Notebooks for professional and personal use are not easy to distinguish. Although manufacturers categorize their products into series for business and private customers, they tend to target different buyers rather than specific target groups. Business series mainly offer laptops for larger companies, where the purchase of notebooks is taken care of by an IT department. Consumer devices, on the other hand, are intended not only for private individuals but also for self-employed individuals and small businesses.
Therefore, these rough classifications do not help you in choosing the right business laptop. Because there is only one recommendation: The best business laptop is the one that allows you to work most productively. It could be a lightweight, small, and slim Ultrabook if you are frequently on the go.
Or a larger device for the desk with multiple ports for monitors, external hard drives, and other office peripherals. Or a high-performance laptop if you earn your money through photo and video editing. Or a 2-in-1 device that combines a notebook and a tablet because your productivity benefits from this flexibility.
HP Elitebook 865 G9: Test Winner
- Large and high-quality 16-inch display
- Powerful 8-core AMD CPU
- Long battery life
- Outstanding keyboard
- Extensive features and security options
- Heavy and bulky
- Noisy under load
The HP Elitebook 865 G9 is a business all-rounder for the highest demands. If you need a laptop with a large display for your business use, you will hardly find a better notebook at the moment. In addition to its very good and large 16-inch screen, it impresses with its high computing power thanks to its 8-core AMD CPU, long battery life, and outstanding keyboard. It also offers extensive features, including USB 4 Type-C ports, that are in demand in large companies, such as privacy screens for the display, mechanical camera cover, LTE mobile connectivity, and smart card slot.
Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 13: Best Value for Money
- Lightweight and elegant design
- Outstanding OLED display
- Good performance with Alder Lake CPU
- Generous battery life
- Very pleasant keyboard
The Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 13 is a convincing work laptop at a highly recommended price. Whether on the go or at the desk, whether for office or multimedia use, this lightweight notebook weighing only 880 grams always provides enough power with its Alder Lake CPU Core i5-1240P for most applications. It features an outstanding OLED display with Full HD resolution that makes all applications look great, generous battery life, and a very pleasant keyboard. The only drawbacks are the small 256GB SSD and the many pre-installed Samsung tools, which slightly detract from the excellent overall impression.
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s G2: Best Business Laptop Under 1000 Euros
- High-quality and elegant metal case
- Good performance with Tiger Lake CPU
- Decent battery life
- Comfortable keyboard
- Affordable price
- Mediocre display with low brightness and contrast
- No Thunderbolt or USB 4 support
- Noisy fan under load
The ThinkBook series is aimed at users looking for a high-quality and elegant business laptop without wanting to pay a high-end price. The grey metal case is visually appealing but not particularly light or slim. The performance is acceptable, especially for office tasks such as text, spreadsheets, and presentations. Considering its affordable price, the 16:10 display with 1920 x 1200 pixels offers good image quality, especially in terms of contrast and color space coverage – ideal for illuminated workplaces, but the screen lacks brightness for outdoor use. The 9.5-hour battery life is acceptable, and the very sturdy keyboard allows for fast and error-free typing. The price reflects mainly in the meager equipment: The SSD offers only 256GB capacity, and the built-in 8GB RAM is not expandable. Although the ThinkBook has a Thunderbolt 4 port, it also serves as a charging port. For additional peripherals, there are only two USB 3.0 ports and HDMI.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 16: Best Display
- Large and excellent display
- High performance
- Low weight
- Long battery life
- Excellent keyboard
- Relatively small SSD
- Pre-installed bloatware
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro is an optimal business all-rounder where you don’t have to compromise on anything. With its large and excellent display, high performance, low weight, long battery life, and excellent keyboard, this 16-inch notebook offers the complete package. However, you must accept the relatively small SSD and the pre-installed bloatware of various Samsung tools.
