There are hundreds of laptops to choose from when it comes to business use but one designed espeically for this area might not actually be the best choice. Whether running a small independent business or choosing a laptop that will play nice with a large enterprise network, there are certain features, specs and design traits to look out for.
You might be buying for yourself to run your start up in your rented workspace, or you could be here looking for a model to buying to kit out all your employees with. You might even be buying for thousands of people.
Here are the best laptops for business as of 2020. Each entry links out to a full review with more information on price, design, features, specs, battery life and software. They are ranked but that doesn’t mean the #1 laptop here is the right one for you’re specific budget, taste and needs.
Note that we include some models that aren’t specifically pitched for business, but many consumer models from our best laptop chart make for excellent work companions.
Best business laptops 2020
1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th-gen)
The Lenovo ThinkPad succeeds in the ways in which you would expect from a premium X1 Carbon model.
You get a combination of top-notch build quality, excellent ergonomics and a powerful set of specs. It’s a lot of laptop that will no doubt serve you well for many years.
Our main advice is to avoid the 4K display as it’s unnecessary and contributes to middling battery life. You might also want to look at a Core i5 model to save some money, which will still be powerful enough for most day-to-day tasks.
Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th-gen) review
2. HP Envy 13 (2019)
It might not look any different from the previous model, but the Envy 13 is still a firm favourite at Tech Advisor towers. Yet again, HP is offering outstanding value for money here.
Even the cheapest model has decent specs including an Nvidia MX250 graphics card where many rivals are using the older MX150 or simply integrated graphics. It’s also got something quite rare these days in the form of a humble microSD cards slot.
There might not be Thunderbolt 3 support but that shouldn’t be too much of a big deal for most users. HP has importantly improved the trackpad, battery life and the screen is much better than last year’s model too.
If you want a premium laptop at a reasonable price without scrimping on specs, then the Envy 13 is the one.
Read our full HP Envy 13 (2019) review
3. Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020)
The MateBook X Pro 2020 looks an awful lot like the last two MateBook X Pros, but that’s no bad thing. This was one of the best laptops you could buy last year, and the upgrade to 10th-gen Intel chips and a lush new green colour keep things that way.
With specs that go up to a Core i7, 16GB RAM, MX250 GPU, and 1TB storage this can be a bit of a beast if you want it to be (though many will do just fine with the cheapest i5 spec), but that power is backed by a lightweight design, beautiful display, best-in-class keyboard and impressive battery life.
Literally the only complaints are the dodgy webcam placement (under the keyboard, which looks cool but gives a deeply unflattering camera angle) and the fact that it’s priced to match all that performance, meaning you can get almost as much bang for a lot less buck elsewhere.
Read our full Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review
4. Dell XPS 13 9300 (2020)
The XPS 13 was once the undisputed king of the ultrabook world, but the competition has stepped up its game and Dell isn’t quite doing enough to keep pace.
A beautiful 16:10 display and the best keyboard you’ll find anywhere are enough to mean the XPS 13 is well worth a look for anyone considering a Windows ultrabook, but the caveats feel more pointed than ever – poor ports, overheating problems, and a steep price.
This is by no means a bad laptop – it’s a great piece of kit, and improves on the previous edition in several ways. If you buy one you’ll probably love it, but the flaws hold this year’s XPS 13 back from being the best. To save cash, you could opt for the refreshed 2019 model which is available from £949.
Read our full Dell XPS 13 9300 (2020) review
5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
The Surface Laptop 3 is the most versatile entry in the product family to date. Not only does it come in more finishes than its predecessors, with the option of a metal deck alongside the existing Alcantara, as well as more colour options, like the new Sandstone, but Microsoft has also created two discreet sizes for this generation.
The 13.5in model can be had with either a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 chip and up to 1TB of storage, while the larger 15in SKU sports custom Ryzen 5 or 7 processors, along with up to 512GB of internal space.
For the first time, USB-C also joins the fray, however, power users might struggle with that fact that there’s only a single Type-C port and it tops out at USB 3.1, not Thunderbolt 3.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review
6. HP Elite Dragonfly
HP has achieved an impressive amount with the Elite Dragonfly combining stylish and versatile design with some impressive specs and useful business features.
