When you work remotely, you need to find the business laptop that best suits your needs.  The right configuration will save you time, money, and frustration.  Here’s what to consider when you’re choosing a business laptop.

Overall Footprint

All laptops are not created equal, so size, weight, and durability will vary.  For example, if you need a numeric keypad for your work, you’ll increase the size and weight of the laptop in exchange for efficiency and convenience.

If you don’t want to feel like you’re lugging your laptop, consider a device without a numeric keypad and a smaller screen size.  Remember that heavy laptops (5 ½ pounds) are typically found in the entry-level offerings.  As you move up the product line, you’ll find lighter units (3 ½ pounds).

Screen Resolution

Let’s move to resolution.  1920 x 1080 is recommended because it conforms to the desktop monitor and many applications.  Many software applications either require or recommend 1920 x 1080 for the windows to properly fit on the display.  Modern display technology is In-Plane Switching (IPS) and it results in a crisp, bright screen.

An older option is 1366 x 768, which is the active matrix construction.  This is suitable if budget is a concern.

Memory

Look for at least 8GB of RAM.  Consider more for “power users” who work with spreadsheets, graphics or other data-intensive applications.  More memory also helps your machine run faster when you have multiple applications and windows open at the same time.

Storage

Most laptop users travel with their machines.  For traveling, a solid state drive (SSD) is better than a traditional rotating drive, though it’s a little more expensive.  The SSD has no moving parts.  That makes it much less susceptible to the perils of travel such as bouncing and bumping.  As a side benefit, SSDs use less power and are faster.

These days, we rarely see the need for CD/DVD drives in laptops.

Operating System 

Next is the Operating System.  If you have applications that force you to stay with Windows 7, then that’s what you need to do.  However, in 3½ years Windows 7 will go the way of XP, so you will be required to update eventually.

If your data must be encrypted, keep in mind that Windows 7 Pro does not support encryption. However, buy a computer with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip to make encryption key storage easier.

Most new business laptops come with an OS license for Windows 10 Pro (which supports encryption), and some manufacturers downgrade the pre-installed OS to Windows 7 Pro to meet their customers’ needs.  That means you may upgrade to Windows 10 Pro (and encrypt) after purchase as long as your applications support it.

Internet Connectivity

Your laptop needs to have reliable and secure wireless capabilities for use on the road.  Every laptop has some type of Wi-Fi built in, and most business-class laptops have built-in mobile broadband wireless modems.  These work with cell networks to bring faster speeds to your laptop, but remember you’ll need a data plan to go with it.

Another option to consider is a mobile hotspot if you only need occasional Internet access.

Battery Life

Business laptops usually come with multiple battery options.  Consider how long you need to go between charges and choose the battery that fits best.

In general, remember that the smaller and lighter the laptop is, the longer the battery life will be.  If you add a larger battery, you may be adding extra weight to your machine as well.  That may seem contradictory.  Consider that lighter laptops are state-of-the-art, so they feature the latest power sipping components and best battery technology.  Budget laptops are a step behind with bigger, heavier batteries and higher drawing components.

Warranty

We recommend a 3-year onsite warranty.  Plus, consider what happens to a drive if it fails and is replaced under warranty.  Ideally, you have a “Keep Your Drive” option to protect your data.  Your IT provider can help with this as part of an Asset Destruction Policy.

Also consider Accidental Damage Protection since the machine is out in the wild.  A drop on a corner or a screen crack is not a warranty issue so this is where Accidental Damage Protection kicks in to repair your machine.

Make sure you’re choosing the business laptop that’s best for you.  If your business needs help managing IT, contact CRU Solutions.