Not all laptops are created equal.
Each one caters to a different need and wallet size. But regardless of which one you invest in for your business, you want one that'll do the job, last for a long time and require little or no servicing.
In fact, many businesses today are purchasing laptop computers instead of desktop PCs. "Because of increased power and a wealth of wireless features, laptops actually serve as desktops these days," says Ray Boggs, vice president of SMB Research at IDC (www.idc.com), a technology market research firm.
"Laptops are more ideal for your business because you're likely mobile, and you'll also want to encourage your staff to bring their work with them wherever they are," adds Boggs. With this in mind, the following are ten recommended picks, covering all the main kinds of laptops on the market, such as the thin and lightweight models, the hulking desktop replacement or the tablet.
PORTABLE AND ULTRA PORTABLE
Dell Latitude D420
At just three pounds, this lightweight PC enjoys more than seven hours of battery life, a 12.1-inch widescreen display, full-sized keyboard and integrated wireless functionality (including the option for Cingular or Verizon mobile broadband connectivity). An optional MediaBase snaps onto the bottom to play CDs or DVDs. From $1379; www.dell.com.
Lenovo ThinkPad X Series
Mobile executives in search of a lightweight but powerful workhorse won't be disappointed with the latest Lenovo ThinkPad laptops. These ultra-portable PCs include an Intel Centrino Duo processor, 12.1-inch display, fingerprint reader for biometrics security and optional ThinkPad X6 UltraBase docking bay. From $1,490; www.lenovo.com
Sony Vaio TX Series
Don't sacrifice performance for portability -- the Sony Vaio TX Series may be a mere 2.76 pounds, but these Intel Centrino-based ultra-portable PCs offer up to 7.5 hours of battery life, a gig of RAM, reliable wireless technologies and a shiny 11.1-inch widescreen display with XBRITE technology. From $2,199. www.sonystyle.com
Acer TravelMate 8200
While you may be tempted to pickup those sleek Ferrari-branded Acer laptops, the TravelMate 8200 is probably more ideal for your bourgeoning business thanks to its Intel Dual Core technology, ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics chip and widescreen 15.4-inch WSXGA+ display. Also included is an Acer OrbiCam, a 1.3-megapixel adjustable Webcam built into the black carbon-fiber chassis. From $1,989; www.acer.com
Dell Latitude D820
Desktop performance meets mobility with this award-winning Dell PC; designed for power on the go, this laptop features an Intel Core Duo processor, up to 4GB of RAM, up to 512MB of video RAM and a stunning 15.4-inch WUXGA display (1920 X 1200 resolution). Security is also key, as the integrated Smart Card reader requires both a card and a password for the o/s to boot up, and you can add the optional fingerprint reader. From $1,409; www.dell.com
Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV650
It's not cheap, but the high-end Qosmio is the ultimate entertainment PC, as it's the first to include a HD DVD-ROM drive for true high-definition movies. Other specs include an Intel Core Duo processor, a 256MB GeForce video card, 17-inch widescreen WUXGA display and two 100GB hard drives. Security extras include a fingerprint reader and security cable lock slot. $2,999. www.toshibadirect.com
HP dv9000z series
Entrepreneurs who work hard usually like to play hard. The latest HP laptop lets you do both; the 17-inch widescreen powerhouse gives you a choice of five processors (go with the Mobile AMD Sempron 3500+), and includes a 256MB Nvidia video card and up to 240GB of hard drive space. The multimedia machine also featuring the HP Imprint Finish, a smooth and glossy coating. From $1,299. www.hpshopping.com
Fujitsu Stylistic ST5000
It's like a clipboard with a brain. Powered by an Intel Pentium M processor, the Fujitsu Stylistic ST5000 is a 3.5-pound tablet offering more than six hours of battery life, multiple XGA TFT indoor/outdoor display options (10.4- or 12.1-inch screens) and your choice of wireless LAN (802.11a/b/g). From $1,999. www.fujitsu.com
Lenovo ThinkPad X41 Tablet
As the thinnest and lightest 12-inch convertible tablet available, this ThinkPad offers the full functionality of Lenovo's notebook series, yet the screen swivels around 180-degrees and lies flat to become a Tablet PC for handwritten notes using the stylus pen. Powered by Intel Centrino Mobile Technology, the X41 includes the ThinkVantage Active Protection System, rescue and recovery service and a shock-absorbent hard drive. From $1,799. www.lenovo.com
Acer TravelMate C310
Another stellar tablet/laptop convertible is the award-winning TravelMate C310 from Acer with its huge 14.1-inch XGA display, integrated optical drive for CD and DVD playback and recording, 4-in-1 card reader, up to 100GB hard drive and host of wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. $1,499. www.acer.com