It takes a lot to run a successful business, whether you're managing a small-to-medium sized organization, or working at a large enterprise scale. Second to top-notch talent, the most important thing required is top-notch machinery: high functioning, cost-efficient, and easy-to-use computers. In many cases, particularly in open offices where space is tight, or in environments where employees may be shuffling from meeting to meeting or even working remotely, it's necessary that these workstations be mobile.
So, all that considered, what's it going to be for your staff?
You've got no shortage of options. In the past year alone we've reviewed a plethora of choices, but no need to go sifting through the archives. We've highlighted our favorite business-focused laptops/mobile workstations, taking into consideration a number of key factors including power, battery life, cost, and overall efficiency.
Dell Precision M6800
This mobile workstation, which starts at $1699 (around £1120, AU$2175) is decked out with all the applications a professional could ever need, and it could be the finest piece of business-focused hardware Dell has yet produced - it's certainly its most robust. The chassis is built from aluminum and magnesium alloy and you could probably throw a rock at it without making too bad a dent. The Precision M6800 has a sleek design and is extremely versatile, sporting four USB 3.0 ports, D-SUB, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, two audio jacks, an Ethernet socket and an SDXC card slot. Then there's the ExpressCard, eSATA and Smart Card slots, a docking station connector, a hot-swappable hard disk, and a physical Wi-Fi switch. Your employees may not need all these features, but that said, they won't find anything lacking, either.
This machine sports a 17-inch screen and is pretty heavy to lug around, but its heft has a purpose: its built to withstand and extreme temperatures. Do your employees really need a machine that can stand a trek through the Sahara? Perhaps not when you put it that way, but when you consider the chaos of airport security nowadays, you may lean toward "yes."
Read: Dell Precision M6800 review
HP ZBook 17 G2
The ZBook 17 G2 mobile workstation is one of your pricier options, starting at around $2,100 (about £1380, AU$2680), but if you can afford it, you and your business won't regret it. This mighty machine with a 17.3-inch screen is another great alternative to the traditional desktop. It effortlessly pulls off first-rate processing speed, can hold up to 3.25TB of data - which it is practically begging you to enter via its chiclet-style keyboard that includes a number pad. It passed all our tests - no easy or common feat - most profoundly on the Cloud Gate graphics and physics tests, but also on SkyDiver and FireStrike - blowing the prior year's model out of the water.
As we've come to expect with these powerhouse laptops, the ZBook 17 G2 is a heavy machine with a thick backside, and because it operates at such a multitasking high speed, it doesn't do well on battery. Most critically, it's susceptible to viruses, so before you head to checkout with an army of these guys, make sure you have the best antivirus software ready to install.
Read: HP ZBook 17 G2 review
Lenovo ThinkPad W550S
Cheaper and slimmer than its sibling, the Lenovo ThinkPad W540, the ThinkPad W550s is a compact machine that is surprisingly sturdy. Starting at $1,133 (£745, AU$1,445), this workstation is made out of what Lenovo calls "satellite-grade" carbon fiber. Its 15.5 inch display is optionally 3k as well as touchscreen -characteristics that bump the price up but may be worth it, especially to professionals in the media and design industries.
Other perks to this laptop are its impressively long battery life, its spacious, spill-proof keyboard, and a bevy of ports on either side. Aside from its high price, the only cons here are its bulkiness and the fact that it has no quad-core.
Read: Lenovo ThinkPad W550S review