We all want a laptop that can run daily tasks, stream video content and support a reasonable amount of data without becoming sluggish. But we also don't want to compromise on looks and portability.
Everything on our checklists will most likely be covered by either the MacBook Pro or Microsoft's Surface Pro, but of course, this comes at a price. A high one.
Thankfully, there are lots of laptops out there that offer solid specs and performance without breaking the bank, although, you might lose out on design.
Here, we take a look at the best business-focused laptops to suit most budgets and CIOs.
Read next: 7 apps every CIO should have on their iPad.
August 22, 2017
Dell offers lots of laptops designed for business use, so it should be the first stop for anyone looking for good processing power and lightweight design. Dell's Latitude 2-in-1s are designed to give businesses a "PC first, tablet second" mobile device.
The Latitude 7000 comes with a 12-inch screen, 128GB SSD, an Intel Core i5-7Y54, 8GB memory, a detachable keyboard and wireless charging, a world-first for a laptop. A 13-inch version is expected to be available in August. It's thin, light, and versatile, but you'll need to pay extra for the charging mat and WiGig wireless dock on top of the normal starting price of £1,338.
The Latitude 5000 also has a 12-inch screen and 128GB SSD, but an Intel Core i3-7100U processor, 16GB memory, and a 360-degree hinge to transition between laptop, tablet, stand and tent modes. The device has the world's longest battery life in a convertible. We also like the Dell XPS 15 which provides a sharp 1080p screen which is two inches bigger than its sibling the XPS 13 but remains remarkably compact compared to competitors of the same listed dimensions. The XPS 15 offers 8GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD and comes with a one-year on-site warranty, lots of ports but sadly the battery is six hours, less than some of the other laptops on our list.
Apple launched three new
MacBook Pro models last October: a 15-inch model and two 13-inch versions, to go along side its already existing 15 and 13-inch MacBook Pros.
Both the new
15-inch model and the 13-inch one can come with a sensor 'Touch Bar' which replaces function keys on the QWERTY keyboard. However, they feature no USB-C port but does offer four Thunderbolt 3 ports which hold the same functionality.
Apple also released a 13-inch model without the
Touch Bar which is £500 cheaper. The most expensive 15-inch MacBook will also come with 2TB of SSD storage, which is pretty remarkable.
For those wanting to spend less money, the
MacBook Air 13-inch provides an impressive 12-hour battery life in the larger edition. The Air does lack the storage space of the Pro but is still a great piece of kit.
The newest member of the MacBook family is called
MacBook. Pretty simple. But the product itself is very impressive, matching the Air and Pro in a lot of areas.
The Surface Pro 4 is a Windows 10 tablet with detachable keyboard and it packs quite the punch. Offering up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, this hybrid laptop should please the most power hungry CIO, while also satisfying the design conscious. The Surface Pro 4 looks spectacular, it's ultra-thin and lightweight and it still offers a full-size USB 3.0 port for the practical among us.
The latest Surface is called the Surface Laptop and is essentially an upgrade of the Surface 4, without calling itself the Surface 5. Its basic
model houses an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. But if you want to splash the cash, the top model comes with the Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB of SSD storage.
Another great option is the Microsoft Surface Book which is billed as an ultra-premium 13-inch Surface laptop, but also a detachable 2-in-1 device with a Lenovo Yoga-like "dynamic fulcrum" hinge. The Surface Book weighs in at nearly three-and-a-half pounds, making it one of the heaviest 13-inch laptops out there.
Its touchscreen and detachable keyboard let the Surface Book become a tablet with the Surface Pen extremely easily and with a full-sized SD slot (the Surface Pro only has a microSD reader) this laptop doesn't lose out on functionality.
And let's not forget the Surface Pro 3. Advertised as the "tablet that can replace your laptop", the Surface Pro 3 is a good choice for CIOs wanting a powerful laptop/tablet, but don't want to stump up the cash for its successor, the Surface Pro 4.
The Surface Pro 3 can provide up to nine hours of web browsing from one charge,
rivaling the battery power of Apple's MacBook Air.
The Acer Swift 5 is responsive, powerful and lightweight. T
he screen is excellent for the price (coming in at around £800), build quality is solid, and its performance will definitely compete with much more expensive laptops.
And let's not forget the Acer Swift 3, possibly one of the best all-round laptops on the list. Build quality is excellent, battery life good and the performance will outrank many expensive laptops. But if you want something even cheaper, the Acer TravelMate range is a good choice, mainly because they don't feel very bargain at all. TravelMate is an ultra-portable, compact and sleek laptop with excellent security features as standard.
The Lenovo ThinkPad is the embodiment of a business laptop. It boasts a long battery life (for a non-MAC) in a sleek and lightweight design with solid performance. What's more, it is fast and responsive with one of the best keyboards on the market with the trademark red rubber trackpoint at its centre. Its performance is solid if not spectacular. Other than that, the Lenovo ThinkPad is highly recommended for a business professional.
Another solid choice is the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. Its lightweight design makes it one of the thinnest Ultrabooks on the market. And with 8GB of RAM, this Lenovo gives a fast and responsive performance. Its battery life does fall short. However, with high resolutions, great performance and good looks it's still an excellent choice.
Finally, the Lenovo Yoga 11 710 is ideal for the travelling CIO, offering a 360-degree hinge and a touchscreen. It's positioned in the market as a rival to the 12-inch MacBook.
Naturally, when opting for size and portability you lose out on power, but with an eight-hour battery life, perhaps this could be overlooked.