Friday, 29 December 2017

Best budget tech of 2017

In late 2016, a number of vendors released entry laptops with 4GB rather than 2GB RAM. For example, we had the HP Stream 14 and the Acer ES11/ES13. Yet, these devices remained restricted due to their underpowered processors. For this reason, I found the Lenovo 110S with its better quad-core N3160 a better proposition in comparison to slower dual-core N3350/N3060 laptops with 4GB RAM. The device serves the purpose of a secondary mobile laptop and comes with a one-year office 365 subscription. Lenovo recently updated the 110S with the 120S. The latter device, in its base configuration, comes with a weaker dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 Processor, making the previous generation the better option. While technically released in late 2016, I think the Ideapad 110S is the best entry-level laptop in 2017.

Beyond the entry-level but within the budget category, we have seen the release of a number of laptops with full HD screens, more powerful quad-core processors, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The 14 inch Asus Vivobook L403 and the Acer Swift 1 13 are examples and both are capable laptops. Smaller vendors released similar laptops at lower prices but these devices need to be imported from China, leading to possible complications with after-sale support (on the plus side, I have noticed Geekbuying.com are now shipping laptops from warehouses based in Germany). Based on positive reviews, the Chuwi Lapbook 14.1 and Jumper EZBOOK 3 PRO are the pick of the bunch.

Tablets

Amazon owns the budget tablet category. Cutting the right corners, Amazon delivered stand out tablets in the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10. The Fire HD 8 is a solid device, with very good battery life, that delivers what most users expect from a tablet. The Fire HD 10 surpasses expectations with a screen that compares with mid-level tablets. Beyond Amazon, Lenovo released the Tab 4 HD 8; the device is priced higher than Fire HD 8 but comes with a better screen, better cameras and more RAM.

Concerning e-readers, Barnes & Noble released the Nook Glowlight 3 but the device is only available in the US. It will be interesting to see what Amazon do with the Kindle Paperwhite in 2018. I expect Amazon to release a six-inch Kindle Paperwhite 4 but with incremental updates.

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