One of the products supplied as part of our BYOD scheme – the HP 15-d001AU Notebook has proved to be a dog. 13 Wanganui families with Year 8 students selected a laptop device on the recommendation of the local secondary school. As families are going to take 18 months to pay off these devices, they wanted to be sure that the devices would continue to be useful as their children move into the secondary system. Tania spent a weekend imaging the notebooks with Office 365, so that students had access to the Microsoft Office suite even if they didn’t have an internet connection; she estimated that this took at least two person-hours per machine, as Office 365 needs to be individually downloaded and licensed using a school key.
So far so good, but the poor performance of these devices is creating real problems for the students when it comes to using them in class. For example, students need a device that boots up quickly and these devices don’t. Closer investigation reveals that the device has an AMD E1-2100 Dual-Core Processor (1.0GHz), which commentators say is laughable and a totally inadequate CPU.
While we try to make it clear that the devices we list are simply the products that are available from Dick Smith in the “affordable” price bracket and that we are not “recommending” these products, it is understandable that families could at least expect the devices to be fit for purpose.
So our plan is to conduct an independent review of products we list on our site and assess their technical and pedagogical suitability; parents can then make a better informed choice. We will start by trying to identify an affordable laptop device that performs better than the HP 15-d001AU device (which has now been withdrawn, of course, but too late for our Wanganui families. We will work with Tania to identify a possible solution for this situation.