Our resident expert on laptops has compiled the best top ten laptops for business. However instead of just giving you the top ten fastest laptops, or the top ten laptops with best battery life, or the top ten budget laptops, we've chosen a mixture of the best laptops in different classes.
So, if you're looking for a laptop that will take any kind of knocks and scrapes, or a laptop to impress your clients, or a laptop that will last all day, or simply a laptop that can do any task you throw at it, then there's something for you here.
For help on choosing an operating system or choosing between Macs and PCs we've included a short guide at the bottom of this article.
In no particular order, here are our top ten laptops for business;
1/ Toshiba Satellite P875-102
If you're looking for a big screen laptop to dominate your work domain, with enough muscle to power through even the most demanding multimedia tasks then look no further than the Toshiba Satellite P875-102.
An incredibly powerful and slick 17-incher, the P875-102 also looks good and comes with a price-tag that represents great value for money. Featuring a silver embossed chassis along with a spacious isolated backlit keyboard, it may not have the svelteness of the Ultrabook brigade, but it looks and feels reassuringly solid.
It's powered by a quad-core i7 processor, backed up by a whopping 16GB of RAM and discrete Nvidia graphics, and could be the perfect machine for any media-savvy workplace.
The sound quality is also impressive, with the P875-102 boasting SRS Premium Sound 3D software and Slip Stream technology. You can make use of the Harman Kardon designed speakers with the laptop in sleep mode, especially handy if you're on the road a lot and need a decent speaker option for the business hotels you find yourself living in.
Packing a 750GB HDD, and with a Blu-ray player on board too, the P875-102 is a superb option for product demos and boardroom presentations, with the 17.3-inch display sporting a 1,600 x 900 HD resolution.
Read the full TechRadar review of the Toshiba Satellite P875-102
2/ Samsung Series 5 550P
If you're looking for a machine with a generous display real-estate that makes that intensive number crunching a bit more bearable on the eyeballs, or perhaps you do a lot of graphically-intensive work on your agenda, then Samsung could have the answer for you with the 550P.
Weighing 3kg, this isn't a machine that you'll want to carry around with you for long periods of time, but as a desktop replacement it's pretty much got all of the bases covered. And, at less than £900, you're more than getting your money's worth.
The 17.3-inch display is about as good as we've seen on a big-screen laptop with the matte finish doing a great job of reflecting bright lights, and it also performs strongly in dimly lit situations – so it's perfectly suited for when you're putting extra hours in.
There's a mammoth 1TB of space built in, so storage shouldn't be an issue, even if you are working with huge file sizes and with a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor powering proceedings, load times will be fairly minimal.
And when it comes to hooking up the 550P to a big screen to show off your completed masterpieces, you have the option of both HDMI and VGA output.
Read the full TechRadar review of the Samsung Series 5 550P
3/ Acer Aspire S5
Have you got a client that you want to impress by sporting the skinniest laptop in town? If so, you should be carrying around the Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook.
The S5 is an Ultrabook of anorexic proportions, that somehow manages to cram a wealth of cutting edge tech into an almost impossibly thin15mm chassis. That's 15mm throughout by the way – there's no tapering going on here, a centimetre and a half is as thick as it gets.
There's an Ivy Bridge i5 CPU running the show, along with a super-speedy 128GB SSD that allows for instant boot up times and incredibly quick program loading – handy when you're trying to impress potential business partners.
There are also a few hidden gems – quite literally. By pushing a button on the right side of the keyboard a wealth of port activity is presented as the MagicFlip I/O panel drops down. The panel, as well as giving you USB 3.0, Thunderbolt and HDMI options, also raises the angle of the S5 - creating a more natural typing position.
With a weight of just 1.1kg and a battery life of up to six hours, the Acer Aspire S5 is a great on-the-go laptop with a 'wow-factor' build that's certain not to go unnoticed.
Read the full TechRadar review of the Acer Aspire S5
4/ MacBook Pro with Retina display
From £1,799 - £3,099
There's one laptop that stands head and shoulders above all the rest, both in terms of looks and performance. And, to the annoyance of Microsoft-devotees everywhere, that machine is the recently unveiled MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Not only has it got the most impressive display ever seen in the world of mobile tech – an absolutely stunning 15.4-inch one with an incredible 2,800 x 1,800 resolution – it also has an engine-room that will allow you to edit four streams of uncompressed 8-bit 1080p HD video at once.
