There it was, perched at Reliance Digital among the computer monitors. At Rs 13,000, the LG product was expensive, I thought, until I found that it had a built in TV. In fact, you can plug that thing with your direct-to-home set-top box to watch dozens of channels, and then link it to your laptop and watch a YouTube video on the Net. Sounds cool? It is.
I think we have come a long, long way since the time when buying a personal computer involved expensive, space-hogging contraptions. Consider this: when I bought my first PC, I had to buy a UPS (uninterrupted power supply), and then, the CRT monitor bloated on my desktop. It was all wired below to a mini tower that I hated because I hate bending and the thing looked ugly on my desktop.
Now, laptops have become so powerful, that I decided to buy one and use easy plug-and-play stuff to enhance my convenience. An external keyboard, a flat-screen monitor and a USB-linked mouse can give you all the comforts of an old-fashioned desktop, while you can simply unplug it all and take your laptop to a café and surf the Net with a wi-fi or wireless Internet. (I am having trouble with my Reliance Netconnect, but that's another story).
Zenith has come up with a double option with a sleek look under which you can buy a laptop/desktop combination with a nice docking station. I recently bought myself a Lenovo laptop, and also spotted a desktop Lenovo designed like an extension of the screen, with a slight bulge at the back.
There was a time when only Apple's Macintosh had those special features: quick booting, flat-and-cool looks and the minimum of wires. Now you can all it have in the old PC - though I am yet to see enough of the shining-white looks that gives the Macs their extra sex appeal.
But then, you don't have to pay through your nose to enjoy the snooty cult features that made the Mac famous. A lot of those things are now available at much lower prices. I spotted a BenQ machine with an AMD microprocessor priced at around Rs. 23,000 that packed in a clean, flat look with nice features. With Windows 7 software promising a quick boot and shut-down and the flat screen, stronger batteries and heavy-duty laptops providing plenty of cushion, the PC is no longer the Mac's cheap, ugly cousin.