Now with more people than ever working remotely, laptop features that used to be helpful in an office environment might not carry as much value.
But people still want to be as productive at home, in a co-working space or a café as they are when they are at work.
It’s quite difficult to filter out what’s important and what’s a gimmick, so to ensure that a laptop that may cost thousands of dollars does not date too quickly and will enhance productivity, what are the minimum five features to look for when investing in a new laptop in order of priority?
1. Connectivity options
Some laptop brands have sacrificed ports and connectors to make them ultraportable and super-light, which means their owners may need to cart around a selection of different docks and dongles to enable a laptop to connect to other devices, monitors and the internet. So, for fast and reliable in-built wireless connectivity, it is best to ensure a laptop has both Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6, the latest standard for low latency and ultrafast connections.
When working remotely away from Wi-Fi or on a slow public connection, it is necessary to have built-in LTE so the device can access 4G or lightning-fast 5G mobile broadband. This is very important these days when the Wi-Fi connection drops out at home, or when working remotely or on the move.
So many new laptops only have one or two USB ports and very few have the new generation Thunderbolt 4 port, which is the future of connectivity. Not only does Thunderbolt 4 free up ports by delivering fast transfer speeds, charging and video output over a single connection, but it can upgrade the overall setup and clean up a desk riddled with cables.
Many of the new generation laptops do not have a MicroSD slot, which is useful for transferring files from a phone or camera. Whilst so many have dispensed with their Ethernet port, the 3.5mm audio jack and many lack a full-size HDMI connector, which is often necessary when doing a presentation at a conference or at a client’s site or for connecting to one or dual large monitor/s at home.
2. 11th Generation Intel Core i7 Processor
The processor or central processing unit (CPU) is the brains of a laptop and carries out tasks or moves data as needed. Today, a laptop can respond just as quickly as a desktop. Laptops featuring the latest 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processors provide powerful performance to handle demanding tasks, whether wrangling a spreadsheet or fine-tuning a video. Intel Evo platform-based laptops are designed to keep up with today’s fast-paced lifestyle.
11th Generation chips offer a big step up in performance from their 10th-generation counterparts. They deliver performance for high-resolution content creation as well as 4K video editing, rendering and transcoding images, computer-aided design and 3D modelling. Not to mention the everyday computing tasks such as browsing and editing documents.
3. Sufficient memory and storage
Random access memory (RAM), a laptop’s short-term memory, gives the CPU almost instant access to data. Depending on the applications a user runs, they may want additional RAM: the benefit of responsiveness may be worth the cost if running several applications at once.
A minimum of 16G RAM will ensure a laptop delivers a high level of performance for memory-intensive content creation, designing, editing and multitasking.
Storage is the laptop’s data bank, where the applications, operating system and other important files are kept. Storage can be a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). Intel Optane memory with solid state storage offers a new approach to memory and storage to boot your laptop and launch applications quickly, smoothly, and easily.
Whilst many now have cloud storage or external back-up storage, so huge amounts of internal storage are no longer so critical, a decent amount of storage for most user requirements would be 256GB. However, for those that work with large image or design files or people that work remotely a lot, perhaps with unreliable, insecure or slow internet connections, 512GB or even 1TB of storage would be more suitable.
4. Long battery life
For users working remotely in cafes, co-working spaces, client’s offices or whilst travelling, it is not always possible to plug into the power outlet to recharge a depleted battery. Consequently, battery life has now been propelled to one of the top three features laptop buyers look for before purchase and running out of battery is now the top pain point.
All Intel Evo devices solve that problem, by delivering nine or more hours of battery life with full HD displays. For longer days, a 30-minute charge gives people four more hours of battery life. So, it is important to invest in a laptop that offers at least nine hours’ battery life, so a full working day is covered with a single charge. All laptops with the Intel 11th Generation Processor offer excellent battery life.
It can be really embarrassing in a meeting or on a video call when fast access to something on a laptop is required, but the start-up process seems to take forever, not to mention frustrating for the user even in normal circumstances.
From a new generation laptop, a user should be expecting around a one-second “instant-on” wake-up for Microsoft Windows devices (Windows 10 and 11). Anything longer and it could not only impact their professionalism but also affect productivity.
The best laptop
To choose the best laptop, it’s necessary to weigh business needs against device types and features. With working from anywhere (WFA) now a permanent feature, hardware-based security features, remote management capabilities and excellent connectivity will make working from anywhere and everywhere hassle-free.