HP Elite Dragonfly G3: Best Notebook for On-the-Go Work
- Small and lightweight
- Strong battery life
- Decent computing power
- Top-notch keyboard
- Numerous ports and a very good display
- Limited viewing angle
The small and lightweight HP Elite Dragonfly G3, weighing less than 1.2 kilograms, brings together everything that mobile professional users appreciate: strong battery life, decent computing power, top-notch keyboard, numerous ports, and a very good display, except for the limited viewing angle. With Sure View and 5G modem, the tested configuration offers special features that are particularly beneficial for frequent travelers.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio: Best Notebook for Creatives
- Flexible and powerful
- Convertible laptop that transforms from a notebook to a tablet
- High performance in multimedia use
- Excellent display quality and battery life
- No SD card slot or HDMI port
- Stylus not included
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is flexible, powerful, and long-lasting. It is the perfect choice for those who need computing power for their business needs. The Core i7-11370H and the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti deliver high performance, especially in multimedia use. But that’s not all: The Laptop Studio is a convertible laptop that quickly transforms from a notebook to a tablet through a clever mechanism – serving as a media player for movies or as a digital drawing pad with the optional stylus. The display quality and battery life are also excellent.
Lenovo Thinkpad Z13: Best Design
- High-quality and elegant metal case
- Good performance with 8-core AMD processor
- High computing efficiency during battery operation
- Excellent controls and three-year warranty
- Mediocre display quality and features
- High price
With the Z-Series, Lenovo relies on sustainable materials for the case, power supply, and packaging: The test model uses vegan leather made from recycled PET on the top of the display lid. The notebook packaging consists entirely of fast-growing and compostable bamboo and sugarcane fibers. The lightweight 13-inch display notebook impresses with its 8-core AMD processor, very good performance, and high computing efficiency during battery operation. The excellent controls and three-year warranty also speak for the Thinkpad. The display quality and features are alright but do not justify the high price, which is mainly paid for the eye-catching design and sustainable materials.
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-71-751E): OLED Bargain
- Absolutely outstanding OLED display
- Above-average computing power
- Good equipment
- Affordable price
- Battery life could be better
- No card reader
- Not particularly high-quality keyboard
The Acer Swift 3 is a clear recommendation if you work creatively with multimedia content, both privately and professionally. It has everything that is important for this purpose: an absolutely outstanding OLED display and above-average computing power. Along with the good equipment, this would already be enough for a top rating. However, the Swift 3 is also very affordable at around 1300 euros.
There are only criticisms in terms of details, such as the battery life, which could be better, the lack of a card reader, or the not particularly high-quality keyboard.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon G10: Optimal for Working with Texts and Tables
- High mobility
- Decent performance
- Extensive features
- Good display quality
- Convincing usability
- Relatively expensive
The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon G10 is equally suitable as an office notebook for on-the-go and for the desk. No other business laptop manages to strike the right balance between high mobility, decent performance, extensive features, good display quality, and convincing usability. Therefore, it is relatively expensive.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 15 Zoll: Best Notebook for Undisturbed Work
- Slim, lightweight, stylish case
- Consistently quiet fan
- Good battery life
- Decent performance and image quality
- Limited number of ports
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 impresses, like its predecessors, not only with its test results but also with its design, ergonomics, and durability. It is the perfect choice for those who prioritize a slim, lightweight, stylish case that never gets too hot, a consistently quiet fan, and good battery life over computing power and image quality. While the Microsoft notebook also delivers decent results in these categories, it is not better than what you can expect at this price. The only clear weakness remains the limited number of ports.
HP Spectre x360 16-f1075ng: Best Convertible for Business
- Large display and high mobility
- Decent computing power
- Good battery life
- Extensive features
- Color-rich display
- Pleasantly quiet fan
- Heavy and bulky for a convertible
The HP Spectre x360 16 proves to be a very versatile productivity device in the test – not only because it is a notebook-tablet hybrid but also because it combines a large display and high mobility without compromises. Therefore, it is worth considering if you want to cover different requirements in your daily work routine with just one device. It impresses with decent computing power, good battery life, extensive features, a color-rich display, and a pleasantly quiet fan.
