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.
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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.
1. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display
You already knew
CPU: 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB L3 cache (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 6100 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch IPS, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels | Storage: 128GB SSD | Connectivity: 801.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: FaceTime HD | Weight: 3.48lbs (1.58kg) | Dimensions: 12.35 x 8.62 x 0.71-inches (W x D x H)
There are three standard models to choose from, priced at $1,299 (£999, AU$1,690), $1,499 (£1,199, AU$1,950) and ($1,799 (£1,399, AU$2,340).
Each model has a Broadwell processor: a 2.7GHz dual-core fifth-generation Core i5 in the lower-end model, and a 2.9GHz dual-core Core i5 in the most expensive option. The 2.7GHz processors can run at up to 3.3GHz in Turbo Boost mode, and the 2.9GHz processor can run at up to 3.4GHz. The new MacBook Pro gets about 10 hours of wireless web browsing and 12 hours of video playback, which is perfect for your gorgeous 2,560 x 1,600 pixel screen.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display
2. Fujitsu Lifebook U904
A business Ultrabook that has it all
CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400 | RAM: 10GB | Screen: 3,200 x 1,800 pixel | Storage: SSHD, 500 GB / 16 GB SSD Cache, 2.5-inch, S.M.A.R.T. | Connectivity: 1 x DC-in, 1 (combo port with Audio line-out) x Audio: line-in / microphone, 1 (combo port with Audio line-in) x Audio: line-out/headphone, 2 (digital) x Internal microphones, 2 (1 with Anytime USB Charge functionality) x USB 3.0 total, 1 x HDMI, 1 (pull-out connector) x Ethernet (RJ-45), 1 x Docking connector for Port Replicator, 1 x Kensington Lock support, 1 x SIM card slot ( only for models with integrated 3G/UMTS or 4G/LTE module ), 1 (SD up to 2GB, SDHC up to 32GB, SDXC up to 128GB) | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 3.1lbs. | Dimensions: 329.9 x 229.9 x 15.5 mm
Attractive, lightweight, with a 14-inch screen, the Lifebook U904 is dare we say, a sexy machine. Constructed of magnesium alloy, this 15.5mm mobile workstation bears a hefty price tag, retailing for about $1550 (£1017, AU$2999), and is a rarity in the business world due to its WQHD+ display, which sports a vibrant 3200 x 1800 pixel-resolution, optionally 10-point multi-touch. Typically such fancy features are reserved for consumer products, but this laptop is indeed aimed at businesses, promising, and delivering exceptional mobility and an optional port replicator for convenience in the office.
Read the full review: Fujitsu Lifebook U904
3. Lenovo ThinkPad W550s
A workstation you can also enjoy
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-5600U (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.2GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro K2100M (2GB GDDR5 video memory), integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600 | RAM: 16GB RAM (DDR3L, 1,600Mhz) | Screen: 5.5-inch, 2,880 x 1,620 (3K), multi-touch display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0; 802.11ac (B/G/N), dual-band Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 5.47-pound | Dimensions: 15 x 10.2 x 0.92 inches (WxDxH)
With more conservative CPU and GPU configurations than last year's ThinkPad W540, the W550s provides impressive performance with the added bonus of longer battery life – all in a lighter, thinner body. Compromising just a little on power, the W550s delivers double the battery life of last year's model in a slightly more travel-friendly package.
Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad W550s
4. HP ZBook 17 G2
The best-testing mobile workstation
CPU: 3.10 and 3.30 GHz Intel Core i7-4940MX | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K5100M | RAM: 6 GB | Screen: 1920 x 1080p | Storage: 1TB 7200 RPM SATA, 256 PCIe SSD | Connectivity: WLAN: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 802.11 a/b/g/n (2x2) | Camera: 720p HD | Weight: 7.42lbs. | Dimensions: 16.37 x 10.7 x 1.33 inches (WxDxH)
This mighty machine with a 17.3-inch screen is a 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.
Read the full review: HP ZBook 17 G2
5. Dell Precision M6800
CPU: 4th generation Intel Core i5 | Graphics: AMD FirePro M6100 Mobility Pro with 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 1600x900 | Storage: 750GB 7200rpm SATA 6Gb/s | Connectivity: Dell Wireless 1506 (802.11gn) | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 7.86 | Dimensions: 1.44" x 16.41" x 10.65" (WxDxH)
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 the full review: Dell Precision M6800
6. HP 255 G3
A trustworthy and sturdy laptop
CPU: AMD quad-core processor | Graphics: Integrated: AMD Radeon 8210 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6" diagonal LED-backlit HD anti-glare (1366 x 768) | Storage: 320 rpm SMART SATA II | Connectivity: Optional QCA 802.11b/g/n (1x1) wireless LAN module | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 4.83 lbs. | Dimensions: 14.88 x 10.20 x 1.0 inches (WxDxH)
If you have a growing staff and find yourself issuing laptops to the point where you risk pushing the margins of your budget, this might be your best bet. The update to the 255 G2 retail for as low as $279(around £185, AU$360), and is considerably lighter than its predecessor, as well as more powerful, thanks to an upgraded Application Processing Unit — from AMD E2-3800 to AMD A4-5000. It touts a reasonably large touchpad, a square-tiled keyboard that facilitates fast typing, and packs 4GB of memory, along with a 500 GB capacity hard disk. The standout problem with the 255 G3 lies in its battery, which drains fast, but again, considering the cost it's a con the pros should outweigh.
Read the full review: HP 255 G3
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