Ask a Tech: How to Choose the Right Laptop to Buy

We spend a lot of time working with the technology that businesses rely on, including the laptop workstations used by just about everyone in many organizations today. As such, we wanted to share some of our insights so that you know what qualities you should look for when you’re ready to acquire some additional devices for your business.

What Should I Look For, in Terms of Specifications, When Considering a Laptop for Work Purposes?

Naturally, this can vary a little based on one user’s needs as compared to another, but generally speaking, it is best to ensure that everyone’s system is running at least an i5 processor and has a minimum of eight or, ideally, 16GB of RAM (Random Access Memory). In terms of storage, you’re ideally using some form of centralized storage that your team is able to securely access remotely, so it is less important that these devices have the space for all this data. Likewise, the prevalence of cloud-based software has also taken some of the importance away from storage space for such programs. However, it is still wise for performance-related reasons to have a reasonable amount of storage capacity on the device itself, so you should seek an option that features at least 256 GB of SSD space.

Otherwise, most of the other considerations will be impacted by each employee’s specific work style and situation. Despite being a laptop, will the device generally be used in one or two specific locations for most of the time, or will it be regularly taken on the road? Will your users have any use for a number pad, or would a laptop without one work just as well? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine what needs you have in terms of battery life and the size and weight of the device itself.  

Should I Expect a Business Laptop to Last as Long as a Traditional Desktop Workstation?

Once upon a time, absolutely not. However, as time has passed, the relative lifespans of these devices have become far more comparable than they once were. The real difference still comes down to how much a laptop is moved around and jostled when a desktop workstation tends to remain exactly where you’d expect—on, under, or near the desktop—and therefore doesn’t experience this kind of relative abuse. In short, the gentler you are with your laptop, the more you can expect to get out of it.

Should I Expect to Spend More on a Laptop than I Would a Traditional Desktop Workstation?

Similarly, laptops were once significantly more expensive than a comparable desktop—almost laughably so, and for many, prohibitively. However, this has also been changing. The comparative costs between the two are starting to level out, particularly amongst the higher-end devices.

Should I Trust My Battery to Perform as Well as the Manufacturer Claims It Will?

Unfortunately not, as battery life is closely tied to how the device is being used. The more the processor has to work, the more drain there will be. Things like watching videos, editing photos, and using applications with high resource needs will increase this drain. It’s important to keep in mind that the estimated battery life is also evaluated under conditions that do not line up with the way a device is used in the office. Sure, you may have the power efficiency setting enabled in Windows, but you also probably have the screen bright enough to be visible, Wi-Fi turned on, external devices plugged into it, and more than just a simple page refreshing on occasion. You’re much better off just keeping a charger around, if not leaving the device plugged in.

Of course, you can also reach out to us for our direct input and advice, specifically taking your current IT into account. Give us a call at (646) 741-1166 to find out more.

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