With remote work and education taking the spotlight in 2020, it’s no surprise that laptop sales saw incredible growth. In 2020 alone, more than 200 million laptops
shipped worldwide, offering students and employees more portable solutions with a laptop for everyday use.
For the mobile professional, however, the business-grade laptop takes center stage. Here’s why you may want to upgrade to this feature-packed machine. It’s not just for entrepreneurs and CEOs.
What is a business laptop?
These laptops were once associated with “road warriors,” or professionals who had to take their work with them on airplanes and cross-country business trips. For this reason, they were typically more rugged and had larger screens or full-sized keyboards, but still offered extended battery life.
Today’s business class laptops have extra durability, but they aren’t necessarily heavier or bulkier thanks to developments in component technology. They’re designed to handle the process-intensive programs used by today's professionals, but they’re popular among other pros, too. Creatives have used
them for hobbies and freelance work for years.
They have a reputation for reliability and offer an excellent overall ROI. It’s also possible to save a significant amount of money by watching for sales and promotional offers, which can create even more value for the budget-conscious small business owner.
Benefits of business-grade laptops
When comparing the differences between home and business laptops, you may be tempted to pick based on price alone. Here’s why it’s worth taking another look at business-grade options.
Business laptops are typically designed with wear and tear in mind. Many of them are tested in conditions that far exceed what a typical user would experience, such as extreme heat and high impacts. Maybe that's why business laptops are often the go-to choice for members of the military, scientists, engineers, and photographers who work in the field. Other rugged business laptop features include spill-resistant keyboards and screens made with impact-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass
The days of boring, boxy laptops are gone. Today's business laptops have just as much personality and beauty as any other laptop. Let’s take a look at some of the perks:
- Brilliant beveled-edge screens
- Sleek cases with unique colors
- Variety of sizes, so you can get exactly the right screen for your display needs
- Weights ranging from just 2.2 lbs to just under 7 lbs
Plus, if you have particular component specs in mind, you can find a pre-built option that’s ready to ship or you can customize your laptop with exactly the CPU, RAM, and storage you need, with either solid state drives or hard disk drives.
With so many business-grade laptops offering multiple configurations, you can even find convertible options to increase their versatility. These devices offer multiple usage options, including the ability to quickly change from a standard laptop setup to a tablet and back again in seconds. If you’re frequently in the field, this style could change the way you get things done.
3. Compatibility with business-setting accessories and components
When you’re not on the road, business laptops include ports to handle all of your favorite in-office accessories and external monitors
, including those with precise color-control features. For professionals who create diagrams or drawings, consider the many touch screen laptops that also work with compatible pens and sketching tools. Business laptops come with many of the drivers and controls for the most common components, but adding more is simple, too.
These computers really shine in the security department. While your needs will vary, some of the most common features include:
- Privacy shutters that close your camera (and keep it closed)
- Privacy screens to block prying eyes
- Enhanced logins, including fingerprint and facial recognition
- Deep-learning AI to recognize the newest malware attacks before they start
- Self-repairing wireless networks
While many of these protections are built into the operating system, some are included in software solutions that may be part of your hardware purchase.
Consider that many business professionals work with confidential information and are frequently out in the open like in airports or shared workspaces. It’s more important for you to have protection from outside threats, such as onlookers and those who may want to hack your Bluetooth, along with traditional virus and malware protection. By combining features like privacy screens and up-to-the-minute malware protections, professionals can spend more time on actual work instead of fighting off criminals and busybodies.
When did your previous laptop stop working? If it was from a spill, drop, or dust, the newer business-grade laptops have already thought of these risks and feature built-in protection from the start. With more robust cooling systems, they’re less likely to overheat. Plus, the higher-quality and more powerful processors and parts ensure that they’ll perform well, even when put to the most difficult tasks. Long battery life also marks today’s business laptop, so you can do more of your work from wherever you are.
Another thing to consider with business laptops is that they may be more easily serviced than consumer laptops. This isn’t always the case, as some of the slimmer, convertible business laptops will require special care for battery replacements and upgrades. Still, there are many on the market that come with parts, like replacement batteries, that your IT department can repair in-house. Other items, like power cords, cases, and accessories, are readily available as your teams need them, giving you many years of use.
6. Fewer preloaded programs
Most business computers are very intentional in the software they include preloaded. There are few software trials. Instead, these computers tend to focus on what a typical business person would need and not a lot more. For instance, this category of laptops often comes preloaded with a professional version of Windows or special security features most useful to those working with sensitive files. Any free trials that come with the business computer are designed with the productive professional in mind.
7. More computing power
It’s important to pick a laptop that includes an Intel i5 or i7 or an AMD Ryzen processor, by default, since most video and photo-rendering projects do best with a higher-end CPU. Other valuable hardware requirements include powerful graphics cards and enough RAM to run multiple analytics programs at once.
If you work with data, the arts, or communications, you’ll need a more powerful laptop than an entry-level consumer PC can offer. And remember, many business laptops are customizable at checkout, so you can configure yours to meet your needs.
8. Legacy features
Whether you’re sending files at 2 a.m. in an international airport or connecting to a monitor at your client’s office, there are many reasons why you need access to features included in older laptops. Business-grade computers often include these so that you can work anywhere, like when your hotel room’s WiFi is spotty and you need to connect with an Ethernet cord.
From security issues to compatibility needs, it’s important to consider the entire gamut of ports when buying a new laptop. Business laptops get you there, and you should make sure yours includes a variety of A/V connections, plenty of USB ports, and Ethernet.
9. Customer support
Laptops for business use are purchased with the understanding that they’ll get years of use. That’s why you’ll often see upgraded customer support or technical support options when you buy.
Not every business-class laptop comes with additional support over a standard laptop, so confirm that you’re getting what you need before you purchase. If you buy directly from the manufacturer or from a retailer that services businesses, you’ll often see more comprehensive coverage plans for wear and tear, replacement parts, and service.
When deciding which business laptop to buy, you should fully research your options to make sure you’re getting the model that best suits your needs. In addition to amazing features, today’s business machines come with a higher level of sales support and a different level of customer service to help you get to know your new features.
Look for your laptop to include support from the retailer or manufacturer, so they can guide you through any new or unfamiliar features. While these devices may be marketed to business professionals, there’s no reason ordinary PC fans can’t take advantage of them, too. The value in computing power, security, and quality is easily realized, delivering you and your company an excellent ROI.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech@Work. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.