Are you looking to purchase a new laptop or PC, but are confused by the plethora of choices available? And while it may be obvious why some devices are so much more expensive than others–perhaps due to slimness and cutting-edge specifications–the distinction is less clear with those marketed towards “business” users.
It may seem counter-intuitive in this age of BYOD, but after having owned multiple laptops over the years, I do find myself gravitating towards business-centric laptops. Indeed, I started ditching white boxes PCs in favor of those positioned towards businesses, just a few short years into my previous career as an IT professional.
And in case you were wondering, I am all for “DIY” or self-assembled PCs: One of my teenage projects involved assembling my own dual-processor Celeron rig on BeOS–and overclocking both processors to 150% of their rated speed.
Anyway, below are some reasons why I would go for a business-grade laptop or PC for use at work.
Reliability and repair times
I work as an associate lecturer in an education institution where students are required to use a laptop in class. Consumer brands are prevalent due to cost constraints, and the breakdowns I’ve seen is amazing–including those not necessarily caused by rough handling.
I’ve seen batteries for laptops that were barely a year old fail, as well as explained problems that can only be attributed to issues with the hardware. Unfortunately, consumer brands don’t offer on-site repairs or guaranteed turnaround times. The typical student may have to skip class for that da to bring their ailing laptops to a service center, and could wait for up to a week or more to get it fixed.
Of course, some vendors have started offering on-site repairs for their decidedly consumer-centric devices. This is still rare however, and the optional warranty can be expensive. It is for this reason that I see it as strengthening the argument towards purchasing business-grade devices.
Despite their higher cost, business-grade laptops ultimately make sense in terms of increased productivity from lower downtime, culminating in a lower total cost of ownership.
Security that is baked-in
Another less talked about feature would be the presence of security capabilities typically found on devices catered for businesses.
This may range from under-the-hood capabilities on a typical Dell Latitude laptop such as TPM (Trusted Platform Module) for hardware-backed security, as well as the incorporation of Intel vPro technology to enable capabilities such as remote BIOS management and hard drive wipe–even when powered off.
Outwardly, the presence of fingerprint scanner can serve to encourage the use of more robust passwords. The latter works because users can simply swipe their fingers to log in, and would be less tempted to set a easily guessable password, or attempt to disable any time-out mechanisms used to automatically lock a PC after a period of inactivity.
Finally, the humble Kensington lock can be used to easily secure laptops against opportunistic thieves. And don’t bother wrestling for your laptop in a robbery though. Keep safe, and rely on encryption such as Microsoft’s BitLocker full disk encryption to keep your data safe. And yes, BitLocker is found on the “Pro” version of Windows–and typically installed by default on business devices.