Microsoft's 'one laptop per child' edict made big waves in the news columns around the globe with its low-priced editions with features created specifically for children of the emerging world. Asustek followed with its EEE series in the sub-notebook category. And now HCL too has dived into this ultra-budget segment with it Mileap series notebooks. Make no mistakes; HCL repeatedly claims that the Mileap series is a fully fledged option with optimal notebook features.

There are three variants in this series. The X series comes with 2GB flash based memory with options for 2.5GB solid state drive. The X series flash based is the cheapest of the lot with a sub 14K price range. The two newly launched models, Mileap L series and Mileap S series feature the same hardware configurations barring a few changes in the OS and hard disk capacity. The L series comes with a solid state 30GB hard disk and Linux OS, while the S series sports the same disk capacity, but runs on Microsoft Windows XP Starter Edition.

lt isn't too bulky as well- as good as carrying a diary! The 'MiLeap' L-Series Ultra Portable laptop powered by 900 MHz Intel Celeron M ULV Processor 353, with 30GB hard disk storage is available in India for Rs. 15,850 and comes with an one year standard HCL warranty. It features a 7inWXGA LCD display with a native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 30GB hard disk capacity 512MB DDR2 RAM, 802.11 a/big LAN Connection, two USB v2.0 fast ports for wired connectivity and also features a standard Firewire port. It has a built¬in Stereo 1.5W speaker, Memory stick, Li-Ion Battery pack and integrated Wi-Fi along with 2 button Touchpad and Multimedia Card. It also features a 4-in-1 Media Card Reader supporting Multimedia Card (MMC), Memory stick (MS), Secure Digital Card, and MS-PRO media cards.

However, amidst these specs, the fact that the 512MB DDR2 RAM is not upgradeable is a pinch as the model does not allow for upgrading your hard disk capacity either. Smaller screen, miserly 512MB memory and other specs means that this one isn't for gaming, movies, programming or heavy graphics. But at the cost for it sells, the Mileap L series is definitely worth the bucks.

Bearing in mind that its USP is mobility, the data card slot and WiFi are upsides for the traveling kinds and the conventional Ethernet port to be used with broadband is grafted in too. The shock proof laptop is available in black,pink,and blue colours and weighs a mere 1A4kg. All the features at a dirt-cheap price considered and admired, let's have a look at the real user perspective. For most users, when they buy a laptop, be it even a sub 14K range,a 7in display is really going to be small.

A normal word page with approximately 500 words demanded a mouse scroll as many as 10 times to go through the entire content.That can be irksome, when you consider working on basic documents and spreadsheets. Internet browsing is no different and can strain your eyes. Also the fact that it runs on Linux has evoked some sort of mixed feelings. Even though the importance of open source can be asserted with the X series, most computer users in India swear by the Windows version and Linux incorporated herein can be a bit demanding to get going for the masses. The software and applications differ too. So Open Office is the equivalent of Microsoft Office, GIMP replaces Photoshop, VLC player compares with Windows media player and so on.

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On the performance front, it delivers decent output with its Linux (edu-Ubuntu) and offers good sound quality with a VIA Vinyl AC 97 sound card.The integrated and fixed Intel video card ofthe laptop has a memory of 8MB to offer a fluid video viewing. Added features are nil as it does not sport any option for built-in Bluetooth, integrated optical drive (CDIDVD) or integrated webcam.Also a battery life of just 4 hours seems a bit measly. The laptop is designed to be lightweight and small in size making it convenient for use anywhere, any time on the move and is primarily suited to children and the like who are getting started with their computing experience.