If you're in the market for a laptop that you plan on using for a long time, whether it's for business, or just personal use, you may be wondering if there's a real difference between regular consumer computers commonly sold in retail stores or business grade computers that you probably won't find in brick and mortar shops.
While you may still opt for a consumer laptop, as many people do, it's good to know what you're getting into ahead of time. These are the main differences between business laptops and consumer laptops.
Business laptops are sturdier and last longer
When manufacturers design computer for regular consumers, they assume that you will be upgrading frequently to stay on top of the latest trends - kind of like many people change their phones every two to three years! They also assume consumer users are not as tough on their laptops as business users. You probably won't be spending many hours a day being on your laptop so the assumption is valid.
Business laptops are created for long-term, all-day usage. Since companies don't want to constantly upgrade entire fleets of laptops, business designs don't vary drastically from year to year. Consistent design makes it easier to maintain laptops over time, and features such as swappable batteries extend the overall lifespan of business-focused devices. It's easy to find replacement components many years after the laptops were designed and replacing the parts is very easy.
Additionally, quality business machines are built with an eye on durability, many are water- and dust-resistant, and most reputable brands are built to withstand occasional drops and knocks. Consumer laptops, on the other hand, are built with planned obsolescence in mind and aren't intended to be used for more than a few hours a day.
Many business grade laptops can be purchased with warranties up to three or four years, while consumer grade laptops still typically come with a standard one year warranty!
Consumer laptops are prettier and offer unique design features
While business grade laptops looks have improved over time, they still look relatively bland and boring. Consumer laptops tend to have bright, glossy displays, shiny plastic exterior and some unique features like 360-degree hinges, detachable screens, styluses and more. If you are looking for these features in a business grade laptop, prepare to spend a lot of money!
The demand for attractive business devices isn't going away anytime soon, but for now, the most eye-catching designs out there belong to the consumer market. If design is a major motivator for you, as it is for many business shoppers, make sure you opt for a consumer laptop that's comfortable to use all day long; glossy screens and shallow keyboards are OK for sporadic use but grow tiresome quickly.
Business laptops offer more configuration options
Since businesses don't typically purchase laptops one at a time, lines of business laptops are designed with diverse users in mind. As such, many business laptops have lots of configuration options available. While consumer laptops may offer some opportunity for custom specs, like additional storage or a higher-quality display, they don't come close to offering the custom options business machines bring to the table.
Also, because business laptops are easier to upgrade, you can always improve the speed and functionality by adding more memory, storage, or even replace screen with a higher resolution one! Dell and Lenovo, for example, offer extensive customization options, allowing you to choose the processor speed, amount of storage, screen type, battery capacity, and more.
Business laptops have more ports and features
Did you notice that many laptops nowadays come with fewer and fewer number of ports? Apple is infamous with its Macbook that offers just one port! The same port is used for charging, plugging in USB sticks and mice, and attaching another screen. Want to use your USB mouse and charge the laptop at the same time? You can't, unless you spend another $100 for an adapter that allows you to do it!
Business laptops typically come with several USB ports, connections for an extra screen or projector, and some even have docking station connector - which allows you to use the laptop both on the go and in your office. You can just snap the laptop in place or connect one cable, and all your external screens, keyboard, mouse, printers and network cables are already connected. The docking station can even charge the laptop.
What do we use ourselves?
I'm a big fan of Lenovo ThinkPad and Dell Latitude laptops. My primary laptop is an older 15" Thinkpad that I bought almost 5 years ago. It still hasn't missed a beat and works better than most new laptops. I replaced the battery, spilled liquids on the keyboard, dropped it a few times and it's on for almost 24/7. No problems at all!
When I go see customers, I use my Dell laptop. It's very light and portable but well built and was made for tossing around in a bag and be used on the road.
My wife Jephany also uses a ThinkPad laptop. She does a lot of typing and works with videos and pictures, so having something that can work hard for many hours a day is very important to her.
Need help with choosing a laptop? Give us a call at 03 544 1995 and we'll find a good deal for you, whether you are looking for something new or used!
Stay tuned! Next week we will explain the difference between different types of viruses and malware.
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