Providing a good laptop for science and engineering students, with a lot of useful software, at affordable prices, is a demanding task that we have been attempting at IIT Bombay for several years. Although Linux is the most appropriate operating system for this task, making all the device drivers, especially that of the audio driver, to work on such a system, has been a challenge. After exploring several low cost laptops and spending several months on each of them, assessing their sufficiency with customised Linux kernels, battery performance, sleekness, etc. we have now identified a good laptop, costing Rs. 10,000 ($150).
The video https://youtu.be/Ae3EZsK_yuM provides details of this laptop, the research work that has gone to validate its sufficiency for the first year IIT Bombay B.Tech students, and how one can order it.
A brochure on this laptop is available here: https://goo.gl/hKfGfs.
It is a 11.6" laptop, based on an atom quad core processor. It has 4GB RAM, 32 GB NAND flash, an expansion slot through which one can attach an optional 2.5" HDD/SDD, and most importantly, 10 hours of time, thanks to a 10,000 mAh battery. It has two USB ports, a mini HDMI port and a microSD card slot. It also has wifi and bluetooth.
This laptop comes with the Debian Linux operating system and a lot of useful software, such as LibreOffice, LaTeX, Scilab, OpenModelica, Inkscape, GIMP, Blender, OpenFOAM, eSim, Synfig Studio, and various editors and browsers.
The sufficiency of such a laptop has been validated by conducting detailed studies at IIT Bombay through students, who underwent an introductory and compulsory CS101 course. It will be useful to students and faculty of higher learning and also to those who are in K-12.