There isn’t just one type of businessperson out there – people work in countless different industries and often have very different ways of doing things. So how can a businessperson — the orderly small business owner, the efficient graphic designer or the on-the-go consultant — decide which laptop best suits his or her needs? Here are the best laptops for those businessmen and women who do what they love and love what they do (or just want to do what they do better).
Finding the right portable business laptop is about finding balance: slim and sleek without compromising performance, sturdy without becoming bulky and functional without being bland. It’s amazing how out of whack these things can get (see Panasonic’s ToughBook Model 31, an 11-pound beast out of place everywhere except maybe a warzone, or the $4,800 Sony Vaio Z12AHX Glossy Premium Carbon – a beautiful laptop, to be sure, but one that’s severely lacking in functionality for a price tag that hefty).
Even though Apple’s MacBook Pro comes close with a precise combination of performance, design and portability, its lack of compatibility (Microsoft still rules the roost when it comes to business software and operating systems) and $1,800 price tag convince the smart business that searching for a cheaper, more functional alternative is well worth the effort.
So, which laptop strikes the right balance if you’re looking for the best ultrabook? Lenovo offers several ThinkPad models targeted at the mobile businessperson – lightweight laptops with up to 15 hours battery life and productivity features for less than $800.It’s also hard to argue against Samsung’s Series 9 ultrabook, in either its 15 or 13.3 inch incarnations. The Series 9 weighs 2.49 pounds, is 0.51 inches thick and is seriously fast compared to other business laptops in its class with a no-nonsense 9.1-second boot up speed.
As if the portability and performance weren’t enough, this computer has seriously good looks. Grabbing this machine out of your briefcase at the airport, in the board room or back at the hotel room after a long day’s work is the opposite of underwhelming with its clean lines, considered layout, and beautiful display.
For the Graphic Designer
How do you shop for a business laptop with specifications as specific as those necessary for a graphic designer? One word: performance. Running specialist software, having a high resolution visual display, and making sure it all comes in hardware that will keep it all safe – these demands require high levels of performance, if in slightly different senses of the word.
That can seem a bit disorienting. What helps is to zoom in on essential features and for graphic design there’s really nothing more important than a good dedicated, i.e., non-integrated graphics card. One of the best is the Nvidia Quadro FX. It’s a beast, really, more than up to the task of editing video and animation while expending hardly any effort at all to work with large picture files.
Even though this graphics card can be found in a decent amount of PCs, it finds its true home in the Dell Precision M4700, a no-nonsense, get-things-done laptop whose ultimate appeal comes from being the most practical among a class of machines all vying to make your work life just a bit easier. At just over $4,000, the M4700 isn’t the cheapest of laptops, but the time and money savings that will accrue as a result of not needing after-market upgrades are sure to make this laptop well worth the initially hesitation-inducing price tag.
The Small Business Owner
In many ways, the small business owner is the ultimate businessperson. Owning your own business certainly requires you to be a jack of all trades and this will undoubtedly mean that you’ll need your laptop to be versatile, efficient and loaded with all the features you may need on any given day.
When all of these things are taken into account, one of the best laptops in this category is the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E530 Laptop with Professional Operating System. This computer — quite possibly the only one a small businessperson will need — comes equipped with Windows 7 Professional, which can be upgraded now that Windows 8 has been released. It has a seriously reliable 500 GB hard drive. And for those work-from-home business owners, its 15.6-inch screen makes it large enough to provide an almost desktop-like experience while still being portable enough should you need to make the occasional trip to meet a client or business partner in person.
What really makes the ThinkPad Edge E530 so hard to beat is the price. For a small business, any amount of savings is always welcome, no matter how seemingly trivial. Purchasing a laptop with a business-optimized professional operating system for under $700 could save a small business owner around $1,500 against similar models while still having the hardware features and software required for doing business, no trivial feat.
Finding the right laptop is never easy, especially so when it needs to be fit for purpose. However, if you know what you need – whether the emphasis is on portability, performance, or practicality – the choice can become crystal clear in no time, no matter your area of business.