5 of the Best Small Business Laptops for 2015

The business world is moving faster than ever and business owners have to keep moving with it. The best way to keep up is to keep a computer you can use anytime, anywhere. And that means a laptop. Basic models are often less expensive than traditional desktops. High-powered laptops may be a little more expensive than their desk-bound counterparts, but they often provide more functionality.

About the only thing moving faster than business is the technology itself. There are always many laptop options on the market, and many more just around the corner. The challenge is figuring out which laptop is best for you — and then buying it instead of trying to hold off until a newer, better laptop comes out. 

Here in alphabetical order are five laptop picks based on published reviews:

 

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Display size: 15 inches

Weight: 4.49 pounds

Memory: 16GB memory, 256 or 512GB HD

It’s powerful and customizable if you want more memory or hard drive capacity, a faster processor or a solid state drive. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® are built in, and there are two Thunderbolt 2, one HDMI and two USB 3.0 ports. The Pro is heavier and slower than the Air, but it’s got more oomph for processor-intensive work like video editing.

 

Dell® XPS 13

Display size: 13.3 inches

Weight: 2.1–3 pounds

Memory: 4GB memory, 128GB SSD

This Ultrabook is sleek and fast and comes in several configurations, including a touch screen or quad-HD display, perfect for product demonstrations and presentations. Battery life is strong — up to 11 hours for the basic model, slightly less for the touch screen. The XPS 13 runs on the Intel® Core™ i5 processor and TurboBoost Technology 2.0, which “accelerates processor and graphics performance for peak loads, automatically allowing processor cores to run faster than the rated operating frequency,” explains Jason Kennedy, director of business marketing and product management for Intel Corp. If weight is your primary consideration, this is the laptop for you.

 

HP Elitebook 725

Display size: 12.5 inches

Weight: 3 pounds

Memory/storage: 4GB memory, 180GB HD

David Bennett, corporate vice president of worldwide commercial sales for chipmaker AMD, recommends the 700 series for “its all-around value and what you get for money: performance and reliability,” he says. “It’s similar to the 800 series, but starting at a lower price point.” From a performance standpoint, the 725 supports multiple displays, delivers high-quality graphics and offers good processing power. “Turbo Core technology can dynamically pump up performance when you need it, which is good, but reduces the power you’re consuming when you don’t need it, preserving battery power.”

 

Lenovo® ThinkPad T450s

Display size: 14 inches

Weight: 3.5 pounds

Memory/storage: 4–8GB memory, HD and SSD available

The editors at Laptop Magazine named the T450s the Best Business Laptop Overall. It’s the next best thing to those powerful Lenovo desktops back at the office. The base model has a traditional hard drive and standard screen resolution, and is upgradable to a faster SSD and an HD display. If you purchase the extended battery, you can compute off the grid for up to 15 hours. It’s powered by the Intel® Core i7 processor.

 

Microsoft® Surface Pro 3

Display size: 12 inches

Weight: 1.76 pounds

Memory/storage: 8GB memory, 256GB SSD

The Surface Pro 3, Laptop Magazine’s pick for Best 2-in-1 for Business, easily runs the entire Microsoft Office suite along with other business productivity software. You can ditch the keyboard to create a nifty tablet for reading or presentations, then snap it back on to work on those pivot tables. Some models also come with a stylus. “A small business owner trying to pick between a laptop and a tablet might find that a 2-in-1 device really suits their needs,” Kennedy adds.

Choosing between the options comes down to budget, functions and size, according to Guy Baroan, owner of Baroan Technologies in Elmwood Park, NJ. Know your price points, understand what you need the computer to do, and figure out how large a device you can easily handle.

Baroan suggests two more considerations: warranty and support. “All of these [brands] have a business class model that offers a 3-year warranty,” he explains. “And all manufacturers offer free support for a certain period from 90 days to 3 years, depending on the unit, but this is typically limited to hardware support only.”

Take this short list of business laptops to your local retailer and give each model a test drive. Don’t forget to ask the sales associate about trade-in, rebate and other deals to save a few bucks you can spend on upgrades or accessories.

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