Best buys this season: The ELCOT Student Laptop

The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu has started this year’s sale of inexpensive laptops with preloaded Linux (SUSE Linux Enterprise) for students studying in Tamil Nadu. There have been many press releases, for example, see this one. The laptop is said to be procured from Dell or Acer.

The high capacity version of the ELCOT laptop is priced at Rs. 31,717 and is really cheap! To be really convinced of this, I checked out the Dell site for their price on an equivalent configuration. This is really easy, because they have a nice customise feature on their site. So I went here and chose options to make the configuration equivalent to ELCOT’s config here. The results are astounding! The Dell price turns out to be Rs. 55317! The big price addons were 7000 rupees for the 320 GB upgrade, from 160 GB and the 3 years international support which added another (approx.) 8000 rupees. Of course, since Dell has not rolled out its preloaded Linux version in India (Dell sells with Ubuntu preloaded, in the US), the price above includes the price of Microsoft’s operating system.

Students are going to make a killing in this sale! Hurry! Last date for registrations in this first phase is July 15.

Edit: Elcot has extended the last date, as expected. The new last date is 31 July.

Edit 2: Elcot has further extended the last date! The new last date is 15 August.

Edit 3: Elcot has further extended the last date! The new last date is 31 August. And, I’m bored of updating this.

Edit 4: Elcot has finally closed the student laptop scheme 2008.

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31 Responses

  1. The article says that they will hand out Acer machines. I don’t think anyone except Acer is going to make a killing in this :)
    I’d choose buying a dell over an Acer any given day – in fact I’ve done that twice already!
    Its not fair to compare Dell and Acer. Few flaws i can see in the comparision are –
    1. Dell offers on-site international warrenty. (You don have to take the laptop to service center – they send someone to ur place).
    2. Windows, as you already mentioned (4k at least)
    3. Build quality
    4. Customizability

  2. Hi Manas,

    You make some valid points, but I don’t see why you say its unfair to compare laptops by Dell and Acer. I mean after all they are laptops!

    The configurations come really close, except as you say the Windows part, and the onsite warranty. Let’s say that the price difference is really about 12-15 K (note that the Linux coming preinstalled costs as well, its Suse Linux Enterprise – $50 subscription ~ Rs 2000). It’s still really cheap and what’s more, it is “GOOD” for students – as opposed to Windows, which is very bad for students.

    Nevermind that. I don’t see how customisability comes in, and I am really sorry, but I don’t know what you mean by “build quality” (ELCOT tested the laptops for sturdiness by making heavy people walk over the laptop! I am guessing thats not it :-) ). Would you please explain?

  3. Hi imdonatello,
    First of all, you are appreciable for sharing this information. I juz wanna know one more thing. Linus has its own positives than Windows, but is that possible to have Windows in these laptops.

  4. imdonatello, I called up to them and asked. They said they the drivers can be downloaded from internet, if we need to change to Windows. Thanks dude…

  5. @Naveen: Yes, it is possible, but you won’t get any support from ELCOT. You have to install and then look after it yourself :-).

  6. I browsed their site(www.elcot.in) and learned that they are providing a software called Virtual Box. Those who wish to have the experience of Microsoft Windows Operating system can install the Microsoft OS through the Virtual Box software. Virtual Box software is just a window within Linux operating system. It can be minimized/maximized and can be shut down without shutting down the Linux OS!!!

  7. Hmm, yes wonderful solution to put windows in a virtual box. So people forced to use MS Office, etc, can manage.

  8. Another thing that Dell has and this doesn’t is the graphics card.

  9. @sagaro: Yes, and there are lots of other differences. The point people should note is that it is a very good option for students.

  10. Dont rely upon virtual box or any other virtulization machine totaly..they doesnt work dat well..
    the experience is going to be different to good extent and also for having a more than better experience u gotta put in some efforts..
    A graphics card would have been good instead of 320 gb dey could have gone wit 250 gb and gaph card.

    Any 1 knows about their support ??
    if yes plz mail me asinha18@gmail.com..byee

  11. @Ark$ter: No, most people will use the windows under the virtual machine only when they are unable to do something in their linux (which is very rarely and only accounts for circumstances like windows games, and other software that works only for windows). I plan to rely completely only on linux!

