You’ll be spending a total of $25,000, seeing each business laptop cost about $1,000 per device. That isn’t exactly pocket change and with its limited resale value, that’s money you won’t ever recover. Thus, it is tempting to opt for the cheaper consumer laptop instead, priced at about $500 each for a total of $12,500. With this consumer-grade option aimed at everyday users, you can save half from the cost of business laptops.
So, is it worth it to buy a costlier business laptop? Or can a consumer laptop service the needs of your employees just fine? We’ll take a closer look at the business laptop vs. consumer laptop debate.
In the debate of consumer laptop vs. business laptops, you need to take into account the requirements of your workforce.
They need a highly functional, sturdy device optimized for high battery life. Said devices run for a minimum of eight to ten hours every day with frequent video calls and use of enterprise software.
Business laptops are pricier, but they come with the components and functionality to match. Expect retina screens, fast processors, and tough casing shells. That’s because the laptop OEMs understand the needs of business users — they run all the time and are expected to last for years on end.
No corporation wants to put in a large purchase order for laptops only to see them break down after a couple of years. On top of that, they’re not going to buy the excuse that employees were tough on the devices; after all, that’s par for the course. Hence, business machines are built specifically to withstand minor drops and some are water and dust-resistant.
Consumer-grade laptops are cheaper and for a good reason. The materials used in their design aren’t nearly as durable. Manufacturers expect consumers to go easier on their personal devices and treat them with greater care. Plus, the industry standard is that consumers replace their laptops every two to three years, hence the cheaper materials.
Consumer laptops are flashier and may be easier on the eye in terms of design, but they’re not going to fulfill your business’ needs for durability.
The higher price for business laptops means you get better battery life, too. The Dell XPS, for example, has a battery life of about 12 hours. The Dell Inspiron provides about 5 hours. Likewise, the Lenovo ThinkPad series offers up to 15 hours of battery life, while the IdeaPad offers about 8 hours. Similarly, you will see a noticeable gap in battery life between HP’s Pro and consumer-grade laptops.
Higher battery life directly impacts your employees. It’s possible that they prefer to work remotely or are frequently traveling, such as for sales calls. Which is why you can’t expect them to have a charger handy at all times — a twelve-hour battery life means a fully-charged device will last the entire day without any problems.
Businesses spend about $13 million each combating cybercrime, so you want your employees’ devices to be as secure as possible. Business laptops often have features like biometric security options. What’s more, they ship with professional operating systems that are inherently far more secure than the consumer-grade options.
Another aspect to the business vs. consumer laptop debate is that of warranties. Manufacturers often entice corporations for bulk purchases by throwing in dedicated after-sales support and warranties that can last two to three years.
Consumer laptops don’t get the same treatment. Individual buyers aren’t looking to purchase dozens of machines, so will have to contend with standard warranties that are typically about a year or so.
Business employees work with several enterprise applications at any given point. Business laptops come equipped with faster processors, higher RAM, and larger and faster hard drives. There will also be a difference in the CPUs. For example, a consumer laptop using a 7th gen Core i5 won’t be as powerful as a business laptop with an 8th gen Core i5 — the latter is quad-core, while the former is an older dual-core model.
Even in terms of things like RAM and hard drives, business laptops will generally incorporate solid-state drives (SSD) from trusted manufacturers. Not only will these laptops be noticeably faster, but more reliable too. With many consumer laptops, especially those on the lowest-cost end, you might get much slower hard-disk drives (HDD).
At the end of the day, you want to equip your employees with the tools they need to succeed and the machines they use are an important component. Business laptops are a superior option.
The decision is yours at the end of the day. But with the requirements of the modern workforce — cloud computing applications, remote work, frequent video conferencing, and military-grade security — consumer laptops are an inherently poor fit for these tasks.
You might save a few thousand dollars if you decide to go with cheaper consumer laptops. However, this decision may cost you dearly in the long run if your employees are unproductive or there’s a crippling loss of data due to poor security.