Are Business Laptops Better Equipped Than Consumer Laptops?
The hardware configuration of a business laptop, like that of a consumer laptop, depends mainly on its price and purpose. Accordingly, both categories offer particularly power-efficient CPUs for small and lightweight notebooks or powerful processors for notebooks used for multimedia editing. However, consumer laptops are more likely to be equipped with an additional GPU.
There are also no fundamental differences in terms of memory and SSD. However, in business laptops, manufacturers usually use hardware components from well-known suppliers and change their suppliers less frequently than in consumer models.
Only business laptops for large enterprises use special processor models from Intel with vPro technology or AMD Pro CPUs. These models do not differ from standard CPUs in terms of computing power but provide additional security and maintenance features. Manufacturers often equip these laptops with additional security features, such as the ability to detect an attack on the UEFI BIOS and restore a backup copy of the firmware, specialized software that, in conjunction with hardware components such as the CPU, can contain malware attacks faster than antivirus tools, and the ability to remotely locate and erase data stored on a stolen laptop.
Business laptops also tend to offer more hardware options for secure biometric authentication, such as an IR camera or a fingerprint sensor. Only professional-grade notebooks often include features such as a mobile modem and a smart card slot. Selected models are equipped with special features, such as a privacy screen for the display that can reduce the viewing angle with the push of a button to prevent neighbors on a plane from seeing the screen contents.
How We Test Business Laptops
The following criteria are taken into account in evaluating a business laptop:
We determine the computing power of business laptops using several benchmarks. For system performance, we use PC Mark 10 and Sysmark 25. We test the CPU using the Cinebench R23 with a ten-minute throttling test for multi-thread and single-thread performance. Additionally, we evaluate the data rate of the built-in drive using the “Full System Drive Benchmark” of PC Mark 10 and the sequential data rates with Crystaldiskmark.
We measure the 3D performance using the “Wild Life” test of 3D Mark.
The results of system performance, CPU, and drive are taken into account in evaluating computing speed for multimedia applications or office applications. The best notebook receives 100 points, and the other test devices receive fewer points accordingly. We follow the same procedure for evaluating 3D performance using the results of the Wild Life test.
In the evaluation of features, we consider the size of the drive and the memory as well as the number and quality of the ports.
For the display, we measure brightness, contrast, coverage of color spaces sRGB, Adobe-RGB, and DCI-P3, as well as color accuracy. We use the Datacolor Spyder 5 colorimeter with the corresponding software for measurements.
In addition, we consider the size and resolution of the display in terms of pixel density.
This category includes the weight and battery life of the notebook. We measure battery life using two methods: Firstly, we perform a WLAN test where the notebook is required to access and display different websites at 30-second intervals. The battery life is measured from the transition to battery mode until the notebook enters sleep mode. Secondly, we conduct the Mobile Mark 25 benchmark for battery life.
For both tests, we set the power mode to “Balanced” or the corresponding manufacturer mode. The display brightness is set to 200 cd/sqm.
Usability is evaluated based on the quality of the keyboard and the pointing device, whether it is a touchpad or a trackpoint. We conduct a longer typing test to evaluate the ergonomics of the keyboard, such as the feedback on key presses, key travel height, and keyboard layout. The presence of important keys in their standard size and additional input aids, such as a separate numeric keypad, are considered as advantages.
We test the usability and responsiveness of the pointing device with a defined workflow, including tasks such as formatting in a Word document, data actions with the Windows Explorer, and zooming and scrolling gestures in the Explorer and web browser.
In this category, we assess how the notebook behaves under load. The 3DMark stress test is used for this purpose. During the test, we measure the noise level of the fans in dB(A) as well as the heating of the palm rest, keyboard, and bottom of the case.