SMBs typically watch every precious cent they spend, and IT hardware does not come cheap – especially when it involves laptops. This makes choosing the right laptop for your business an important box to tick.
And while it may be tempting to go for a cheap and cheerful model, the last thing you want is an underpowered laptop that doesn't have all the features you need, or is obsolete in a year or less. The key is to choose a machine that is durable, secure, powerful, lightweight and has all the features you need.
Match business needs with price and performance
You need to match your business needs with the features and price of a laptop. If you are crunching huge spreadsheets or editing graphics, then look for specs that can handle these tasks. In the same breath, avoid overspending on features you will never use.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the features you need in a business laptop for 2019 and beyond.
Key features to look for in a business laptop
Business-oriented laptops are generally more robust than consumer versions and come preloaded with dedicated networking and security tools. Some key features to look for in a business-oriented laptop include:
Portability is important if your staff are mobile or always on the road. If you need a desktop replacement, with only occasional portability, then a large a 17-inch screen laptop will give you the same features and feel with the option of moving it around if required.
Display size and quality, which is directly related to the size and weight of the laptop, should also be matched to your business needs. If you work on spreadsheets or edit images, the bigger the better. In terms of screen quality, you should be looking at a matte display (to reduce glare) and a minimum of 1080p resolution for a sharp, grain-free experience.
Battery life is crucial if you are often mobile and not able to plug into a power source. Modern laptops also have energy-saving CPUs – using power-saving processors such as Intel's Y-Series – so look for these if this a feature that is important to you.
Hardware specs is an area where you need to know some technical details. The power of the CPU or processor determines how quickly your laptop can perform complex tasks, and current machines could have anything from a value-oriented Intel i5 processor to a powerful i7 or even a state-of-the-art i9. For RAM, you’ll want at least 8GB – more if you’re working with graphics, video or other large files. Next choose a hard disk drive (HDD) capacity and type that suits your needs, with a solid-state drive (SSD) the fastest, most secure option, though they are more expensive than a conventional disc-based drive. Also be sure any device you’re considering has the ports you need; you want to be able to plug in the accessories you use regularly, such as a projector, printer or memory card, without using fiddly adapters.
Keyboard and trackpad are also important features for an SMB laptop. These are your input devices, so look for keys that are well-spaced. A trackpad should be large enough to be practical and also have accurate feedback.
Finally, be careful to get the warranty and support you need. Manufacturers and retailers alike offer various extended warranties, insurance and replacement policies, so make sure you’re protected against damage or loss.
Our final advice is to be generous with the specs you’re looking at. Modern machines have tremendous horsepower, but if you want your investment to last, give yourself some ‘headroom’ to ensure you’ll get the best value from your purchase.