Top Buyer Tips: Business Notebooks

Important features to look out for when choosing the right notebook for work

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Top Buyer Tips: Business Notebooks Get a laptop that has strong security features and a long battery life.
By  Vineetha Menon Published  October 6, 2009

With so many business notebooks claiming to offer exactly what you need, how do you know which one's the right fit? Here are some important features you need to consider that'll make that choice a whole lot easier.

Security

Cybercriminals rule in today's world, which is why businesses need to step up their game and really investigate how to arm themselves against viruses, Trojans and malware. That's where a laptop with good security features comes in - one that not only fights the nasties but also protects data if your laptop is lost or stolen. After all, your business notebook contains all kinds of important and potentially sensitive information and keeping that information secure is not a trivial matter.

For those who rate security as their top concern, look at notebooks that come with an integrated fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication, which can be used with standard passwords for added protection.

Some brands also offer hard drive encryption and a dedicated security suite so that you can limit access to sensitive material that's stored on your notebook. Remember to take backups regularly and you might want to consider software and services which can track stolen laptops and remotely disable them or wipe data.

Battery Life

With new models being introduced regularly, most good notebooks offer five or more hours of battery life before it needs to be recharged. Look out for the highest number cell battery and, if that's not enough, buy external batteries so you'll never be caught out.

If this is a big concern for you, the new HP Pavilion dm3 is powered by a standard 6-cell battery that offers no less than ten hours of continuous operating time and Dell's Latitude line is known for its long battery life using low power settings.

 

Portability

If you're a frequent flier and are constantly on the move for business reasons, having to lug a bulky device isn't an appealing prospect. But you know you don't have a choice because you're in a rush to finish a key report or presentation...

One of the most important factors for any business notebook is portability because it gives you the freedom of taking it with you anywhere.

Look for something that's small and light enough for you to use and carry with ease, but without compromising on performance. This will really come down to what you need to do with the device, and whether you're going to need functions like a DVD burner or a big screen, or whether you can substitute these for external drives, or projectors at client premises when you need them, saving you from carrying the weight when you don't.

Connectivity

Being able to access the internet and contact your employees or employers is an absolute necessity and cannot be ignored when choosing the right business notebook, including whether your device comes with an integrated webcam and microphone for communication ease.

WiFi connection is a standard on most good brands and is necessary when trying to connect to different public wireless networks at airports or hotels. It saves you spending money on an optional card, and also improves compatibility with other devices and reduces power consumption. Alternatively, notebooks with Mobile Broadband built-in, or an add-on GSM broadband dongle will give wider connectivity in countries where the service is available.

Performance

Will your notebook meet your performance demands? If you're hesitant about the answer, invest some time and effort to find out exactly what you need. Check out the notebook's RAM - the higher the RAM, the better it is for graphics and video. 1 and 2 GB RAM is quite common, but this can go up to 4GB for certain models. The new Windows 7 is said to work even on 1GB so you probably don't need to splurge too much for more..

Multi-core processors is what you need so functions like streaming video or writing a DVD for presentations can happen seamlessly - a single-core processor can easily buckle under a heavy load.

Most good business notebooks will come with plenty of storage space, usually with 60 to 80 GB hard drives. External hard drives can be purchased if needed or consider a notebook that allows expansion of your internal notebook hard drive.

Strength

This is quite an important factor that often gets overlooked. After investing time and money on your laptop to be by your side, you don't want it to be damaged beyond repair if you've dropped it accidently. Even if you've got a backup of your work handy, it's still inconvenient to wait all that time for it to be repaired or replaced. This is precisely why you should look out for the overall build quality of the notebook you're planning to buy. Also, look out for things like whether swappable drives are held securely in place.

Some brands like IBM and Dell have designed a protection system so that your hard drive remains protected from accidental falls and spills. Take the time to ask vendors about the features in place to save you worrying in the long run.

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