The criteria for the best laptop for work-travel continues to be a moving target.
The current technological requirements for a high-performing work and travel laptop are noticeably different than they were only a handful of years ago.
The ways in which we work have changed drastically over the last few decades, but even faster in the past couple of years.
Methods of working and work culture have seen some major accelerations of trends, and some complete, surprising shifts as well. This has been thanks to the recent pandemic, quickly changing economic tides and the ever more rapid advancements in the abilities of our tech.
What we mean by ‘work travel’ is also far more diverse than what it once was. Perhaps a few years ago we pictured someone taking the train to different offices, or maybe international business travel, but now this concept can span a vast range of work setups and practices.
What Are The Different Types Of Work Travel?
The digital nomad was a term we heard increasingly in the noughties and twenty-tens. This lifestyle is characterised by remote freelancers who jet-set all over the world for adventure and travel while still being able to work from anywhere. The popularity of this workstyle rose alongside increased freelancing.
A rise in commuting, whether it be domestic travel or international also occurred during this time period. However, both these trends took a step back with the advent of the pandemic and were replaced by home working and hybrid working.
As the pandemic decreases in severity, the attraction of the digital nomad life is once again steadily returning, as is the ability to commute for work.
However, the popularity of home working and hybrid working also remains high. This has led to more work travel than ever before in many different forms:
- Digital nomads
- International work travel
- Long domestic commutes with extra work performed en route
- Home workers
- Hybrid workers
- Other remote workers
- Staff who must visit and present at client offices and sites
- Staff who work in the field but still require access to tech i.e., researchers, architects, or civil engineers
As we can see from the above outline, work travel now has a breadth of diversity that could require different types of portable hardware.
This can make the best laptop for work travel a more complex definition for companies to pin down.
When choosing the ideal computer equipment for your travelling staff, a business needs to consider several criteria.
What Criteria Should You Consider For Determining The Best Laptop For Work Travel?
The most important method for analysing which will be the best laptop for work and travelling for your team will be the context of how they are used.
Firstly, consider which type of work travel your employees will be doing from the above list. Perhaps you will even require various laptops if you have different workers and departments who fulfil numerous examples of the work and travel types above.
Secondly, you should consider your budget to decide which of the work and travel models is most achievable.
Another crucial criterion is your industry and for which department are you sourcing the laptops. It is a simple fact that certain industries require laptops with more power, while power efficiency might be the top priority for others. Some workers will need a light device with portability as the only chief concern if they are mainly answering emails and performing light admin.
A marketing and administrative worker will need less power than a programmer or video editor.
Much of the power requirements will depend on the software that your staff utilise.
The Best Laptop for Work Travel
Best For Power – MacBook Pro M1 and M2
The MacBook Pro is powerful, especially for a travel laptop.
With travel-suitable devices, it can often feel like there is a compromise, a compromise on power for greater portability. Often, even high-quality work travel laptops are on the borderline between being a consumer device rather than a true business model. In other words, they will do well for light business tasks like emails, conference calls and a bit of admin. Yet any industry requiring more heavy-duty tasks and power-hungry software will frequently find the travel laptops lacking. Those that are up to the task are cumbersome.
This is no longer the case, thanks to the MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Pro comes in a 13-inch model, a 14-inch and a 16-inch spec. Naturally, the 13-inch is the most compact and light for travelling at only 1.4kg. There are multiple storage options like the 512 or 256 GB SSD. The higher storage option can be beneficial if you don’t use the cloud for everything, as it is challenging to add storage to a Mac later.
The impressive 10 hours of battery life make the MacBook Pro so well suited to a travelling lifestyle, as you can whip it out and work anywhere all day long.
Small size, lightweight and extensive battery life are all cornerstones of a decent travel laptop, but what makes the MacBook Pro a powerful contender for the best laptop for work travel is the M1 chip.
Apple Silicon’s M1 chip has been revolutionary for the industry by delivering more power and never before seen speeds alongside incredible energy efficiency.
This chip is what makes the MacBook Pro so powerful and an elite business level laptop.
Of course, what’s most impressive is that there are MacBook Pro models with M1 chips, M1 Pro chips, or M1 Max chips. This allows you to choose the level of power you require. There’s also a choice of how many cores your GPU can have, plus the M2 chip versions will soon be released.
The MacBook Pro also features the Magic Keyboard, which is a wonderful addition. Everything about this device has been designed to make working harder and longer while on-the-go easier, regardless of your industry.
For workers who need to multitask and use serious software while travelling frequently, the MacBook Pro with an M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max or M2 chip could well be the very best laptop for work and travel.
