When your small business is in the market to buy new computers for your employees, chances are good that you’re considering laptops. Company laptops make it easy for your team to work remotely – whether from home, the airport, a client’s office or a hotel. While some businesses may look only at cost when choosing a laptop, it’s essential to consider other factors that contribute to the quality and durability of the product, because it will receive heavy daily use.
When buying laptops for your business, your goal is to find durable devices that improve productivity and ensure ease of use. To do so, you must focus on long-term usage instead of inexpensive pricing. While laptops range in price from $300 to $3,000, opting for high-end laptops in the $1,200 to $2,500 range can save you stress and frequent repair costs in the future.
Although everyone loves a bargain, and it’s easy to be drawn in by low prices and discounts, it’s best to focus on laptops with specs that ensure efficient daily task performance. Cheaper laptops typically have cheaper components, which can result in poor performance because of issues like slow processing.
Underperforming machines can impede employee productivity. In contrast, high-performing devices with more functionality, longer battery life, larger solid-state drives (SSDs) and faster processors support work efficiency.
Consider the following factors when you start your business laptop search:
To avoid these issues, consider a laptop’s price-to-performance ratio to help you evaluate if a machine’s price tag matches its performance and durability. This ratio measures a product’s ability to deliver performance relative to its price. It’s best to review the specifications of each laptop you’re considering to ensure you receive peak performance for the extra money spent.
Business and consumer laptops have different purposes. Business laptops are typically designed for portability and prolonged periods of use compared to consumer models. Business laptop security is also paramount because organizations must keep their data safe.
Before buying a laptop, it’s important to evaluate your expected usage to ensure you select the right machine. According to Tiffany Bloomer, president of Aventis Systems, understanding the following three usage levels can help you select the right devices for your business.
The basic usage level is for companies that need only essential functionality from their business laptops, such as sending emails, streaming videos, browsing the web and using SaaS applications. These are the most cost-effective options. For example, Chromebooks and other devices that support Google’s Chrome OS, like Android tablets, are a good fit for basic usage.
Here are two good options to consider at the basic usage level:
The above-average usage level covers basic usage functions and adds the processing power to handle intensive business software (such as video- and photo-editing tools) and increased multitasking. Laptops suited for above-average usage include MacBooks, MacBook Air devices and Lenovo IdeaPads.
Here are two good options to consider for above-average usage:
Superior usage means you require the highest processing power to run multiple labor-intensive applications simultaneously. These users are often in industries like computer gaming, design and engineering. Financial professionals also commonly have this usage level for computing large data sets. In some instances, you may need to go beyond a laptop at this stage.
Here are some powerful laptops to consider for superior usage:
If you don’t feel tech-savvy enough to evaluate potential business laptops, consider hiring a chief technology officer (CTO) or working with a tech consultant to ensure your devices will stand the test of time.
Buying a new business laptop can be daunting. Many of the best models look similar, use the same operating system and provide many of the same features. The first step in choosing the best business laptop for your employees is to review each option’s specifications.
Sarah Petrova, senior hardware engineer at Intel and co-founder of Techtestreport.com, listed the following specifications to consider when choosing a business laptop:
Mobile device management solutions for your business laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile technology can secure applications, permissions and policies across various platforms and providers.
Business laptop costs range from $500 to $3,000 depending on the model, processing power, screen quality, battery life and amount of RAM.
Business laptops tend to be more expensive than consumer models. However, for this extra price, you’ll receive a higher-quality product with additional components that can last for years. These components include a stronger battery, a better graphics processing unit (GPU) and additional USB ports.
“You can get solid business laptops that you could use for at least three to four years for $1,200,” Petrova explained. “However, when you need more performance, high-end GPU and processing power models can cost anywhere from $2,300 to $3,000. These models will be good for the next four to five years.”
Since most businesses require only essential office-work functions like web browsing, emailing and drafting documents, 8GB of RAM is enough for most users. If you often run multiple programs and execute numerous tasks simultaneously, then you might need 16GB or more.
To ensure your data transfers as quickly as possible, your business laptop should have SSD storage instead of the traditional HDD. SSD storage is usually quieter thanks to the lack of a rotating magnetic disk and can handle more writing cycles than a standard HDD. Most of the time, 256GB to 512GB of SSD memory is enough.
AMD and Intel have become the go-to processor brands for many business laptop buyers. They usually offer high processor speeds at affordable prices. While these processors are generally safe options, gauging processor speed depends on the number of cores, according to Anh Trinh, managing editor of GeekWithLaptop.
“A quad-core [processor] with 1.8GHz is better than a dual-core with 2.2GHz,” Trinh advised. “For a business laptop, you’re going to need more than 1.6GHz to compete with modern-day software.”
Laptops usually operate more slowly than desktop CPUs because they are designed for energy conservation. Most laptops have two cores, though some high-performance laptops have four cores. For higher processor speeds, you’ll want at least a quad-core system.
Business laptops are built differently than consumer laptops in various ways. For instance, business laptops usually last longer and have more configuration options. They’re also built more for security, as they typically store sensitive information. On the other hand, consumer laptops typically include unnecessary, preinstalled software and more creative design features.
Typically, laptops last between three and five years. After that period, you might need to replace the computer, as it might not be able to support the advanced and necessary applications your business must run. Desktop PCs usually last about a year longer than laptops.
Due to small business budget constraints, choosing the cheapest business laptops on the market can be tempting. However, sacrificing quality isn’t a good idea when it comes to business laptops. Weigh your business’s needs and the available options and specs to choose a laptop that best supports your company and employees.
Sammi Caramela contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.