It’s actually surprising that laptops with built-in 4G are not more common. We all use mobile data on our smartphones, and most tablets have SIM slots for this reason. 4G and 3G USB dongles are extremely common and you’ll often see people at cafes or in vehicles trying to get some work done outdoors. Those who don’t have dongles can tether their smartphones with a wire or over Bluetooth. With the cost of cellular data crashing over the past few years, there’s no reason not to. All of this makes us wish we could just slip a SIM card into our laptops so that we’re automatically and permanently online.
Still, laptop manufacturers simply aren’t adding cellular connectivity as a feature to laptops in India, not even on premium Ultrabooks where cost isn’t much of a factor, ports are disappearing, and mobility is everything. Qualcomm has promoted cellular data as a key value proposition for ARM-powered Windows laptops, but those haven’t made any impact on the market yet. Some manufacturers only offer cellular data to corporate customers who buy in bulk. Effectively, a huge market lies underserved and unsatisfied.
To our great surprise, it isn’t a big international conglomerate that’s picking up this opportunity, but iBall, the Indian affordable gadgets and accessories brand. The new iBall CompBook Netizen officially costs just under Rs. 25,000 but is listed at just Rs. 16,990 at its exclusive retailer, ShopClues.
The CompBook Netizen is billed as India’s first “always-connected PC”. This is the specific label that Microsoft, Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm use ultraportable PCs that boot up instantly and last multiple days on a single charge. Let’s see what iBall has brought to the market, and whether it’s the ideal laptop for work and entertainment on the go.