Buying laptops for your business is investing in the future of your organisation, so you want to make sure you select the right equipment for your needs. Unlike buying a laptop for personal use, there are additional factors to take into account when laptops are being used to run your business.
When investing in laptops for your business you want to make sure you select the right equipment for your needs. To help you choose wisely and avoid costly mistakes, here's six things to consider before you buy.
1. How will the laptops be used?
Central to any buying decision is a consideration of how the laptops will be used. Are you looking for powerful business workstations that can run heavy-duty CRM software, for instance, or are your needs less demanding? Are you looking for sleek and portable presentation units for your sales team? Or more likely, do you have a combination of requirements? It's helpful to write down all of your criteria, from most to least important, to establish a clear overview of what you're looking to use the machines for.
2. What are your mobility requirements?
How mobile your laptops need to be depends on how they will be used. While all laptops are ‘mobile', you may need to compromise on computing power and screen size to get a lightweight, slimline model that is easier to carry around. If your laptops will primarily be used as stationary workstations in the office, then a sturdier machine with a bigger screen could be suitable. If mobility is an important factor for your workforce, consider a laptop from the business-ready range of ThinkPad X series, which offer a lot of power in a thin and lightweight package.
3. How much computing power is required?
Laptops come with a wide range of functional capabilities, depending on the processor, amount of memory and other factors such as the type of graphics card and hard drive. While you could spend thousands of dollars for a top-of-the-line machine, how much computing power you actually need depends in large part on what software the machines will need to run.
For basic everyday tasks such as email and word processing, an entry-level laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor will be more than sufficient. However, for running multiple programs and resource-intensive software like CAD, rendering video or accessing large databases or spreadsheets, you will more likely need the power of a laptop running an Intel Core i5 or i7, or an AMD A series processor.
4. What about ports and expandability?
At some point, it's likely you'll have to connect your laptop to another piece of equipment. As such, a business laptop should come with a wide range of input and output options, such as:
- Multiple USB ports
- HMDI - for connecting to external displays
- Mini DisplayPort - for driving display devices with VGA, DVI or HDMI interfaces
- Ports for dock stations
- SIM card reader.
So before buying, think about how your laptops will be used and connected to other equipment, and plan your ports accordingly.
5. What screen size and graphics card are required?
If your business relies on graphics-intensive software such as CAD modelling programs or high-end image- or video-editing software, you may need to invest in a machine with a discrete graphics card and the ability to display very high resolutions. This will also affect the screen size you choose, as a larger screen may be needed for intensive visual work.
6. How important is security?
Many business laptops come with extra security features, such as Smart card, ExpressCard and fingerprint readers, which help prevent unauthorised access to machines. While security is a concern for all technology users, it is critical for businesses that store sensitive financial and client data.
In addition to these features, you'll also want to check on the expected life cycle, warranties and after-sale support. Ultimately, your decision on which laptops are best for your business will be based on the considerations of power, mobility, extra features and price.