- Do you need vPro?
Many business laptops are available with CPUs that have Intel vPro technology, which lets a support person log in remotely, even if the computer can’t boot. However, unless you have a large IT department and a huge fleet of laptops that you need the ability to service remotely, you probably won’t use this feature.
- How fast do you need it to be?
Most business users will be happy with a laptop that has a dual-core, Core i5 CPU like the Core i5-7200U or Core i5-7300U (vPro) and the CPU’s integrated graphics processor. However, if you require a high-end performance for 3D Modeling, professional video editing or creating predictive models, then get a mobile workstation with a quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 CPU (model numbers end in HQ) and Nvidia Quadro graphics.
- Long battery life:
Nobody wants to run out of juice in the middle of a long workday or a cross-country flight. Unless you’re getting a giant workstation, look for a laptop that gets more than 9 hours on a charge. Some business systems come with a choice of regular or extended batteries; always get the high-capacity unit.
- At least a 1080p screen:
It’s hard to be productive if you can’t see much text on the screen. Avoid laptops with low-resolution, 1366 x 768 screens like the plague. Get one with a resolution that’s 1920 x 1080 or higher.
- SSDs for responsiveness:
If you want a truly fast computer, get a solid state drive rather than a mechanical hard drive. SSDs boot up, open programs and multitask at least three times faster than old-fashioned hard drives.
- The right ports:
Nobody likes to carry a bag full of dongles. Consider which kinds of connections you or your employees will need the most. If you connect to a wired network a lot, make sure the laptop has an Ethernet port. If photography is a key part of the job, choose a laptop with a memory card reader. No matter what your needs, a Thunderbolt 3 port is a huge plus, because it will allow you to connect to a new generation of high-speed peripherals, universal chargers and powerful docks.
- A great keyboard:
It almost goes without saying that every laptop should have a good keyboard. But with business systems, a comfortable typing experience is even more important. Look for snappy feedback, deep travel and absolutely no flex.
- READ MORE: Best Business Smartphones
Performance: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is essentially a 15-inch version of the X1 Carbon with beefed-up specs, and a direct competitor to the Dell XPS 15 and MacBook Pro. The surprisingly thin and lightweight laptop has exceptional speeds thanks to its Core i7 CPU, and its GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU is powerful enough to play most modern games. An excellent keyboard and one of the best displays we’ve ever seen top off this recommended machine.
Battery Life: Lenovo ThinkPad T480
If battery life is your priority, Lenovo’s ThinkPad T480 is the laptop to get. This notebook lasted a stunning 17 hours on our battery test, which, combined with its strong Core i5 processor and Nvidia MX150 GPU, offers tons of muscle for a full workday and then some.
Best Battery Life: Lenovo ThinkPad T480