The best business laptops you can buy right now

The best business laptops you can buy right now

With the breadth of modern laptops you can find on the market today, there’s something for just every type of use case. Business laptops are naturally popular because at the end of the day, laptops are productivity machines. There are a lot of options when it comes to business laptops, and to help you find the right one, we’ve rounded up the best options you can find today.

But what makes a good business laptop? They’re usually known for their exceptionally comfortable keyboards, classic designs, durability, and security features such as those built into Intel vPro and AMD Ryzen PRO processors. They also tend to be easy to repair – and most importantly, service – and offer various connectivity options, often including cellular network support so you can work from anywhere. Those are the reasons you’d usually buy a business laptop for, and the options below check most or all of these boxes. If this all sounds like more than you need, check out our list of the best laptops overall to see some more interesting options.

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Best overall: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Front view of Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Lenovo’s ThinkPad lineup is one of the most iconic lines of business laptops ever, and the X1 Carbon is the longest-running series within that brand. Lenovo has had time to perfect the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and the latest generation is naturally the best one yet.

Starting with performance, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 comes with Intel’s 11th-generation Core processors and you can go up to a Core i7-1185G7. This is a quad-core CPU that can boost up to 4.8GHz, but and it also supports Intel vPro technologies for added security. You can also get an Intel Core i5 with vPro support, or get a standard version of the processors instead. You can also configure it with up to 32GB of RAM, which might come in handy for working with large databases and multitasking. For storage, you get up to a 1TB SSD, enough for plenty of documents.

The 14-inch display is another highlight for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9, as Lenovo finally upgraded to a 16:10 aspect ratio. This taller display is great for productivity as it gives you more surface area compared to a typical 16:9 display. It can fit more lines of text or rows in Excel, so you don’t have to scroll as much to find information you may need. At the base level, you get a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) display, but from there, there are multiple upgrades, such as adding touch support or a privacy guard to keep your information private while working in public. You can also upgrade to an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) panel with HDR support if that’s more suited to your needs.

Unfortunately, the camera on ThinkPad X1 Carbon is only 720p, which is a bit of a letdown in the age of remote working. You do get the option to add facial recognition for Windows Hello, and if you do, you also get the option to get human presence detection, so the laptop can automatically lock when you move away from it and wake up when you come back. Of course, you also get a privacy shutter for the webcam if you’re worried about being spied on. There’s a fingerprint reader, too, if you prefer logging in that way.

Design-wise, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon truly carries the lineage of the ThinkPad family, and it looks as classic and iconic as you may remember. It uses an all-black design with red accents on the ThinkPad logo and the pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard. And yes, you do get a pointing stick as well as mouse buttons below the keyboard if you prefer working that way. It’s fairly light, too, weighing just 2.5lbs, and it’s less than 15mm thick, so it will easily fit in any bag and it won’t strain you too much after carrying it around for a while.

Despite being thin and light, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a great supply of ports. You get two Thunderbolt 4 connections, which is useful for multi-monitor setups and docking, and you also get two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and an optional nano SIM slot. That does mean you can add cellular network support, and you can choose between an LTE modem with Cat 9 speeds or get a Snapdragon X55 5G modem if you want to be ready for the new network as it becomes more widely available.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has almost everything you could want in a business laptop, from the security features to the professional design. Just like its predecessors, it’s one of the best business laptops you can buy. You can also check out our review of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 to learn more about it.

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an iconic business laptop with great features and a classic design.

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Best premium laptop: HP Elite Dragonfly Max

Angled view of HP Elite Dragonfly Max

HP is another strong competitor when it comes to business laptops and the Elite Dragonfly family is fantastic if you want a premium device. We’ve reviewed the HP Elite Dragonfly Max, and it’s certainly one of the best premium business laptops you can buy today.

For performance, you can get the Elite Dragonfly G2 with Intel’s 11th-generation Core processors, specifically Core i7 models. You can choose between  standard Core i7-1165G7 or upgrade to a vPro model, the Core i5-1185G7, which gives you slightly higher performance and additional security features. You can pair that with either 16GB or 32GB of RAM, meaning you’ll always get great multitasking performance regardless of your choice. Plus, you can add up to 2TB of SSD storage for your files, and that will probably last you a long time.

