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Business laptop recommendations?


I would like to replace my aging Dell desktop in my home office with a laptop and docking bay, and would welcome suggestions.

Here are my requirements:
1. What is your budget?
For the laptop itself, about $1,200.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
ANS: I plan on using a docking bay and using my existing desktop PC's large screen, so I'm flexible on the laptop screen size.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
ANS: I'm flexible; see #2 above.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
ANS: Desktop replacement.

5. How much battery life do you need?
ANS: For the rare times I'm at an all-day seminar, 9 hours or better would be great, but not necessary.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? ANS: No games. This will be a business machine.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop?
ANS: Mostly document assembly (HotDocs, cloud version, Word (it'd be nice if MS Office 2010 came with it), QuickBooks Pro 2009). I also depend on case management software that runs on on Windows, not Mac.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
ANS: Hmm . . . my current desktop shows it has a Total Size of 148GB with 82.8 GB Free Space. So maybe 2 or 3 times that size? I really don't have a knowledgeable answer for this question.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
ANS: 5 or 6 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
ANS: I like Lenovo because they seem to have a good reputation for building durable machines. But I think I'd add on a mouse, as many recent reviewers have written unfavorably about the Trackpad.

13. What country do you live in? USA.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I'm considering a Lenovo x230, but I confess that I don't know what all the specs mean.
I'd like an SSD.
Data security is extremely important. I'm thinking of Lojack or other software that will track the laptop, and allow a remote wipe, if the laptop and I part ways involuntarily.
I'd like to use a large external drive.
I'd like at least one USB 3.0 port.
I'd like to be able to use Skype, FaceTime (not that I know how, yet).

Thanks to all those who share their time and expertise on this forum.
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about business laptop recommendations
  1. No laptop will give you 9 hours of actual hard use. Realistically only very slow low power laptops will give you in excess of 3 hours. A modern "ultrabook" has sort of reasonable performance and can go as long as 5 hours or so.

    They also tend to have SSD's, but again, you will not get larger than 256GB in your price range. They do not have the same capacity as spinning disc traditional HDD's.

    Any new notebook will have USB 3.

    Given these considerations please state whether you would prefer long battery at cost of speed and large storage vs speed of storage.

    If it is not needing to be highly portable then I would suggest not paying extra for slimness. But if you want to have that cool thin light easily portable feel and will compromise on other things let me know that too.
  2. Thank you American Briar for responding.

    I prefer speed to longer battery life.

    I prefer large storage capacity to speed of storage (Query: Would a large external drive be a practical solution to a laptop's relatively small HD size?)

    Clunky is fine; I'm not needing light and portable so far. I don't plan to take it out of the home office except maybe 2-4 times a month.
  3. Well, since you mention Lenovo, another user here found a very good deal on a seriously nice laptop that I saw posted.

    It appears that you have to use the code: 7DAYSOFDEALS

    It costs $1149, but there is a $350 coupon, so total cost of $799.

    I understand that you said you were looking for a business machine and this is listed as a "gaming" laptop, but the specification I think is exactly what you are looking for.

    Very fast quad core CPU, Large 1TB Hard drive, Lots of memory (8GB), Integrated webcam and mic for video calling.

    It should last several years without problems (the hardware is sufficient that it should stay "futureproof" for a while). Even if you don't play games it is always good to have some graphics horsepower for things that may pop up.

    Overall it is a very nice machine, comes well within budget and I think you would be well served by it.

    You may have to order it soon to get that price though, so if you miss out on that price reply again to this thread and I will re-evaluate what is a good deal at that time.

    Please anyone else reading this thread voice your opinion on this hardware and if you think there is something more suitable.

    Personally if I were to buy a machine with your budget and your intended use this is what I would buy.

    EDIT: The one on the left (basic model), the features added on the higher models are not worth the extra money in my opinion
  4. in the customise screen you can add office "business" for $200 and Lojack for $33
  5. It doesn't have a docking station though. That doesn't stop you from connecting to another monitor/keyboard/mouse, but it doesn't just click into place.

    An alternative would be the T530-Doorbuster on this page. (4th one along)

    It can fit into the docking station/port replicators that they have.
  6. Best answer
    Don't get a Lenovo IdeaPad, they are crap compared to the Lenovo ThinkPads which are very good business. But I believe the ThinkPads T series were in a league of their own before IBM decided to sell the division to Lenovo. No sure about the other ThinkPad series because IBM only had the ThinkPad T series.