If you go for the top model (and why the heck wouldn't you?) then you're looking at 768GB of completely flash storage, Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics, a 2.7GHz Intel Core quad-core i7 CPU and 16GB of 1,600MHz RAM, all wrapped up in an incredibly sleek chassis just 18mm thick that weighs just over 2kg.
Put bluntly, this is an absolute monster dressed in the smartest suit on Saville Row.
No other machine can offer such an impressive combination of style and performance, so if your business is looking for a machine to make a real statement then the Apple Store surely has to be your first port of call.
Read the full TechRadar review of the MacBook Pro with Retina display
5. Lenovo IdeaPad U410
There's no need to break the bank to score your business a cutting-edge slimline laptop; with the Ultrabook revolution now in full swing there are plenty of more affordable super skinny notebooks available.
And our pick of the Ultrabook budget-bunch is the Lenovo IdeaPad U410. Being the flagship machine of the IdeaPad U Series, the U410 offers a 14-inch display and a high-class hardware package in packed into a decent looking chassis.
It's an Ivy Bridge i5 CPU model boasting 6GB of RAM, discrete graphics from Nvidia and a healthy 750GB HDD. Its raw benchmarking score for general performance was as good as we've ever seen on an Ultrabook – proving that this is a PC that offers portability and performance in equal measures.
Using the Lenovo IdeaPad U410 is a pleasurable experience thanks to the naturally cushioned and nicely spaced AccuType isolated keyboard that features individual rounded keys.
These keys aren't backlit, as per the MacBook Air, but they are nicely positioned with a pleasing travel, so you won't have any issues with discomfort while tapping out long emails or reports.
Lenovo is also promising a battery life of nine hours for the IdeaPad U410, with a standby time of a staggering 117 days – although under our intense battery stress it did disappoint slightly. A more realistic general usage lifespan is around five to six hours.
Read the full TechRadar review of the Lenovo IdeaPad U410
6. Packard Bell EasyNote TV
The Packard Bell EasyNote TV is a no frills laptop, from a brand you know you can trust, that offers a decent user performance and a hardware setup more than capable of taking on the usual everyday work tasks such as compiling documents and spreadsheets, web browsing, networking and basic media editing.
For less than £400, your could equip your staff with a 15.6-inch notebook, with a decent screen resolution of 1,366 x 768, powered by a dual core 2.2GHz Intel processor. It also has 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard-drive, both of which should be more than sufficient for regular office based tasks.
With a DVD-RW and three USB ports on offer, there's also the option of expanding the storage space, or connecting other media-based devices such as digital cameras.
At 2.7kg, the EasyNote TV isn't exactly a featherweight but it's no back-breaker either and, thanks to the sturdy chassis, your workforce shouldn't encounter any problems if it gets the odd bump or scrape when out and about.
It's available in Ebony Black, Garnet Red or Moonstone and full copies of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are pre-installed – handy for that basic media editing that we mentioned.
7/ Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
If you've got a PC tower in the office running the show and just need a simple web-friendly machine for when you're on the road then you may wish to consider a Chromebook.
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is the top model in the family for now, and ditches Windows in favour of an operating system built around the Chrome browser. It's all part of Google's masterplan of an always-connected world, where the laptop is just a gateway to your information via cloud apps.
The Series 5 is just under £300 and the 12.1-inch Samsung machine is solid and well-built and it weighs just 1.1kg, making it one of the lightest laptops around. The keys have just the right amount of travel, are well-spaced and easy to type on.
Because Chrome is such a lightweight OS, the laptop can get away with a relatively low-spec processor, in this case it's the Intel Celeron 1.3GHz and the processor proves more than adequate for the job. It also has 4GB of RAM, which is huge for a laptop of this type. The 16GB solid state hard drive is fairly minimal but the idea is that you work with apps such as Google Docs and store all of your files in the cloud.
There's also a front-facing 1-megapixel webcam capable of 720p HD video capture, which should come in handy for video conferencing with the team when you're not in the office.
Read the full TechRadar review of the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
8/ Dell XPS 15
One of the best Windows laptops currently available, the Dell XPS handles the MacBook Pro comparisons by delivering a knock out performance and a manufacturer promised eight-hour battery life.
There's plenty of tech crammed inside the XPS 15 to get worked up over, including a super-speedy Intel Core i5 chip, discrete graphics from Nvidia, an SSD drive, a gargantuan 1TB of hard drive storage, 8GB of RAM and a beautiful Full HD display.
