Controversial High End Laptops Worth 700K for DOH

August 4, 2021 – The Department of Health (DOH) released a bid notice to purchase four 2-in-1 High-End Laptops with Accessories, which cost P700,000 in total. After receiving public backlash, the procurement of the four “high-end” laptops has been canceled, according to the DOH on Wednesday, August 18.

Let us give a snappy middle finger salute to whoever proposed to acquire high-end laptops for the DOH in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Okay, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, but this is awfully out of touch. Every centavo counts with the country’s adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for government projects.

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In reality, DOH can buy whatever equipment they need as long as it meets their intended purpose in performing their mandated duties fairly and efficiently. Netizens are irked because of its questionable timing, price point, and unclear purpose.

What do you mean by a 2-in-1 High End Laptop?

According to pcmag, “a 2-in-1 is a touch-optimized convertible laptop or detachable tablet with both a touch screen and a physical keyboard of some type. When you need full-stroke keys and a touchpad, you can use the 2-in-1 just the way you would a regular laptop.”

What are probable purposes of those High End Laptops?

As an IT professional with more than 17 years of experience, you buy a piece of equipment based on the intended purpose and not to show off. Looking at the technical specifications from the DOH, I am assuming those laptops will be used for heavy video editing, multimedia production, on-the-fly presentations, heavy number-crunching analytics, and mobile office works.

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Technical Specifications of the High End Laptops requested by DOH

High-end Laptops
Document from the DOH Website

A. 2-in-1 Laptop

  1. Branded
  2. Processor: at least 10th Gen Intel Core i5 Processor
  3. Operating System: at least Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  4. Video: at least Intel UHD Graphics
  5. Display: 15-inch, FHD, 1920 x 1080, 60 Hz, Anti-reflective and Anti-smudge, 10 Finger Touch, Corning® Gorilla Glass® 6 DX, Super low power, sRGB 100%, 400 Nits, WVA, Active pen support
  6. Memory: at least 8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
  7. Storage: at least 512GB M.2 PCle NVMe SSD
  8. Ports:
    a. 1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port with PowerShare
    b. 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3/Power Delivery/Display Port
    c. 1 HDMI 2.0 port
    d. 1 Universal audio jack
  9. Slots:
    a. 1 microSD memory card reader
    b. Lock slot
  10. Camera: IR Camera (User-Facing fixed focus)
  11. Battery: at least 52Wh
  12. Wireless: Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX201, 2×2, (Gig +) + Bluetooth 5.0
  13. Software:
    a. Latest version of Microsoft Office
    b. Anti-virus: Full product with one (1) year subscription and installation medium (CD/DVD/USB flash drive)
  14. Warranty: at least three (3) years on parts and services

Aside from the laptops, this bid notice includes specific accessories like USB-C Mobile Adapter, Stereo Headset, Laptop sleeve and bag, HDMI cable (6 feet, gold-plated connectors), and Bluetooth mouse. This is not a big deal as laptop vendors can bundle these accessories for free, especially for large transactions.

2-in-1 High-End Laptops that meet the DOH requirements

Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1

High-end Laptops
Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 (Photo from Dell.com)
  • 15.6″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Touch
  • Scratch- and impact-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6
  • Intel i7-10750H (12MB Cache, up to 5.0 GHz, 6 cores)
  • 16GB DDR4-2933MHz, 2x8GB
  • 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4GB GDDR6
  • Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Windows 10 Home Single License
  • SRP: ₱149,990.00 according to Benson.ph

We couldn’t find similar 2-in-1 laptops with at least a 15-inch display using Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6 in the market. Dell XPS 17 9700 Touch is the next best thing, but it is not a true 2-in-1 laptop, only a touchscreen version.

Apparently, whoever made the procurement document is looking at the Dell XPS model as the basis.

DOH likes Dell?

A little data forensics on the metadata of the RFBO-High-End 2-in-1 Laptop with Accessories.pdf file downloaded from the DOH website revealed that whoever made the procurement document is a Dell User. Based on the extracted metadata, it is highly possible that the document was made on a Dell laptop or desktop.

High-end Laptops
RFBO-High-End 2-in-1 Laptop with Accessories.pdf metadata from metadata2go.com

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The requestor is likely a fan of the Dell computer brand. Suspicious? I hope not.

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