We tried to balance performance and price with the BR 1100

ASUS India recently launched a unique laptop in the budget segment – the BR 1100. The device is rugged with MIL-STD-810H standards, comes with a big battery and 10-hour battery life, also offers a variant of touchscreen and security systems in place, all at a starting price of INR 25,000. Intrigued, we decided to talk to Dinesh Sharma, Business Head, Commercial PC and Smartphone, System Business Group, ASUS India about the BR 1100.

Extracts

Siddharth: BR 1100, is a unique device, tell us about the target audience and how did you conceptualize this product?

Dinesh Sharma: During and following the pandemic, the laptop has essentially become the equivalent of a smartphone; everyone wants one right now. So in this case, we need to consider how to respond to multiple sets of requests. Now, let’s zoom in on the entry-level market, because that’s where some of the difficulties lie. Currently looking at laptop penetration in India, we estimate the market penetration to be around 14-15% of households in the country in the entry-level sector. And the remaining 84-85% of households haven’t had a laptop recently. Accordingly, one of the main drivers would be affordability. However, when it comes to affordable laptops, such as those priced below $25,000 or below $30,000, managing performance expectations based on current needs becomes one of the challenges. most challenging for brands and designers. With our approach, we looked at how to break that specific element and deliver a product that could rise to the challenge of really balancing performance in that price range. So when we looked at what kind of product would actually be needed in this price range, we found that the majority of users would initially be children, so people would largely buy this laptop for kids, and we will also use in their families for their own purposes. So we looked at the kids, and we looked at the long term rather than the short term, we looked at the fact that when kids get a laptop, not only do they use it now, but when school starts and they go back to school, they have to bring this laptop back to school. And so, to create an ideal Windows laptop in the affordable segment, we started working on BR 1100, we started to meet all the needs, and we created a product that has the fastest performance, we have in fact combined our technology like using the best possible fastest Celeron processor available in the segment, combined it with fast RAM, which is DDR4, and then we combined it with the fastest storage SSD. We also installed the largest battery at 42W inside while the Segment provides a 30-40W battery, so kids can use the laptop throughout school hours and then some more. . We removed the power consuming fan and actually put in a vapor chamber and then used graphite sheets for better cooling and this resulted in minimal power consumption, and much better battery life of battery and that gives up to 10 hours of battery life on this laptop.

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Siddharth: Kids and laptops are a risky proposition, what additional steps have you taken to ensure the durability of the product?

Dinesh Sharma: Durability was an important aspect, the BR1100 was pressure tested up to 28 kg, this can drop up to four feet and survive the drop, one can spill almost half a glass of water, either 330cc of liquid, and it can survive spill proof to that extent. We have also integrated an antibacterial coating for safety. Thus, bacteria do not survive on the surface of the laptop, 99% of bacteria are killed, the coating even survives for a long time.

Siddharth: What about the safety and security aspects of the laptop which is particularly aimed at children?

Dinesh Sharma: The safety and security aspect was very important to us while designing this product, and we gave a Discrete Platform Module (DTPM), it encrypts all data on the laptop, and even if you lose your laptop, no one can access your data easily because all data is encrypted. Unless and until someone has a password, they cannot open it and gain access to the data. And if someone were to remove the SSD, they also couldn’t access the data. Lastly, I forgot to even mention that it has best-in-class video conferencing. So it has an HD camera with a privacy shutter, which has noise reduction capability and low light capability when transmitting videos, dual array mics for noise cancellation, and good quality speakers. quality for excellent speaker output.

Siddharth Shankar: What other products do you plan to introduce in the sub-30,000 mass market segment?

Dinesh Sharma: To start, in the affordable category, we have provided consumers with two operating systems, including Windows, which is with BR 1100 and we have a range of Chromebooks, which range from 11.6 inches to 15 inches. And all of these touch and non-touch Chromebooks actually cost less than Rs 26,000. So consumers have a wide range of support, like four to five Chromebook models and now BR1100. And it also comes with two variants. You also have the touchscreen variant, which would again be an amazing 360-degree touchscreen product with stylus and dual camera. Thus, the BR1100 touchscreen variant is also available. So if we look at the range of options that an ASUS has already created, we have about six or seven products and the e-books that are Windows space again. And there are also other 14-inch 15-inch Windows laptops, the price of which is again below 30,000. Thus, ASUS has created a very wide portfolio of Windows and Chrome devices, which consumers can check out in the range affordable and also good quality devices for Indian market.

Siddharth Shankar: Since this is also primarily aimed at students, do you offer any additional guarantee or special programs and guarantees?

Dinesh Sharma: Consumers can actually upgrade the warranty on that particular product very easily by purchasing the extended warranty packs through “The My ASUS” app. There is no special offer on the warranty, but the standard price is applicable for the extended warranty which consumers can enjoy by accessing the ASUS app and upgrading the warranty. But in terms of build quality, durability, etc., I think consumers can rest assured that they really are buying something very solid. The product is tested over 30,000 times, which means that if you open and close it even 10 times a day, it has been tested for use for over five years, each of the ports in this laptop , which is there, it’s been tested for 5,000 entry level upgrades, this laptop’s keyboard has been tested for over a million keystrokes. Now, that kind of specification, that kind of rigidity that we put into the product is usually in laptops, which cost maybe more than 70,000 rupees. So, if someone buys it, that means you are buying a pretty foolproof product, when you go for that particular model.

Siddharth Shankar: Is it difficult to reconcile price and performance?

Dinesh Sharma: It was certainly difficult. There’s no doubt about that fact, but I’m really happy that our R&D teams and our design teams rose to the challenge and achieved the goal that would have been set to provide the best affordable Windows experience. of its class which started in the Indian market. or the world market too.

Siddharth Shankar: Do you have a plan to do collaborations with government agencies or schools or colleges. For this laptop?

Dinesh Sharma: Yes. So we offer this particular product to multiple institutional buyers like government or even schools. So as we go along, they’ll take a look at it and they’ll rate it. And then, we hope this will also be rolled out in many educational institutions in India as an ideal device for students.