Client Devices (Laptops / Tablets) for RACHEL

I am frequently asked which device to pair with RACHEL when setting up a lab. For any sort of remote location in the developing world, I encourage you to find devices which have at least these features:

11.6" screen (larger drains the battery quicker, and power is usually your biggest problem)
4GB RAM
32/64/128GB eMMC
Fanless design
2x2 WiFi (important)

Put the devices online a couple of times. Buy a clean version of Windows and provide that along with a product key to your community so that they can reformat the devices as needed.

Currently, the HP steam seems like an adequate device: https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-stream-11-ak1020nr

This is not my area of expertise, so if others have a better suggestion, please chime in!

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I would suggest SSD drives if you are using refurbished laptops, I have found replacing the PC base unit with the Raspberry Pi 4 gives good performance and greatly reduces power consumption. I use Linux rather than windows because of the virus issues. Monitors that come with a power “brick” can be run off a 12/24volt system, solar panels and batteries.
Hope this helps

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I did a deploy to northern Ghana back in the fall of 2017. The user devices were Lenovo tablets with USB attached keyboards, cases and headphones. The goal here was to keep it as simple as possible given the conditions. The specific tablets are Lenovo TB-X103F. At the time they were about $110 each.

I would warn against 32 GB hard drives. There isn’t enough room on them to download all of the Windows 10 updates. You will have to create new Window 10 install USBs, delete the existing partitions, then reinstall. I tried deleting all of the extra programs shipped with the products, but to no avail. According to 3rd level tech support for a major computer company, the only effective way to delete all the extra “junk” loaded on a computer is to start with a fresh install (not a factory reset, but a fresh install).

The ironic part is, getting a 64 GB eMMC drive is only about $5 more when purchasing new equipment.

Also, most of the eMMC drives are soldered to the motherboard, so you can’t upgrade them.

Regards,
LarryY

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