The display on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max is a 13.3-inch panel, and it comes with a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is potentially its most disappointing aspect. Taller displays are great for productivity, and it would have been nice to see here, albeit 16:9 displays are still the most common. There’s only one configuration, too, which is a Full HD panel with HP Sure View, the company’s privacy guard that blocks people around you from seeing your screen.

Above that display, however, is some fantastic news. The webcam on the HP Elite Dragonfly uses a 5MP webcam, something we truly don’t see enough of considering the times we live in. This high-resolution camera will help you look your best in virtual meetings, and it can even capture video at 1440p, something even Microsoft doesn’t offer with its Surface devices (on the front-facing camera, that is). If you’re working from home, this is a fantastic choice. Of course, you also get Windows Hello facial recognition with an IR camera.

The design of the Elite Dragonfly Max is as business-like as you can get. It’s an all-black laptop, but it has just a faint sparkling effect to it when you look closely, so it’s beautiful without sticking out too much. It looks clean and sophisticated, and that’s usually good in a business laptop. If you want a splash of color, the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 comes in blue, and it looks fantastic, too. It’s also fairly thin and light, measuring 16mm and weighing 2.5lbs, which is great for a convertible.

The Elite Dragonfly Max doesn’t have a ton of ports, but it covers all the basics. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, which you can use for docking and connect anything else you might want, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, and a 3,5mm headphone jack. Of course, being a business laptop, it also has optional support for cellular networks, and so you can also get it with a SIM card slot. This is a good feature to have since you can work with online resources from almost anywhere without depending on public Wi-Fi.

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is a fantastic business convertible, with great performance, a classy look, and a webcam that’s more welcome than ever in the age of remote and hybrid work.

    HP Elite Dragonfly Max
    The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is a prmeium business convertible with a classy design and high-end specs.

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Best ultralight business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

Hand holding up ThinkPad X1 Nano

Lenovo strikes again in the world of fantastic business laptops, and the ThinkPad X1 Nano lives up to its name. It’s one of the lightest business laptops you can buy, and if portability is important to you, this is likely your best choice.

Because of its ultra-light design, the ThinkPad X1 Nano uses Intel’s low-power processors up to an Intel Core i7-1180G7 with vPro technology. These processors, which have a 0 instead of a 5 in their designation, have lower power usage than the typical 15W processors in other laptops, and thus the performance might not be quite as good. However, these low power processors have gotten a lot better in recent iterations, so you’re still going to get pretty great performance. You can also get the ThinkPad X1 Nano with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, which is a solid combination.

The display on the ThinkPad X1 Nano is a 13-inch panel, and it comes in a 16:10 aspect ratio which gives you more room for text and other content. It also comes in an unusual 2K resolution, or 2160 x 1350, which is more than sharp enough for a display of this size. There are no configuration options beyond adding touch support, but to be fair, you’re getting a great experience by default already.

Above the display, as usual, there’s a webcam, and it’s a 720p camera, which isn’t ideal, though it might easier to swallow considering how light this laptop is. It does still have Windows Hello facial recognition, and you can add support for human presence detection, but that’s optional.

As we’ve mentioned a few times already, the ThinkPad X1 Nano is an extremely light laptop, and it starts at just 907 grams, or under 1.99lbs in weight, making it extremely easy to carry around. Some configurations will add to the weight, but even if you add touch support and cellular network support, it weighs just 2.21lbs. It’s also very thin, between 13.87mm and 16.7mm on non-touch models. As for how it looks, it’s the iconic ThinkPad design in black with red accents, and even extras like the pointing stick made it in.

The port selection is a bit limited, as you only get two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headphone jack by default. You can still upgrade the ThinkPad X1 Nano to have cellular connectivity, which adds a nano SIM card slot, but that’s it. This is a laptop where a Thunderbolt dock or a USB-C hub may end up being essential, depending on your needs.

There are some compromises to be made here, but if you want to get something this light, that’s to be expected. The ThinkPad X1 Nano is an exceptionally portable business laptop that’s still very capable, and if you need that mobility, it’s one of the best choices. You can learn more about it in our review. As tends to be the case, many of the configurations are only available straight from Lenovo.

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is one of the lightest business laptops you can buy, but it's still decently powerful.

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Best mainstream business laptop: Dell Latitude 7420

Dell Latitude 7420 on orange background

Dell also makes some fantastic business laptops, and the Latitude 7420 is a great choice if you want a capable laptop without a ton of bells and whistles. It still covers all the needs you might have, but it’s not as business-like as some other laptops on this list.

