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Best business laptops 2022: Top business notebooks from Acer, Asus, Dell, Apple and more

Looking for a business machine that won’t let you down? Here’s our pick of the best laptops in 2022

A photograph of the Dell XPS 15 overlaid with the IT Pro recommended award

Pandemic or no pandemic, it looks like the world of hybrid working is here to stay, and that means it pays to ensure your hardware is up to the task. But trying to find a business laptop that best fits your needs is not always a straight forward task, especially when you never know where you'll be working from.

Not all laptops are created equal, however, and so it’s important to pick the best laptop for your personal circumstances. If your workload consists of emails, word processing and spreadsheets, then the portability of an ultrabook would be ideal, but if you routinely edit photos, videos, develop software and manage databases, then you’ll need something more powerful.

There are factors that are universally important, of course. A comfortable keyboard, a reliable trackpad and decent battery life are all massively important, and something we’ve always prioritised in our laptop reviews.

What to look for in a business laptop

When shopping for a business laptop, there are a few key things to consider, many of which may not be as important as with consumer-grade devices. Performance, for example, is just as important with personal laptops as with business machines (albeit with a focus on different tasks), and you should look for a machine with at least a mid-range processor from the last two years to ensure competitive performance over the device’s lifespan, but operating system versions probably won’t enter into the discussion.

Opting for a device that comes with the professional version of Windows out of the box gives you more access to business-friendly tools like increased deployment and encryption options, and if you’re shopping for a new machine, it makes sense to pick one that’s compatible with the latest version of Windows for the sake of future-proofing - if not one that already comes with it pre-installed.

It’s also important to note what ports you’re likely to need, taking into account things like your most commonly-used devices and peripherals, and the kinds of connections that your office infrastructure uses for things like hot-desk equipment or AV systems. While the do-it-all flexibility of USB-C is incredibly versatile, it’s a good rule of thumb to ensure you’ve got at least one full-size USB type-A port on hand to save having to carry around an adapter.

On the flip-side, display quality probably isn’t going to be a major factor unless you’re working with art assets or graphic design. As long as the screen’s bright enough to see clearly and colours don’t appear overly muted or unnaturally vibrant, a less-than-perfect display isn’t likely to impede your workflow too much.

Battery life is arguably one of the most important factors to look for, and anything that manages to last ten hours or more in our battery benchmark tests is likely to be a solid option for workers that spend a lot of time travelling or away from a power source. Many machines will even have fast-charging features to help you juice back up quickly.

FAQ

Can you use a gaming laptop for business?

If you’re an avid PC gamer and you’re looking to spend some money on a new laptop for work, it may be tempting to try and have your cake and eat it too by buying a high-end gaming laptop that you can use in your off hours as well as at the office. The good news is that - from a technical perspective, at least - this isn’t too outlandish.

Modern gaming laptops have a huge amount of processing power that will allow them to blitz through the vast majority of standard work tasks. They’re also ideally suited to compute-intensive roles like graphic design, video editing and anything that benefits from hardware acceleration (although usually not professional engineering applications). On top of that, they’re usually designed with high-quality screens and large, comfortable keyboards.

It’s also possible to pick up a gaming laptop that won’t look out of place in a professional setting, and isn’t festooned with garish RGB lighting and overly flashy vents. Many gaming machines are now relatively sedate, and straddle the line between enthusiast devices and mobile workstations.

The biggest downside with using a gaming machine for work is that they tend to be heavier than most other machines, and their powerful components typically result in a significantly shorter battery life. If you’re only going between your home and the office, this may not be an issue, but for those who do a lot of offsite work, this may prove to be a dealbreaker.

Why are business laptops more expensive?

You may have noticed that laptops which are specifically aimed at business buyers tend to be noticeably more expensive than those which are mostly consumer-focused. Although this is partially attributable to the fact that businesses can usually afford to drop a little more cash on their purchases, there are several good reasons why business laptops are more expensive.

For one thing, they’ll often come with AMD Ryzen Pro or Intel vPro chips. These special professional-grade components don’t confer any additional performance advantages, but they include extra security and manageability features designed to make it easier for IT admins to manage large fleet deployments.

Business machines are also more likely to have a wider range of ports and connectivity options, as many offices still rely on older connections like HDMI or even VGA for connecting to projectors and other peripherals. Other additional features like biometric security and better access to internal components for the purposes of repair and upgrade are a more common sight on business devices, too.

How long do business laptops last?