    This laptop is supposed to be a workstation kind of laptop. They’ve deployed it in their offices for administrative purposes, so I don’t think they wanted a graphics card.

  12. Hi all,

    my brother was registered for laptop from elcot.
    He paid through cheque before 2 months(15th July). the same amount also debitted their acconunt on 23rd July. but they are not deliverred yet. if you enquired that in phone or mail, no reply.

  13. I think it should be delivered soon (see this news report), because Elcot now has a new MD. The delay was because, they transferred the old MD [Umashankar], and Elcot was MDless for a while.

  14. got my laptop..is quite trendy….but how to use virtual box?

  15. @scott: It’s pretty straightforward. The menu based system inside virtualbox, makes it easy for you to choose basic things like how much RAM to reserve for the hosted OS. You will need the installation CD of the OS you want to install though. Here is something from Youtube to help you out: http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=9-DiPRrE3Bg

  16. hey…got loads of questions…………………………………… for 320GB ,there is only 240GB,is this a error?
    exactly how to enable bluetooth ,it simply says insert some bluetooth cable ?
    and can anybody tell me how to create an server to run sql command lines ?

  17. it is divided as
    100 gb
    100 gb
    1.1 gb
    39.98 gb

  18. @scott: You should probably check using a partition editor like “gparted”. I think there is a lot of unpartitioned disk space. Be careful though! You might damage your OS if you are not sure about what you are doing.
    To run SQL commands, you will need to install an SQL server like MySQL. This should be easy to do using “yast” and a net connection. Once you do it you can install a browser based SQL client like PHPMyAdmin, which will let you connect to your DB and run SQL commands on it. There is always the command line version too. Remember that Google is your friend!

  19. @imandontello….thanks…yast is really usefull , how to enable java script to play this video http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=9-DiPRrE3Bg ….or any video in IE9?….even google’s modified search is endless

  20. When is the last date to apply for the students laptop

  21. @scott: You just have to enable javascript in the browser settings for firefox. On linux: Edit-> Preferences->Content. Enable it there. I am not really sure how your do it in IE9, but help should be easy to get in IE9. You also need to install flash for your browser.

    @Raman: This years student laptop scheme has ended. See my last edit, and also: elcot.in

  22. how do i get my modem work….i tried hsfmodem from http://www.linuxant.com….but when i install it after installing the alsa linuxant package sound breaks…can anyone help me …..

  23. What kind of modem do you have? You should at least provide more information so someone can help you.

  24. its the laptop i got from elcot…i reinstalled both the os and that created all the problem….now i dont know how to get the modem work…

  25. hi..can anyone help me how to install games in linux,..searched google but unable to get what i want , the installation has shell scripts,I tried with ‘sh’ command ,but it gives me compilation errors, it does not have .tar.gz,or any rpm files…what can i do?

  26. @imdontello, Hey, i have permision denied errors for .bin file ,do you have a solution?

  27. @scott: For the games question: Which OS are you trying to install from? For Suse, you can try the Yast tool, for Ubuntu you can use synaptic or “Add/Remove…” menu option in Applications menu. There are many games available which you can find inside these tools. They will automatically install them on your computer.

    For the permission errors, just add permissions by right clicking the file and then opening properties. In the “Permissions” tab click add the permission to *execute* the file.

  28. i know about that laptop itis useful for all student

  29. while upgrading to Ubuntu 10, the elcot laptop hung and I was forced to shutdown. now unable to connect to network from Ubuntu. luckily Suse is still working. I loved the Ubuntu and would like to get it working again. How do I re-install Ubuntu (I have got a cd of 10.10, but it is always trying to access the net)? Is there a way I can interrupt the grub loader and boot from cd instead.

    P.S. Very stupid of me to have attempted upgrade over the net. and even more stupid of the Ubuntu guys to have recommended that option in the first place.

    • I managed to install a separate working version of Ubuntu 10.10.

      Is there any way to salvage the old 8version(it was in the process of being upgraded to 10 over the net, when the pc shut-down)? I am able to login into the olde version, but most of the crucial things like, web-cam, printer, network etc. are not working

      • You should probably copy all your data from Ubuntu 8.* and copy it into Ubuntu 10.10, since that is working, and then delete the old version.

        My Elcot laptop still works fine with Ubuntu 10.10.

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