By PowerBuy // 13 July 2012 // Related Categories: Tips

Cheap laptops are incredibly abundant right now, especially as stores rush to clear stocks of older units with Intel's previous "Sandy Bridge" generation of processors. They're also, not to put too fine a point on it, cheap. That's alluring from a business perspective, because everybody wants to save money, especially if there's a reasonable expectation of similar performance on a cheaper, more consumer-focused laptop model.

That doesn't mean that every business should rush out and buy the cheapest laptops available, as the initial purchase price is only part of the story. While the underlying processor and memory might be the same, the external build, features and support probably aren't. Here's some key reasons why spending a little more on a laptop might actually be a good idea:

1) Cheap laptops often omit business-grade features

If you're storing confidential information on a laptop -- and especially if you're legally obliged to do so, you'll often find that security features such as hardware encryption and biometric security only come with higher business-grade laptop solutions. The same is true on the software side, where enterprise-level applications come on business grade machines, while consumer ones get low-grade photo editing junk.

2) Cheap Laptops are built to be cheap

Whether you're going utterly high end with units that have military-grade robustness -- Panasonic's ToughBooks being the obvious example -- or just something that's a little bit more sturdy because it's got to survive on-the-go conditions, no matter what your business is, you'll often find that the survivability of a business grade laptop is miles ahead of a cheap consumer model.

3) Business grade laptops get business-grade support

There's very little margin on a cheap consumer laptop for computer makers, and that's reflected in the support they offer those machines. Expect offshored phone-based support and lengthy waits for replacement parts, or having to send in a laptop should anything go wrong. Conversely, many business-grade laptop warranties come with same-day replacement offers, which keeps you working even if your laptop isn't.

4) If your laptop is your business, do you really want it to look cheap?

This is a more subjective matter, but consumer-grade laptops aren't just built cheaply; they're also built to appeal to consumer sensibilities. Presenting to a group from a cheap plastic keyboard on a knocked and scuffed laptop that's clearly been purchased on the cheap undeniably says something about your business. There's a careful balance here; it's not necessary to spend up big on things that look too ostentatious -- but it's a factor to keep in mind.

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