There you are, walking through Best Buy when you come across a big fancy display reading, “This is the fastest, thinnest, lightest laptop in the world! You are going to love it! It’s the best of the best!” I’m a professional in the I.T. industry. I work with computers all day every day, yet even my eyes get big with excitement when I see this type of display. Such is the power of advertising. It’s new! It’s shiny! However, the most important consideration should be: is it the best option for my business needs?
The short answer is: most likely not. The long answer is that when you are purchasing hardware such as a new computer, you need to take into consideration more than just price. You must consider the ways in which you intend to use the machine, not just now but over the life of the device. Will the components of the device hold up to the amount of usage it will get? Will the device be capable of handling efficiently the software you use, and the types of work you will be doing? Can it handle the rigors of your business schedule and travel? Will you be able to get reliable support when you need it? Does the warranty cover the type of work you will be doing with the machine? There are a lot of questions to answer before you lay down money on a new device for work. Don’t let the lavish display and buzzword hyperbole trick you into an impulsive purchase.
Continue reading to gain a better understanding of what a business class device is and why it is most likely the best option when you need a new computer for your business needs.
What is a Business Class Machine?
There are two main levels of laptops, desktops, and tablets: consumer level and business level. Consumer level is what you typically buy from Best Buy or OfficeDepot. Business level is usually ordered from the device manufacturer themselves (HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc.). Over the years, as technology has improved and allowed us to take our array of devices and combine them into a single compact package, the lines have blurred between business and personal/consumer devices. At work, we spend our lunch watching YouTube videos; then we take our work laptops home and stay up late finishing those final reports for the upcoming meeting. Later, we peruse Facebook for a bit, and possibly order a few items from Amazon. What you did, without even noticing, is combine your work life and home life just a little bit more.
At the end of the day, the laptop you have at home and the laptop you have at work look and act the same. But what are the differences that you don’t see?
Durability: The main Windows device manufacturers (HP, Dell Lenovo, etc.) have specific business class models that are tested for durability. For example, HP Business PC models are tested under MIL-STD-810G test procedures. These tests were created by the U.S. Military and include measuring how the devices handle pressure, temperature, humidity, fungus, sand/dust, vibration, noise, shock, and quite a few other hazards that may (or may not) afflict the machine in real life. This is to ensure that the devices can take quite a bit of a beating—much more than your standard consumer machine. These machines are built to last a few years even with daily wear and tear, and are made of materials that are more durable.
Warranty: The average consumer laptop, desktop, or tablet warranty is one year, limited. With business-grade PC’s from the main manufacturers, you have many options for your warranty. With HP, Dell, and Lenovo, you can opt for onsite support, specific technician level, specified repair time, accidental, and other special coverages. This way, you are protected and have minimal downtime when things take a turn for the worse. Most business class machines can be fitted with a 3-4 year, full coverage warranty, which will alleviate any worries you have over the device’s life.
Support: There are two main factors to consider when thinking about support: I.T. and vendor.
I.T. support will be your local I.T. company (like JMARK!). If your new device falls under the best practice of your I.T. provider, it will mean this device will be simpler to manage and support, which results in you getting faster and more valuable service.
Vendor support will be your major companies, like HP, Dell, and Lenovo. Business-grade devices generally have their own support line that is dedicated to business customers. These lines make it easier to set up repairs or replacements. Business-grade devices also usually come with Windows Professional (or higher), making it a breeze to set up on a domain network, without having to purchase additional licensing.
There are quite a few variables to look out for when purchasing a new device. After all, this is the device you will most likely be using five days a week (or more) for the next few years. Going for a device that is durable, covered under warranty, and widely supported by your I.T. company will put a smile on your face every time you use your new computer. After all, the key to productivity can be found in simplicity! Questions? Call JMARK and learn how managed I.T. support can save you money by helping you balance your hardware investment with your business needs, goals, and budget.
Sources: HP Business model testing: http://www8.hp.com/h20195/v2/GetPDF.aspx/4AA6-0823ENW.pdf