Best For Battery Life – Dell Latitude 9520
Few work and travel combo laptops can currently hold a candle to the Dell Latitude 9520 in terms of battery life.
Battery life may not be the only important feature for a travel laptop, but it is hugely significant. When staff are working away from reliable electrical outlets, battery life is a key feature they care about.
If you’re working on a construction site, doing research on a mountain, are a digital nomad on a beach, or are commuting and are not sitting near an outlet, battery life is significant.
With 16-18 hours of battery life, the Dell Latitude 9520 isn’t messing around.
However, it isn’t an impressive battery alone that makes this such a great work and travel laptop. There are also some fantastic in-built security features that really help it stand out. It is also only 1.5kg, making it the smallest and lightest business laptop by Dell. With the 15-inch InfinityEdge screen, this device has been manufactured to conserve space, and reduce weight but still have a screen on which you can really see detail. A useful feature in highly visual industries.
There’s a choice of an 11th Gen i5 or i7 processor to give you a choice of power levels.
Best 2-in-1 Device – Microsoft Surface Pro 8
2-in-1 devices combine the advantages of a laptop and a tablet into one machine. They boast the portability, lightweight, and touchscreen of a tablet but with the power of a laptop and a comfortable keyboard. With the detachable keyboard, they can seamlessly morph into a tablet with one simple motion.
Understandably this gives them an edge in the work travel device world. Whether it’s in a residence for home working, in the office, or out in a jungle, these pieces of hardware are game changing for work and travel.
They are especially useful for jobs involving on-site work or quick client presentations. Ideal for researchers and civil engineers.
There is now quite a bit of choice when it comes to 2-in-1 devices, but the Microsoft Pro 8 really takes this to a professional, business model level. This is thanks to its power capabilities and versatility. This 2-in-1 is easily as powerful as any decent business grade Windows laptop.
It provides 13 hours of battery life for over a full day of working and has a much more comfortable keyboard than other 2-in-1 devices because it is close to a full size keyboard.
It’s only 2.6 pounds and there’s the optional addition of the Surface Pen 2 for graphic artists.
Another great addition to its portability and travel nature is that LTE 4G is supported, so you can really connect and work anywhere.
If your staff would find a 2-in-1 device that is as powerful as a business laptop to be the ultimate work and travel tool, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 could be the best laptop for work travel on the market.
Both the Microsoft Surface Go 3 and the MacBook Air are extremely small, light and portable.
These are some of the smallest business laptops you can find for maximum portability. If you’re travelling and commuting most of the time, this is going to save tremendous baggage space and weight. It amazingly weighs only 1.2lb.
The Microsoft Surface Go 3 is also a 2-in-1 device, which makes it flexible and versatile as well as small.
While the power and storage do take a bit of a hit as a compromise for its extreme portability, the Surface Go 3 is still business grade and actually has a larger and brighter screen than its predecessor.
With a 10.5-inch screen, it is surprisingly good on visuals and display, and the Core i3 certainly gives an extra boost.
This is an excellent Windows work-travel laptop better suited to lighter work tasks.
On the Mac side of the equation, we have the MacBook Air. This device has proved one of the most popular travel laptops time and again.
While it is ultra-light at 2.7 pounds, it is a bit heftier than the Surface Go. Yet, with an M1 chip, it packs more of a power punch than the Surface Go, making it manage better with somewhat more complex business tasks. It’s also very power efficient.
The really exciting thing is that an M2 chip MacBook Air should be gracing the market soon.
For heavier duty work, the MacBook Pro is the way to go, and this has been getting lighter and more portable. However, the MacBook Air is a nice halfway point between the Surface Go 3 and a MacBook Pro or Microsoft Surface Pro 8.
The MacBook Air is a good balance if you want to save money and not spring for the MacBook Pro if you don’t quite require that much power.
Best For Value – Lenovo ThinkPads X1 Carbon
Lenovo ThinkPads are powerful and versatile and great value for the high quality you will receive. All the ThinkPads have great power and battery life, which are beautifully balanced with a lightweight design.
The X1 Carbon from the ThinkPads range is easily one of the best work and travel laptops. All of the Lenovo ThinkPads are superb business devices and a great match for a work and travel lifestyle, but the X1 Carbon is the best mix of power, value and travel-suited.
The 15 hours of battery life is not quite meeting the Dell Latitude, but it is still considerable, and the chassis of the X1 is only 2.5 pounds.
