5 best laptop brands of 2018

Our computer experts help you find a work laptop that won’t let you down

Before you start worrying about the specs you need, make sure you’re getting one of the most reliable laptop brands.

We’ve compared the world’s leading laptop manufacturers, checked all their reliability ratings, conducted our own customer reviews, and asked our computer experts – all to track down the five best laptop brands for business use.

No one wants their laptop to fail. It’s expensive and you don’t have time for it. Plus you can’t put a price on losing your all-important business files and device shortcuts.

That’s why it’s so important to buy from a laptop supplier that’s one of the least likely to let you down. In this article, we’ll help you find the best laptop brand for your business – and answer everything you need to know when choosing your next work computer.

So which laptop will be best for your small business? How much do you need to spend to get a solid business laptop that will make your work a breeze and last the years? Are Macbooks really worth the money? And does HP or Lenovo make better convertible laptops?

This article is designed to help you choose the best laptop brand for your business or start-up, so all you’ll need to think about is what laptop specifications you’re after.

Here is our list of the five best laptop brands in 2018 for reliability rating and customer score:

Laptop Brand Design Tech Support Value for Money Average price View online
microsoft ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★ £705 microsoft.com/laptops
apple ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ £1,249 apple.com/mac
dell ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★ £595 dell.com/laptops
hp ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ £550 hp.com/UKStore
lenovo ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ £605 lenovo.com/laptops


How did we find the 5 top business laptops?

Some small business owners like their high end laptop brands – while others are really on the hunt for a bargain work computer.

Wherever you fall on the price tag scale, you want a quality, reliable laptop. We’ve tested the UK’s top 10 laptop manufacturers and whittled it down to the five best business laptops for high performance.

Here is the criteria laptop users told us they most valued when making their choice:

Design and innovation

Design is more than skin deep. The best laptops for business use are a joy to use, have a robust operating system, solid state drive, long battery life and great design.

Then there are the laptop brands who go one step further and innovate laptop design with nice touches like a fingerprint scanner, backlit keyboard or touch bar. To impress our critics, the computer manufacturers needed to deliver a range of laptops with style but above all substance.

Tech support

When you invest in a work laptop, you need to know the manufacturer is going to provide decent support if anything goes wrong down the line.

To award this mark, we compared the standard warranty coverage of each laptop brand and gathered honest customer experiences from existing users to understand what it’s really like to use this brand.

Value for money

It’s not enough just to create great business laptops – computer manufacturers need to offer good bang for your buck for us to recommend them to our business savvy readers. We look for laptop brands that offer a good range of laptops at different (and always reasonable) price tags.


In this article we cover:

  1. Microsoft laptops – For high performance and design on the go
  2. Apple Macs – For market-leading style and substance
  3. Dell laptops – For experts in office computers
  4. HP laptops – For quality, cheap laptops for business use
  5. Lenovo laptops – For affordable quality

microsoft

Microsoft laptops – For high performance and design on the go

Design ★★★★★

Tech support ★★★★★

Value for money ★★★★

Microsoft’s new Surface models are some of the world’s most popular laptops – they’ve got all the bells and whistles and are extra-versatile for working on the go.

With Windows the world’s most popular operating system, Microsoft clearly know their computers. And their premium Microsoft Surface Book was one of the first big rivals to the MacBook Pro – with a price tag to match.

The latest Microsoft laptops with bring you Windows 10 and some great perks like Cortana, Windows Hello and Windows Ink. Windows 10 and Windows 8 are also some of the safest operating systems around and will even help protect you from viruses and data breaches online.

Microsoft’s most popular range of laptops are the Surface models. They are ideal at helping small business owners work more productively ultra-fast processors and full range of Office programmes.

At the lower end is the Surface Pro (now just £699) which is ultra-light and versatile (it doubles as a tablet). Then there’s the Surface Book 2 (closer to £1,000) for an even more powerhouse performance and 17 hours’ battery life.


