It is one of those times when I actually sit down in TV lounge to watch TV with my father who is the only one interested in watching news. Nowadays, the best entertainment on TV is when a political drama is being broadcasted live and it becomes a home theatre when the event has stirred the whole nation in some way. Anyways, here I was wondering whether I am witnessing a freedom speech or a concert, but I don’t care, I was bored and this is the only time TV offers any real laughs.
My alliance was clearly defined, well if not before, then now up until three months ago when I attended PM Youth Laptop Scheme 2014. Why wouldn’t it be? I mean I got a free Haier Laptop. 😉
I was not a big fan of Haier especially when my only close encounter with Haier products were their AC’s at my institution. Every time I walked past these, I used to think out loud to my friend, “Who makes a logo like this? I mean seriously orange kids, at least they could have chosen less bright colors.” So imagine my horror when I thought of the same logo on the back of the laptop.
It has been almost three months since I am using the laptop and now is the perfect time to write a review on it.
Here goes a detailed review for all the remaining 98,200 students who have still to get the Laptop under PM Laptop Scheme 2014. (Though I am not sure about the laptop distribution considering the political instability in the country.)
The laptop design is pretty good and no less than any other brand in the market. It is light weight, slim about a little over half an inch thick from the side and has a sleek “goldinish silver” color. A 12-inch wide display screen with 1-inch black bezel on the four sides. There is “Haier” written in silver at the bottom of the screen. The back of the laptop has a dark silver engraved “Haier” on the extreme left in the middle and a logo of “PM Laptop Scheme” in the center.
The left side of the notebook has a Power Adapter Port to plug in the AC adapter in order to power it. Right next to it is Kensington Lock Slot with which you can lock your laptop to an immovable object with a security cable. Then comes the LAN (RJ-450) port which supports a Base-T RJ-45 plug compatible with 10/100/1000 Mbps data rates.
After that we have all the basics such as heat vent, HDMI port, 2 USB ports and memory card reader. The USB port supports a v.3 standard capable of transferring data at 4.8 Gbps.
I believe that the heat vent and the Power Adapter Port should not have been on the same side. The charging cable comes right in front of the heat vent and the heat released can damage the wire. Though you can change the position of the wire but still it was not a wise design move.
The right side of the notebook has an optical drive with another USB port and an Audio Combo Jack (Headphone & Microphone Jack). The front of the laptop has three LED status indicator lights for Power On state, AC adapter status and a Hard Disk Drive Activity state.
Right at the top of the screen is a HD/VGA camera (according to the user manual) and since they forgot to mention the pixels, I have to assume it’s a 1.3 MP camera backed by the image quality.
The Lithium Ion Battery is placed at the usual place but a word of caution; don’t grab your laptop from the back because a slight tug or force will leave you with the battery in your hand and your laptop will hit the ground. Be careful! The battery offers almost 4-5 hours of charge.
The keyboard is just like any other laptop and surprisingly it does not include Urdu alphabets. It was really irritating for me to use F keys by pressing Fn as well. Maybe because I have always used the F keys directly. The keypad is not smooth and not easy to use. It feels like you need to drag your figure rather strongly on it and sometimes it does stuck.
When you switch on the laptop, you are greeted with the PM Laptop Scheme logo and then the pre-installed Windows 8.1 Pro takes over. This Windows version boots the laptop pretty quickly, so this is an advantage. Well, I guess all of you know about the OS.
Overall the performance of the laptop is pretty good as long as you are not doing any heavy work. For the first 1-2 months I used this laptop for small tasks and installed no new software on it. A couple of days back when I installed this latest version of Matlab on it, not only it lagged but also started giving me “Less Disk Space” warnings. That’s when I realized that it’s C-Drive was given only 80 GB of the 500 GB hard disk in the laptop.
All the other original brands out there always have large C-drive space and a recovery image of the OS available. This laptop, however, had dedicated less than 100 GB to the C-Drive and there was no back-up recovery image. That’s when I divulged in the world of Hard Disk Partitioning for the first time. (By the way, the online tutorials suck.) Finally I was able to increase the C-drive space with EaseUS. I still have to make the recovery though. I have also read that this may be the problem related with Windows 8.1, but I am not sure about it.
During the partitioning and when I finally ran a half hour long simulation on Matlab, it not only heated up quickly but also became slow making it difficult to navigate with an already sluggish keypad.
If the Wi-Fi gets disconnected, it takes almost a minute to reconnect again. The sound quality is really bad, even with the full volume you cannot hear the sound properly in the noisy area. You will have to use the headphones to hear the sound clearly. However, if the audio or video is played using Windows 8 application; the sound quality improves and it also depends on how good the audio is on your music or movies.
Manufacturer: Haier Information Technology Co. Ltd
Model: Haier Win8.1 PC
Processor: Intel(R) Core™ i3-4010U CPU @1.70GHz
System Type: 64-bit OS
Operating System: Pre-installed Windows 8.1 Pro
Memory Type: DDR3 1333MHz
Hard Disk Capacity: 500GB
CD-ROM : Built-in Optical Drive
Screen Size: 12”
Screen Resolution: 1366×768
Graphics: Intel ® HD Graphics Family
Audio: Microphone (Realtek HD Audio) & Speakers (Realtek HD Audio)
Camera: 720p HD Webcam
Wireless LAN: 802.11b/g/n
The laptop design is good and it seems an honest work has been done in its design. The overall design is commendable with the exception of the placement of heat vent and power adapter port on the same side. According to my three months experience with the laptop, the performance of the laptop was good when it was not pushed harder. When the work load was increased in terms of using heavy softwares and longer simulations, the laptop became a little sluggish and heated up. This problem might not be noticeable initially when it is still new but in the long run the laptop may start showing signs of problems a lot earlier than other competitors in the market. The battery time is amazing, however, the battery should have been more securely placed in the battery compartment. The fact that it takes a little over a minute to reconnect with Wi-Fi may indicate that the radio sensors installed are not strong enough. In addition, the sound quality fluctuates, a few times the audio is hearable and other times the sound is too low forcing to take your headphones out.
RATING : 3.3/5.0
* The background of Haier logo is that of a cartoon series based on two Haier Brothers who travel around the world to deal with disasters. The cartoon series was released in 1966 with 212 episodes and each episode was 11 minutes long. The orange description of the kids is as I remember them, though I was unable to find it over the internet.
* This article was written without any political influence and gives a personal experience of the author. Anything political mentioned was just part of making the article more informal and enjoyable.
* Image Courtesy: Prime Minister Laptop Scheme Official