ANALYSIS: When it’s time to buy news laptops for your business does it make sense to pay for a touch screen or do you need a docking station? Are ultrabooks worth it?
Once you’ve given thought to some basic standards, and depending on how important those standards are, that process may rule out certain machines or types of machines. For example, if your company uses software that lends itself strongly to use of a touch screen, then you’ll probably want to exclude computers that don’t have touch screen technology.
And there’s always the basic platform that you need to keep in mind. If your company is a Windows shop, then you might want to stay clear of Chromebooks. Likewise if you’re running a lot of Apple Macintosh machines, you probably want to consider a MacBook.
Mac v PC
But suppose that like many companies, you’re running web-based software for applications that are in the cloud? Then the Mac vs. PC question goes away. You can run cloud-based applications on any of those platforms, so the decision then becomes one of which hardware you like best and what you can get a good deal on.
I began pondering these questions when I was faced with buying multiple laptops myself. Of course, my business is considerably smaller than anybody’s enterprise, but the same factors remain. What features are necessary? What features are nice to have? What features are unnecessary?
I’ll replace a rugged and fairly reliable Lenovo T-430 that’s approaching five years old. I’ll also buy an additional laptop for my director of engineering (AKA my younger daughter) who is going back to graduate school for an even more advanced engineering degree. It would be nice to have similar machines if only to simplify the support equation, since there’s only one member of the support staff (me).
Considering the abuse I heap on laptop computers, the choices will be important. For example, a few years ago I was on a trip for eWEEK when the airliner I was in had what was euphemistically called an “emergency landing.” Considering the damage, most people would have called it a “crash.” But while my other electronics didn’t survive, my ThinkPad was unscathed. So ruggedness is a major criterion.
But so is weight. Carrying around all of the hardware necessary to work on the road gets old, so a lighter device with lighter accessories would be welcome. But the computer also has to work with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, if only because I don’t want a productivity hit when I can avoid it. It’s a tall order, and I have no idea which laptop will be the answer.
So I’ll be looking at several business laptops designed to meet modern needs while also being reliable enough for real work. I’ll share the results of those tests in words and pictures here in eWEEK later this month.
Originally published on eWeek