equipped with DTS:X Ultra sound. Additionally, there are preloaded modes to deliver a customised performance experience. Acer initially unveiled the Predator…

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Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) With 11th Gen Intel Core i9 Processor, 4K Mini LED Display Launched in India

Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) was launched in India on Monday. The laptop comes with an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 and features a 120Hz mini-LED display. It also carries Thunderbolt 4 ports and is equipped with DTS:X Ultra sound. Additionally, there are preloaded modes to deliver a customised performance experience. Acer initially unveiled the Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) in the US. The laptop is aimed at hardcore gaming enthusiasts and PC gamers looking to play graphically demanding games.Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) price in India, availability detailsAcer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) price in India starts at Rs. 3,79,999. The laptop will be available for purchase in the country through the Acer Online Store, Acer Exclusive Stores, and other authorised retail stores.In August, the Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) was launched in the US with a starting price of $2,499.99 (roughly Rs. 1,88,600).Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) specificationsThe Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) features a 17.3-inch 4K Mini LED display that is powered by an AUO AmLED technology and has a 120Hz refresh rate. Under the hood, the laptop has an overclockable 11th-generation Intel Core i9 processor (supporting up to 5.01GHz clock speed), along with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU (16GB GDDR6 VRAM) and 64GB DDR4 3200MHz memory. The machine also has a pair of PCIe NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 and one SATA HDD. Further, there is a Vortex Flow technology that uses two fans, including a fifth-generation AeroBlade 3D Fan. The proprietary technology is claimed to help redirect airflow to critical components and boost performance during heavy gaming sessions.Acer has also provided its PredatorSense technology on the Predator Helios 500 that can be used to customise the light cluster and personalise keyboard using the built-in per-key RGB backlighting. The laptop also has the WASD key assembly that works with Acer’s MagForce keys and includes a MagTek mechanical switch to help gamers transform regular keypress functions into a joystick mechanism. This is claimed to gradually increase pressure on the key for precise control over the character’s / car’s speed – from the initial (0.8 mm), press all the way to full speed at 100 percent (3 / 3.1 mm) actuation.Connectivity options on the Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) include an HDMI 2.1, mini-DP1.4, two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports with offline charging support, and an RJ45 port. The laptop also has an Intel Killer E3100 Ethernet Controller, Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, and the Killer Intelligence Center for an enhanced connectivity experience.The Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) includes DTS:X Ultra audio that helps provide a 360-degree surround sound experience using a pair of headphones or speakers.

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Nvidia to Launch RTX 2060 From 2019, Now With 12GB Memory, to Combat Global GPU Shortage

Nvidia has confirmed the reissue of the RTX 2060 but now with 12GB of VRAM, a GPU that was launched in 2019, as part of a move to alleviate sky-high prices of GPUs during the global chip shortage. The original Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card was released in 2019 and came with 6GB of memory.…

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Nvidia to Launch RTX 2060 From 2019, Now With 12GB Memory, to Combat Global GPU Shortage

Nvidia has confirmed the reissue of the RTX 2060 but now with 12GB of VRAM, a GPU that was launched in 2019, as part of a move to alleviate sky-high prices of GPUs during the global chip shortage. The original Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card was released in 2019 and came with 6GB of memory. The company has announced that the renewed Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU with double the memory of the original model will soon be available, although pricing is yet to be announced.The company has announced the revised Nvidia RTX 2060 in the release notes for the company’s Game Ready Driver 497.00 that was launched on December 2. Nvidia has also listed the specifications on its website, revealing that the new GeForce RTX 2060 will feature a higher base clock speed and offers 2,176 CUDA cores, instead of the 1,920 cores found on the 2019 model.Power consumption is also higher at 185W, up from 160W on the older model, according to Nvidia. As previously mentioned, the GPU will also feature 12GB of memory, twice that of the RTX 2060 from two years ago. The specifications of the renewed RTX 2060 GPU suggest it could be positioned as an entry-level graphics card for gamers, in a market with a high demand for GPUs. The company has not provided a launch date, but The Verge reports that the GPU will be available from December 7.Earlier this year, Nvidia had announced that it would relaunch the GTX 1050 Ti and the RTX 2060, in an attempt to alleviate the problems caused by the global semiconductor shortage that has hit the computing industry. Over the past year, scalpers (who buy GPUs in bulk and sell them at a premium) and cryptocurrency mining have ensured that the prices of GPUs like the Nvidia RTX 3060 are high, while stocks are limited. The company is re-releasing older, lower-powered GPUs is to ensure graphics cards are available for those who need to purchase GPUs without waiting for restocks.

