Buy-don’t buy dilemma

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. SO WHAT DO YOU DO? HERE ARE YOUR OP­TIONS.

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY NANDAGOPAL RA­JAN PHO­TO­GRAPH BY RA­JWANT RAWAT

Is this the right time to buy a tablet or a lap­top? To come to a de­ci­sion you should con­sider how ur­gent your need is and look at what is in store in the very near fu­ture.

BUT I HAVE TO BUY A LAP­TOP RIGHT AWAY ...

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 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.

I HAVE TO BUY, BUT YES, I CAN WAIT ...

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.

NOT A LAP­TOP, BUT YES, A TABLET ...

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:

iPad 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 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.

ARE YOU OKAY WITH WIN­DOWS 7 OR WILL YOU FEEL LEFT OUT WHEN FRIENDS START BUY­ING THE NEW BREED OF WIN­DOWS 8 HY­BRID DE­VICES WHICH WILL HAVE BOTH TOUCH AND TYPE OP­TIONS?

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