This category of notebooks, as the name suggests, is all business … all the time. These notebooks run the range from 12-inch ultraportables to heavy 15-inch “workstation” class machines. Business notebooks, by definition, are designed specifically to meet the needs of businesses, so all the notebooks in this category are available with special warranties, next-day service agreements, enhanced technical support, and are either available with Windows XP or significant support for Windows XP (for all those IT managers who maintain corporate networks running only Windows XP).
The more expensive business notebooks in this list have better build quality and ruggedness than the less expensive business notebooks, but small businesses or companies needing to purchase large numbers of notebooks for a mobile workforce may find budget-priced business notebooks more appealing than the rugged notebooks priced at more than $1,500 a piece.
Less Than $1,000
| Dell Vostro 1310
The Vostro 1310 is the newest and smallest addition to the Vostro family of notebooks. This compact business notebook comes with a 13.3″ display, dedicated graphics option and a slot-loading optical drive.
Overall, the Dell Vostro 1310 is an impressive budget notebook with clean looks and solid performance. Whether you need a simple business notebook or a budget portable laptop with modest graphics capabilities, the Vostro 1310 makes an excellent choice. Just don’t expect extremely rugged build quality for less than $1,000.
| Toshiba Satellite Pro L300
The Toshiba Satellite Pro L300 offers a vivid 15.4″ WXGA display and Intel Centrino or AMD processor technology. The L300 has all the essentials for business users in its simplistic yet functional design.
The L300 doesn’t have a glossy finish or any special features to make it stand out. What you see is what you get: a minimalistic, yet very functional notebook at a good price. The L300 comes with a good variety of ports, has a nice screen and a great keyboard. It is a little heavy and big to be a traveling companion, but many business users like to watch movies or presentations while traveling and the 15.4″ screen does it justice.
| Dell Latitude E6400
The Dell Latitude E6400 is a 14″ laptop targeted towards businesses that need good performance, solid design, and a commonality of parts for an entire workforce. This notebook competes against such notebooks as the HP EliteBook 6930p and Fujitsu LifeBook S7220. The E6400 offers a wide range of hardware configurations, as well as Solid State Drives (SSDs) for the businesses that require extreme ruggedness and extreme performance.
Overall, corporate clients who are looking for the next generation of business notebooks from Dell have plenty of reasons to buy the E6400. Dell made every effort to improve the Latitude family, and the E6400 is a great 14-inch business notebook.
| Lenovo ThinkPad T400
The new 14-inch ThinkPad T400 is the latest Lenovo notebook based off of the Intel Montevina platform. This computer offers all new features such as hybrid graphics, LED backlit displays, and power-saving refinements that let the notebook get extraordinary battery life.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T400 proved to be an exceptional 14″ business notebook, giving almost unheard-of battery performance under modest running conditions. Nearly 10 hours of runtime with the extended battery easily puts this notebook into the all-day computing category. System performance with the Intel T9400 processor and ATI 3470 graphics was great, handling everything we threw at it, even some video games.
| Lenovo ThinkPad X200
The Lenovo ThinkPad X200 is a business-quality ultraportable notebook that can stand up to almost anything a road warrior can throw at it, and provide upwards of 10 hours of battery life for those late-night meetings. This lightweight notebook offers many options including extended batteries, cellular broadband, and best of all Intel Montivena performance. Just note that this model doesn’t offer an onboard optical drive, so an external drive through USB or docking station will probably be required. Prices start at $1,199.
More than $1,500
| HP EliteBook 2530p
If you’re a corporate road warrior or a student trying to fit as much computer as possible in the smallest space possible, the HP EliteBook 2530p might be the perfect notebook for you. This 12.1″ notebook won an Editor’s Choice Award in October and features the latest Intel low voltage processors and integrated graphics for extreme battery life, and plenty of ports and storage options inside an impressively durable shell.
Unlike the Lenovo ThinkPad X200, the EliteBook 2530p doesn’t sacrifice an optical drive, ports, or the touchpad in order to create a compact-yet-durable notebook. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a business-grade 12-inch notebook then the HP EliteBook 2530p belongs at the top of your list.
| HP EliteBook 8530w
The HP EliteBook 8530w is the latest 15.4″ workstation featuring the latest Intel processors and Nvidia Quadro FX 770M wrapped inside an impressively durable shell. The EliteBook 8530w and 8530p (non-workstation version) replace the 8510w and 8510p, respectively.
The HP EliteBook 8530w is easily one of the most impressive workstation-class 15.4″ notebooks we’ve seen. There are many reasons why professionals need to buy the HP EliteBook 8530w and very few reasons not to.
Keep in mind this list doesn’t represent every great notebook currently on the market. Our holiday buyer’s guide is designed to highlight a few laptops we believe appeal to a wide range of people.
Remember, to get advice on which notebook to buy don’t just go with what’s popular, visit our What Notebook Should I Buy forum to ask what everyone else thinks you should buy based on your needs.