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With the massive increases in the remote workforce and no signs of the pandemic ending any time soon, laptops are a crucial component in keeping your company afloat. More than 44% of American workers report that they work at home five or more days a week. Laptops allow you to conduct business from anywhere and many technology resources are available on laptops to make your business thrive whether your employees are in or out of the office. If the laptops you utilize are unreliable (i.e. load slow, crash programs) or unsafe (i.e. lack the most up-to-date security features) it’s going to feel like the world’s ending.
The wide variety of options out there can be daunting but don’t worry – we asked our expert team at OSG to put together a list of things to consider before making your next laptop purchase.
Here are the factors you’ll want to consider during your search:
Operating System: At the end of the day, you’re going to want to stick with the OS that you and your employees are accustomed to using. Most importantly, whichever one you choose, make sure it’s one that can efficiently perform and run all the programs your company needs.
Brand: This decision probably has a lot more to do with aesthetics than performance. Choosing a brand is also something that can be determined by the operating system you choose. (For example, Mac OS = Apple computers, always.) Just like our suggestion with operating systems, if one brand can offer better solutions for your business’ needs than another, then choose that one. Simple as that.
From Laptop to Tablet to Notebook to Ultrabook
One of the most versatile laptops on the market is a convertible computer (also known as a convertible laptop or a “2-in-1”.)
With a laptop that can also serve as a tablet, you’ll no longer need to worry about portability. These laptops typically come with either a detachable keyboard or hinges that can rotate the screen a full 360°. To top it off, they also come with a full touchscreen for a real tablet experience.
You may also consider an ultrabook which tends to place form over function. Ultrabooks are normally slimmer and more light-weight than high-end performers. Notebooks, on the other hand, offer a blend of performance and portability. Finally, a traditional clamshell laptop may be the best bet if you are searching for a machine that offers the most specs.
Laptop battery life is immensely important to the worker on the go. However, the perfect laptop battery is essentially a unicorn, no battery seems to last as long as the manufacturer’s promise. This is in part because there are a variety of factors that go into battery life like screen brightness, the number of applications running in the background, your connection to WiFi or Bluetooth devices and more. Look at the battery rating to determine if the laptop has a longer battery life. These ratings are measured in Watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh). Laptops with the longest battery life include the Dell Latitude 9510 with over 18 hours of battery life, the 2-in-1 HP Spectre x360 with over 13 hours of battery life, and the Macbook Air with 14 hours. For stationary use, 8+ hours is ideal.
Size & Weight
Think about what you are going to do with your laptop. Will you travel? Will the laptop mainly serve the same function as a desktop with the added feature of portability? No matter the function you desire, the size of the laptop is an important factor because you are locked into that size at purchase. Most laptops range in size from 11.6 inches to 17.3 inches with a few laptops that are even larger. If you’re looking for a laptop that doesn’t sacrifice performance for portability, you’ll want a 13”-14” screen while remaining under four pounds. For the best processing power, you should look in the 17”-18” range.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Consider how much typing you will be doing throughout a normal day at the office. If you spend a lot of time with your fingers hovering over the keys, you’ll want to consider the keyboard and touchpad. Do your hands fit comfortably on the keyboard? How does the keyboard respond to your touch? Make sure the keyboard and touchpad have a natural feel. Test out the keyboard for tactile feedback, vertical travel, and enough space between the keys. Test out the trackpad for responsiveness (no jumpy cursors).
For easier navigation, a backlit keyboard (for working in dimly lit or dark locations), multitouch gestures (like pinch-to-zoom and a pointing stick within the keyboard) are nice features to consider as well.
Looking at a screen all day can be tiring for your eyes. When purchasing a laptop you should take into consideration whether the screen is comfortable for your eyes to look at for long periods. You can also consider whether it would be beneficial to have a touchscreen. This can make some things, like drafting or signatures, so much easier. Touchscreens are available on a variety of laptops.
Laptop performance should be an important consideration when buying a new machine. The specs relate to the most complicated parts of a computer and are essential to how well the laptop will perform. The minimum recommendation for a processor taking into account both price and performance is a Core i5, though that’s not all you should consider.
We recommend investing in a storage/hard drive so you can store as much business information as possible unless your business stores information in a cloud-based system. Most higher-end laptops now include SSDs (solid state drives) which have expanded storage capabilities in addition to speedy performance. And when it comes to RAM, you’ll want at least 16GB of storage in order to allow for multiple applications to run at the same time.
Look at the exterior of the laptop. Take note of how many USB 3.0 ports are on the side. Optimally, you should buy a laptop with at least a couple USB 3.0 ports because they are the most common connector port in the industry and will allow you to plug in things like an external hard drive, conventional mouse, phone charger or keyboard. Some of the newest laptops offer USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. These ports have amazing data transfer speeds but are not as mainstream as the USB 3.0.
When you work remotely, you may have access to sensitive information on your laptop or notebook. Some laptops offer features like fingerprint readers and facial recognition technology. When you embrace this technology, you will increase the safety and security of the data stored on your laptop.
Lastly, you should consider your budget when shopping for a new laptop. Wise spending is important. You don’t necessarily need to spend the most or the least to get a machine that will work well for you. To purchase a business laptop that gives solid performance and portability, you’ll likely wind up in the $600+ price range. These laptops will include higher resolutions and SSDs. In the $900+ price range, you’ll start seeing the best features for business use, such as a faster processor, more RAM, and more storage space. The more expensive machines tend to be aesthetically pleasing as well.
Landing on a laptop for your employees can be a daunting and extensive project but finding an IT company to help you meet your goals shouldn’t be. Chat with us today at Outsource IT Solutions group and we will work to find you the best laptop to meet your needs.