How to buy the best laptop for your business

By Luke Smits - Founder & Operations Manager
Man browsing laptop computers for purchase

There’s a maze of information out there when it comes to buying a laptop for your business. Being in the business we’re in, we spend a fair bit of time giving our clients advice on which laptop they should invest in. And we’re often faced with the question – “Why is what you’re recommending $1,000 more expensive than this laptop my husband / wife / friend saw at {insert big brand retailer here}”.

When you look at the base specifications that most people use to determine whether a computer is any good (things like CPU type, RAM, Storage), they definitely seem similar. So, why the price difference?

The answer, is that not all laptops are created equal.

You need a commercial grade laptop

When it comes to a laptop for your business, you’re going to want a commercial grade laptop. This means it’s better quality – better components, better screen, better battery, better… well everything!

Anything we recommend to our customers is what we would buy for ourselves to use in our own business. The idea is that it would last us (and you) at least 5 years. Commercial grade laptops come with a 3-year warranty, so you know you’re going to get at least 3 years out of it. A commercial grade laptop lasting up to 7 years isn’t unexpected. Yes, occasionally you’ll get a lemon. On the flip side, you might get lucky with a consumer grade laptop and have it last 5 years or more. But the reality is the odds are not stacked in your favour.

Consumer grade machines are simply not as well built. They use cheaper materials and have more weak points that are likely to fail in 2 – 4 years. The battery won’t be as good (so it won’t hold its charge after 3 years), the screen won’t be as nice to look at, the keyboard won’t be as friendly to use, the number and types of ports won’t be as numerous or useful.

Again, there are exceptions. But they are rare. Unless you’ve got solid technical knowledge and you know exactly what to look for, it’s hard to find a consumer grade laptop that will beat a commercial grade one in all round quality and performance.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that you’ll be using this laptop A LOT. 

So here are some things to be mindful of when you’re choosing a laptop for your business.

Warranties

When we talk about a warranty, we mean a manufacturers warranty. Not a 1-year manufacturer plus 2-year 3rd party warranty, like many of the big retailers offer.

What happens here, is that if you have an issue, the retailer will take back the laptop, assess it, then figure out how they can repair it (if they can). Then they’ll try to figure out how they can do that for the lowest possible cost. And argue with you about the finer details.

The bottom line, is that your laptop will be gone for two or more weeks, your data is at risk because they won’t do anything to preserve it for you and there will be labour costs at the end of it all just to get you setup again.

The stress, the heartache, all while you’re trying to run a business. It’s not worth it.

Is it really commercial grade?

The guy in the shop said it was commercial grade. So it must be… right? Unfortunately, the guy in the shop will tell you just about anything to get the sale. This might be because of ignorance, inexperience or the financial benefits to him if he makes the sale. Unless it comes with a 3+year manufacturers warranty, it’s not commercial grade.

Windows PRO

You’re going to need Windows Pro not Windows Home. Many businesses require Windows Pro for a variety of reasons such as productivity, compatibility and security.

Some retailers offer very similar hardware in their consumer grade line-ups as we can offer through our commercial grade suppliers. But – most laptops that come through a retailer come with Windows Home and a 1-year warranty. This is why they are cheaper. The extra cost of a commercial grade laptop will get you a reliable warranty and Windows Pro. It’s absolutely worth the extra investment.

Trust the experts

We regularly see people make technology decisions based on what the committee says, or what Sue’s husbands mate Barry told him on the weekend. It’s bound to end in disaster.

Trust your technology partner. Yes, we make margin on the products we sell. But you can absolutely trust us with your data, security and business interests. We’re a part of your team.



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