While there’s a lot going for it, it comes at a high price for an 8th-gen Intel processor and faces some tough rivals that are cheaper. Also watch out for the 2020 Dragonfly with 5G and Qualcomm chips.
Read our full HP Elite Dragonfly review
7. Acer TravelMate X5 (TMX514-51)
If you’re looking for a lightweight laptop to take wherever you go then the TravelMate lives up to its name on the design front. It weighs less than a kilogram so won’t weigh you down and is by no means flimsy either so you can chuck it in a bag without worrying too much.
Acer makes this option more affordable than some rivals and while there’s pretty decent connectivity, you do lose out when it comes to the display, battery life and performance which are better elsewhere.
That’s not to say the TravelMate X5 is espeically bad in these areas. The balance of price and features is good but you might need to look at rivals if those are critical.
Read our full Acer TravelMate X5 (TMX514-51) review
8. Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1
Dell’s machine is one of the best-looking business laptops around, and it has a great hybrid design meaning you can use it in more places and ways compared to a traditional clamshell.
Adding to the desirability is a superb screen and excellent battery life – two important elements when it comes to business use.
However, it can’t compete with some rivals when it comes to connectivity and keyboard quality and it falls behind rivals on performance, too.
Read our full Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 review
9. Apple MacBook Air (2019)
The MacBook Air remains a good choice for a portable laptop that’s powerful enough to do various tasks. Our disappointment comes from how similar it is to last year’s model and the fact the power is actually slightly down on the 2018 Air.
It’s still something of a classic in the world of laptops but is just a little bit samey. It now comes with an improved keyboard, although it’s still not perfect, and True Tone screen technology.
It might be a little cheaper than before but Windows rivals are still often better value.
Read our full Apple MacBook Air (2019) review
10. Asus Chromebook C433TA
Asus gets so many things right with the C433TA: great design, solid construction, huge battery life and fast performance. The only downsides we could find were poor gaming performance and stiff hinges.
The former isn’t really the main duty for which Chromebooks are intended, and the hinges actually act as a bonus to keep the touchscreen steady once it’s open.
If you want a quality Chromebook at an affordable price, the C433TA should be your first port of call.
Read our full Asus Chromebook C433TA review
Business laptop buying guide
So which laptop is going to please everyone? It won’t be the same one for every situation (if only it were that simple). Once you’ve decided if your style of business suits Windows 10, ChromeOS or macOS then you can set about choosing the model.
You’ll also want to consider whether these laptops come with Windows 10 Pro as standard. If they don’t it’s easy to upgrade. As mentioned at the top, a dedicated business model like a ThinkPad might not be the right option so we’ve included a range of consumer laptops which are likely to do the job just as well, often for less money.
Price is a factor, of course. Some high-end laptops are indeed excellent but you may want to save some money while still getting decent performance. Thankfully those laptops do exist and that’s why a Chromebook might be a great choice, especially if your needs aren’t demanding.
Some of the laptops in this list are higher priced, but they often represent good value considering the features and specifications they have. We’ve included a range of different prices and options.
Robust build could be of importance if you work in the field, or you might want something featherweight to carry form meeting to meeting around the globe. Then features such as fingerprint readers for additional security or long lasting battery life might be top of your must-have list.
Security will be important to many users, especially if you will be storing sensitive data on the laptop. Look out for things like a fingerprint scanner. A webcam might also be necessary but some have awkward placements below the screen or even in the keyboard – not ideal if you need to regularly video call.
It’s important to make sure the laptop you choose has the right specs for your line of work. Do you need a powerful processor and graphics card for demanding software or can you save money by getting something lower-end.
Also make sure the display will suit your environment. Someone working outside will need to make sure the screen is bright enough to view.
Ports are often forgotten about, but a laptop is no good if you can’t plug a vital accessory in. Many laptops come with USB-C only now, so you might need an adapter or a hub.
Find out how we test laptops.
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