I bought my Desktop PC from Lucknow to Delhi as I am more avid fan of a desktop then laptop, so now I needed a computer for my home in Lucknow, something my dad & sisters can easily use.

Few days ago, I went to Nehru Place to buy a laptop with my friend, he was eying netbooks which all had Intel Atom CPU & were available for Rs 20,000 approx. However, he wanted to run Windows 7 on it & doubted the power of Intel Atom with Intel GMA 500 onboard graphics which is default on all the Netbooks out there. He wasn’t wrong, Intel Atom doesn’t have sufficient power to give a good Windows 7 experience.

Then we saw something which we really like & found totally worth them money. We found Samsung R517 Laptop for just Rs 25,000 which comes with FreeDOS. The reason it is available for this cost is due to the exclusion of an Operating system which reduces the cost. I bought this laptop for my family today.

By looking at the laptop, you can easily confuse it with Lenovo ThinkPad R series laptops. Even I was confused when I saw it for the first time. Samsung has tried to go with a no-frills, no-jazzy look with this laptop. Its a simple, plain laptop which has enough potential & power as primary laptop for my family who uses a computer ones in a while only & there tasks constitutes of browsing, Microsoft Office, chatting, watching movies, music etc but the most important thing to note here is that they don’t use the computer everyday. There, it opens ones or twice a week only.

Keeping this in mind, I decided to buy this laptop for my home too as I did not want to spend a lot of money & wanted something which can support Windows 7 Home premium easily & can be used for the next 3 years without even touching.

The laptop configuration is as follows :

Intel Pentium dual core T4200 running at 2 GHz with 800 MHz FSB

15.6” glossy screen with a resolution of 1376X768px

2 GB DDR2 800 MHz RAM

250 GB 5400 RPM Samsung SATA2 Hard disk

Intel GMA X4500 onboard graphics

Realtek 5.1 channel HD audio with SRS

.3 MP Webcam which is sufficient enough for Video chats

rest as usual, like Wi-Fi, etc. One thing to note that there is no Onboard Bluetooth. I wonder why Samsung decided to exclude it. I bought a generic Bluetooth dongle with it for Rs 150. The display as you see is glossy, something we designers do not prefer but for home use its good, videos look awesome on it, specially HD Videos. The laptop was handling 1080p video just fine

For full configuration, check Samsung’s Product page for R517

The right hand side of laptop has only the DVD writer while the left hand side contains 3 USB Port, one Wired LAN port, Micro SD card reader, Audio & Mic ports & one VGA Port to attach external monitor.

Like I said, simple yet effective package. There isn’t what people won’t need & it is sufficient for most people as far as hardware peripherals are concerned.

I decided to install Windows 7 home premium & decided not to install pirated software as long as not required. I was surprised to see that we can make a fully working Windows system without paying anything for the software. Here is what I used :

1) Browser : Internet Explorer 8 is given in Windows 7 by default but I decided to install Google Chrome official version with extensions like Adsweep, flashblock & smoothscroll just because it is faster then IE 8 overall. Also, Chrome integrated with Windows even better then Firefox. Firefox would have been too alien for them as IE 8 or Google Chrome are good enough out of the box while Firefox needs a lot of extensions to make it work good.

2) I decided to use Free Download Manager which easily integrates with both IE 8 & Chrome. It automatically takes over Chrome’s downloader using a Netscape compatible dll.

3) Chatting : Personally, I have moved to Digsby, but my sister still prefers to use individual messenger clients because they provide better features like PhotoShare of Yahoo messenger. I install what we all are used to using, latest version of Google talk, Yahoo messenger, Skype & Windows Live Messenger.

4) Office suite : Though I could have given them OpenOffice, but just because I had a license spare & my sister is more familiar with Office 2007, I gave her Office 2007 Student edition as she only needs Excel & Word.

5) E-Mail : Well, she is better off using Web mail clients considering the huge space in GBs that they allow today.

6) Windows Live Suite & applications : This is something worth noticing. With Windows 7, Microsoft has tightened the integration between Windows Live apps & Windows. Frankly speaking, everything is already given which is just a download away. I installed Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Photo Gallery & Windows Movie Maker which is enough for the way they use & manage videos & images. Considering I also have a Sony CyberShot digicam which I will be giving at home, Windows Live Photo Gallery fulfils the requirements completely. All they do is copy the image, crop out the unwanted areas & mail to whoever is concerned.

7) For image editing, I decided to stick with Paint. Usually, there isn’t much editing they will need, except for resizing, cropping etc which paint is good enough to do because with Windows 7, Microsoft made Paint a half decent editor with basic features which are usually used like resizing, cropping.

8 ) For security, I decided to stick with a properly configured Windows Firewall, Windows defender & Microsoft Security essentials antivirus. These 3 integrate beautifully in Windows 7 & they run like “Set it & forget it “. Besides, its free & sufficient enough. I also turned on UAC.

9) I am an old fan of Yahoo! Widgets, so I installed this instead of using Windows Gadgets.

10) InfraRecorder for CD Burning. Though I taught my sister to burn Data CD & DVD using Windows 7’s inbuilt Disk Burning utility but this comes in handy when burning other type of CDs like mp3 or picture CD.

11) Peazip for archiving. Its a simple & free no frills Archiving utility. Right click & select “extract”  for ZIP, RAR etc or right click & select “Add to Zip”.

12) Inbuilt Microsoft Remote desktop for fixing the computer if needed over the internet between home & Delhi

13) Windows 7 codec pack by Shard007. One pack for everything.

Sticking to only the default configuration helps. Things are tightly integrated & now all they have to do, is to open the laptop & use it without worrying about anything.

Well, I don’t know all about using habits of my family, so I will be updating this post as required.