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Top portable picks for the office

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Top portable picks for the office

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It’s often said that a worker is only as good as their tools, so any office-based worker will need to make sure they have one of the best business laptop options to ensure they’re maximising their potential.

With so many laptops available these days, picking out the best business laptop possible is no easy task, so we’ve decided to help out. Our team of experienced experts review multiple laptops throughout the year, and we’ve picked out the top scoring portables for this very best list.

When reviewing a laptop, we make sure to conduct as many tests as possible, including industry-standard benchmarks to evaluate performance, screen tests to make sure the display is up to snuff, and battery drains to check the stamina between charges. Only the laptops that perform well in these tests, and represent good value for money, are considered for this list.

Everyone has different tastes, so we’ve made sure to include a variety of options, including those based on Windows, macOS or even ChromeOS. There’s also a wide variety of prices to make sure everyone is catered to.

If you can’t find a business laptop you like at the moment, we’d recommend bookmarking this list as we’ll be updating it frequently as more of them pass through the Trusted Labs. It’s also worth checking out our Best LaptopBest UltrabookBest Student Laptop and Best Budget Laptop pages for a more general look.

Best business laptop at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test laptops

Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life. 

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps. 

We also make sure to use every laptop we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022)

Best overall business laptop

Pros

  • Fantastic performance
  • Sleek, updated design
  • Excellent keyboard and trackpad
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Expensive starting price and upgrades
  • More colours would have been nice
  • The M1 version remains an excellent buy for less

For the best overall business laptop we’ve tested, look no further than the brand new Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022)

Inside, it features Apple’s M2 chip, which is more than capable of handling professional tasks such as 4K video editing with ease. The 8GB of RAM on the standard model should be more than enough for most people, especially given the upgrade to 16GB will cost you an extra £200/$200. Like its predecessor, this is also a fanless MacBook, which means it’s silent all the time, but may fall down during sustained loads due to the lack of active cooling.

The MacBook Air M2 has a 13.6-inch screen. In testing, we found it to match Apple’s claimed 500 nits of brightness, meaning it’s ideal if you’re working a lot in brighter spots. And if the 13-inch screen is a little too small for you, there’s also the option of the 15-inch MacBook Air which also represents excellent value.

At 1.24kg, the 13-inch MacBook Air is immensely portable, and a thickness of just 1.13cm also makes it thinner than an iPad with a Magic Keyboard attached. The port selection is alright, with USB-C ports and a MagSafe connection, although you don’t get an SD card reader and HDMI out, as you do on the MacBook Pro. The keyboard and trackpad are both excellent, which is a must if you spend much of the day working in docs and sheets.

The endurance on offer is also excellent, with the M2 MacBook Air lasting comfortably throughout a working day with around 20% to spare, while in running a video loop tested, it lasted for around 14 hours, which is a 2 hour boost compared to the original M1 powered MacBook Air.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022) review

Acer Chromebook Plus 515

Best value business laptop

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • USB-C charging
  • Stacked specs for the price

Cons

  • Sluggish trackpad
  • 60Hz non-touch display

The first thing to highlight with the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 is that it runs on ChromeOS instead of Windows. That may be problematic for those who need bespoke software in their business that is only available through Windows or macOS. However, if you simply need a business laptop for browsing the web and typing up essays, the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 fits the bill while saving you lots of money in the meantime.

During the testing process, we were incredibly impressed with the Acer Chromebook Plus 515. Available for under £500/$500, it offers a solid productivity performance (at least for a Chromebook) and a superb battery life that we recorded to last over 10 hours.

Like most Chromebooks at this price, the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 is made up of a mix of plastic and metal. We were impressed with the overall build quality, and the keyboard is perfectly adequate for typing up essays all day, even if the trackpad can be a little sluggish.

With many modern Windows laptops costing well over £1000/$1000, the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 is a cost-effective alternative that can handle web browsing and productivity workloads perfectly fine. Just make sure ChromeOS supports all of the software you need for work before hitting checkout.

Reviewer: Josh Brown
Full review: Acer Chromebook Plus 515 review

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max

Best business laptop for creatives

Pros

  • Exceptional performance
  • Stunning display and keyboard

Cons

  • The price builds up very quickly
  • No Face ID

The MacBook Pro has long been our number one recommendation for business workers who need to dip into creative workloads such as video editing, and the MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max only strengthens its position with a supercharged performance thanks to the cutting edge M3 Max chip.

You’ll struggle to find a more powerful laptop than the MacBook Pro for content creation, as it saw a higher benchmark score for processing speed than almost any other laptop that we reviewed in 2023. Importantly, graphics performance is excellent too, allowing for speedy rendering times.

Laptops optimised for such workloads usually have major drawbacks, as it can impact battery life and the weight of the portable. However, the MacBook Pro can last up to 15 hours for productivity work, which we were able to verify during testing. And at 2.16kg, this is a rather heavy laptop, but it’s still surprisingly portable considering how much power it has to offer.