Another factor in why business laptops tend to command higher price tags is that they last longer than personal machines. The manufacturer’s warranty will generally cover a standard consumer laptop for a year, but business machines often come with a three year warranty.

Even beyond that, the typical device refresh cycle for most companies tends to be around five years - which means that business laptops will need to last for at least that long with no major problems in order to avoid unhappy customers. In fact, some companies can sweat their laptops for as much as ten years before replacing them - although they may upgrade certain components such as storage and RAM every so often.

Should I buy a convertible business laptop?

Convertible laptops allow users to seamlessly flip between tablet-style operations and the more traditional laptop form-factor. In theory, this offers increased flexibility and greater productivity, but while it can be a convenient way to display your screen for an informal presentation to colleagues, you may find its workplace utility to be somewhat limited unless you’re a big fan of taking handwritten notes or doing digital illustration.

The convertible form factor also comes with certain trade-offs. They often tend to be more expensive than regular clamshell models, and the touchscreen can sometimes get in the way when trying to reposition the display. Moreover, the touchscreen usually prevents any form of anti-glare coating from being applied to the display, which can limit its usefulness outdoors. If you’re keen on working with a stylus, then you may find that these are sacrifices worth making, but in most cases, a convertible form-factor does little to improve a business laptop’s overall appeal.

What are the best business laptops in 2022?

Dell XPS 15

Best laptop for power users

A photograph of the Dell XPS 15

IT Pro

Dell’s mid-sized flagship laptop packs a phenomenal amount of power into a surprisingly discreet package, and is almost rivalling mobile workstations in terms of sheer performance. Combined with the gorgeous screen, it makes a tempting proposition for professionals looking for a portable rig that can keep up with their needs.

We do have a few quibbles - namely a slightly underwhelming battery life, the lack of USB-A ports and a distinctly disappointing webcam - but overall, this is one of the most robust options for serious power on the move.

CPU

Intel Core i7-1180H

RAM

32GB

Screen

15.6in, 3840 x 2400 touchscreen

Dimensions

354 x 230 x 18mm

Weight

2kg

Price when reviewed: £2,040 exc VAT

Read our full Dell XPS 15 review for more information.

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Best laptop for budget-conscious users

A photograph of the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 on a table

If you want the last word in affordability without having to sacrifice on user experience or design, it’s hard to do better than a Chromebook, and Acer’s Chromebook Spin 513 is one of the best-value options around. Not only does it come in at less than £350 before tax, it’s got the looks of a much more expensive device.

Of course, there are some compromises - the build quality could be better, and performance isn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off - but it’s capable enough to handle basic office workloads, and the battery life is actually rather good.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c

RAM

4GB

Screen

13.3in 1,920 x 1,280 touchscreen

Dimensions

310 x 209 x 15.5mm

Weight

1.2kg

Price when reviewed: £332 exc VAT

Read our full Acer Chromebook Spin 513 review for more information.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

Best laptop for creative professionals

A photograph of the Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop in Stage mode

Microsoft’s Surface range has always been popular with digital artists, and the Surface Laptop Studio is a perfect option for graphic designers who need a versatile creative workstation. Combining a clever multi-function screen with outstanding pen support and the performance to power professional creative apps, this laptop is an artistic powerhouse.

Bear in mind that you’ll have to pay a considerable amount for the privelege of all this functionality, but for individuals (or agencies) that can stomach the price, this machine really does do it all.

CPU

Intel Core i7-11370H

RAM

 

32GB

Screen

14.4in, 2,400 x 1,600 touchscreen

Dimensions

323 x 228 x 19mm 

Weight

1.82kg

Price when reviewed: £2,399 exc VAT

Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio review for more information

Acer Swift 5

Best laptop for mobile workers

The Acer Swift 5 placed on a desk in a cafe, seen from a 45-degree angle

If you’re on the hunt for a new business laptop, the Acer Swift 5 should absolutely be on your shortlist. Feather-light at 990g and remarkably compact, Acer still manages to pack a 14in touchscreen into its svelte frame thanks to impossibly thin seeming 5mm bezels. 

With an Intel Core i5 chip and 8GB RAM powering things, it’s no slouch either. And the fact that its only drawbacks (a middling battery life and weak speakers) can both be easily mitigated makes it a great choice for anyone looking to balance power and portability. 

