Best business laptops in 2021


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gen 9

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

You’ll want one of the best business laptops whether you’re buying a fleet of laptops for your employees or just looking for a productivity system for yourself. They’re typically durable, powerful, secure, and easy to use.

Each year, we test dozens of business laptops, and the models that make our list of the best business laptops offer a balance of comfort, performance, and battery life. Don’t overlook security and durability: business laptops typically include fingerprint sensors, infrared cameras, and security chips, and many are built to military standards. Webcam sliders and displays with built-in privacy filters should be standard on newer models.

If you’re looking for something a little more powerful than your typical business laptop, take a look at our selection.

best workstationsa page If you’re still on the fence about buying a business laptop, take a look at our general guide. best laptopspage with a variety of devices that can be used for work. Are you looking for more specific suggestions? Take a look at our best Lenovo ThinkPad and best Dell Latitude and Precision laptops guides. 

Which business laptop is best?

Because of its lightweight design, fast performance, and good display options, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) has been our favorite business laptop for the past four years. The HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, a gorgeous 2-in-1 laptop with long battery life, an awesome keyboard, and fast performance, is one of the top competitors to the X1 Carbon. Also, don’t rule out Dell; its Latitude 9420 2-in-1 is an excellent choice if you have the funds. It is, however, even more expensive than the X1 Carbon.

On the macOS front, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 is a fantastic choice for power users who need to run large simulations or transfer large files. The new M1 processor is a speed demon, but it’s also efficient enough to give the MacBook Pro an incredible battery life of 16 hours and 32 minutes.

We recommend the Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable, Microsoft Surface Pro 7+, or Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable, which is essentially a tablet version of the X1 Carbon, if you’re an artist or designer who wants to use a stylus. A workstation, such as the excellent HP ZBook Studio x360 G5, is recommended for true power users who need to crunch big data. The HP Pro C640 Chrome Enterprise is a simple, easy-to-use laptop for those on a budget, such as small-business owners, or the ThinkPad X13 or HP EliteBook 840 G7 if you need to run Windows 10.

Because of its sleek design and quick performance, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon is once again the best business laptop.
(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9)

Best overall business laptop

Specifications

CPU:
11th Gen Intel Core i5/Core i7
GPU:
Iris Xe
RAM:
8GB/16GB/32GB
Storage:
256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Display:
14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel 16:10
Size:
The dimensions are 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches.
Weight:
2.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Slim, lightweight design


+Good 14-inch, 16:10 FHD+ display


+Class-leading keyboard


+Great quad speakers


+Epic battery life

Reasons to avoid

Poor 720p webcam


No card slot

The 9th Gen edition of Lenovo’s flagship business laptop has a number of welcome changes. You get longer battery life (15 hours! ), powerful quad speakers, a new 14-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and plenty of ports, all in an impossibly lightweight chassis (2.5 pounds).

But it’s the classic ThinkPad features that elevate the X1 Carbon to greatness: a rugged design (MIL-STD-810G strength), best-in-class keyboard, and stealthy black/red aesthetics.

Yes, we wish the ThinkPad X1 Carbon had a better webcam and hadn’t dropped the SD card reader. Furthermore, premium configurations can be quite costly; however, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better business laptop.

See our full

Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 (Gen 9) review

.

The new MacBook Pro is the ultimate MacBook (for now), thanks to its M1 chip’s faster performance and longer battery life.
(Image credit: Future)

2. Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1)

The best Apple laptop for business

Specifications
CPU:
Apple M1
GPU:
Apple M1 (integrated)
RAM:
8GB/16GB
Storage:
256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Display:
13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel
Size:
12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
Weight:
3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Stellar overall and gaming performance


+Excellent battery life


+Lightning-fast SSD


+Great webcam

Reasons to avoid

Not enough ports


Thick bezels

Welcome to Apple’s new computing era. Apple’s M1 custom SoC is the first step in the company’s deliberate decoupling from Intel. The SoC also includes an eight-core processor, integrated graphics, a unified memory architecture, Apple’s Neural Engine, an improved image signal processor, and Apple’s Secure Enclave, in addition to all those transistors. The end result is a laptop that is faster, more powerful, and a force to be reckoned with. The 16 billion transistors in the ARM-based 5-nanometer chip are the most the company has ever put into a chip.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch M1 has the best battery life we’ve ever seen on a Mac and delivers impressive performance. If that wasn’t enough, when you pair Big Sur with it, you get faster webpage load times and a better webcam experience, thanks to Apple Silicon. In a nutshell, the new MacBook Pro is everything Apple promised and then some.

See our full

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1) review

.

The HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7 is a convertible laptop that is ideal for business.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

3. HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7

The best HP business laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-10810U
GPU:
Intel UHD
RAM:
16GB
Storage:
512GB
Display:
14-inch, 1080p
Size:
12.6 x 8 x 0.7 inches
Weight:
2.9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Epic battery life


+Attractive, slim design


+Good 1080p display


+Fast CPU performance

Reasons to avoid

Expensive

The x360 1040 G7 features a beautiful chassis with a flexible hinge that allows it to convert from a laptop to a tablet. The EliteBook x360 1040 G7 from HP is one of the best business laptops available.