Some really pleasing features of this reasonably priced travel laptop are the ports. Ports are often sacrificed on travel laptops to conserve space but on the X1 Carbon we have:
- 2 x Thunderbolt 4
- 2 x USB 3.2
- 2 x USB 4
- 1 x HDMI
- 2 x DisplayPort
- 1 x Audio
The fantastic high-def Dolby Atmos speakers and Quad Array mic + the HD IR camera, make this a phenomenal work and travel laptop for teleconferencing.
You can also easily stay connected with Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6. For great picture quality, the X1 Carbon has a 14″ IPS Anti-glare 6:10 display with a choice of HD or Ultra HD+
Best All-Rounder – Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 – 13″
For a high-performing all-round decent work/travel laptop, the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 is a good candidate.
Depending on your criteria, any device from our list could be the best laptop for work travel for your business. This Samsung is a good balance between many of the strong attributes that we have covered.
It is a good work and travel device because it is robust and durable to being buffeted about in transport. It is also a stylish 2-in-1 device but with a fully fold-backable 360-degree hinge. This allows it to convert simply from tablet to laptop and is easy for drawing and sketching on the touchscreen.
For a 2-in-1 it has impressive 512 GB SSD storage and an Intel Core i7 processor. The 13.3-inch AMOLED touch display provides some of the brightest and most accurate colours on the market.
With Wi-Fi 6E it also has access to superfast data speeds.
How To Lease The Best Laptop For Work Travel
If your business has an array of:
- Remote workers
- Home working staff
- Hybrid workers
- Long commute workers
- Multi-site workers
- Client visiting workers
- Staff who travel internationally
then investing in an arsenal of the best laptops for work/travel is going to be a must.
Bulk buying high quality business-grade travel laptops can be a financial hit for companies of any size.
On top of the normal budget concerns, there is also the added work of this hardware becoming lost or damaged in its life of regular rugged transport. Even the most durable of hardware has an increased likelihood of meeting these fates if it travels around regularly. There is, therefore, the added financial burden of replacements, repairs, and the extra worries of security risks.
This is why leasing the best laptops for work travel is a far superior strategy to buying them.
Businesses that lease their computer equipment gain the benefit of spreading that intimidating price tag into manageable monthly payments. In addition to easing the burden of that large looming bulk expenditure, leasing also improves cash flow.
Without a huge outgoing amount leaving your accounts all at once, you’re in a better position to financially plan for your business and you can invest in more profit-driven campaigns even in the month that you start leasing.
Leasing is especially advantageous if your business is sourcing portable work + travel devices, thanks to all the added support.
With a lease, your supplier will often provide extra services, including:
- Ongoing tech support
- Device configuration for each staff member’s needs and work profiles, apps, and accounts
- Remote deployment to your travelling staff at their homes
- Strategic advice about devices
- Management assistance, such as helping you set up an MDM to monitor how the new devices are used and wipe devices if they are lost or stolen
- Adding extra cyber security software
- Upgrades, replacements, and swaps of your chosen tech
Leasing work travel laptops is very straightforward with Hardsoft. We can guide you through the setup of your new lease.
Just as there is a laptop to suit every scenario, there are also leases to match every kind of business and budget.
Different Types of Leases For Your Work Travel Business Laptops
Businesses have differing company sizes, budgets, and levels of support required. That is why Hardsoft has various lease structures on offer.
Devices For Teams – A DaaS (Device as a Service) style lease:
- Monthly digestible payments
- Ongoing dedicated tech support
- Tactical advice for your device strategy
- Automatic upgrades
- Swap or return devices without penalty
- Scale the device number up and down as needed
- 2 different levels of service for various budgets
- A choice of tech support levels
- Optional add-ons for more cyber security
- Maintenance and management assistance
- Full warranties
- A full support wrapper
- CHANGE the lease after two years
- Or CONTINUE the lease after two years
- Or CANCEL your lease after two years
- Full warranties
- Work towards ownership with manageable monthly payments
- Highly affordable with up to 25% off hardware
- Rather than work towards ownership, you rent the devices
- Simple, straightforward
- Full warranties
- Dedicated support wrapper
- Ideal for small businesses and new launches looking to access the best tech at the most affordable prices possible
With Hardsoft, businesses can also receive:
- An evaluation to advise on the most suitable devices
- 72 hours free trial of hardware
- Full device life-cycle management, including removal and green recycling and repurposing
- MDM and device management assistance
Carissa Parnell has been with HardSoft for over 10 years, she is a content writer and helps us with blogging. She is highly experienced in copywriting for SEO strategies, web copy, email marketing and article writing.
Carissa’s interests include Gaming, Sci-fi, fantasy and fashion.
LinkedIn: Carissa Parnell