A business laptop isn’t just an ordinary tool that you and your staff use to email contacts and write up documents; it’s a real investment in the future of your company. Making the right choice when it comes to purchasing laptops for your staff can be a complicated process. There are so many brands, products, and features to choose from, so how can you be sure that you’re not wasting your money, or missing out on an opportunity to improve your business?
Don’t take any chances when it comes to investing in technology for your employees. Reach out to Cohn Consulting Corporation at (770) 321-5532 or firstname.lastname@example.org today for expert guidance in purchasing your business’ technology.
Cohn Consulting Corporation IT professionals are often asked by corporate owners and managers for advice on what to look for in their next laptop purchase. If you’re in the market for new laptops for your staff, consider these nine points when weighing your options:
- Size and Weight vs Display and Features: Your first consideration should be the size; the smaller the laptop, the less it will weigh, which makes it easier to carry around. However, smaller laptops also have smaller displays, less comfortable keyboards, and fewer features.
Alternatively, bigger laptops will have more ports, bigger displays (suited for viewing video and other multimedia), and more usable keyboards, making them ideal for users that plan to do a lot of typing. However, with the larger size comes a larger weight, which can be inconvenient to carry from home to the office and meeting to meeting.
These are important features when considering the characteristics of your workforce. A younger, millennial staff would likely prefer the more mobile laptops, whereas an experienced staff would likely opt for the more easily read and used larger laptops.
- CPU and Memory: If you want the new laptop to last longer than a year, you’ll need to buy the best processor and the most memory available in your price range. Currently, that means an Intel i7 processor and at least 12GB of memory.
- Hard Drive: If you want real speed, you need to invest in a Solid State Drive (SSD). While it’s certainly more expensive than the traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD), an SSD will boot up, open applications and execute tasks in seconds, with virtually no lag whatsoever. SSDs usually come in 128GB, 256GB, or 500GB, and even larger, but if the intended user isn’t planning to store much on the device (such as music, pictures, and videos), the smaller sizes will be more than acceptable. Again, you’re not buying an SSD for the size as much as you’re buying it for the speed. If an SSD is out of your price range, a 500GB or 1TB hybrid, or SATA drive will be more than suitable, if a little slow in comparison.
- Display and Form: Many new laptop models double as tablets and include a touchscreen, such as Dell’s Ultrabook. Depending on the user’s preferences and intentions, a touchscreen and tablet design could be useful, but otherwise, they’re not worth paying for. Whereas a touchscreen is vital for tablet purposes, it’s just not necessary for traditional computing on a laptop.
- Features and Ports: To start, you’ll want to ensure that the laptop has built in Bluetooth and at least 802.11n wireless capability. Beyond that, the number of USB ports, and HDMI capability will depend on the user’s preferences. As mentioned earlier, the number of ports will correspond to the size and weight of the laptop; the bigger and heavier it is, the more ports you’ll have for your mouse, USB thumb drives, external hard drives, printers, etc. We recommend that you choose a laptop that has at least three USB ports.
- Operating System: Given that Windows 7 is only receiving extended support, be sure to choose a laptop that runs the fully-supported Windows 10 OS. Laptops that are set up to run Windows 7 may not necessarily have the capability to run Windows 10 when it comes time to upgrade, which will greatly affect their usability in the future.
- Software: The initial purchase is often the best time to buy any necessary software, despite the fact that laptops will often come with trial versions of programs like Microsoft Office 2016 or Office 365. It’s also likely that you’ll get a deal on Adobe products as well. Be sure to check with any existing corporate licenses your business has with Microsoft or Adobe, as you may already have what you need.
It is also recommended that you steer clear of free, “Office-like” products, such as OpenOffice; it can be tempting to go with the free option, but that software often lacks compatibility features that make it easier to share, edit and collaborate on documents with coworkers, clients, and vendors.
Lastly, don’t make the assumption that you can use the software from your previous computer on the new one. If you purchased an OEM license, you won’t be able to use it on another machine. Only non-OEM licenses are transferable between devices.
- Brands: As a Dell Premier Partner, Cohn Consulting Corporation is confident in recommending Dell laptops. With more than a decade of experience in providing IT consultation to a range of businesses and consumers, we’ve chosen to work with Dell because we truly believe that they are the best on the market.
- Realistic Prices: The unfortunate reality is that when you do the math, getting a laptop that meets the previous eight specifications will probably cost $800 – $1,200. There are certainly cheaper laptops, but the issue is that the sub-$800 market is filled with low-end products that lack the horsepower or included software to do what you need them to. They have low-end processors, too little memory, nearly outdated operating systems, bare minimums on added features, and trial versions of software at best.
While a laptop like this may save you 30 – 50% of the cost in the short term, it won’t be convenient to use, and you’ll likely have to replace it within a year or two. Your best choice is to invest in a business laptop that meets your specifications; it’ll be a pleasure to use, and it will easily be worth the money.
Daniel S. Cohn
Cohn Consulting Corporation
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