Due to the extravagant price, the MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max is a needless purchase for business workers who just need to send emails, fill in spreadsheets and type up reports. The Acer Swift X 14 is a good middle-ground option too if you want a cheaper laptop with an entry-level graphics performance. But if you need a powerful laptop that can handle heavy duty tasks such as video editing, then the MacBook Pro is the best option.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max review

Acer Swift Edge 16

Best 16-inch business laptop

Pros

  • Impressively well-rounded performance
  • Bright and rich 3.2K OLED display
  • Impressively lightweight
  • Top-tier port selection

Cons

  • Odd trackpad click
  • Poor speakers
  • Eager fans

If you’re the type who work with multiple tabs open, or need to view exhaustive spreadsheets while also typing up a report, then it’s likely that a 13-inch laptop screen just isn’t big enough to squeeze everything on the display simultaneously. So we’ve decided to include the Acer Swift Edge 16 in this list, which has a big 16-inch screen as well as excellent productivity performance.

Despite its large screen, the Acer Swift Edge is delightfully light, coming in at just 1.23kg. This will be incredibly important for those who lug their laptop to the office every day. And despite having a thin chassis, there’s a great selection of ports here including USB-C, HDMI 2.1 and a microSD card reader. There’s even Wi-Fi 7 support for a speedy connection to the web.

One of the highlights of this laptop is the gorgeous OLED screen, with eye-popping colour making videos look far more vibrant. An OLED screen isn’t imperative for a business, of course, but it’s still a nice bonus if you like to watch the likes of Netflix and YouTube on your lunch break.

So if you fancy yourself a speedy productivity laptop with a big screen, we reckon the Acer Swift Edge 16 provides the best value. And if you want an even bigger screen, then we suggest checking out the LG Gram 17 (2023) instead.

Reviewer: Adam Speight
Full review: Acer Swift Edge 16 review

Dell Latitude 7320

 Best for security

Pros

  • High-brightness matte screen
  • Near-silent with general office-type work
  • Low weight
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Limited display contrast
  • Touchpad should be better at this price

The Dell Latitude 7320 is a marvellous option for a business laptop if security is integral thanks to the Intel vPro features on offer. It’s also one of the more functional-looking devices out there.

This is reflected in its plainer design than other more expensive laptops, although at 1.21kg, it’s one of the lightest on this list, which makes it especially portable. It’s also rather well built too, with little flexing in the casing. The light weight definitely didn’t lead to any compromises on build quality. With a deep travel and some rather chunky and large keys, we also found the keyboard on the 7320 to be one of the best compact laptop keyboards we’ve tested in a while.

We found the performance for such a small laptop to be solid, with great results in our benchmark tests, while the screen also proved to be decent enough for mainstream work. It’s a 13.3-inch FHD matted panel, which makes this laptop much easier to use in bright environments. Colours here are relatively punchy, and gamut coverage is more than good enough for basic productivity tasks, even if it may not be up to standard for more intensive workloads.

A total 63Wh capacity also allows the Latitude 7320 to offer some great battery life, with it reaching the heights of 12.5 hours during our testing. This is more than enough for a working day, and you may even be able to get a couple more hours out of it before grabbing the charging cable.

Reviewer: Andrew Williams
Full reviewDell Latitude 7320 Review

FAQs

Which laptop is best for business use?

For our money, the best overall laptop for business at the moment is Applre”s new M2-powered MacBook Air, although you may want to look at our other choices if you have specific requirements.

What is the difference between a personal and business laptop?

As the name suggests, business laptops are designed to be used for commercial and business use, while personal laptops are someone’s own device.

Is 256GB SSD enough for a business laptop?

This depends on what kind of documents and apps you’re going to be storing on the drive. For smaller Word docs, spreadsheets and the like, 256GB is plenty, while if you’re in a line of work that involves larger file sizes and bigger applications, you may want to go for 512Gb or even a 1TB.

Trusted Reviews test data

PCMark 10

PugetBench for Premiere Pro

Cinebench R23 multi core

Cinebench R23 single core

Geekbench 5 single core

Geekbench 5 multi core

Geekbench 6 single core

Geekbench 6 multi core

3DMark Time Spy

CrystalDiskMark Read speed

CrystalDiskMark Write Speed

Brightness (SDR)

Black level

Contrast ratio

White Visual Colour Temperature

sRGB

Adobe RGB

DCI-P3

PCMark Battery (office)

Battery discharge after 60 minutes of online Netflix playback

Battery recharge time

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

CA RRP

AUD RRP

CPU

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Front Camera

Battery

Battery Hours

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

ASIN

Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Model Number

Resolution

HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

GPU

RAM

Connectivity

Colours

Display Technology

Screen Technology

Touch Screen

Convertible?

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