CPU

2.4GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7

RAM8GB
Screen14in, 1,920 x 1,080
Dimensions14.95 mm x 318.9 mm x 207 mm
Weight990g

Price when reviewed: £833 exc VAT

Read our full Acer Swift 5 review for more information.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1

Best laptop for flexibility

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) rear view

If you require the power and comfort of a laptop, but sometimes value a tablet’s form factor then the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is a very appealing product indeed. As a 2-in-1, the screen flips 180 degrees turning it temporarily into a tablet — and one that can be enhanced further with the optional £27 Dell Active Pen for doodling and note-taking.

The keyboard and trackpad aren’t the best we’ve used, but they’re far from disastrous. If you want the flexibility of a 2-in-1, this is as good as you’ll get for a surprisingly competitive price.

CPU2.4GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7
RAM12GB
Screen15.6in, 1,920 x 1,080
Dimensions356 x 238 x 17.9mm
Weight1.78kg

Price when reviewed: £691 exc VAT

Read our full Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 review for more information.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in (Apple M1, 2020)

Best laptop for all-round performance

Apple M1 MacBook Pro 13in side view

While Apple has always produced its own mobile chips for iPhones, the company abandoning Intel for its own ‘Apple Silicon’ processors felt like an enormous gamble at the tail end of 2020. It turned out to be a masterstroke, and the M1 chip used in the new family of MacBook Pros is not only unnervingly nippy, but offers superb energy efficiency leading to ridiculous 17-and-a-half hours of battery life in our standard test. 

The new chip may lead to some compatibility issues on legacy software, and MacOS isn’t for everyone, but if these aren’t problems for you then this is a laptop with very few drawbacks to speak of. If you want near identical power with a slimmer footprint, the 2020 MacBook Air is also worth considering.

CPU8-core 3.2GHz/2.1GHz Apple M1 chip
RAM8GB 
Screen13.3in, 1,2560 x 1,600
Dimensions356 x 238 x 17.9mm
Weight1.4kg

Price when reviewed: £1,083 exc VAT

Read our full Apple MacBook 13in (2020) review for more information.

Razer Book 13

Best laptop for ultraportable performance

The Razer Book 13 keyboard

Keumars Afifi-Sabet/IT Pro

Gaming brand Razer in a list of the best business laptops? No, that’s not a mistake. The Razer Book 13 is the company’s first attempt at a laptop aimed purely at productivity rather than relaxation, and it’s astonishingly good, even if it will set you back a pretty penny. 

With its Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM, performance is top notch even for multitaskers needing to engage in more performance-intensive tasks like photo editing, while the screen and keyboard are both fantastic quality too. The only real issue is the high cost of entry, but if you have the cash to burn you won’t be disappointed.

CPU1.2GHz – 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7
RAM16GB
Screen13.4in, 1,920 x 1,200
Dimensions295.6 x 198.5 x 15.2mm
Weight1.4kg

Price when reviewed: £1,317 exc VAT

Read our full Razer Book 13 review for more information.

Samsung Galaxy Book S

Best ultraportable laptop 

A photo of the Samsung Galaxy Book S on a table

Despite tipping the scales at just 961g and being just 11.8mm thick, the Samsung Galaxy Book S has a truly astonishing battery life. In our tests, it was able to go a surprising 14hrs 28mins without needing to see its charger, knocking bulkier laptops into a cocked hat. 

That’s mainly down to the incredibly efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx SoC powering things, of course. That may be an issue for some: the majority of Qualcomm’s chips are destined for Android smartphones, and that can lead to compatibility issues in Windows. But if you don’t need specialist software, the Samsung Galaxy Book S is an excellent choice, with a great display and solid keyboard backing up its remarkable form factor.

CPU2.84GHz Snapdragon 8cx SoC
RAM8GB
Screen13.3in, 1,920 x 1,080
Dimensions203 x 305 x 11.8mm
Weight961g

Price when reviewed: £833 exc VAT

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book S review for more information.

MSI Prestige 14 Evo

Best laptop for high-value performance

A close-up of the MSI Prestige 14 Evo's display

The MSI Prestige 14 Evo isn’t the cheapest laptop on this list, but it offers impressive value for money considering its powerful internals and high-quality IPS panel.

Eschewing the company’s gaming heritage, the MSI Prestige 14 Evo’s design is pleasingly understated, and there’s a reassuring heft to the laptop which packs a punch with its Tiger Lake Intel Core i7 processor. There are a few niggles — extremely noisy fans and a keyboard layout that’ll take some getting used to — but nothing that stops this from being a solid business laptop recommendation.

