These days you can get a fairly modern PC with decent specs for a few hundred dollars. Given that your typical business class workstation or laptop can be significantly more, a lot of folks wonder what the difference is that explains the extra cost.
The short answer is what they’re built to be used for each day. Your typical PC or laptop you’d get at Best Buy or Office Depot is built for personal use. The idea is that you probably have a day job and will mostly be using your computer in the evenings for email, Facebook, and paying bills.
The frame probably isn’t particularly rugged because it’s not made to travel excessively. Most folks replace their computers every couple years, so often these types of computers are built with that in mind. Parts and components favor the inexpensive to keep the price tag competitive since long term durability is less significant.
The business class computer is built to be used for work. Rather than a light duty 1-3 hours of usage per day, these types of computers are built to work all day. If they’re laptops, they may also have sturdier metallic frames to help them hold up to wear and tear of being frequently packed up and moved around.
Being used that long and that often puts more strain on the components, so higher-end parts need to be used. Since most companies prefer not to change workstations out often, there is a larger appeal to a computer that can last 3-5+ years.
Plus, if the business computer can hold up to rigorous use better it theoretically has less down time due to replacing parts etc. That improves office productivity.
Examples of the Differences
Take Lenovo laptops for example. You can find models like the G series in most stores, aimed at the general consumer. Some of these models have fewer USB 3.0 ports, a cheaper keyboard, screens with simpler color output or contrast ratios. For the average person none of these things may be a concern, and each of them are a cost-cutting measure that allows the user to obtain the computer at a better price tag.
The ThinkPad series of Lenovo computers, on the other hand, are geared for the workplace or for traveling professionals. ThinkPads have a heftier price tag than various consumer series, but that means some other things that may be important.
- Better keyboards. ThinkPads have a reputation for awesome, responsive keyboards. For the general user typing emails and browsing the web the difference may not be important. But for someone who types all day and needs tight, responsive keys for accurate typing, this makes a big difference.
- Touchpad location. Notice on a lot of ThinkPads the touchpad is off-center, usually to the left of the middle of the laptop’s width. This is because it’s centered on the main keyboard, and also the nub. This makes it comfortable and intuitive to switch quickly from typing to clicking without moving your hands much, and in a straight up and down motion you can move the cursor and resume typing without taking your eyes off the screen.
- Beefier hardware. The base specs in the average ThinkPad tend to be loftier than the consumer equivalent. Again, for all day work having the extra CPU horsepower, RAM, or even hard drive space can make a notable difference.
- Easier access to components. Consumer laptops may allow you to open the bottom and access the RAM and hard drive, but that’s usually it. Because business machines are built to work for many years, other upgrades may be required over time. Even if you also use the computer for personal use, being able to swap DVD ROM drives, wireless radios, and other components can be alluring to the power user.
Whether you have an office with a staff or work solo as a freelancer, in many cases you’re doing yourself a favor to use a business class computer. After all, your business runs on that technology. Even with reliable IT repair services there’s always downtime. As with many things, preventative maintenance is always preferable to repairs.
Just like when you’re shopping for cars where choosing a brand with a reputation for reliability can save you time and money long term, the solidarity and reliability of business class computers is important for heavy usage.
Make an informed decision about your next computer upgrade or replacement! We can assess your business’ technology and help you find the system that works with your budget and specific needs.