A central problem in consumer technology is that the best products are usually very expensive. Hyderabad-based RDP Workstations Pvt. Ltd has been trying to solve that by producing low-cost alternatives.
The company’s latest laptop is aimed at students from families with income of under ₹2 lakh income per annum. RDP worked with a team from IIT Bombay, to make a special version of the Thinbook, meant for college students and bulk orders.
Design: Out of the box, the Thinbook actually impresses in terms of design. While it has a plastic body, the focus here is on keeping things utilitarian, but functional. The laptop weighs just over 1kg, helping keep a student’s bag light. It’s also thin and compact enough, so that it fits in almost any college bag along with books.
Performance: A factor that limits the audience for this laptop, though, is that it runs Debian Linux—an operating system that not many are familiar with. That said, if the primary audience is students who will use this to practise coding and access the internet, this may not be a problem.
One could easily argue that the Thinbook is extremely slow, except that alternatives like those made by better-known brands such as iBall or Micromax aren’t much faster either. The Intel Atom processors in these laptops were originally designed as mobile alternatives to PC processors, and they function accordingly with desktop software. The laptop has 4GB of RAM, improving on its predecessor.
What’s good here though is that the Thinbook does just enough for a first-time user to get some value out of the purchase. Sure, Gmail and Google Drive will work really slowly but it’s not so bad that you just can’t use an Internet browser.
Instead, this might be the laptop that gives the first-time user a taste of such a device, and hence have the onus to buy more powerful devices.
Like most other things about this laptop, the 11.6-inch screen is utilitarian. And that’s absolutely fine, because it gets the job done. You’re not looking at super wide viewing angles here, but when it matters, the screen will do the job for entertainment purposes, typing or browsing. Of course, this isn’t a laptop meant for photo editing, etc.
While RDP claims the laptop will run for over 10 hours on each charge, that could differ based on usage.
If you’re streaming videos through YouTube, etc., the laptop’s battery life seems to top out at about 7 hours, which is still dependable. The laptop’s own battery indicator suggests it will last for under 6 hours on 85% battery.
The RDP Thinbook isn’t a mainstream laptop, but it certainly holds its own against other low-cost laptops. Budget laptops from Dell, Lenovo, HP, etc., are significantly more expensive than this, which makes this the more accessible choice for a significant population of the country.