    I recommend the ThinkPad T430s. It is a "full laptop" meaning it has an optical drive which can be removed to either save weight or insert a "bay battery" (sold separately for $120) into the "ultrabay". It is lighter than the T430, but it also cost more. Rated for 6 hours and I believe the bay battery adds up to another 3 hours.

    The ThinkPad T430 starts out cheaper, but you only get a 1366x768 resolution screen. At bit too small for me for reviewing documents, working in Excel or doing general research which involves many windows. Buying a T430 with a 1600x900 resolution screen increases the price to the same level as the T430s laptops which all have 1600x900 resolution screens. There are version with either the 6-cell or 9-cell battery; the 9-cell battery increases battery life, but also increases weight.

    There is also the ThinkPad T530 series which has up to 1920x1080 resolution which I think is ideal for working, researching, reading and taking notes. However, it is heavy so you need to be mobile most of the time, then I would not bother with it.

    Maxing out your budget, I would go with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It is a 14" ultrabook that weighs in at 2.99lbs. It also has a 1600x900 resolution screen. It is rated for up to 8.2 hours on battery and it has RapidCharge technology which gives 5 hours of battery life on a 35 minute charge. I assume that is when the battery is nearly dead. If the battery still has a decent charge left, I'm pretty sure 35 minutes will not add another 5 hours (or be fully charged). Good feature to have for breaks during the seminar, but of course you'll need to find an AC outlet.
  7. Yeah, Like I suggested the T530 is a good balance of all the features to meet your needs.

    He is looking for something powerful and sturdy, with some amount of futureproofing, so I would definitely avoid the T430 as it isn't quite as powerful, has less battery life and worse monitor.

    He did say portability is not as important as performance.

    I never suggested an ideapad, I agree that they are not as suitable.
  8. americanbrian said:
    Yeah, Like I suggested the T530 is a good balance of all the features to meet your needs.

    He is looking for something powerful and sturdy, with some amount of futureproofing, so I would definitely avoid the T430 as it isn't quite as powerful, has less battery life and worse monitor.

    He did say portability is not as important as performance.

    I never suggested an ideapad, I agree that they are not as suitable.

    As sorry about that, I was in another thread about gaming laptops and the IdeaPads were mentioned. Great for games, but not so sure about durability.

    None of the programs the OP mentioned is particularly CPU demanding so a dual core i5 / i7 should be fine. Not everyone and every piece of software need (or can use) a quad core i7 QM CPU. However, if doing financial / scientific modelling, then that can be a different story, but the updated AVX extension in Intel's current Ivy Bridge CPU improves performance for those two situations.
  9. Thank you both for your suggestions, and especially for steering me towards the Thinkpads.

    After printing out the specs to both the T430 (not the "S" model) that was on special "T430DEAL" at Lenovo, and the T530 deal, I made some changes to customize the package and bought the T430. Thank you both for your input.

    And here is an important point for other shoppers at Lenovo: the same "model" of a laptop (e.g. the T430) does not have consistent specifications from one Lenovo offer to the next. I am not talking about the ability to configure (customize) a laptop. Lenovo appears to variously bundle different options from offer to offer. So if you googled and pulled up a review on CNET or PCMagazine about, say, the T430, what was bundled with the reviewed model isn't likely to be the same as what is bundled with a particular Lenovo "deal."

    For each Lenovo deals, you have to scrutinize the "Tech Specs" (click on "Model Details", then on "Tech Specs).

    In the case of the T430DEAL that I took advantage of, the following came standard (i.e. I did not have to upgrade):

    Intel Core i7-3520M Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.60GHz) . . . and I have no idea what this means.

    1600 x 900 display (When researching T430 reviews, I read multiple complaints about the "1366x768 screen".
    Apparently Lenovo listened.)

    9 Cell Li-Ion TWL 70++ battery

    The T430 will fit certain docking stations, which I like.

    I did compromise on the hard drive size (500GB HDD, 7200rpm), but I expect I'll pick up an external hard drive. A T430 reviewer on the Lenovo website mentioned planning to add an SSD, so I inferred that there is room to do this.

    We'll see how I like it after it arrives. It has to be an improvement over my aging desktop.

    Thanks again. You both pointed out considerations that I would not have thought of on my own.

    Does this mean a moderator gets to put a [Solved] notation on this thread?
  10. It becomes solved when you choose a "best answer" to the question.

    I suppose since you went for jaguarskx's suggestion you should probably choose his T430 answer.
  11. Best answer selected by Kris_in_PDX.
  12. This topic has been closed by Maziar
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