The Teachers Mate 1 (TM1) laptop is a customized laptop made by KA Technologies (KAT) for teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning. In this article, I will provide the features as well as an unbiased first impression of the most talked-about laptop among teachers in Ghana.
Before we delve into the features, here is a brief information about KA Technologies; The company that made the laptop.
About KA Technologies
KA Technologies (KAT) is an indigenous private limited liability company, duly registered in Ghana under the Companies Act, 2019 (ACT 992), engaged in Manufacturing, Training, Connectivity and Technology Solutions for identifiable societal segments such as education, healthcare and agriculture, among others.
The company focuses on delivering unique value to institutions and individual users through an integrated and optimized blend of hardware and software.
Features and first impressions of TM1 laptop
The quality of every laptop is determined based on key factors such as build, display, storage, processor and other features. These five factors will be the focus of my review.
The TM1 laptop is a notebook with plastic chassis. The plastic materials used for the laptop feels pretty solid and it’s at par with most of my office notebooks with plastic chassis from notable brands like Lenovo, HP etc.
However, it feels cheap when compared to other flagship notebooks from these brands. No complaints here as this laptop is not a flagship device.
The laptop comes with a 14 inch 720p display. It has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The display is pretty standard in comparison to most laptops of today.
The screen has fairly huge top and bottom bezels. The top bezel houses the front facing camera. The screen is fairly bright and contents on the screen display very well with good viewing angles.
In terms of storage, there is a high speed 256Gb Solid State Drive (SSD). This is one of the good aspect of this device; The decision to use an SSD over the slow HDD. SSDs are high quality and faster. This improves the boot times of the laptop. If I am nitpicking, the capacity of the storage is low but most SSD laptops from other brands come with similar storage capacities.
It also comes with a 4gb ram, which is very low, to say the least.
Powering the laptop is an Intel Gemini lake-R Celeron N4020 11-2.8 Ghz chip. This is a low end CPU meant to run most of your standard applications. It can play low end games. Don’t try playing top 3A titles with this laptop as this is nowhere near a gaming device.
In terms of I/O ports, there is one USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports. There is also a Micro SD card reader, a Mimi HDMI port, an RJ45 port for networking, a microphone and stereo speakers that sound fairly well when viewing multimedia contents.
It has a front camera, bluetooth 4.0 and Wifi 802:1 b/g/h. The battery comes with a 5000mAh Pack Lithium-ion polymer. It has a very decent battery life.
Materials for teaching and learning- EDUKAT
Since the device is customized for the teacher, it comes preloaded with materials to improve teaching and learning. The preloaded materials are referred to as EDUKAT.
EduKAT is crafted as a bundle of transformational experiential package designed to boost the performance and welfare of students and teachers. It is a composite offering of digital tools and connectivity, virtual and in-class collaborative learning leveraging on digital content distribution of educational materials, and learning management platforms, hands-on bespoke training and re-training to enhance capacity, and upskill IT manpower development.
These tools have been made based on the new standard based curriculum. There is an offline feature that will suit teachers with internet challenges.
This is the most controversial aspect of this device. The total cost of the laptop is GHs 1,831.47. Government has absorbed GHs 1,282.30 while the teacher is expected to pay GHs 549.44.
Conclusion and final verdict
Is this device worth that cost? No it isn’t worth GHs 1800. A laptop with the features discussed, that has been mass produced shouldn’t cost that much. Would you buy this laptop, which is not a well established brand from the market, if it was priced at GHs 1,200 or even Ghs 1,000?
The problem with this device is the competition that well established brands such as the likes of the Lenovos, the HPs, and the Dells of the world offer to consumers. These are well established and trusted brands with widely available accessories and parts globally. This is what places this TM1 laptop in an awkward position. Don’t get me wrong. This is a very solid device. But with Ghs 1,800 you can get a top quality laptop from Hp or Lenovo which have been in the market for sometime now.
Should teachers accept this laptop? Yes, just for the preloaded materials. Period. These are very important materials I believe every teacher would love to use to improve teaching and learning. Teachers should only consider the GHs 500 to be paid as an amount to get a laptop and high quality materials and forget about the total cost because it is what it is.