The Best Business Laptop, Based on Business Need
Here’s the question: Given that we’ve now blurred the lines between what is, and what is not, a work device, is there even such a thing as a business laptop anymore? It’s not like work only happens on a computer: You use your smartphone, your tablet – heck, some of you might even be using Alexa™.
And yet, when it comes to laptops, people who use laptops for work really do have distinct needs and priorities from people who don’t. The reason is glaringly obvious when you think about it. Work computers aren’t just devices for sending email, surfing the web, or watching YouTube; they’re the critical tools you rely on to do your job. So if you need a machine that can edit hundred of hours of digital video, you need it to do that job reliably, day after day. If you need a business laptop to take you from meeting to meeting, without any opportunities to plug-in for charging, you don’t just need good battery life -- you need outstanding battery life.
With that distinction in mind, we’ve assembled a carefully curated list of the best business laptops, based on your business needs.
The best business laptop for travel
When it comes to traveling with a laptop, few things matter more than battery life. Not all seats on planes have their own power outlets, and if you’ve ever waited for a flight in a busy lounge, you know these receptacles are in constant demand. That’s why we built the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 with an astonishing 15.5-hour battery life. That’s enough to get you from New York to Taipei, assuming you can stay awake! But even if you do find yourself running low, one hour is enough to get you back up to 80% battery life.
The other commodity that can be tough to come by when traveling is Wi-Fi. With an optional LTE-A mobile data module, the X1 Carbon becomes its own fully independent communication platform, able to operate in over 90 countries.
Traveling can be tough on you, and even tougher on your laptop. Flimsy construction, cheap materials and inadequate protection from bumps and spills easily eliminate the majority of laptops from being truly travel worthy. That’s why we ensure the X1 Carbon meets 12 military-grade requirements and subject it to more than 200 durability tests. Go ahead and hit the road, but take a laptop that can take a hit.
Oh, did we mention it’s awesome for movies? Yup, the X1 Carbon is the first PC that can be ordered with Dolby® Vision™ High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology. If you’ve never seen HDR content on an HDR-capable display, you will be blown away. The extra levels of color, brightness and contrast make videos and photos incredibly lifelike. Don’t be surprised if your fellow travelers stop and stare.
The best business laptop for under $1,000
As much as we’d all like to say that money’s no object when it comes to our work computers, you can’t always spend as much as you’d like. But what if there was a business laptop that offered you every productivity tool you needed, in a small, lightweight design, and could also double as a tablet, for less than $1,000? Starting at $979.99, that describes the Lenovo Yoga 730 15” perfectly. With a 2-in-1 form factor and multi-touch screen, it can literally bend over backwards to become a tablet when you want to tap, pinch, and zoom, and a powerful laptop when it’s time to get typing.
Normally, laptops aren’t considered very upgradeable. That changes when you add a USB Type-C Thunderbolt port. Suddenly, ultra hi-res displays, external graphics, and super-fast storage become possible, without ever needing to get under the hood. Not that the Yoga 730 needs these extras. With discrete NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 4 GB graphics, JBL speakers, and Dolby® Atmos® audio on-board, this 2-in-1 laptop is a presentation powerhouse that can handle everything from sales meetings to product brainstorming sessions.
The best business laptop for processor-intensive computing
If you typically run very demanding software packages, like CAD for architecture or engineering, you probably don’t have the luxury of staying in the office and using a dedicated workstation. When the client calls, that’s your cue to go – and your work has to go with you. So we developed the ThinkPad P52s Mobile Workstation, an Ultrabook-class laptop that sports pro-level NVIDIA® Quadro® P500 2 GB graphics, paired with an up to 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8650U with vPro® (1.90GHz, up to 4.20GHz with Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache) CPU.
Want even more productivity? You can connect almost any peripheral, from a secondary monitor, to an external graphics card, through the USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C / Intel Thunderbolt 3 port. You can configure the ThinkPad P52 with a 4k screen, backlit keyboard, and a huge 1 TB solid state drive for the ultimate in portable performance.
That kind of mobile power wouldn’t last very long without an equally powerful battery, so it’s got that too: A dual-battery configuration that houses up to 10 cells, for a combined 104 Wh of power – more than double the life of an average laptop.
The best business laptop for everyday computing
Sometimes, all you need is a laptop that just gets things done, at a price that keeps the accounting department happy – especially when you’re the accounting department (and CEO, and CMO…) With a focus on simplicity and productivity, the Lenovo ThinkPad E580 is a powerful Windows 10 laptop that starts at a highly affordable $479.99. But don’t let that price fool you. The E580 is a serious business machine, with a 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i3 CPU, and integrated Intel HD Graphics 620. It has a full complement of ports including HDMI and USB Type-C, and an up to 13-hour battery life, so you can go anywhere and connect to almost anything.
With configurations that include up to 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 CPUs (1.80GHz, up to 4.0GHz with Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache), and AMD Radeon™ RX 550 2 GB discrete graphics, there are plenty of ways to customize the E580, from mild to wild.
Because it’s a ThinkPad, you get the features that the average laptop lacks, like superb construction and reliability, a full-size, ergonomic keyboard that is a joy to type on, and Lenovo Premier Support.
The best for business
If we didn’t cover your particular needs with this list, don’t worry. We know that every business is unique, and every businessperson has a distinct set of criteria for their laptop. That’s why Lenovo has over 50 laptop models to choose from, each with its own strengths, but all of them are customizable so you get exactly the machine you want. You can even choose your operating system: Most of our laptops feature Microsoft Windows 10, because it’s the gold standard for business computing, but it’s not the only option. Our Lenovo ThinkPad and Ideapad Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS, and let you download compatible apps from the Google Play app store.
Chromebooks are ultra light, and are secure by design thanks to their cloud-based OS. For businesses that run highly collaborative teams, and don’t need the full application support of a Windows laptop, Chromebooks can be the perfect solution.
Upgrade to a Windows 10 PC
If you’re still running Windows 7 on your business laptop, now’s the time to upgrade. After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will be phasing out Windows 7 entirely, so they won’t be patching it with any more security updates. That means your Windows 7 laptop will be vulnerable to hackers and viruses. You’ll still be able to use Windows 7, but we highly recommend you update to Windows 10 to have the latest protections.
Upgrading your OS is easy with Windows, and your business data will transfer over smoothly. Make sure to back up your data on an external hard drive before upgrading, though, just in case. We recommend Windows 10 over earlier versions because it’s the latest OS, and Microsoft is actively improving it all the time. Your business deserves robust security and the latest software updates.
To run Windows 10 smoothly, you’ll need a business laptop with at least a 2GHz processor and 4GB of RAM. Some Windows 7 laptops won’t have the power to run 10, so in that case, it might be time to upgrade to a new PC. The Lenovo ThinkPad laptop line consistently ranks as one of the best business PCs on the market, and every new ThinkPad comes equipped with Windows 10. Meanwhile, our ThinkBook laptop series is a sleek and affordable alternative for everyday business tasks. These Windows 10 laptops can help take your business to new heights.
Your business needs technology to run, but you don’t want to be constantly worrying about your technology. We get that. With a Lenovo laptop that’s built for business, your technology just became one less worry.
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