Strategic Tech Slideshow: Enterprise Laptop Refresh: 10 Tips Before You Buy

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 09-22-2010

1. Stick With Windows 7

Windows 7 is a fine operating system for most employees. It works well, it's nicely designed, and it includes a virtual installation of Windows XP. That should help with the compatibility issues that typically arise when companies migrate to a new operating system.

1. Stick With Windows 7

2. Dont Forget Battery Life

Pick a device that boasts outstanding battery life. Employees shouldn't be forced to plug in their devices for at least four to five hours on a full charge. Any laptop with two hours of battery life should be ignored.

2. Dont Forget Battery Life

3. Stay With the Big 3

For your knowledge workers, only consider products from HP, Dell, or Lenovo. Although other manufacturers are making inroads in the corporate world, most don't provide all of the services you'll get from these providers.

3. Stay With the Big 3

4. Do Employees Need Larger Screens?

What size display do your workers really need? For data- or graphic-intensive work, a 15- or 17-inch display would be best. If they're highly mobile, or using their laptops for simple tasks, you may be fine with a 13-inch display.

4. Do Employees Need Larger Screens?

5. Think About Durability

Find out how well certain models hold up to daily use. Even a white-collar environment can be tough on a laptop. If the components stay safe and the device you're choosing has proven reliable in the past, you'll go a long way in maximizing the return on your investment.

5. Think About Durability

6. Does the TrackPoint Matter?

Lenovo's TrackPoint might not appeal to every employee, but some folks won't work without it. And chances are, if you're using Lenovo computers in your workplace right now, your employees wouldn't take too kindly to a new laptop not having it. Keep that in mind as you decide which laptop is for you.

6. Does the TrackPoint Matter?

7. Consider Security

Some computers from major vendors, including HP and Lenovo, include security features that aren't typically found in other products. Lenovo's ThinkVantage solutions, for example, help address system-crash issues. They also protect against unauthorized data access.

7. Consider Security

8. Go With 3G

If mobility is what you're after, consider getting 3G functionality with your laptops. It will add to the investment's cost, but you will likely see productivity increase with 3G, since employees will be able to access the Web even when Wi-Fi isn't available.

8. Go With 3G

9. Handling Graphics

If your firm is graphic-intensive, consider adding a standalone graphics card to the systems you order. But if your firm doesn't dabble too heavily in video or other resource-intensive efforts, you can save some cash by opting for a built-in graphics card solution.

9. Handling Graphics

10. The Storage Question

You'll need to decide if you should sacrifice storage space for speed with solid-state drives, or maximize storage space with standard internal hard drives. Think about the future: If you'll be moving to virtual storage, the amount of stored data on your employees' computers might not be as important.

10. The Storage Question