If you’re in the market for a new laptop, you usually head to the nearest store and become seduced by an array of notebooks with glossy screens.
While consumer portables are usually designed for style, business laptops frequently offer a tougher build, more configuration options and better usability.
We spoke to IT consultant Chan Siang Wei from Netcom, Brunei’s leading distributor of Dell Technologies, about why more Bruneians should consider buying a business laptop for their day-to-day needs.
What’s the difference between a consumer and business laptop?
If you want a notebook that has longer battery life; better performance and power; and can survive drops and spills, then a business system is most likely for you.
“In general, business and consumer laptops are used the same way, but it’s the added benefits of having a business laptop that makes a major difference,” said Chan.
“There’s the added security options, better warranty and several more customisable features depending on how you use your device.”
Netcom offers Dell business laptop owners more comprehensive support lasting up to five years (24 hours a day, seven days a week), whereas consumer models only come with one or two years of support (and usually during office hours only).
But is it really for me?
Before you make a purchase, you need to assess how your device will be used.
Is it for work or leisure? Will I be carrying it around with me or leaving it one place? What kind of tasks will I be using it for – heavy-duty video editing or mainly surfing and streaming?
Chan said business laptops can be for both individuals and companies who value tech support and longer warranties, or who want to customise their hardware.
“Even normal users can look for business laptops if their personal or work use has requirements that normal consumer laptops cannot meet,” Chan explained. “Case in point, travel or video bloggers who need a powerful laptop but also an extremely tough device they can bring anywhere.”
Chan added: “Another example would be someone who always need access to the internet, without having to look for wifi or a mobile hotspot.”
“They can opt for 4G SIM cards to be built into the laptop so they can always be online.”
Offering better security and privacy
The second key market for business laptops are companies who want to make sure the devices they purchase are secure, as well as a sound investment.
Some of the customisable security features on Dell’s line of business laptops are fingerprint access, encrypted security cards and privacy screens.
Are you one of those people who covers their webcam with tape because you’re paranoid someone will hack into it? Well, the new Dell Latitude 9000 series fixes this privacy issue by installing a built-in automatic webcam shutter.
“You can customise business laptops with more security options like the FIPS 201 Smart Card Reader, so if your laptop gets stolen, the data within your computer will remain encrypted,” said Chan.
What should I look for when choosing a business laptop?
Company laptops also make it easy for your team to work remotely – whether from home, the airport, a client’s office or a hotel. While some businesses may look only at the cost when choosing a laptop, it’s important to consider other factors that contribute to the quality and durability of the product.
Since many of the best models look similar, use the same operating system and provide some of the same features, buying a new business laptop may seem daunting.
Here are some of the specifications you should consider when choosing a business laptop:
Battery life: A business laptop should have a runtime of at least eight hours, with more sophisticated models lasting up to 12 hours. Make sure you get a laptop that can handle your day-to-day workload quickly and efficiently.
Hard drive: Modern programmes require a lot of performance, so the laptop should have at least 8GB of RAM. There should also be enough memory to ensure fast access and transfer of data. The device should have a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a hard disk drive (HDD), as SSDs are faster and more durable.
Processor: Business laptops should be equipped with the latest Intel Core CPU generation or equivalent for maximum performance and higher speeds.
Cooling: Higher performance requires better cooling. Usually, the slimmer the laptop, the worse the fan – which may be an issue, since the performance is throttled as the laptop gets warmer.
Durability: If you travel often, your laptop should be particularly durable. The lid should be made of magnesium or carbon alloy, and the hinges should be made of metal.
Million dollar question: Will it cost me more?
Yes, business laptops tend to be more expensive than consumer models. However, for this extra price, you’ll receive a higher-quality product with additional components that can last for years.
“Our range of Dell Latitude notebooks start at $1,000, depending on the model, processing power, quality of the screen display, battery size, RAM, as well as any other add-ons,” said Chan.
Focusing on long-term usage rather than cheap pricing can help you choose the right business laptop to improve your work productivity and save you stress and frequent repair costs in the future.
“It’s all about the options and investment,” Chan said. “Yes, a normal consumer laptop may do the job but a business laptop can be customised according to all your needs so you work more effectively and worry-free.”
If you’re in the market for a business laptop, get in touch with one of the many authorised Dell partners in Brunei for more information.