Laptops continue to increase in popular for business use. And not only do they allow you and your team to get work done from anywhere. But many also provide all the power, storage and speed that you really need. And this allows you to perform your day-to-day functions.
However, with the increasing popularity of laptops, there are also more devices to choose from than ever before. Wading through all the brands and specs can get complicated, especially for small business owners who already have tons of other tasks on their plate.
How to Choose a Laptop
Whether you’re looking for a laptop that you can use personally in your home office or a selection of devices to supply to a small team, here are some helpful tips for those who aren’t sure how to choose a laptop for business use.
Evaluate Your Workload Needs
Every business owner or profession is going to use their laptop slightly differently. So that means their specific feature and spec requirements are going to vary. Before you get started comparing specific models, you need to figure out what it is you need from a laptop. And that starts by looking at the tasks you regularly accomplish on your device.
Jason Harrison of Harrison Technology Consulting LLC said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “What you need depends on the workloads you plan to tackle with it. If you are doing typical tasks (Email, word processing, spreadsheet work, basic presentations, web surfing, etc.) Then a mid-priced mid-powered device will do you well. If you plan on doing some heavier compute tasks like video editing, heavy image rendering/manipulation, coding, or music production, then you’re going to want to invest in as much as you can afford to get enough power and other system resources to do these tasks in a reasonable amount of time.”
Avoid Really Low Cost Equipment
Of course, you need to find a laptop that fits within your company’s budget. However, opting for bargain basement devices can often cost your business more in the future with extra repairs, loss of productivity or more frequent replacements.
Harrison says, “Most of the time you get what you pay for. Typically, the higher quality equipment from companies like Apple tend to hold up well, last a really long time, and be less trouble.”
Don’t Get Weighed Down by Tons of Specs
When shopping for laptops, there are tons of different specs you can look at. You might see terms like CPU, screen resolution, 4G cards and hard drive storage. Some of these things might impact specific businesses. For example, if you work with high res graphics, a high screen resolution may be important.
However, many of these aspects are fairly comparable within specific price points. So Harrison cautions against getting bogged down with minutiae unless it’s a very specific need for your company.
He adds, “These days most mid-priced and up computers are more than capable and specs mean a lot less. Obviously, if you plan to do audio or video work, then you’ll want to pay attention to the devices video and audio hardware. For basic computing needs, most specs are often more than enough.”
Look into RAM
However, there’s at least one spec that is relevant to pretty much any computer buyer. RAM impacts each device’s performance based on how much memory and storage it can hold.
Harrison explains, “That said, RAM is still one key spec to pay attention to. While most basic configurations are at least in the 8GB range, I typically suggest 16GB as a minimum to help provide a bit more performance when running many apps and to provide a bit more longevity in the devices life without the need to worry about upgrading the RAM anytime soon.”
Consider Getting Help from a Professional
If you want to invest in a quality laptop that’s perfect for your business, but don’t want to do all the research and comparison shopping on your own, consider hiring an IT consultant. To ensure that you get unbiased advice, Harrison recommends going with someone who does not resell hardware or software products from specific vendors. That way, you can be sure they’re actually going to recommend you the products that are right for your business, rather than trying to earn some extra money.
He says, “These pros are hired by you and work for you and are out to help you get the best solution for your business. These pros often pay for themselves many times over. They can also be a very valuable resource to assist with ongoing needs such as developing a solid security plan for your system and helping maintain the system. Computers and like devices are not appliances. They are complex devices that do require proper software management, security management, and ongoing attention to keep them running securely and smoothly.”