Choosing the right laptop for your office is a serious decision and it’s easy to get it wrong. Oxford Economics surveyed 3,000 users from companies all over the world, a massive 76% said that inferior and slow IT was holding back their performance in the workplace.
The specification for the laptop computer is obviously very important and the cost is also a big factor when you are purchasing equipment for a new team or department. The total cost of ownership is now a fundamental part of how a business makes this kind of purchasing decision.
On the specification side of things, you don’t want to pay for features and facilities you don’t need or will never use. However, you also don’t want your laptops to be underpowered or of the wrong size or else your employees’ performance could be massively compromised. Employees spend a huge part of their day using their computers in anger and they know better than anyone how much time is lost as a result of being given a poorly specced laptop.
Our IT specialists at Innovent spec new IT equipment for our clients every day so we have reviewed the best business laptops for 2019 taking into account all the things that we think are important to business customers. In our analysis, speed, cost, functionality and battery life were our priorities. In this article, we first look at what factors you should consider before choosing the best laptop for your company. Then we give our results for the Best Top Five Business Laptops for 2019.
What’s important when you spec a business laptop?
Choosing desktop computers for the office may get you more value for money in terms of performance versus cost but chaining all of your computing power to a desk isn’t always the most productive solution. Laptops offer the same versatility while also providing far more options for a mobile workforce.
Choosing the Operating System.
Windows is still currently the most popular operating system of choice for many office networks. It’s at the top of the list in terms of compatibility, but there are options other than Microsoft to consider. If you wish to maintain compatibility for collaborating on documents with your clients, then your choice may be made for you, but Apple and Linux are increasingly attractive options.
Apple has been gaining market share with its MacBook range of professional laptops and Linux based laptops offer a wide range of benefits including enhanced security, performance and compatibility with Windows-based hardware. They are an excellent choice for streamlining your IT department so don’t rule them out just because you have never used them.
One of the major benefits of these alternatives to Windows is the reduced software licensing costs associated with Apple and ‘open-source’ offerings. When purchasing a large number of laptops the cost of licensing the operating system alone can be a deciding factor.
Choices in Laptop Specifications.
A laptop’s specification determines how fast and how efficient its performance will be, so choosing the best laptop often comes down to a balancing act between price and performance. Here are the main specs to consider when choosing a laptop and what they mean for performance. Let’s quickly look at the ones most likely to affect the model you go for.
If your employees travel or are regularly away from the office, then a smaller screen size of 10 or 11 inches will be a more portable option. However, go too small, and the trade-offs in productivity may not be worth it. Less screen real estate can also correspond with fewer connection ports and lower-powered CPUs as well.
If the screen size is going to impact the time it takes to get the job done, then going for a bigger screen with more connection options and a CPU with more grunt may pay off in greater productivity.
The software your employees use while out in the field will also have a large part to play in choosing a screen size. Spreadsheets become cumbersome on smaller screens, and large documents may be challenging to edit. Presentations out in the field will also have more impact on a bigger screen.
Touch screens on 2-in-1 computers provide an alternative control option to a mousepad, and your employees may appreciate the ability to use their laptop as a tablet. Convertible laptops also offer a more natural solution for displaying presentations to clients one-on-one or to small audiences.
Staff who are out in the field may not have access to mains power so battery capacity will have an impact on the range of models from which you can choose. If your office staff are desk-bound for most of their day, then a three or four-hour battery capacity won’t be a problem. However, for staff who are out on the road without access to power sockets, all-day battery life of 10 or more hours will be essential.
Bear in mind that running a laptop via the in-built battery can dramatically impact the performance, especially if you are using software which benefits from a powerful CPU running at full capacity.
More RAM equates to greater efficiency in terms of software performance. Booting up and software load times all benefit from more memory, so choose laptops with as much memory as you can afford. It doesn’t take long for loading wait times to equate to many hours of lost productivity when you multiply the figure by tens or hundreds of employees.
So we would recommend you aim for laptops with 8GB of a RAM at minimum, but 16GB is preferable. Windows 10 will work with whatever RAM you have available, but modern operating systems and software will feel a little cramped in 4GB.
The CPU is the brains of the computer, and the faster it’s clock speed, the better the laptop will perform (generally speaking). Modern CPU speeds are measured in the multiple GHz range, which is more than enough for the typical office application.