In fact, the display is one of the best that we've seen on a Windows notebook in a very long time. The 15.6-inch screen boasts edge-to-edge hardened Corning Gorilla Glass and a Full HD resolution that, despite being glossy, offers incredible viewing angles and has little trouble operating under bright or unnatural lights.
The XPS 15 isn't likely to let you down, either as your main workstation or as a high-powered travel-based companion. It specialises in blasting through daily digital demands, such as complex graphical designing, intense analytics, high-res picture editing, web browsing and streaming audio and video, and it handles all of these tasks with an effortless ease thanks to the quad-core CPU.
Using the XPS 15 is also a pleasure thanks to the comfortable island style keyboard and the glass Synaptics touchpad, all surrounded by a superb soft-to-touch silicon base.
Read the full TechRadar review of the Dell XPS 15
9/ Sony VAIO S 15
Sony recently revamped and streamlined its popular VAIO range, with the S series taking the mantle of flagship of the flotilla. VAIO machines have always been known for offering ubiquitous of style, substance and performance and the latest S Series doesn't buck the trend.
Available in 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch flavours, the larger of the two offers quad-core i7 power combined with a huge battery life of up to 13 hours if combined with Sony's sheet battery. This additional extra almost doubles the battery life, with only a few mm of extra thickness the main price to pay (well, that and around £100).
With 12GB of RAM and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE GPU, your visuals should look fantastic on the VAIO S's Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 display and you will also benefit from almost-instant wake-times a lightning fast-boot sequences thanks to the 256GB SSD packed in.
You also have access to two USB 3.0 ports, as well as HDMI and VGA connections for external monitors, Gigabit Ethernet port for wired internet access, a Thunderbolt connection and an SD Card slot sat alongside a MagicGate Pro Duo port for Sony's own proprietary memory cards.
10/ Panasonic Toughbook CF-19
Unless you regularly work outside or in hostile conditions, you won't need a Toughbook and Panasonic confirms that this model isn't intended for regular consumer use. But if you work in engineering, or often have to spend your working days on building sites or in the field, the CF-19 is an obvious choice.
The chassis is reinforced with magnesium alloy and rugged plastic and has undergone military and industrial testing to make sure it's up to the job. The CF-19 is also vibration, shock, water and dust resistant.
It's fairly chunky at 51mm thick, but it is portable enough as it weighs only 2.3kg.
It also comes with an attached hand strap so you can carry it around like a briefcase.
The swivelling 10.1-inch screen can rotate 180 degrees on the central hinge, meaning that you can fold it down over the keyboard to turn the CF-19 into a mock-tablet.
The touchscreen is excellent, and although some of the Windows 7 shortcuts are a little small on the 10.1-inch screen, it is generally easy to navigate. Panasonic has also included a stylus that neatly slots into a socket at the bottom of the screen, for more detailed operation.
In terms of power, the Panasonic CF-19 can hold its own. The CPU is an Intel Core i5-2520M running at 2.5GHz with 4GB of RAM.
Read the full TechRadar review of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-19
Macs v PCs
One of the biggest debates in the world of technology, the Microsoft vs. Apple argument is one that stretches across five decades and shows no signs of abating anytime soon.
Our advice: if price and familiarity are your key requirements – opt for a Windows PC. Windows 7, the current iteration, is fast, reliable and easy to use, and it will have no issues handling pretty much any software that you throw at it. You will have to take caution to fend off viruses, malware and other cyber nasties mind.
However, if you're after style and a slick ecosystem (perhaps you're already using an iPhone or an iPad), and money's not really a factor, then take a walk down the Mac path. You don't need to worry too much about security with a Mac and, if anything does go wrong, there's no company finer than the Apple for getting things up and running again.
Operating Systems Explained
Mac OS X or Windows are the main PC operating systems at present, although there are open source options such as Linux that could help to keep overheads down.
Mac OS X appears exclusively on Apple's machines, Windows is the most popular operating system in the world (with around a 90 per cent share) and appears across multiple vendors.
Windows 7 is the current iteration of Microsoft's OS – although Windows 8 is due to land at the end of October; Mac OS X is up to version 10.8 and is dubbed 'Mountain Lion'.
Google's OS – Chrome – runs on the Chromebook range and keeps things simple by storing and running everything from 'the cloud'. In comparison to Windows and Mac OS X, it is incredibly limited.
It's down to personal preference as to which platform is the best – Mac OS X is certainly 'cooler' than Windows, although that may just change a little with the high-profile launch of Windows 8 and its awesome Metro UI.