Businesses today heavily depend on fast technologies to perform daily activities. And in an increasingly mobile world, we as business people need to be able to take these technologies with us. This makes laptops and even some tablets a necessity for the modern businessperson. So what should you look for in a business laptop? This guide will help you figure it out.
When it comes to processors (also known as CPUs) you’ll want to go with either a dual-core or quad-core. Of the dual-core processors out there, the Intel Core i3/i5/i7 series and the AMD A-series are good choices. Solid quad-core processors include Intel Core i5/i7s and the AMD PRO A-series. The performance differences between these two kinds of processors are most noticeable while multitasking.
Quad-cores are better at performing multiple tasks at once. So if you’re the type of person who likes to keep 20 browser tabs open while checking your work IM, email, and editing a photo, a quad-core will serve you well. But if you prefer to stay focused and only use a few applications at a time, a dual-core will suit you just fine. For a closer look at the differences between dual-core and quad-core processors, check out this PC Mag article.
4GB of RAM has become pretty standard for most laptops. And you really don’t want to go below that. The more RAM you have the faster your applications will start and the more you’ll be able to run at once without slowdowns.
With 4GB, you’ll likely experience the occasional speed hiccup, and it will take longer to start more robust applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, or a video editor. We recommend 8GB for those working with these kinds of apps. You could even go up to 16 GB if you really hate waiting, but that might be a little overkill for most people.
Right now there a two majorly different types of storage options: hard drives (HD) and solid state drives (SSD). Hard drives are your standard spinning disk drives that have been around for a while. Solid state drives don’t have any spinning parts, allowing them to provide a faster boot time and launch apps much faster as well.
There’s no question an SSD is the better option of the two, but it all depends on how much you’re willing to spend. You can get a 1TB HD for about the same price as a 128GB SSD. So you may have to make some compromises here, depending on your budget.
If you need a lot of storage and don’t mind a slower computer, an HD might be the way to go. But if you need something that works fast, you’ll definitely want an SSD. A third option would be to get a lower capacity SSD and store the bulk of your data on an external HD.
Most business laptops come with integrated graphics, which is fine for the average user. However, if you’re working with programs that run 3D models, high-end photo or video editing software, a dedicated graphics card will help things run much more smoothly.
Every laptop you’re likely to come across will have built-in WiFi. Laptops with 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking will connect to just about any WiFi network. Some laptops even have built-in mobile broadband wireless modems. This means that they can work in tandem with available cellular networks, giving you greater mobility. You will, however, have to pay for a data plan.
For the mobile business person, battery life is key. You don’t want to have to race around to find an outlet every time you need to get some work done while you’re on the road. The key to knowing how long a battery will last lies in the number of cells it has. Generally speaking, the more cells the battery has the more charge it will hold.
The length of your battery life will also depend on the number and kinds of applications you’re running, whether or not you’re connected to the internet, the brightness level of your display, etc.
If you know you’re going to spend a lot of time away from an outlet, you may want to consider getting a laptop with a removable battery slice. These slices slide underneath the base and can extend your battery life to 19-24 hours. Just know that these slices will add some extra weight to your machine.
Choosing the Right Laptop for You
Be sure to keep all of these things in mind when purchasing your business laptop. The right laptop should help you become more productive and last you many years.