Performance-wise, the Dell Latitude 7420 is about the same as most other business laptops, as it comes with Intel’s latest Core processors, with options for a Core i5 or a Core i7. You can also choose between standard versions of the processors or the vPro variants, with slightly higher performance and extra security. Similarly, you can configure it with up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, so you can get great multi-tasking performance and plenty of space for your files.

The display is a 14-inch panel, and it comes in a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is part of what makes this a more mainstream laptop. It would have been nice to see a taller screen, but this is to be expected. The base configuration is a Full HD panel with 250 nits of brightness, but there are multiple upgrade options such as increased brightness, better viewing angles, touch support, and even an option for a 4K display. You can also buy the Latitude 7420 as a convertible if you prefer.

Above the display, there’s the webcam, and thankfully, Dell gives you the option to choose what you want. The base configuration is just 720p, and that’s not fantastic, but if you don’t use the webcam a lot or you already have an external one, you can save money by going that route. However, you can upgrade to a 1080p webcam, and choose whether you want support for Windows Hello facial recognition, too. It’s good to have options, and that’s not something we usually see with webcams.

The Dell Latitude 7420 also gives you options when it comes to the design. You can choose between a black carbon fiber design – which uses a woven pattern on the lid – or opt for an aluminum chassis that comes in a silver color. Both of these are subdued enough to fit in an office environment, but the aluminum is a bit more “standard” and it won’t stick out at all. The carbon fiber model starts at 2.7lbs and measures 17.2mm in thickness, while the aluminum variant weighs 2.82lbs and is 16.9mm thick. That’s for the base model, of course, and the 2-in-1 version is heavier, albeit slightly thinner.

That slightly larger design makes way for a healthy supply of ports. By default, you get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. However, you can add some optional ports including a SIM card slot for LTE connectivity and a Smart Card reader, which can be contacted or contactless. There’s also optional NFC support, so you have a lot of extra connectivity options.

Overall, the Dell Latitude 7420 nails the basics of a business laptop with a bunch of configurations and optional upgrades. All of those configurations are available on Dell’s website, but you can also buy the laptop below.

    Dell Latitude 7420
    The Dell Latitude 7420 is a great mainstream business laptop with solid performance and plenty of upgrade options.

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Best business convertible: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga in convertible mode

Lenovo’s ThinkPad lineup is back, and this time, we have the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, a brand-new convertible the company introduced this year. This is an excellent convertible that combines iconic elements of ThinkPad laptops with a modern form factor that’s thin and light.

The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is a bit different from other laptops on this list in terms of performance. It comes with 11th-generation Intel Core processors, but instead of th typical 15W processors, it uses Intel’s ultra-low-power designs. That means you can configure this laptop with up to an Intel Core i7-1180G7, which has a lower TDP than the 15W equivalent. It will be slower during extended workloads, but it does still have Iris Xe graphics and solid performance overall. Intel’s low-power CPUs have improved a lot over previous generations, so it won’t be that far off from a standard laptop. You can also get up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, which is going to get you great multi-tasking performance.

The display on the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is another highlight, and the best part is that it’s great across the board. This is a 13.5-inch IPS panel, and it comes in a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is even taller than 16:10. Taller displays give you more surface area to work with, and thus, they’re better for productivity. To make things even better, it comes in a “Quad HD” resolution, or 2256 x 1504. It’s not Quad HD in the typical sense, but it’s still a very sharp display, and since it’s standard, you’ll always have a great visual experience regardless of the configuration you choose.

Above the display is the webcam, which is just 720p, but that’s easier to forgive with this extremely thin design. You still get Windows Hello facial recognition and a privacy shutter, so the business essentials are here. You can also add human presence detection so the laptop can detect you and lock when you move away.

The design is one of the most iconic elements of the ThinkPad lineup and the X1 Titanium Yoga honors it while modernizing it in great ways. For one thing, it uses unique materials, using a combination of titanium and carbon fiber for the lid, and the rest of the shell uses aluminum and magnesium. Because of that, even though it’s a silver laptop, it still looks unique compared to other laptops. Plus, you get the typical red accents of the ThinkPad brand, including the pointing stick on the keyboard, a legacy feature that still lives on in this modern design.