Best Microsoft laptops for small businesses

Microsoft Surface Book

microsoft_surface book PROS – Powerful processor, slick design, Surface Pen is a nice touch
CONS – Battery life could be longer for tablet mode

Usual price: £899

CPU Intel Core i5-7300U (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 256GB (internal space)
Weight 1.52 kg (kilograms)
Size 13.5″ (width in inches)


Microsoft Surface Pro

microsoft surface_pro PROS – Excellent battery life, user-friendly keyboard, stunning display, user friendly
CONS – Hard to spot any, the hinge could feel more stable

Usual price: £749

CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-7660U (processor)
RAM 16GB (memory)
Storage 512GB SSD (internal space)
Weight 0.78 kg (kilograms)
Size 11.5″ (width in inches)


apple

Apple Macs – For market-leading style and substance

Design ★★★★★

Tech support ★★★★★

Value for money ★★★★★

Apple laptops are expensive, but the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are still some of the most reliable laptops ever made – and great for creative start-ups.

Apple MacBooks are especially great for media freelancers. If you edit videos, you’ll enjoy using Final Cut and for music makers Garageband is a stellar programme.

But Macs also have one of the best reputations for reliability and user experience. The MacBook Air range are extra light and portable, so ideal if you travel lots with work.

The 13-inch model is their cheapest MacBook Air and with a fast core i5 processor and 128GB of storage, it has top specs for business use.

But if your budget stretches, the MacBook Pro is hard to beat. The latest models come with some jazzy touches like the Touch Bar and a mini touchscreen designed to make managing your computer tasks even easier.

Plus, Macs are a good choice if you’re keen to keep your laptop safe from viruses – and small business owners like having the virtual assistant Siri now on their MacBooks.


Best MacBooks for small businesses

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

macbook_pro PROS – Powerful processor, stunning screen, user-friendly design, intuitive Touch Bar
CONS – Jaw-dropping price, poor audio

Usual price: £1,750

CPU Intel Core i5 (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 256GB (internal space)
Weight 1.37 kg (kilograms)
Size 13″ (width in inches)

Interested? You can find the MacBook Pro online here.


MacBook Air

macbook air PROS – High-speed processor, great build, polished finish, one of the most affordable MacBooks
CONS – Audio could be better

Usual price: £900

CPU Intel Core i5 (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 128GB (internal space)
Weight 1.37 kg (kilograms)
Size 13″ (width in inches)



Dell laptops – For experts in office computers

Design ★★★★
Tech support ★★★★★

Value for money ★★★★

Dell is a laptop brand that specialises in work computers – and with their new everyday Inspiron range and premium XPS models they have the ideal laptops for small business owners and freelancers.

The Dell XPS and Dell Inspiron laptops are the go-tos for start-ups and small businesses. In Dell’s words, their flagship XPS laptops are designed to be the best – and it’s clear from the specs they’ve pulled out all the stops with this range.

There are different sizes and specs available in the XPS models, but the XPS 13 is their best rated laptop and is worth considering if you like the look of Apple’s MacBook Pro and the Microsoft Surface Book.

Dell’s Inspiron laptops were made for people who work from home or are often on the go. They are a budget version of the XPS option and they offer a range of specifications to suit most needs.

Dell have also brought out some 2-in-1 laptops like the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 which are convertible (so double as a tablet).


Best Dell laptops for small businesses

Dell XPS 13

dell xps 13 PROS – Super-fast i5 processor, top-quality screen, solid build, premium feel
CONS – Sound quality could be improved

Usual price: £1,200

CPU Intel Core i5-7300U (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 256GB (internal space)
Weight 1.24 kg (kilograms)
Size 13.2″ (width in inches)


Dell Inspiron 15 5000

dell inspiron PROS – Latest Intel i5 processor, exceptional graphics card
CONS – Only average audio, heavier than some (but larger screen)

Usual price: £729

CPU Intel Core i5-8250U (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 256GB (internal space)
Weight 1.86 kg (kilograms)
Size 15.6″ (width in inches)


hp

HP laptops – For quality, cheap laptops for business use

Design ★★★★
Tech support ★★★★
Value for money ★★★★★

HP are one of the biggest laptop manufacturers around – and you’ll find anything from your cheap and cheerfuls to high spec ultrabooks.

