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  • Raghav Sand

The Evergreen Laptop

Electronic devices and gadgets are productivity tools – nothing less and nothing more. Being aware about the price-performance ratio of a product helps to save valuable resources and later use the surplus on other necessary items. We may have a gadget of choice, but it is difficult to overlook the utility and convenience of a laptop. A few years back, many commentators in the tech ecosystem had written premature obituary for the personal computer (PC). Laptop ticks all the boxes right; it surpasses other comparable devices by a healthy margin. Laptop sales account for almost 80% of all PCs sold. And, there is good reason for it.

Creation Before Consumption

Every electronic device has inherent utility and constraint. Laptops are no different. That said, we cannot ignore the fact that any form of information and audio-visual content are first created and then consumed. Smartphones and tablets get disproportionate attention. YouTube videos, podcasts and blogs never seem to get enough of candy bars and slates. Smartphones and tablets are meant for media consumption and on the go connectivity.

Pandemic and Laptops

It is almost two years since Covid-19 pandemic imposed unparallel restrictions on the workforce, learners, and life in general. Work from home and study from home have become the norm and some sort of hybrid work and study arrangements are here to stay. Businesses and non-profits equipped their staff with essential computer hardware and home-office equipment. Millions of laptops were shipped to homes of employees and depending upon the scale and scope of a particular function, some even received large display screens.

Entertainment and gaming have played their part in taking PC sales to new highs. Number of hours spent on consuming audio-visual content and playing online games has risen exponentially in the past two years. High-end PC sales have surpassed all expectations. Finding the desired hardware is no child’s play. Governments and charitable institutions have distributed several thousand laptops to promising and needy students.

In July-September 2021, forty-five lakh (4.5 million) PCs were shipped in India. It was the biggest ever quarter for PC shipments. All this despite ongoing supply and logistical challenges. Laptop sales are not going to slowdown anytime soon.

Investment and Expense

Without going in to the academic and accounting definition of investment and expense, it is advisable for consumers to know the basic meaning of these two terms. Broadly, investment is associated with an asset that has a useful life of several years, while expense is recurring in nature. A laptop can do everything a smartphone or tablet can do, except take stunning pictures/videos and share it instantly on social media.

Laptops have longer life cycle. Most upgrades in PC technology are evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Laptops can be used for long periods. If a person wishes to replace the laptop to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations, nothing will be able to match its overall portability and utility. Premium tablets come with the option of detachable keypad and pen. These accessories are not cheap by any stretch of imagination. A premium smartphone or tablet is not essential, rather they are nice-to-have, if you have spare money and time to spend.

Whether it is the Government, a Fortune 500 company, or a start-up that has achieved a billion-dollar valuation, every sensible and sustainable entity has a budget. When these deep-pocketed institutions evaluate an expense by its price-performance-utility ratio, why should you as an everyday consumer do something otherwise. There is no bravado in overspending or buying trophy gadgets. Marketers attach an aspirational value with their products and even the rational people succumb to the hype. Evaluating self-worth and massaging ego with high-ticket item does more harm than good in both the short and long term to your finances and emotional well-being. Invest more in productivity and evaluate purchase decisions with objectivity.

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