Best Business Laptops 2018

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Best Business Laptop Overall

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen)

Editor's Choice

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the Maserati of business laptops, a sleek and stylish system with plenty of power under the hood. At 2.49 pounds, this 14-inch laptop can go anywhere, but it still finds room for a full suite of ports and enough battery capacity to provide over 11 hours of endurance.

The 2018 version of the X1 Carbon, which is technically the "6th Gen" of this product, ups the ante by adding a quad-core, Intel Kaby Lake-R CPU and one of the most gorgeous screens we've ever seen on a laptop. The optional, 2K HDR display rivals the OLED screens we see on top phones as it reproduces 199 percent of the sRGB gamut and provides up to 500 nits of brightness.

Best Business Laptops 2018
Product: Use Case: Rating:
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) Best Business Laptop Overall 5 out of 5
HP EliteBook 840G5 Best Design 4.5 out of 5
Microsoft Surface Pro Best Business Detachable 4 out of 5
HP EliteBook x360 G2 Best Business 2-in-1 4.5 out of 5
Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Best Battery Life 4 out of 5
Dell Precision 3530 Best 15-inch Workstation 4 out of 5
Lenovo ThinkPad P71 Best 17-inch Workstation 4 out of 5
Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet Best Rugged Laptop 4 out of 5
  • Best Design

    HP EliteBook 840G5

    Editor's Choice

    The HP EliteBook 840G5 is the ultimate blend of style and substance for business users. This slick aluminum notebook is attractive and durable, packs a vibrant 1080p privacy screen that blocks prying eyes, and delivers speedy performance via its Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. Splurge for the $2,295 config if you can, as it offers a much better display and adds in a webcam.

    HP EliteBook 840G5 Review

  • Best Business Detachable

    Microsoft Surface Pro

    Editor's Choice

    Even though it's not explicitly an enterprise machine, the Surface Pro's combination of power, portability and flexibility is still better than any other detachable in both the consumer or business world. The new and improved magnets on the Type Cover offer even more stability for use on your lap and new 7th-generation Intel processors offer significantly better performance than previous Surfaces. On top of that, updates to Office 365 have brought all the important sketching and annotation features from OneNote to Word, Excel and Powerpoint, so you can diagram and collaborate even better than before.

    Microsoft Surface Pro Review

  • Best Business 2-in-1

    HP EliteBook x360 G2

    Editor's Choice

    If you want your work laptop to have both security and style, the HP EliteBook x360 is your best option. Not only does it look nicer than any other business 2-in-1 out there, but the x360 also offers a fingerprint reader, Windows Hello facial logins and a phone app that lets you know if your laptop has been tampered with. It's also MIL-SPEC 810G durability tested to survive shocks, vibrations and the rigors of business travel.

    HP EliteBook x360 G2 Review

  • Best Battery Life

    Lenovo ThinkPad T480

    Editor's Choice

    If battery life is your priority, Lenovo's ThinkPad T480 is the laptop to get. This notebook lasted a stunning 17 hours on our battery test, which, combined with its strong Core i5 processor and Nvidia MX150 GPU, offers tons of muscle for a full workday and then some.

    Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Review

  • Best 15-inch Workstation

    Dell Precision 3530

    Editor's Choice

    The Precision 3530 is a beast inside and out. This 15-inch workstation has a durable MIL-STD-810G chassis, a blazing Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics and a long 8-hour battery. Factor in its comfortable keyboard and loud speakers, and you've got a big and beefy business laptop ready to handle anything you throw at it.

    Dell Precision 3530

  • Best 17-inch Workstation

    Lenovo ThinkPad P71

    If you need the most powerful mobile workstation that money can buy and don't mind if it's a bit bulky, the ThinkPad P71 is your best choice. This nearly 8-pound behemoth is ideal for 3D modeling, animation or video editing, thanks to optional, high-end components such as an Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro P5000 graphics.

    You can also get the ThinkPad P71 with a 4K display and built-in color calibrator. And, since this is a ThinkPad, you get a best-in-class keyboard, touchpad and pointing stick.

    Lenovo ThinkPad P71 Review

  • Best Rugged Laptop

    Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet

    When combined with its optional keyboard cover, the Dell Latitude 7212 is the most durable business 2-in-1 you can get. In our tests, the Latitude survived 4-foot drops, without even getting a scratch. This 11.6-inch device is also incredibly bright, allowing you to use it outdoors on sunny days. This is the laptop to take with you to busy work sites. 

    Dell Latitude 7212 Review

How to Choose a Business Laptop

Whether you're buying an entire fleet of notebooks for your employees or just looking for a single productivity system for yourself, you'll want a business laptop that's durable, powerful and easy-to-use. The best business laptops outdo their consumer-focused counterparts by offering better security, stronger build quality and a superior typing experience.

On this page, we list our favorite business laptops right now. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right model for you or your company.

  • Do you need vPro? Many business laptops are available with CPUs that have Intel vPro technology, which lets a support person log in remotely, even if the computer can't boot. However, unless you have a large IT department and a huge fleet of laptops that you need the ability to service remotely, you probably won't use this feature.
  • How fast do you need it to be? Most business users will be happy with a laptop that has a dual-core, Core i5 CPU like the Core i5-7200U or Core i5-7300U (vPro) and the CPU's integrated graphics processor. However, if you require a high-end performance for 3D Modeling, professional video editing or creating predictive models, then get a mobile workstation with a quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 CPU (model numbers end in HQ) and Nvidia Quadro graphics.
  • Long battery life: Nobody wants to run out of juice in the middle of a long workday or a cross-country flight. Unless you're getting a giant workstation, look for a laptop that gets more than 9 hours on a charge. Some business systems come with a choice of regular or extended batteries; always get the high-capacity unit.
  • At least a 1080p screen: It's hard to be productive if you can't see much text on the screen. Avoid laptops with low-resolution, 1366 x 768 screens like the plague. Get one with a resolution that's 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • SSDs for responsiveness: If you want a truly fast computer, get a solid state drive rather than a mechanical hard drive. SSDs boot up, open programs and multitask at least three times faster than old-fashioned hard drives.
  • The right ports: Nobody likes to carry a bag full of dongles. Consider which kinds of connections you or your employees will need the most. If you connect to a wired network a lot, make sure the laptop has an Ethernet port. If photography is a key part of the job, choose a laptop with a memory card reader. No matter what your needs, a Thunderbolt 3 port is a huge plus, because it will allow you to connect to a new generation of high-speed peripherals, universal chargers and powerful docks.
  • A great keyboard: It almost goes without saying that every laptop should have a good keyboard. But with business systems, a comfortable typing experience is even more important. Look for snappy feedback, deep travel and absolutely no flex.

Getting a business laptop with all the features you need could cost more than $1,000, but you'll be rewarded with a computer that makes you or your employees more productive for years to come.