Finding a great laptop for work is serious business. After all, you need something that's durable, secure, powerful, light, and can last through a long workday. With the countless options available, it can be difficult to find the perfect one. Fortunately for you, we have already found seven of the best business laptops that can get your work done.
What constitutes a business laptop these days? Distinctions get hazy every time a laptop classified as such launches with multiple colour options, a metallic finish, different screen resolutions, and all sort of wireless and port acronyms. And with prices for laptops reaching all-time lows, businesses would rather save money buying a whole fleet of cheap consumer laptops than spend three or four times as much on an enterprise model.
Lines are even blurring between tablets and laptops. Once they were separated by operating systems, but tablets running "real" versions of full-fat Windows are the hot new products aimed at businesses. Some of these tablets have removable keyboards, some don't. But make no mistake, business laptops have their place in the commercial world, and choosing the right one can determine whether you run a company that's successful or one that suffers from too much downtime.
Look for at least 4GB of RAM. Anything less is not worth the few pounds you'll save. Graphics-based users will welcome 8GB of memory to help speed project work, but 4GB is plenty for the rank-and-file worker. The right amount of memory allows you to do multiple things: Open up more programs and windows at once and perform multimedia processes (like editing photos) faster. If your business laptop is running integrated graphics (this type of graphics eats up system memory) or if you're the type who keeps 25 tabs open in your browser, you'll absolutely need to have more than 2GB of memory.
Battery life is another consideration. A big battery can be your best friend on a lengthy flight or a long commute. Business laptops usually come with multiple battery options. Some enterprise-class laptops have two to three different kinds of batteries (4, 6, and 9-cell). The more "cells" you buy, the longer the battery life. A big battery adds some heft, but being able to run the system unplugged from dawn till dusk is worth the weight gain.
Anyhow, without further ado, here are our top seven picks of the best business laptops around. And for more advice on what to look for, read our guide to buying the best business laptop.
Apple MacBook Pro 15in Retina Display (£1,699)
The Apple MacBook Pro 15in (2013) earns its title as one of the best high-end desktop replacement laptops you can buy. It has the power of a desktop Mac, and the battery life to carry you through a full workday. The screen resolution is higher than most all-in-one desktop PCs and desktop replacement laptops, and the MacBook Pro 15in compares very well to other high-end laptops – even those with similar mega-resolution displays. Read our full review for more details.
HP ZBook 14 (£1,466)
Windows professional users will pay a premium for certain features like a sharper than normal screen and professional workstation graphics. The HP ZBook 14 has these features, plus a highly mobile design with a thinness and light weight never before seen on a professional-grade mobile workstation.
Dell Latitude 6430u (£725)
The Dell Latitude 6430u offers plenty of functionality, along with great general performance, an excellent screen, a robust chassis, decent battery life, a choice of pointing devices, and a healthy array of ports.
As we write, Dell has this model on offer with a heavy discount – when it was first released, this model tipped just over a grand, and you can currently get it for not much more than £700. That's excellent value for money, and if you want a great budget option, look no further than the 6430u. Read our full review for more details.
Dell Latitude E7440 Touch (£1,485)
The rugged Dell Latitude E7440 Touch business Ultrabook offers a nice mix of premium features, good performance, excellent battery life, and compatibility with other E-series Latitude laptops in Dell's stable. We'd recommend one of the higher-end models with an SSD, though you can always take the basic spinning disk toting model if you want to save a good deal of money.
Lenovo ThinkPad X240 (£1,478)
The Lenovo ThinkPad X240 is a powerful business laptop sporting a Core i5 Haswell CPU, a speedy solid-state drive, and a 12.5in IPS touchscreen display. This is the top of the line X240 model we're recommending, with the SSD for extra speed – and so it's not cheap – but this is a great machine, and a well-built Ultrabook that will give you over 15 hours of battery life.
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix (£1,230)
An excellent example of a detachable hybrid tablet, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix gives the corporate IT buyer a prime option for their highly mobile workforce. In fact, in our review we noted that it was "almost the perfect hybrid," with only a few niggles marring the quality on offer here. Read that full review here if you want to know more.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (£1,410)
The Lenovo ThinkPad X Carbon Touch is a very well-built business laptop with a light and durable design, and enough guts and performance to cope with all your work needs. The series has long been a favourite of business executives, and for good reason.