In most office scenarios, a greater amount of RAM will improve performance more than a faster CPU working with less RAM will.
Hard Drive or SSD?
Hard drives and SSDs (Solid State Drives) are for long-term data storage. Hard drives are mechanical devices with high capacity at the cost of speed, while SSDs are lighter, have no moving parts and allow very high performance when opening documents and applications. Many modern laptops use a small-capacity SSD in conjunction with a large capacity hard drive to balance the speed versus capacity problem. The combined effect of the two devices is to increase the boot speed by loading the operating system from the SSD and using the hard drive for everything else.
When using an SSD, cold booting the laptop (as in not from sleep mode) can be near-instantaneous, which can save a lot of time when working with clients out in the field. They are also much lighter than mechanical hard drives and use less power.
The size and price of SSDs have been steadily declining over recent years. You will find that capacities have grown to the point that including a standard hard drive may not make much sense from a performance perspective.
In the end, knowing what the best laptop is for your company comes down to understanding what its function will be. By balancing price versus performance, you will be able to narrow your choice to models which can get the job done without overpaying on specs you don’t need.
Our Top 5 Laptops
Okay, so we’ve just discussed the key specifications you should consider when choosing a laptop for the office. Now let’s hand out the awards for what we think are the best business laptops for 2019.
1. The Lenovo T Series.
Lenovo has been creating great little workhorses that are great for business for years now. The Lenovo ThinkPad T Series is the most popular series and constitutes the core of the brand. Battery life of up to 20 hours is not out of the question, notwithstanding the usual manufacturers comment on how you use it.
Fast USB C ports and a range of configurations in terms of CPU, RAM, screen size and Technology mean that the Lenovo T Series can satisfy pretty much any business need.
2. Dell Latitude 5000 Series.
The Dell Latitude 5000 series gives users a wide range of screen sizes from 13.3”, 14” and 15.6”. Great battery capability with up to 18 hours of usage from one charge. The ExpressCharge feature will give 80% charge in just one hour or with ExpressCharge “Boost” you can get 35% charge in just 20 minutes. That can be a lifesaver when you are out and about. We love the great build quality. The use of carbon fibre means this laptop will take the knocks. We also like the fact that it is made from 16.96% of recycled materials.
3. HP EliteBook 800 Series.
The HP Elitebook 800 series gives users a wide range of screen sizes from 13.3”, 14” and 15”. The HP Elitebook 800-series offers HP’s excellent security features, plus it offers a range of ports. The HP Elitebook 800-series is aimed at offering a high level of performance, excellent security, and comes in a relatively good-looking package.
4. Apple MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Pro is a highly portable and extremely powerful device. As always it is available in a range of sizes and configurations. The MacBook Pro is notorious for its excellent build quality, awesome design, and high level of performance. On top of that, the computer boasts Apple’s macOS, which many consider being easier to use than Windows. A T2 chip combined with Touch ID enhanced security and ease of use take this already superb machine to a new level. Great employee engagement and productivity – 78% of users would opt for a Mac over a PC.
5. Microsoft Surface Pro.
New Surface Pro 6 unlocks added value for business customers. It comes with the advanced security protections of Windows 10 Pro and faster processor speed. It also has a commercial-grade chipset on the latest 8th Gen Intel® Core™, quad-core powered processor.
It’s hard to find much fault in the Surface Pro 6’s design. The device is a two-in-one hybrid that allows it to be used both as a tablet and a laptop with a keyboard you connect to it. Okay, it is by no means the most powerful Windows two-in-one hybrid on the market. But if you’re looking for a computer that can capably handle most tasks, it’s a winner.
Choosing the best return on your investment
All the machines discussed above have what it takes to get you through the day with speed and efficiency if you have another model in mind we would be happy to advise you on the best spec based on your business needs.
Once you have decided on which model is best the next question is where can you get it at the best price. It is been estimated that nearly 85% of business will actually buy their computers. You may want to consider a much better option which is to lease your laptops instead.
Computers are the fastest depreciating asset on the planet so leasing makes far more sense. That is why companies nearly always lease the premises they work from as well as the vehicles in the car park. There are no upfront payments just a small monthly charge. At Innovent we can actually supply your laptops on a three-year lease at a lower cost than if you buy them yourself.
If you would like a bit more information and a quote, we would love to hear from you. So give the Innovent team a call today on 0207 123 4570.