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Best Business Laptop: Mine is Like a Porsche

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So many to choose from, but which one really is the best business laptop?

Laptops are like cars.  Just as you’ll find a 40 something man running round in a flash sports car that’s far more powerful than they need, you’ll find people splashing out on horrendously expensive laptops (up to £2k) that will probably only be used for 20% of their potential.

Thankfully, there is a happy medium.

Technology moves very quickly. In fact, it’s a standing joke in IT that if you buy a laptop today it’ll be out of date by tomorrow. Well, thankfully this isn’t so much the case anymore and whilst technology is still moving forward rapidly, there really is no need to replace laptops so frequently. 90% of laptop users will be doing the same thing:

  • Checking and sending emails
  • Creating and working on Word Docs / Excel Spreadsheets
  • Browsing the Internet

From working in IT Support I feel in a pretty strong position to advise on such gadgets. So, how much power does a laptop need to do this efficiently and quickly? Not much. In our opinion the following basic spec will be perfect for the 90% of us out there.

  • Intel i3 or i5 Processor (or indeed the AMD alternative)
  • 8Gb Memory (4Gb at the very least and only when used with an SSD)
  • Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

Further to this, the final decision in the buying process is the chassis – does this laptop need to travel? Historically, the lighter the laptop, the higher the price, with the very lightest Ultrabooks being well over £1k. However, with SSDs being common place and new cooling technologies, laptops are the lightest they have ever been and the good news is cost wise you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Priority One IT mostly sell HP hardware, this is because it’s proven to be reliable and their support is industry leading. That said, we can source other brands such as DELL and Lenovo when needed, so we can also recommend models from these manufactures.

I have not included a high performance option here for intensive users, as the purpose of this blog is to cater for that 90% of everyday users. Power users who need the high end kit very often will not need advice as they will know what they are looking for.

Key drivers:

  • Performance
  • Weight
  • Screen size
  • Battery life

With the above in mind, I have singled out a selection of laptops to suit each requirement and budget.

General use, every day user, little travelling, on a budget.

HP Pro Book 450 £400 + VAT

At the lower end of the price scale is the HP Pro Book, a proven and sturdy laptop which can take a beating and if lost or damaged isn’t horrifically expensive to replace. Priority One sell a lot of these to people who leave them in static locations to do basic tasks. The Pro Book Range comes with a one-year warranty, so bear this in mind when looking at cost as you should always get a three-year option to make the most of the financial lifetime of the unit.

Intel i3, 4Gb RAM, 128Gb SSD, 15” screen, 2Kg

General use, everyday user, some travelling, large screen and connectivity required.

HP EliteBook 840 G2 – £711 + VAT

This laptop offers everything from the lists above, its powerful, light, has a decent size screen and the all-important three-year warranty as standard. Priority One sell masses of HP laptops, including these Elite Books and they have proven to be a reliable work horse with very little failure or issue, and when they do need warranty repair the service form HP is industry leading.

Intel i5, 8Gb RAM, 256Gb SSD, 14” screen, weighs in at 1.5kg and has lots of connectivity.

General use, everyday user, travels with laptop every day, no need for mass connectivity.

(This is me and this is the laptop I use, as a non-hands on technical person these days I don’t need to hook up to much else other than a screen and my phone)

HP Envy 13 £540.83 + VAT

Out of the box this laptop needs upgrading to Window 10 Pro (£30), and its target market is not specifically business users – however, it is a very good fit and I know quite a few people who have them. It is very light at just over 1KG and is very fast.  The screen size may be too small for some at 13” but this is all I have ever used for most of my laptop using life and it suits me fine. The screen size is the compromise for the weight saving, which is so light you barely know it’s in your bag. I can personally recommend this laptop.

Intel i5, 8Gb RAM, 256Gb SSD, 13” Screen, 1KG, backlit keyboard, 10 hour battery.

NOTE: Strictly speaking this is not a business laptop, and as such you should purchase an extended warranty.

High performance, everyday user, travels with laptop every day, executive / director use.

HP EliteBook Folio G1 Ultrabook £1,099.00 + VAT

This is the laptop to have for your board or senior management, its light, powerful, incredibly thin and full featured. It ticks all the performance boxes, and the design ones too. Screen size is small, so check with the person who will be using it beforehand. This laptop also features a full touch screen and Bang & Olufsen sound.

Intel m7 Processor, 8Gb RAM, 240Gb SSD, three-year warranty, backlit keyboard, extremely light at 1Kg, touchscreen.

Also look at:

Dell XPS 13 Starts at £808.22 + VAT

This is a superb laptop, and the best thing about it in my opinion is the almost bezel-less screen (HP take note) Its very powerful, light, has a backlit keyboard and has a slightly bigger screen than the HP alternative (and a higher resolution).  The beauty of DELL hardware is you can configure it exactly as you want it, so this will definitely appeal to some.

Others to consider. Do I actually need a laptop?

Tablet / Laptop combo – Microsoft Surface

If you are looking for a tablet / touch screen combo then you really should consider the Microsoft Surface, as these are superb and everyone we know who has one rates it highly.

Things to bear in mind:

  • Do you need connectivity / network ports, VGA ports etc – Ultrabooks don’t come with much (thanks to Apple) so always check!
  • Do you need a DVD drive; these are getting rare so if you need one never assume your chosen laptop will have it.
  • DO NOT go to PC World and buy what they advise, speak to us – we are impartial as to where you buy hardware, as long as we have recommended it. Mistakes here can be costly and take time to resolve.
  • The cost of the laptop is not the entire cost to your business, as you may need additional software like Microsoft Office – so the above pricing is a guideline only and is subject to change.
  • Always get a three-year warranty to ensure your new purchase lasts as long as it takes for the business to cover the cost financially.
  • The prices quoted are correct at the time of research and are not necessarily the final price to be charged.

We have purposely excluded Lenovo hardware from our recommendations, as our experience with their warranty and service is woeful and as such we would never suggest to anyone that they buy them. Both DELL and HP support are superb and consistent.

So which is the best laptop for business? As always, it depends on what you plan to use it for, but hopefully I’ve catered to your needs with one of the suggestions above.  That said, if you do have any questions or wish to discuss any specific requirements then just drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help.

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Tom Merriott

With over 20 years experience working in the IT industry delivering unrivalled customer service, Tom is perfectly suited to advise on what's trending in IT and how best to deliver day-to-day efficiencies for our clients and readers.

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