At Revolution Networks, we believe in making everyday operations for business owners and their employees more efficient, in turn benefiting the customer experience. We’ve spent many years in the field and worked with a wide array of computer systems as a result, and with many businesses implementing practices such as remote commuting, travelling employees, and incorporating mobile workstation setups, the laptop continues to be an important and valuable asset, if not more so now than ever. Our team has combed through the latest systems on the market, and we’ve compiled a list of the five best business laptops. Here they are, in order from fifth place to our number one spot.
5: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-Inch)
With a battery you can’t kill quickly, a detachable high-resolution 13.5-inch display that functions as a tablet, and full compatibility with Microsoft’s incredibly precise Surface Pen, the Surface Book 2 is currently one of the most powerful 2-in-1 laptops in the world, and it has far fewer cons as a result other than the price. With a 3:2 aspect ratio, exceptional battery life (10 hours or more on average), and 8th Generation Intel Kaby Lake processors as well as a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, this machine just screams through more intensive tasks and has no problems in doing so. It’s one of the hardest working and highest-quality portable systems we’ve ever tested. There is also an equally impressive 15-inch variant available.
So, why is it the lowest-ranking system on our list? Well, Microsoft only offers a 2-year warranty at most with the Surface Book 2, and with most of the internals contained in the non-user-serviceable display/tablet, it means that you can’t just turn to anyone to fix hardware issues that may arise (and given the reception of some Surface products, this can act as a red flag). Additionally, you may balk at the price, which doesn’t include the Surface Pen in any SKU and therefore requires another $100 for that functionality.
4: Dell Latitude E5480
Dell is known for their high-quality business machines that focus less on flashy design and more on dependable functionality, and this 14-inch entry in the Latitude series is undoubtedly impressive. Boasting robust connectivity, full-size ethernet, and a tough-as-nails frame, it’s built to handle day-to-day operations like a pro. Though the price is still a little high for a model with a 7th generation Intel CPU, bear in mind that it is an actual four-core CPU that offers remarkable performance that can top even a Core i7-7600U. Higher-end configurations aren’t cheap, but this is indeed a solid performer backed by Dell’s quality aftersales. Our advice is to grab one while on sale or for a corporate discount, if applicable, to get your money’s worth.
3: Lenovo ThinkPad P71
If you’re looking for a mobile workstation that doesn’t need to be ultra-portable and refuses to sacrifice critical business-friendly features, the Lenovo ThinkPad P71 is a heavy-hitting choice – literally. Weighing in at a whopping 8+ pounds, it’s hardly a lightweight, ultraportable system, but it does allow for transportation from place to place when needed – perfect for those remote commuting from a stationary location or with the occasional need to travel while doing performance-intensive tasks. What you get for all those pounds is a high-performance, desktop-class 17-inch system that will deliver exceptional reliability (after all, it’s a ThinkPad through and through). With a full numpad as well as the usual key setup found on a smaller laptop, it’s an excellent choice for those in need of doing some heavy number-crunching. You’ll find ports aplenty with a Mini DisplayPort, headphone jack, SD card slot, 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and a proprietary AC power port – and yes, we’re technically talking about a mobile workstation here. Additionally, you can order models with a stunning 4K display, Pantone Colour Sensor for calibration, and plenty of room for a great battery, ample storage, and enough RAM to sink a ship. If you can get over the sheer size and weight of this monster, we highly recommend it as a mobile workstation.
2: Dell XPS 13
While technically a consumer laptop, the Dell XPS 13 has more than enough power and portability to make it a contender for the ideal laptop to use in your business. Featuring a stunning 4K display, an 8th Gen Intel Quad Core processor, and an ultra-portable form factor, it’s a good choice for those who need to be somewhere else while connected to the office. While we aren’t fans of the dismal webcam placement or the keyboard quality, it gets the job done at a reasonable price and is quite dependable. You lose a few ports in the process, with only a few USB-C connections available for your external mice, hard drives and whatnot, but otherwise, it offers solid performance and is pretty easily serviceable when needed. If you can get over the few niggling sacrifices for an ultraportable laptop at a convenient price, this is a sound choice.
1: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Generation)
If you can’t afford to give up essential or handy features or solid, long-lasting performance, and need something ultra-portable that doesn’t sacrifice a thing, we’ve got the perfect system: Lenovo’s 2018 upgrade of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Like all things Lenovo, it is available with full customization prior to ordering, but we encourage you to opt for the high-end preconfigured SKU with a blisteringly fast 1TB Samsung NVME Opal SSD, Windows 10 Pro, a 14-inch HDR Dolby Vision display, 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM (which is less demanding on power), and a quick-charging 57 Whr battery that can reach 80% in just an hour.
And it only weighs 2.4 pounds while remaining just 15.95 mm thin, complete with the most exceptional keyboard on any Ultrabook we’ve tested (it even betters some ThinkPads, such as the new T480). Complete with incredible reliability – the result of over 200 mil-spec tests and military-grade certification for shock, dust, water, fire, and drop resistance – the ThinkPad X1 Carbon also includes a built-in roll cage, a carbon fibre and magnesium alloy chassis, and screaming fast processor performance. It’s built to last and isn’t afraid to prove it. And no, you’re not going to sacrifice a single critical port – you get 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, full-size HDMI, Ethernet via an optional adapter, compatibility with Lenovo side-mounting dock systems, and even a micro SD/SIM card tray. The system is easily serviceable via a screw-mounted bottom sans annoying plastic tabs found on other ThinkPads, but note that RAM is soldered to the motherboard when ordering. The price is higher for this investment than for something with similar specs, but rest assured, you’re going to get your money’s worth and then some – particularly if you add on a 5-year warranty from Lenovo. This is the perfect laptop for those who need something reliable for at least five years – even if you don’t use it as a mobile workstation (of which it is perfectly capable).
Those are our picks for the best business laptops of 2018! For more information on how Revolution Networks can enhance your business’ potential by streamlining everyday processes with our range of services, contact us today.