Laptops are back in vogue. All those estimates about the smartphone replacing the PC as a work tool and laptops being the unnecessary and avoidable stage in the evolution, have been turned on their head. With millions around the world working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the need for laptops to get work done, is more urgent than ever before. Almost all laptop makers, including HP and Asus, have seen a spike in laptop demand in the past few weeks. The key reactions include new launches, more offers to entice potential customers and easier availability online and offline. However, HP seems to have hit the sweet spot with an added connectivity feature which could make life easier for many who may not have a reliable broadband connection at home, or in fact, no broadband at all. Yes, 4G LTE integrated in the laptop itself.
HP is adding three laptops to its line-up in India that integrate 4G LTE connectivity. The HP 14s with the Intel Core i3 processor and the HP 14s with the Intel Core i5 processor which are now available for Rs 44,999 and Rs 64,999 respectively, while the HP Pavilion x360 convertible arrives in July with a price tag of Rs 84,999. Mind you, the 4G LTE connectivity in laptops isn’t exactly new. But thus far, its utility and uptake were restricted to the enterprise-focused laptops. Those cost significantly more too.
Democratization of technology
HP realizes the importance of 4G LTE connectivity for a wider demographic of users, in the new world order. “With remote working becoming the new normal, the HP 14s range is aimed at arming employees and employers to battle the given situation. Being India’s first PC with personal internet at affordable price point, we aim to address key concerns such as security and connectivity of the modern users,” says Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems, HP India. This, safe to say, is much simpler than connecting a laptop to a 4G hotspot on your phone when the home broadband or office Wi-Fi decides to not play ball.
What are my options?
At present, you have the choice of the HP 14s-er0002tu which is priced at Rs 44,999 and the HP 14s-er0003tu which has a sticker price of Rs 64,999. The former is powered by the Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor with 4GB RAM while the latter gets the Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor with 8GB RAM. Both come with 1TB internal storage HDD, but the HP 14s-er0003tu also gets a 256GB SSD to go with that. Both laptops have 14-inch Full HD IPS screens, run Windows 10 and weigh around 1.5kg.
How does this work?
Having 4G LTE in your laptop isn’t as complicated as you may imagine. Basically, the laptop has an integrated SIM card slot and an LTE modem that allows you connect to a mobile network for data. Much like how you may have seen or used an Apple iPad or other Android tablets that may have also had the 4G LTE connectivity option. In HP’s case, they are using the Intel XMM 7360 4G LTE6 hardware with the 10th generation Intel Core processors. You simply slot in a SIM card into the laptop, allow Windows 10 to configure it for you and that’s it—you get connected to the mobile network of your SIM card provider, for data access while at home or on the move.
Will any SIM card work?
Yes, any SIM card will be compatible with the 4G LTE connectivity that the laptop provides. As long as you have a valid prepaid recharge or an active postpaid billing plan that also offers data, you are good to go. That means in India, you can use any Airtel, Vodafone or Reliance Jio SIM card with the HP laptops. There is no restriction on any prepaid recharge pack or bill plan. Everything will work seamlessly.
HP has some special offers if you wish to use Reliance Jio services with the HP 14s or the HP Pavilion x360. You can get a Reliance Jio SIM with 6 months of free 1.5GB data per day as well as access to Jio’s ecosystem of apps including Jio Cinema. HP says that once the 6-month free usage period is complete, there will be a discount of 30% on Jio’s data plans. “To redeem this offer, consumers need to visit a Reliance Jio store and share the laptop invoice and serial number details,” says HP.