CPU1.2 - 3GHz Intel Core i7-1185G7
RAM16GB
Screen14in, 1,920 x 1,080
Dimensions319 x 219 x 15.9mm
Weight1.29kg

Price when reviewed: £999 exc VAT

Read our full MSI Prestige 14 Evo review for more information.

Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482

Best laptop for multi-taskers

Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482 Screen Pad

By far the most unusual laptop in this list, the Asus ZenBook Duo justifies its name by doubling the number of panels you’d expect from the formfactor, with a 12.6 x 3.4in IPS touchscreen accompanying the main 14in one. It’s ideal for multitasking and creative apps, with the included 4,096-point stylus making it especially handy for artists.

But that extra screen does have a knock-on effect - and not just to the price, which is on the more expensive end of the spectrum. Because the second screen sits above the keyboard, the keys are all pushed down and can feel a touch cramped, with no space for your wrist to rest. The trackpad has also been pushed to the right hand side and is subsequently a bit fiddly to use.

In other words, it’s not recommended for those who’d struggle to explain why they’d want a second screen, but for those that instinctively understand, it’s a game changer.

CPU1.2GHz – 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7
RAM16GB
Screen14in, 1,920 x 1,080
Dimensions324 x 222 x 16.9mm
Weight1.58kg

Price when reviewed: £1,249 exc VAT

Read our full Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482 review for more information.

LG Gram 17 

Best laptop for portable productivity

LG Gram 17

With its imposing 17in screen, the LG Gram 17 is the biggest laptop in this list — which makes it all the more amazing that it’s nowhere near the heaviest. At just 18mm thick and 1.35kg in weight, it’s surprisingly easy to forget you’re carrying it.

The size doesn’t just give you an incredible 2,560 x 1,600 display to gawp at — it means you get plenty of ports, a large trackpad and room for a full-size keyboard. The thin design does limit its performance somewhat, with multi-core scores being a touch underwhelming, but it’s still a great choice if you can’t decide between size and portability.

CPU1.2GHz – 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7
RAM16GB
Screen17in, 2,560 x 1,600
Dimensions380 x 260 x 18mm
Weight1.35kg

Price when reviewed: £1,599 exc VAT

Read our full LG Gram 17 review for more information.

HP Envy 13

Best laptop for all-round value

A photograph of the HP Envy 13 on a table

At £749 excluding VAT, the HP Envy is an appealing proposition which gets a lot of the business basics right: it has a comfortable keyboard, the 15.6in screen is big, bright and bold, and the battery lasted an impressive 14-and-a-half hours in our looped video test.

But it’s not without its drawbacks: it’s quite chunky, isn’t the nicest looking machine, and performance wise it’s middle of the road with its Intel Core i5 processor. Nonetheless, it’s good enough in all the areas that really matter, and fully deserving of a place on our list of the best laptops of 2022.

CPU0.9GHz - 4.2GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7
RAM8GB
Screen13.3in, 1,920 x 1,080
Dimensions307 x 195 x 17mm
Weight1.3kg

Price when reviewed: £749 exc VAT

Read our full HP Envy 13 review for more information.

How we test business laptops

When we review a laptop, there are a number of tests that we use to determine its capabilities. To measure the quality of the display, we use the open-source DisplayCal app and a dedicated colorimeter to determine the maximum brightness, the contrast ratio and how much of the sRGB colour gamut it covers (as well as the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB gamuts where applicable) - which determines the range of colours the screen can reproduce. We also measure the average Delta-E rating, which indicates how accurately those colours are displayed.

Performance is tested by running it through our own in-house benchmarks, which consist of three tests: an image conversion test, which gives an indication of single-threaded speeds, a video encoding test, which makes greater use of multi-core processing, and a multitasking test which runs both processes simultaneously while also playing a video. This test is the most strenuous and is designed to push processors to their limits. These tests give us individual scores, as well as an overall result.

We’ll also run the Geekbench 5 performance test to confirm the accuracy of these results, as well as assessing its performance in day-to-day tasks throughout our evaluation period. Storage is tested using the AS SSD benchmark.

In order to measure battery life, we’ll charge the battery fully, then set the display brightness as close to 170cd/m2 as possible using a colour calibrator, turn on flight mode and play a looped video until the battery dies. This gives us a consistent figure to compare the battery life of different models, although it may not necessarily give us an indication of real-world battery life. For this, we assess how long the battery lasts over several days of actual use, subjecting it to a range of workloads and activities.

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