Best business laptops - June 2011

We bring you the best business laptops, from slim ultraportables to powerful mobile workstations

For many people, a business laptop can be practically any laptop as long as its reasonably fast and has enough ports. However, bona fide business laptops have a lot more to them than typical mainstream laptops. For starters, many are built to a much higher standard using magnesium alloy or another type of strong and light metal; many also have much better security and manageability features that IT departments simply can not do without.

Business laptops are generally a lot more expensive than mainstream laptops, and new models are usually released at the same price point and previous models. As with mainstream models, there are business models to suit any type of user, be it the engineer or designer who requires the grunt of a mobile workstation, the executive who requires something thin and light, and the business owner who wants a solid, all-round 15-incher.

In this roundup we are highlighting some of the best business laptops to come through our Test Centre in 2011. Almost all use Intel's Second Generation Core CPUs, and those that don't use the first generation Core, which shows you just how strong Intel's hold is on the business market. Do note that we're still waiting to see any of HP's business offerings for 2011.

Toshiba Portege R830

This is a great ultraportable laptop for the business user who wants something very light and strong, but with good performance and a built-in optical drive. It's what we like to call a no-compromise ultraportable, in that it has everything a larger laptop has, but in a smaller and lighter form factor.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1

The build quality of this ultraportable is excellent, and so is its performance. It comes with a good array of features, including a solid state drive and a backlit keyboard.

Lenovo ThinkPad W520

This is a mobile workstation with lots of grunt under the hood and plenty of connectivity around the edges. It's designed for designers and engineers who need to take lots of CPU and graphics grunt with them on the road.

Samsung Notebook Series 9

Of all the laptops we've seen, this one is perfect for executives who want to turn heads. It's super-light looks very sexy and has long battery life.

Toshiba Tecra R850

This 15.6in laptop is for a typical business user who wants something sturdy and comfortable to use. It supplies good performance and battery life, and it's also reasonably light and elegant.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1

It's not a typical business laptop. This Toughbook has a tablet-convertible screen, is spill-resistant and can withstand drops, and it's also very light.

Lenovo ThinkPad T420

A typical business offering from Lenovo; it has sturdy build quality, good performance and it's comfortable to use.

Dell Vostro 3550

This is one of the cheapest business laptops we've seen and it's designed for small business users who want a well-featured and reasonably well built 15.6in model.

Apple MacBook Pro 15in (early 2010)

Mac users will love the new MacBook Pro, which now comes with Intel's Second Generation Core CPU. It's fast, it's sturdy, but it's also a little pricey. It's good for graphics designers and people who work with video and music.

Dell Latitude E5520

This is a solidly built and fast laptop with a Full HD screen and plenty of battery life. It's good for everyday office work and photographic and multimedia tasks.

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3 / 10
Lenovo ThinkPad W520 (428426M)

The ThinkPad W520 isn't a typical laptop. It should only be considered if you're a professional in need of a strongly-built and well-performing laptop that can help you get your work done efficiently. It's not perfect, but it has stacks of features and supplies good overall user comfort.

  • Review Date:
  • Reviewer:
  • Manufacturer:
  • 23rd May, 2011
  • Elias Plastiras
  • Lenovo
  • Rating:
  • Price:
  • Pros:
  • Excellent screen quality
  • Chassis is very sturdy
  • Good performance
  • Cons:
  • Touchpad could be better
  • Lid could be more rugged
  • Only 1-year warranty as standard

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