HP Spectre and EliteBook laptops are the some of the best quality of all HP’s models.They’re not always cheap, but they are sleek and speedy.

With their superfast processors and skinny bodies, the HP Spectre range are ideal for professional use. Customers especially like their backlit keyboards and high resolution displays.

And for those who like to travel, the HP Spectre X360 screen fully rotates to turn into a tablet.

But the HP Elitebook and Envy laptops are specifically aimed at business users and tend to be a touch more affordable than the Spectre models.


Best HP laptops for small businesses

HP Spectre X360

hp spectre PROS – Nice large screen, super-fast processor, slick design, all-day battery, vast storage
CONS – Expensive, touchpad could be more responsive

Usual price: £1,500

CPU Intel i7-7500U (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 512GB (internal space)
Weight 2.00 kg (kilograms)
Size 15.6″ (width in inches)


HP Envy 13

hp envy PROS – Top of the range full HD screen, light and portable, easy to use keypad
CONS – Expensive, touchpad could be more responsive at times

Usual price: £799

CPU Intel Core i5-8250U (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 128GB (internal space)
Weight 1.25 kg (kilograms)
Size 13.2″ (width in inches)



Lenovo laptops – For affordable quality

Design ★★★★
Tech support ★★★★★

Value for money ★★★★★

Lenovo is a bit of a dark horse when it comes to work laptops – they might not be as big as Apple or Dell, but they’ve got some industry-leading laptop designs and as a lesser known laptop brand, they score top marks for value for money.

Lenovo have a wide range of models to suit most budgets and styles of working. The Lenovo ThinkPad is a stunning model, but the Ideapads are a more affordable option and perfect for business use. The convertible Yoga models are great if you work on the go and want your laptop to double as a tablet.

Lenovo ThinkPads are a premium business laptop around the £1,000 price mark. They have some of the brand’s fastest processors and are light and comfortable to take on commutes.

Many small business owners enjoy features like the TrackPoint (a joystick-style “mouse” within they keyboard) and a nifty scroller to make getting through lengthy articles easier.


Best Lenovo laptops for small businesses

Lenovo Ideapad 720

ideapad 720s PROS – Super-speedy boot up, powerful processor for spreadsheets and media programmes
CONS – Sound quality is good for work but could be better for entertainment

Usual price: £850

CPU Intel i5-7200U (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 256GB (internal space)
Weight 1.49 kg (kilograms)
Size 14″ (width in inches)


Lenovo Yoga 920

lenovo laptop yoga 920 PROS – Battery lasts all day, looks great, feels amazing, dazzling screen
CONS – Expensive, sound quality could be even better

Usual price: £1,199

CPU Intel Core i5-8250U (processor)
RAM 8GB (memory)
Storage 256GB (internal space)
Weight 1.35 kg (kilograms)
Size 14″ (width in inches)

Keen to check out the Microsoft Surface Book? Just head to Lenovo’s website here.


IN A NUTSHELL

Choosing a reliable and high performance work laptop will help you work more productively and save you time and money in the long run.

For the crème de la crème of premium laptops, Apple no longer hold the crown – with Microsoft and Dell offering great alternatives and hard-to-beat specs.

And for the more price conscious among us, HP and Lenovo are well worth considering if you like quality but also great value for money.


WHERE NEXT?

To explore the laptop ranges from any of our five best laptop brands for work, you can tap any of the links below:

Laptop Brand Design Tech Support Value for Money Average price View online
microsoft ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★ £705 microsoft.com/laptops
apple ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ £1,249 apple.com/mac
dell ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★ £595 dell.com/laptops
hp ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ £550 hp.com/UKStore
lenovo ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ £605 lenovo.com/laptops

Were you paid to write this?

Startups is proud to provide free buyers’ guides to help our readers make the best decisions when investing in tech to grow their small businesses and start-ups. Our reviews are 100% unbiased and no company can pay to get their rating bumped up.

To keep our pages free, we sometimes receive commission if any of our readers sign up using one of our links, but any potential business relationship happens far away from our researchers and writers and never has any influence on our content.

We hope you found this page useful and good luck finding a laptop that works for you.