That modern design is incredibly thin – just 11.5mm – and at 2.54lbs, it’s fairly light for a convertible, too. That extreme thinness does make for a limited selection of ports, with two Thunderbolt ports and a headphone jack. Since you have Thunderbolt, you can still connect just about anything you might want, as long as you have a Thunderbolt dock.

If you want an extremely portable business convertible that looks great and still features classic ThinkPad design elements, the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is exactly that. It’s an easy recommendation, though you’ll have to look at Lenovo’s website for all the configurations.

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga
    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is an ultra-thin convertible with iconic ThinkPad elemens in a modern design.

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Best detachable laptop for business: Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable

Angled view of Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable

Versatility can mean many things, and while convertible laptops are a great way to go from laptop to tablet, being able to remove the keyboard entirely is a good option to have. The Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable is a great business tablet you can also use as a laptop.

Like some of the other ultra-portable laptops we’ve looked at on this list, the Latitude 7320 Detachable comes with Intel’s low-power 11th-generation Core processors up to an Intel Core i7-1180G7. This makes sense for a tablet, and as we’ve mentioned, performance isn’t too far off from the traditional 15W processors since Intel has made big improvements to its low-power CPUs. It also comes with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, so it’s all in line with other laptops on this list.

The display is a 13-inch panel, and similar to the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, it comes in a 3:2 aspect ratio. There’s only one configuration available, and it has Full HD+ (1920 x 1280) resolution, which is solid for a display of this size. It is unfortunate you can’t upgrade, though, because most laptops on this list are at least a little sharper. Naturally, the display supports touch, and it’s protected by Gorilla Glass 6, so it should survive some bumps.

As you might expect for a tablet, the webcam is better than most typical laptops, The front-facing webcam is 1080p and it support Windows Hello facial recognition, so there isn’t a lot more you could ask for. You also get a second 1080p camera on the back in case you need to record something in front of you. This all makes sense for a tablet, and thankfully, it’s here.

Being that it’s a tablet, the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable is the lightest device on this list, measuring just 8.44mm. Of course, that’s assuming you don’t add a keyboard, which adds an extra 5mm to the overall thickness. The tablet also weighs just 1.7lbs, or 789 grams, and the keyboard adds 0.76lbs. Even as a whole, it’s a very thin and light setup, but of course, not as light as the tablet by itself.

Naturally, that thin design also means limited ports, but that’s to be expected with a tablet. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack, an optional micro-SIM card slot, and a lock slot to secure the tablet at an office or something so it’s not easy to steal. This is in line with other ultraportable devices on this list, so it makes perfect sense. You can also add things like a fingerprint reader, a Smart Card reader, and NFC support.

Despite being a tablet, the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable packs most of the features you’d expect in a business laptop, while giving you a different kind of versatility. It can get a bit pricy since the keyboard is sold separately, but it might be worth it if this is what you need. We’ve also reviewed the Latitude 7320 Detachable if you want to learn more about it.

    Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable
    The Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable is a business tablet with all the features you'd want in a business laptop while being extra portable.

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Best workstation: HP ZBook Fury 17 G8

HP ZBook Fury 17 G7 on purple background

Not all businesses are the same, so not all business laptops need the same level of power. Workstations aren’t meant for everyone, but if you need power for just about any task you’ll ever do, they’re probably for you. And the HP ZBook Fury 17 will handle just about anything you throw at it, no problem.

Workstations are all about performance, and it shows in the ZBook Fury 17. It comes with Intel’s latest processors, but in this case, they have a 45W TDP. You can go up to an Intel Core i9-11950H or an Intel Xeon W-11955M, both of which are 8-core, 16-thread processors that can boost up to 5GHz. Both also support vPro technology for additional security, so they’re very much designed for business. You can also add professional NVIDIA graphics up to an RTX A5000 with 16GB of memory for tasks like 3D rendering or machine learning.

Additionally, you can get an exorbitant amount of RAM – up to 128GB – and up to 8TB of storage via four M.2 SSD slots, with an additional SATA slot available for expansion after the fact. These are incredibly high-end and expensive configurations, but if you need this kind of power, you can get it. The laptop is also designed to be easily serviceable, using a single screw to remove the bottom cover for easy access to the internals. You can always start with a lower configuration and upgrade later on as it makes sense for you.

