Do You Need a Business-Grade Laptop?

Do You Need a Business-Grade Laptop?

A Guide to Purchasing Your New Work Computer

You’re looking to purchase a new work laptop. You do some digging and find some great deals on Amazon. You’re eyeing a Dell Inspiron laptop. You reach out to your IT department only for them to Uno-reverse you with a Dell Latitude – hefty price hike included.

What gives?

They explain that the Inspiron laptop is a ‘consumer-grade’ product while the Latitude is ‘business-grade.’ But what’s the difference? Are those terms really meaningful, or just jargon created to confuse you? Do you really need to be going for that more expensive business-grade model?

In this blog post, we’re getting to the bottom of things!

Defining our grades

Before we dive into the main differences, let’s go ahead and define these two classes of computers:

  • Business-grade computers are designed to grow alongside your business for the long term.
  • Consumer-grade computers meet an immediate need and are designed for personal use.

When searching for laptops, communicate with your IT department. As your resident experts, it’s their job to know which products are consumer- or business-grade, along with the specific benefits and features of each machine.

So why would your IT department recommend a business-grade system?

Great question! Let’s dive in…

Bang For Your Buck

First, there’s cost. It’s true that business-grade laptops tend to cost hundreds more than a consumer-grade system (Dell Latitudes can easily be $100-$200 more than their Inspiron counterpart). This can lead frugal buyers to think they’re getting a ’killer deal.’

But there are reasons for the steeper price tags on business-grade systems, and as we’ll see shortly, a business-grade laptop can actually prove more cost-effective in the long run.

It’s also important to note that consumer-grade laptops aren’t always cheaper, especially when it comes to high-end gaming laptops. Before any purchase, you should evaluate a laptop’s functionality and features while consulting your IT department.

Durability

Longevity matters. A lot. And while consumer-grade systems may offer (arguably) more stylish aesthetics built with lightweight material, they are far less durable than a business-grade system. Typically, consumer systems last about 2.5 years compared to the business-grade’s 5-year lifespan. That’s two consumer laptops for every one business-grade. You do the math.

Moreover, business-grade laptops are designed with “road warriors” in mind and can typically be repaired much more easily and quickly than consumer-grade machines. This is reflected in business-grade warranties, which remain active for up to three years compared to the consumer-grade’s one-year warranty. These are all reasons why buying that cheaper computer can actually save you money in the long run.

Customization

If you’re looking for a work computer, chances are you’re going to need it for, well, work.

Business-grade systems provide highly useful customization options for their buyers. Compared to their limited consumer counterparts, the sky is the limit. You can outfit your system with more RAM, better and bigger solid-state drives, and much more. Furthermore, most business-grade laptops come outfitted with webcams and microphones designed for business meetings, along with longer-lasting batteries.

Security

We all know the importance of cybersecurity. But did you know that going for that cheaper computer can put your company at risk? Unlike consumer-grade computers, business-grade systems come jam-packed with extra security measures (many of which can be customized to your business’s needs). These measures can include things like fingerprint readers, smartcard readers, and BIOS encryption.

What sounds better to you – a $1200 business grade laptop or a $4.24 million cyberattack?

These enhanced security measures built into business-grade computers not only keep your systems safe, but can also help your business remain compliant.

Bloatware

Consumer-grade systems come with a lot of pre-installed junk. Known as bloatware, this abundance of unimportant software will usually need to be uninstalled from recently purchased computers, wasting precious time and money. Laptop manufacturers understand that businesses don’t want to waste time and money cleaning up bloatware. That’s why business-grade systems are far leaner in terms of pre-installed software.

Professionally Professional

We’ve seen this one a lot. A user goes and purchases a laptop without consulting their IT department. They bring this fancy new system in for configuration and…complications ensue. Turns out, they didn’t read the fine print. The consumer-grade laptop came preloaded with Windows Home instead of Windows Professional.

So what?

Well, without Windows Professional, your computer won’t be able to connect to your company’s domain. Without connecting to a domain, you won’t be able to access your company’s accounts, and your laptop will exist outside your company’s domain security. Also, regarding security, Windows 11 Home does not allow users to join Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). You can read more about Network Domains here.

While you can purchase Windows Pro retroactively, just remember you’ll have to multiply the time and energy it takes to install and configure the new OS by the number of consumer-grade systems that need upgrading. It adds up and can quickly turn into a headache.

Summing Up

When shopping for a new work computer, don’t let the price tags of business-grade machines scare you away. Consult your IT provider and evaluate what you need from your work laptop. At the end of the day, you need the tool best suited for your job.

But if the following functions are important…

  • Longevity – A life span of 2+ years.
  • Durability – The ability to withstand day-to-day wear and tear.
  • Customization – Various options tailored to your specific needs.
  • Security – Heightened security options and capabilities.

…then going for a business-grade laptop is a safe bet.

Need Help?

Picking the right computer for work can be a hassle – along with the bajillion other IT-related tasks your organization has to deal with. If you’re looking for a reliable IT partner to take technology off your plate, consider giving The 20 MSP a call.

Whether it’s picking a work laptop or making sure your organization isn’t a sitting duck for a cyberattack, we provide unlimited support for a flat monthly rate.

Schedule your call with The 20 MSP today.