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. We've highlighted our favourite business-focused laptops taking into consideration a number of key factors including power, battery life, feature set and sheer value for money based on actual value as opposed to RRP.
This means that we've selected a wider range of laptops to suit most if not all budgets and hopefully all tastes; there's a mix of cutting-edge products and old favourites onboard.
All of them (except two) comes with Windows Professional to enhance their business credentials. Remember that you can upgrade from any recent version of Windows Home/Personal (7, 8.1 and 10) to Windows 10 Professional for £99.99 (although you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 Personal for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7).
Dell Inspiron 15-5559
Believe it or not, Dell classifies the Inspiron as a business laptop, albeit one that is geared towards a home office environment. This ultraportable laptop – as Dell puts it – punches above its weight with Windows 10 Pro across the entire range as well as a rather attractive pricing. The particular model we chose is the top of the range model with the entry level model costing 21% less.
- Powerful Core i7
- Dedicated graphics card
- Full HD display
- 16GB of RAM
- Intel RealSense camera
Toshiba Portege Z30-C-138
Picture this. You want the most powerful system on the market with plenty of connectivity but don't want to compromise on size or portability or battery life. Mission impossible? Well, not really. Take that Portege laptop from Toshiba. The Japanese manufacturer manage to squeeze an extraordinary amount of components in this device including a VGA port, a fingerprint reader and even a 4G/LTE modem and A-GPS!
- 4G connectivity
- Ethernet port
- Exceptional connectivity
- Up to 11-hours battery life
- Fingerprint reader
Lenovo ThinkPad X240
Mention the word ThinkPad to older geeks and many of them will go wax lyrical on how that laptop range set the benchmark for enterprise notebooks. The X240 might be a couple of years old already but its feature set means that it simply cannot be ignored at its current asking price. Sure it doesn't have the latest CPU or a touchscreen but that probably won't matter for the audience the X240 is aiming for.
- 4G connectivity
- Gigabit Ethernet
- 3-year onsite warranty
- Fingerprint reader
- Hot swappable battery
If you are willing to sacrifice portability for sheer power, then this laptop is worth considering. Oddly enough, although it is part of the B-series (essentially aiming for the SMB market), it comes with Windows Home rather than Professional. Other than this, the B51 is a very decent all-rounder that hits almost all the right notes: from the powerful CPU to the full HD display and the discrete GPU.
- Core i7
- Ample storage
- Powerful discrete GPU
- Great connectivity
- Relatively light for a 15.6-inch laptop
HP EliteBook 745 G2
Business laptops do not have to be expensive. This EliteBook from HP embodies that idea, bringing together some very decent components at a rock bottom price. How HP manages to do that beggars belief especially as it is currently running a cashback offer – until the end of March 2016 - for SMB that slashes the cost of the laptop by nearly a third. You still get a powerful AMD CPU, 4GB of RAM, a fast SSD and up to 10-hours battery life.
- Windows 7 Pro (upgradable to Windows 10 Pro)
- Three-year warranty
- MIL-STD 810G compliance
- 1600 x 900 pixel resolution
Apple MacBook Pro Retina Display 2015
Should a member of Apple's award winning MacBook Pro family be included in a best business laptop shortlist? Certainly as it hits all the right notes especially as IBM has boosted Apple's credentials as an enterprise player. And Apple's top of the range models are certainly not overtly expensive compared to their Windows-based counterparts, especially if you buy them from trusted third party websites.
- Retina Display
- Exceptional battery life
- Superb portability
- Outstanding connectivity
- True quad-core Core i7 CPU
Fujitsu Lifebook E736
This is the other Japanese laptop company that we oftene hear about and while they are rarely seen as innovators, their newest range of laptops may well change that by bundling a lot of features that are often perceived as optional by the competition. From the two-year standard warranty to the massive battery and 4G/LTE integrated modem, there's a lot to love about it.
- Modular bay
- Massive 512GB SSD as standard
- Up to 32GB of RAM
- Fingerprint reader and TPM module
Dell Latitude E7470
Dell's decision to opt bypass the E7460 series to launch an E7470 left a few analysts puzzled but the PC vendor managed to deliver a magnificent piece of kit which it says is the most secure, most reliable and most manageable business-class laptop. It does come at a hefty price though and compared to the competition, may feel underwhelming. However, Dell's forte lies in its services and after sales.
- Three-year warranty as standard
- TPM, FIPS 140-2 compliant and fingerprint reader
- Superb expansion capabilities
- Magnesium alloy chassis
Lenovo ThinkPad T560
Lenovo calls the newest member of the ThinkPad T-series family, the new standard for highly mobile laptops. What makes it so special is the fact that it blurs the line between traditional business devices and more powerful mobile workstations. The configured model comes with some of the highest configuration we've seen on any laptops and yet manages to pack everything in a very portable and elegant Ultrabook-esque form factor.
- Three-year onsite warranty as standard
- 3K monitor
- 32GB of RAM
- 116Whr dual-battery, enough for a 16-hour flight!
- Adheres to MIL-SPEC standards
Dell Vostro 3546
Vostro is Dell's entry level business range of products and is a solid candidate should you be looking for a straight-forward reliable, workhorse. Don't expect any fireworks as it is a basic one; just does the job without much ado. One thing that works for it though is its price at well under £300. It battles with Lenovo and HP, for the cheapest Core laptop on the market.
- Windows 7 Pro, upgradable to Windows 10
- Very affordable
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Legacy ports
- Optical disc drive
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