The business world is rapidly becoming more mobile. Whether it's on a tablet or a mobile device, it's more important now than it ever has been to stay connected on the go. While these smaller, handheld devices are becoming more suitable for creating presentations, drafting documents and performing other work-related tasks, the business laptop remains pivotal to success in an increasingly demanding workplace atmosphere. Despite it being larger and harder to transport than other devices, the business laptop remains one of the most important pieces of technology for the business traveler. Storing documents, presentations, emails and media files, while also providing access to the web at all times, is critically important.
A business laptop needs to be durable, fast and long lasting. A good choice will have a battery life capable of providing a full day's worth of use. A business laptop should also have several input and output options; preparing a presentation only to find out that your laptop doesn't have an HDMI port can prove problematic, and you don't want to force a potential client to stare at a tiny screen. Overall, the best business laptops help you get your job done no matter where you are or what resources are available to you.
Our top three picks – the HP Envy dv7t, Dell Inspiron XPS, and the Samsung Series 7 – each offer exceptional features to keep your workflow fluid, even while you're on the road. Additionally, check out our articles on business laptops and information on software for business professionals, as well as alternatives to Microsoft Office.
The market is full of laptops that offer excellent features and tools to increase your productivity and help you get all of your computing tasks accomplished with no problems. We looked at the best laptops for completing business-oriented tasks. Below are the criteria we used to evaluate the best business laptops.
A computer's feature set defines how you interact with it on a daily basis. For business users, this means getting the job done no matter where you are. The best business laptops simulate an office experience at home, in a coffee shop, on an airplane or on a commuter train – wherever you happen to be working. Make sure the laptop you buy has an operating system that can handle your workload, a screen big enough for you to see comfortably and a battery that will last the entire excursion away from the office or charger.
Processors and video cards in today's machines perform at speeds that would make The Flash blush. A laptop that is just a couple of years old now feels antiquated and slow. Additionally, business software has become more complicated and requires more system resources to function properly. To this end, ensure that your business laptop has a powerful processor and video card. A CPU with speeds of 2.4GHz or more will be plenty to get the job done, and an Intel HD Graphics chip will be powerful enough to handle presentation software. However, if you need a business laptop for handling graphical work, an Nvidia GeForce GT630 or higher will be a better fit. This way, you can spend more time working and less time babysitting a progress bar.
Memory & Storage
If you travel a great deal, you're expert in packing a suitcase to maximize its portability on the road. Essentially, business laptops are digital suitcases. These days, gigabytes are in ample supply; there's no reason not to pick a business laptop with as much memory and storage as you can put your hands on. Look for 8GB of RAM or more in your business laptop. While 4GB is acceptable, that extra RAM will help when you're attempting to multitask or when you're working with several programs at once. Additionally, 500GB of hard drive space will likely be enough. However, if your work deals with HD video or other large files, look for a business laptop with 1TB or more of storage space.
When you reach your destination, it's almost a certainty that you will need to hook your business laptop up to something. Whether you're simply syncing your iPod or wiring yourself to a physical network, take care that your laptop has the proper ports and connections that enable all your devices to talk to each other. Generally, the more connectivity, the better. An Ethernet port is standard on all devices now. Additionally, most laptops come with at least one USB port. The best have two or three.
Other physical docks that are good but not necessary are VGA ports, media-card readers, webcams, HDMI ports and more. VGA and HDMI ports are used to connect to external displays, while media-card readers make it easy to transfer data from external devices via SD and microSD cards. Make sure to check the compatibility of your device's memory card against that of the business laptop you choose.
Wi-Fi is this generation's dial tone. All laptops have it, and if they don't, they should. Another must-have wireless connectivity option to look for is Bluetooth. This technology allows you to connect directly to other computers or devices without the need for a network.
Help & Support
Even well-built machines sometimes have faulty equipment or require maintenance. Unfortunately, you'll almost never have a trained IT professional traveling with you. The manufactures of your business laptop know this and are more than willing to help. A good company knows the importance of reliable and effective help and support options. As a consumer, you should be able to feel that help is simply an email, live chat or phone call away.
The right business laptop will meet a handful of important criteria. Look for a device that has all of the features you'll need to get your work done on the go, including a long battery life, sizable display and good connectivity options. It's also important to understand what memory and processing speed can mean in terms of completing your portable office goals. Finally, make sure the company you decide to purchase from provides good help and support options. There's nothing worse than having nobody to go to when something goes wrong with your device.