The display is a 17.3-inch panel in the 16:9 aspect ratio, and while it would be nice to see a taller screen, the kind of work you’re doing on a workstation might not benefit that much from a taller display. What’s potentially more disappointing is the base configuration coming in at Full HD resolution, but thankfully you have the option to upgrade to a 4K panel with 550 nits of brightness.

Another potential disappointment is the webcam, which is only 720p. You get the option to add Windows Hello support, but that’s about it, and it’s surprising that a laptop this big can’t give you the option for 1080p.

Of course, a laptop with this kind of power and upgradeability couldn’t be small. The HP ZBook Fury 17 is both thick and heavy, measuring 26.92mm in depth and with a starting weight of 6.09lbs, which is only going to increase with higher configurations. It still looks sleek and professional, though, so it fits perfectly in an office environment. You just don’t want to carry it anywhere else.

That large size also makes space for a lot of ports, though. On the left side, you get three USB Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet,  a headphone jack, and a Smart Card reader, while the right side has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, and a full-size SD card reader. Simply put, there’s not much more you could want here.

As we said before, workstations aren’t for everyone, but the HP ZBook Fury 17 is an incredibly powerful machine, and if your business has workloads that demand it, it’s one of the best choices you can find.

    HP ZBook Fury 17 G8
    The HP ZBook Fury 17 is an extremely powerful workstation with a classy design.

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Best rugged laptop for business: Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 55

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 55

As we said above, every business and is different, and if your business needs a laptop you can toss around like it’s nothing, the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK line is what you want. The latest laptop in this family, the TOUGHBOOK 55 is a modern laptop on the inside, but it’s designed to take a beating.

Performance-wise, the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 55 comes with Intel’s latest Core processors, either a Core i5-1145G7 or a Core i7-1185G7, so across the board, you’re getting solid performance and vPro support for extra security. You can also get it with up to 64GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage, meaning multi-tasking won’t be an issue, and you have plenty of space for your files. The laptop also comes with up to two batteries, and you can hot-swap them if you have two batteries inserted. At full charge, the two batteries also promise up to 38 hours of battery life.

But of course, the focus of the TOUGHBOOK 55 isn’t performance, even though it’s modern enough to handle most workloads. It’s all about the rugged design and expandability. The Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 55 meets the requirements for a MIL-STD-810H durability rating, and it also has an IP53 rating for water and dust resistance.  The laptop also has a modular design, so you can swap out things like ports, a Smart Card reader, a fingerprint sensor, and more on the fly. These components are sold as modules and you can exchange them as needed. IT departments in a company can also lock the modules if they don’t want end users to swap them out.

The ports included by default include two Thunderbolt 4 connections, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a microSD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, and dual SIM slots. The modules can add VGA output, another Gigabit Ethernet port, another USB Type-A port, and more. All in all, the default configuration is already solid, and the expansion possibilities make it possible to cover most needs you might have.

The TOUGHBOOK 55 is made to be used in harsh environments, and the display reflects that, too. You can get it with up to 1000 nits of brightness so it’s easily visible under harsh sunlight. And if you get a touch-enabled version, it’s designed to work with gloves, too, so you don’t have to expose yourself to potentially dangerous elements. The resolution maxes out at Full HD, and the base configuration is just 1366 x 768, which isn’t great, so you’ll probably want to take that upgrade. Perhaps surprisingly, the webcam is actually 1080p and it even has a tetra array microphone to make calls clearer in noisy environments.

Much like workstations, the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 55 isn’t for everyone, but it’s fantastic for what it’s meant to do. It’s a business laptop that will withstand harsh conditions, so you can use it on the field and still get solid performance with modern security features.

    Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 55
    The Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 55 is an extremely durable laptop meant for field workers in harsh environments, offering modern performance, security, and manageability features.

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And those are what we think are the best laptops you can buy for business today. These are all fantastic products for different kinds of users, and the last two especially are very focused devices. We chose the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 as the best overall laptop because it comes packing an iconic design that’s thin and light, traditional ThinkPad elements, a taller screen, and great performance overall. Personally speaking, my favorite laptop on this list would probably be the HP Elite Dragonfly Max, simply because it’s a convertible and it looks great. But there’s something here for all kinds of business users.

You may have noticed that all of these laptops have cellular support in some capacity, but that feature isn’t exclusive to business laptops. If you want to explore other options, we have list of the best 4G laptops, as well as the best ones with 5G so you can take a closer look.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.