The Best Business Laptops
There are many choices when it comes to purchasing business laptops. While many business owners and administrators often think the local big box electronics or office supply chain offers appropriate options, that’s typically not the case. Business-grade systems boasting proper hardware warranties and professional operating systems capable of supporting the encryption, backups and centralized administration and management SMBs need frequently aren’t available from local stores.
Just which laptops are best for business in late 2022, including through continuing supply chain disruptions? Several models, fortunately, consistently deliver reliable performance and value.
Dell Latitude 5430
Long a professional workhorse offering businesses performance, portability and value in an attractive chassis, the Dell Latitude line of laptops are available in a broad array of sizes, features and specifications. There are even ruggedized versions for those companies requiring hardened models.
Equipped with 12th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, DDR4 3200MHz memory, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, four-cell 58Wh batteries, 250-nits and 300-nits 14-inch displays and Windows Professional operating systems, the Dell Latitude 5430 starts at $1,489 in the fall of 2022. Shipping within one week, the 5430 is configurable with 8GB or 16GB of RAM, 256GB or 512GB SSD drives and includes numerous ports, including Ethernet, USB 3.2, Thunderbolt and HDMI. The model also includes an integrated microSD-card slot, Intel WiFi 6e, Bluetooth 5.1 and a few webcam options, including 720p or 1080p. Dual-array integrated microphones are also included.
Professional users seeking a smaller laptop can consider the Dell Latitude 3330, which starts at $719 in fall 2022. Dell offers 11th-generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors in the 13.3-inch 250-nits display model, as well as 8GB 4266MHz RAM, a 256GB SSD and either a 720p or 1080p camera. For graphics, integrated Intel GPUs are onboard (UHD Graphics for i3 models and Iris X Graphics for i5 and i7 versions). Dual-array microphones are included, as are a four-cell 54Wh battery, Intel WiFi 6AX, Bluetooth 5.1 and multiple USB 3.2 options and an HDMI port.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
With a reputation for being reliable laptops that deliver the versatility businesses need, Lenovo’s ThinkPad lineup features a variety of models. Available in numerous series—including thin-and-light versions as well as powerful computing editions—companies can choose ThinkPads to meet specific needs, whether performing demanding tasks at a desk or requiring durability in the field.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is regularly cited as a recommended business laptop due to a combination of factors. The 14-inch system ships with the Windows 10 or 11 Professional operating system and the choice of 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, DDR 4 3200MHz memory, a 57Wh battery, USB Thunderbird and 3.2 ports and HDMI. Available displays on the 2.4-pound Carbon model feature up to 500-nits WQUXGA touchscreens. Corresponding graphics can power up to four independent displays. Also included is WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1 or above and a 720p or 1080p camera. Pricing starts at $1,164 in fall 2022.
The ThinkPad T Series, meanwhile, provides additional choices. The series’ pricing starts at $944 and includes 14-, 15- and 16-inch displays, your choice of either AMD or Intel CPUs and a multitude of GPU, RAM and storage options.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
Featuring a detachable keyboard and trackpad, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 offers optional 5G connectivity and is available in multiple colors. Perhaps more importantly, the 13-inch touchscreen computer (actually tablet, technically) runs the Windows 11 Professional operating system and weighs less than two pounds.
The Surface Pro 9 is available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB memory with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD storage. The 450-nits display sports Gorilla Glass 5. Expansion capabilities include two Thunderbolt and Surface Connect and Keyboard ports. The front- and rear-facing cameras provide 1080p HD video. Also onboard is WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1, as well as a 47.7Wh battery.
Apple MacBook Pro
Those seeking Microsoft and Windows hardware alternatives can explore Apple’s M1 Pro-powered 14-inch MacBook Pro. With impressive performance that outpaces most Windows laptops, Macs are compatible with Microsoft 365 services, Outlook and similar sister office programs and Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps. Should you need, you can also run Windows on a Mac, but the need for a Windows-specific operating system has declined as the adoption of cloud computing has grown and web-based options become a common standard.
The technical specifications for the M1 Pro-powered 14-inch model, for which pricing starts at $1,999, are stout. Apple’s M1 Pro chip includes 8 CPU cores, 14 GPU cores, 16 Neural Engine cores and 200GB per second performance. The corresponding 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR 500-nits display supports wide color and refresh rates up to 120Hz. Base models include 16GB of memory, although businesses can configure up to 64GB when upgrading to the M1 Max processor. Base storage is a 512GB SSD, while up to 8TB is supported, and WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 radios are onboard.
A 70Wh battery is included, as are an SDXC slot, HDMI and multiple Thunderbolt ports and a DisplayPort. The laptop’s keyboard is backlit, which assists working in low-light conditions, another popular Mac laptop feature. The MacBook Pro boasts a 1080p HD camera and a studio-quality three-microphone array with beam forming, which improves audio and video call quality. At just three-and-a-half pounds, some observers believe it’s difficult to find a better laptop, pound for pound, than Apple’s MacBook Pro.
HP EliteBook 840 G8
HP, not to be forgotten, offers businesses of all sizes numerous laptop models. The HP EliteBook 840 G8 often appears in recommendations, due in part to its combination of competitive components and its ultralight and thin profile.
Featuring Windows 11 Professional, Intel Core i5 and i7 options, 14-inch FHD LED UWVA 250-nits, 400-nits and even 1,000-nits displays, a 720p dual-array mic’ed webcam, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB SSD storage and 4GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB DDR4 3200MHz memory options, the model is available in a variety of builds sure to meet most any business’ needs. A 53Wh battery and Intel WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 are included in a base $1,375.50 version available in a fall 2022 configuration that also sports an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. Expansion features include two Thunderbolt and two USB-A ports and HDMI.
Businesses seeking a larger display can opt for the HP EliteBook 850 G8. Pricing for the 15.6-inch model begins at $1,442.40 in fall 2022. The base model boasts similar specifications to the EliteBook 840 but features the larger display.
Regardless the EliteBook model you select, both the examples listed here include backlit keyboards. The only drawback with the HP models is, depending upon the configuration chosen, shipping could lag a few weeks behind the order date. As supply chain issues improve, those delays may cease.
Insist on these minimum features, whichever choice you make
When purchasing laptops for your business, the features sought are necessarily different than when purchasing a home, consumer, simple entertainment or student computer. Most every business needs the Windows 10 or 11 Professional—not Home—version of Microsoft’s operating system to ensure proper security and administration. Corresponding hardware warranties should be extendable to three years, as is the case with Dell and Apple, for example. Neither should laptops be underpowered or feature inadequate graphics capabilities, especially when using the laptop at a desk with a docking station to support additional displays.
Hopefully this list of quality business laptops assists your organization. Should you still have questions or need more assistance, contact Louisville Geek at 502-897-7577 or [email protected] Our experts are happy to assist.