When it comes time to replacing a computer, laptops are often a good bet. They’re far less bulky and much more portable than their desktop counterparts, making them an excellent choice if you’re often on the move.
With the right accessories, a laptop can function like a desktop, but with portability and flexibility no desktop computer can match.
If you want to get the most out of your purchase, you’ll need to know what to look for. The following tips can help you select the best laptop for your needs – whether business or personal.
Convertibles and 2-in-1 Laptops
Laptops are more flexible than ever before. Convertible, or 2-in-1, laptops take that flexibility to the next level. These powerful laptops combine the functionality of a traditional laptop with the ease of use of a tablet.
Convertible laptops are great for frequent travelers who frequently do presentations and training seminars. Models like the Lenovo Yoga are popular with corporate trainers. If you need mobility, flexibility, and ease of use, add a convertible 2-in-1 laptop to your shortlist.
Laptops For Light Use
Unlike desktops, which come in standard configurations to meet the majority of business needs, you can tailor your laptop purchases to users.
For light use like surfing the web, paying bills online, email and social networking, a basic laptop is generally all you need. There are some excellent laptops in the sub-$1000 and even sub-$500 range – no need to overspend on such basic machines. For home users who want to store digital photos, play music and surf the web, a basic laptop is clearly the best choice.
Laptops For Average Use
For the majority of business users, a laptop in the average use category will be appropriate. For most business users, the adaptability of a convertible tablet may not justify the extra cost – what these users need is a workhorse that can get the job done.
In the business world, average use could mean creating and updating complex spreadsheets, updating lengthy documents, building PowerPoint presentations and conducting routine office work. For home users, average use might consist of streaming movies and music, along with basic web surfing and social media use.
Laptops For Demanding Use
Some users in your organization will need more from their laptop. Your IT staff, for instance, may need rugged laptops that can withstand hard use, while your sales staff might benefit from lightweight laptops that are easy to transport but still quite durable.
Examples of demanding laptop use includes multitasking by having multiple tabs and programs open at once, doing sophisticated graphics, photo editing, and video production activities. By working with the management team, you can identify users who need these beefy laptops and outfit them accordingly.
Laptops For Heavy Use
Some laptop users require a top of the line machine to get the job done. Members of programming or video design teams, for instance, could benefit from laptops with larger screens and higher resolutions. Once again, your management team can help you identify which specific team members will benefit most from these high-end laptops.
For these demanding users, it makes sense to invest more money upfront in order to get things like larger screen sizes, lighter weight, better design, faster processors and extra storage. These laptops will really take a beating, and investing in a better device up front can lower your replacement costs later on.
No matter which type of users you’re shopping for, there are some key things to consider when looking for a business laptop.
Laptops are all about mobility, but their specific designs vary, as do the needs of users. Some laptop users will never take their computers on the road, while others will be constantly on the go. Here are some key mobility considerations for your laptop purchase.
• Touch screen or no touch screen – Touch screens are convenient and easy to use, but they are not always necessary. Touch screens tend to get dirty with frequent use, and over time they can begin to lose their sensitivity. Think about whether the employee in question will benefit from a touch screen, then make your decision accordingly.
• Weight – The weight of the laptop is obviously an important consideration, especially for salespeople, IT staff and other road warriors. The more mobile the user, the bigger the weight factor will be. Weight is not much of a factor for a laptop that rarely leaves the desk, but it is a huge deal for the salesperson who will be lugging it through the airport.
• Damage warranty – Laptops are more prone to damage than other kinds of computers, so a good damage warranty is a must. Read the warranty specs carefully, focusing on coverage for accidental damage and other types of loss. These are typically available in 1 or 3-year terms.
• Docking station – With a docking station, you can turn a simple laptop into a full-fledged desktop, complete with large monitor or two and an external keyboard and mouse. Docking station design is very important, and it should be a key consideration for any business laptop purchase.
Screen size varies quite a bit in business laptops, with some models as small as 13″ and others as large as 17″ or more. The larger the screen size allows for a numeric keypad, but is also a heavier laptop, so you will need to strike a balance between easy readability, functionality needs, and easy mobility.
Refurbished or Not?
Occasionally you may see what looks like a good deal on a refurbished laptop, but Ontech does not recommend these kinds of purchases. Buyers have no way of knowing the history of a refurbished laptop, and there is no guarantee that past problems will not resurface.
The processor is the heart of any laptop, and choosing the right one is crucial. Ontech recommends Intel processors over AMD, as we feel Intel chips are more reliable and have a better long-term track record.
In many cases, your choice of business laptop will be restricted by the type of software you use, and by the unique system requirements at your company. Think about the software and processes your company uses and tailor your laptop purchases accordingly.
If your business uses a resource-heavy software like AutoCAD, there are special requirements in place. For this purpose, I-7 processors can provide the extra power needed to run intensive software programs – or many different programs at once. Specific software requirements can be found on your software vendor’s website, or from your software representative upon request.
Memory is another key consideration for any laptop purchase, and more is always better. These days, 8GB is considered the standard for laptops with the I-5 processor, while 16GB is standard for I-7-equipped machines. Ontech does not recommend laptops with 4GB memory for business use, since they often lack the speed and power to tackle many office tasks.
Hard Drive Space
If you plan to store most of your business data in the cloud, you do not need a huge hard drive. Think about your own business and how you utilize cloud storage, then choose your laptop configuration accordingly.
Finally, for mobile users, a solid-state drive is important. Solid-state drives are more durable and more reliable because they do not have moving parts in them, unlike a standard hard drive, which is why solid-state drives are recommended for highly mobile users.
If you’re ready for a new laptop, Ontech can help you find one. We partner with Lenovo and HP, the two biggest names in the industry, and we have the expertise needed to help your organization find the perfect laptop without over or underpaying for your specific requirements.
What can Ontech offer for your next laptop purchase?
• Peace of mind – If something goes wrong, we’ve got your back. Because we are partners with HP and Lenovo, we have access to 1 and 3 year warranty options, as opposed to only the 1-year warranty at most big box stores. As a partner, we can also offer a higher level of support if there does need to be a warranty claim.
• Functionality and longevity – If you purchase a laptop with inferior specifications, you could be forced to upgrade in a year or two. Some functions may not work properly, while others might not work at all. Ontech can guide you toward the right laptop for the right purpose and price.
• No bloatware – Commercial laptops come loaded with bloatware – useless programs that take up space and consume your processing power. Our laptops are free of bloatware, so you get exactly what you need – and nothing you don’t.
• Professional version – Big box store laptops are geared toward home users and they are often not well suited for business use. For example; a home version of Windows will not allow you to join your domain, group policies, and many other business needs. Also, they generally come with the home versions of operating systems and office suites, while our laptops are equipped with professional software.
We’re here to help you through the laptop buying process, from determining the optimal specifications to choosing the perfect configuration. We want to be your business laptop partner, so let us know what you need and we’ll take it from there!