Business and Workstations

Business notebooks offer a combination of mid- to high-end components, but with an emphasis on extra durability and longer battery life. Many of them also come with increased security features that aren't normally found in mainstream consumer laptops. This category encompasses a little bit of everything, but commonly you'll find 14, 15 and 17-inch screens, mid-range discrete graphics cards, at least 4GB of RAM, plenty of connectivity options, and security features such as drive encryption and fingerprint readers.


Lenovo ThinkPad T420

84 11 Reviews Earlier this year Lenovo refreshed its business-oriented lineup with new 2011 Core i5 and i7 processors, integrated and discrete graphics options, new video and voice calling functionality, improved power management, and new features for better IT management.

The latest models in the ThinkPad T series include the 14-inch T420 and the slimmer T420s version along with the 15-inch T520. The first two start at $799 and $1,149, respectively, and are available with Nvidia Optimus graphics. The slim, four-pound T420s is said to boot 30% faster than the previous model, and the slightly thicker T420 can last up to a whopping 30 hours on a charge with the optional, nine-cell slice extended battery.

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Quick specs | Full specs Starting price: $799 ($1,079 as configured)
Processor: Intel Core i5-2520M 2.5GHz Graphics: NVIDIA NVS 4200M Optimus 1GB
Memory: 4 GB DDR3 1333MHz (1 DIMM) Storage: 500GB 7,200RPM HDD
Display size: 14.0 (1600 x 900) LED backlit display Optical: DVD recordable multiburner
Weight: 5.2lbs (2.4 kg) Battery: ~6.0 hours


Lenovo ThinkPad W520

82 13 Reviews The ThinkPad W520 is a 15.6-inch desktop replacement workstation for content creators and business types, packing a choice of Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors – up to the 2.5GHz Core i7-2920XM – along with up to 32GB of RAM, Nvidia Quadro graphics, and a dedicated color calibrator.

The W520 offers an impressive, extensive span of ports. Just as the W510 before it, this workstation has two USB SuperSpeed 3.0, one USB 2.0, one USB 2.0/eSATA, VGA, DisplayPort out, FireWire 400, ExpressCard/34, SDHC-card reader, and a headset combo jack.

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Quick specs | Full specs Starting price: $1,299 ($1,499 as configured)
Processor: Intel Core i7-2760QM 2.40GHz Graphics: Nvidia Quadro 1000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3
Memory: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz (2 DIMM) Storage: 500GB 7200RPM HDD
Display size: 15.6" (1600 x 900) LED backlit display Optical: DVD recordable multiburner
Weight: 5.95 lbs Battery: 9 cell Li-Ion Battery


HP EliteBook 8560p

89 5 Reviews With a design based on the so-called "Forge" framework, HP's EliteBook features aluminum-alloy hinges, titanium-alloy display latches, a bottom-case drain in case of spills, and a special enclosure that actually manages to comply to the MIL-STD 810G military testing spec. This business powerhouse comes equipped with Intel's second-gen Sandy Bridge processors, extensive security and wireless feature set, and a wide selection of ports. As an alternative, the 15-inch HP ProBook 4530s offers a great feature set for small businesses and starts at around $600.

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Quick specs | Full specs Starting price: $1,079 ($1,359 as configured)
Processor: Intel Core i5-2520M 2.50GHz Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6470M with 1GB DDR3
Memory: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz (2 DIMM) Storage: 320GB 7200RPM HDD
Display size: 15.6" (1600 x 900) LED backlit display Optical: DVD recordable multiburner
Weight: 5.95 lbs Battery: 6 cell Li-Ion Battery


Apple MacBook Pro

83 17 Reviews Apple's popular MacBook Pro comes equipped with Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors, including quad-core options in the more expensive 15- and 17-inch models, as well as the new Mac OS X Lion (10.7) operating system and a high-speed interconnect known as Thunderbolt. The latter doubles as a DisplayPort connector and boasts 10Gbit/s bi-directional bandwidth.

Graphics are powered by Intel's integrated HD 3000 processor on the 13-inch model and AMD Radeon HD 6750M (512MB) or HD 6770M (1GB) on the 15 and 17-inchers. These two feature graphics switching technology that automatically alternates between the integrated and discrete GPU when needed to save battery life or boost graphics performance. Depending on screen size and configuration options, a MacBook Pro can cost you anywhere from $1,199 to $2,499 and beyond.

Additional views:

Quick specs | Full specs Starting price: $1,799 (15-inch base model)
Processor: Intel Core i7 2720QM 2.2GHz Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512MB GDDR5
Memory: 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 (2 DIMMs) Storage: 500GB 5,400RPM HDD
Display size: 15.4" (1440x900) Optical: Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive
Weight: 5.6lbs (2.54 kg) Battery: ~7.5 hours


Other noteworthy business notebook options

Dell Latitude E6420

81 The Dell Latitude E6420 delivers all the power you'd want in a business laptop, plus outstanding battery life and a good selection of ports. It also has a backlit keyboard, sturdy construction, and offers a world of configuration options to choose from.

Price range: From $1,294

Toshiba Tecra R850

79 The Tecra R850 is amazingly thin, yet it offers a durable design featuring an innovative, fiberglass reinforced chassis. It delivers solid performance for general tasks and graphics, and its battery will last a good 6 hours on charge.

Price range: From $899