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Snapdragon 2022 Chips Coming for Chromebooks, Nintendo Switch, and Android Flagships

At the annual Snapdragon Tech Summit this week Qualcomm announced a new generation of chips under its Snapdragon branding. The showstopper was Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that is essentially an incremental update to last year’s Snapdragon 888 and is meant for next-generation flagship Android phones coming later this year and next year. The San Diego-based…

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Snapdragon 2022 Chips Coming for Chromebooks, Nintendo Switch, and Android Flagships

At the annual Snapdragon Tech Summit this week Qualcomm announced a new generation of chips under its Snapdragon branding. The showstopper was Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that is essentially an incremental update to last year’s Snapdragon 888 and is meant for next-generation flagship Android phones coming later this year and next year. The San Diego-based company, however, also brought the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 as two of its new system-on-chip (SoC) models for Windows laptops and Chromebooks, and the Snapdragon G3x as its chip designed for handheld gaming devices.Host Akhil Arora speaks with Reviews Editor Jamshed Avari and Senior Reviewer Sheldon Pinto on this week’s episode of Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital to discuss Qualcomm’s new announcements.The big launch for phones at this year’s Snapdragon Tech Summit was the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. The chip doesn’t have massive upgrades over the Snapdragon 888 that was launched last year. However, it does have some incremental changes that are claimed to help deliver better processing, faster artificial intelligence (AI) performance, and an upgraded graphics rendering.The one big change that comes with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the new branding that moves away from the existing number series. This was obvious as Qualcomm was running out of numbers — thanks to the launch of various Snapdragon number-series models in the recent past. Qualcomm also seems to now be promoting Snapdragon as a distinct brand by using the new nomenclature.Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 carries an all-new branding that sans the company’s number-series titlePhoto Credit: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is also claimed to have some compelling features including an 18-bit image signal processor (ISP) that enables capturing of 8K HDR videos. There is also a new always-on ISP that Qualcomm says will help enable always-on face unlocking, and lock the device when you are not looking at the screen. This particular update may raise some privacy concerns though.Qualcomm has also developed an on-device AI technology in partnership with health-tech company Sonde Health that is claimed to analyse users’ vocal patterns to determine whether they are at risk of health conditions including asthma, depression, and COVID-19.The features that come with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 may help Qualcomm retain its strong presence in the smartphone market in 2022 and make it an active competitor against Taiwan’s MediaTek that also has its Dimensity range of 5G chips.Alongside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 as its new chip for premium Windows laptops and Chromebooks. It comes as the successor to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 and is built using the 5nm process technology. The chip claims to offer faster performance over competitive x86 platforms. The company also brought the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 chip for affordable laptops and Chromebooks, along with 5G connectivity support.Both Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 appear to be Qualcomm’s answer to Intel and AMD — the traditional chipmakers in the market of laptops. However, Qualcomm rival MediaTek is also exploring to gain both revenues and popularity in the laptop market with its own chips.And as a foray into a new market, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 as its first chip for handheld gaming devices. This could be embraced by manufacturers looking to develop dedicated hardware for mobile gamers. Companies including Asus, Black Shark, and Nubia in the past tried to please that audience with their gaming phones. But Qualcomm seems to have taken a different approach this time.Qualcomm showcased a handheld gaming device concept in collaboration with Razer that it is giving to developers to build games for its new move. We are, though, yet to see how big the chipmaker and partners like Razer could do to make a shift in the gaming industry with their ongoing efforts.Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Handheld Gaming Developer Kit is a concept of what we could see in the futurePhoto Credit: Qualcomm We discuss all this and more in this episode of Orbital. You can catch it by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.You can also find the Gadgets 360 podcast on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Gaana, JioSaavn, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.Don’t forget to follow/ subscribe to Orbital wherever you’re listening. Please also rate us and leave a review.New Orbital episodes release every Friday, so make sure to tune in each week.

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