It’s one of the few notebooks that appears to have no flaws. The laptop also has a surprisingly comfortable keyboard, quick performance, and a slew of security features like an IR camera, a fingerprint sensor, and MIL-SPEC-810-rated durability. The EliteBook x360 1040 G7’s brilliance doesn’t end there, though. The 10th Gen Intel CPUs are powerful, even if they lack graphical oomph, and the battery lasts for more than 11 hours on a charge. A bright and vivid 14-inch display is included with the stylus chassis.

The EliteBook x360 1040 is the best HP laptop for business users for these reasons.

See our full

HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7 review

 

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga, the best 2-in-1 laptop, will appeal to artists and writers who prefer to write or draw by hand.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

4. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (6th Gen, 2021)

The best 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU
GPU:
Iris Xe
RAM:
16GB
Storage:
256GB; 512GB SSD
Display:
IPS (16:10), 14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel
Size:
The dimensions are 12.3 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches.
Weight:
3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Solid, sleek design


+Fantastic keyboard


+Speedy performance


+Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

Heavier than some competitors


No SD card slot

These features come together to create the best Lenovo laptop for anyone looking for a convertible. While we still prefer the matte-black carbon fiber found on most ThinkPads, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga in aluminum is a stunning alternative. With the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Lenovo is betting on aluminum, and the gamble is paying off. This convertible 2-in-1 not only has a slim design, but it also has a bright 14-inch 16:10 display, a best-in-class keyboard, and a long battery life.

We still prefer the ThinkPad X1 Carbon for its ultra-lightweight design, but if you want to use a stylus, the Yoga is the way to go. A built-in stylus slot and a webcam cover are among the many extras included.

If you prefer a detachable, give our ThinkPad X12 Detachable reviewa good read ‘The’ Do you want something a little spicier? ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is an excellent option. 

See our full

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (6th Gen, 2021) review

.

Dell upped its game with the Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1, a stylish laptop with a battery life of 15+ hours.
(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

5. Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1

An excellent clamshell 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-1185G7
GPU:
Iris Xe
RAM:
16GB
Storage:
512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Class 35 SSD
Display:
14-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel 16:10
Size:
The dimensions are 12.2 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches.
Weight:
3.2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Slim, but durable chassis


+Fantastic QHD+ 16:10 display


+Fast performance


+Epic battery life

Reasons to avoid

Subpar 720p webcam


Not the lightest option


Pricey

The Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1 is the business laptop for you if battery life is important. Perhaps most impressive is the laptop’s incredible endurance despite its fantastic 14-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel 16:10 display. The Latitude 9410 2-in-1 has a sleek, flexible design, fast performance, and some useful sign-in options, but its 15+ hours of battery life isn’t the only reason to buy it. Even with the screen brightness turned up, the 2-in-1 laptop easily got me through a full day of use.

This makes logging in a breeze because you don’t need to enter any passwords or even look at an IR camera. Because of its proximity sensor, all you have to do is walk up to this Dell and it will recognize you.

We hope the next version has a better webcam and is less expensive, because if it does, the X1 Carbon will no longer be the best business laptop. The Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1 is yet another big step forward for the company’s notoriously uninspiring business notebooks.

See our full

Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1 review

.

HP Pro C640 Chromebook
(Image credit: Future)

6. HP Pro C640 Chrome Enterprise

Best business Chromebook

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-10610U
GPU:
Intel UHD
RAM:
16GB
Storage:
128GB eMMC
Display:
14-inch, 1080p
Size:
The dimensions are 12.8 x 8.07 x 0.65 inches.
Weight:
3.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Military-grade durability


+Perfect for security-minded users


+Comfortable keyboard


+Wide variety of ports

Reasons to avoid

Dim, lackluster display

In this nascent category, the HP Pro C640 Chromebook Enterprise is the best option. The Pro C640 is a good alternative to Windows or macOS for small business owners or boutique companies, as it runs on Chrome OS with Chrome Enterprise, Google’s cloud-based IT platform. Chromebooks…for professionals? Yes, we’re serious.

Instead, the $1,129 Pro C640 has a beautiful metal chassis that has been military-grade tested, a fingerprint scanner, and fast performance thanks to a 10th Generation Intel Core i7 CPU. What makes it such a compelling laptop is that it doesn’t skimp on features in order to fit the stereotype of a Chromebook as being cheap and made of plastic.

See our full

HP Pro C640 Chromebook Enterprise review

.

The Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable is an improved Surface Pro 7+.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

7. Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable

The best business 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-1180G7 CPU
GPU:
Iris Xe
RAM:
16GB
Storage:
1TB
Display:
13 inches, 1920 x 1280-pixel
Size:
The dimensions are 11.4 x 8.2 x 0.3 inches.
Weight:
1.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Slim aluminum design


+Bright, vivid 13-inch display


+Good performance


+Comfy keyboard with pen charging slot

Reasons to avoid

Very expensive


Kickstand is a bit flimsy

A gorgeous 13-inch display, fast performance, a comfortable detachable keyboard with a built-in stylus slot, useful security features, and a class-leading webcam (yes, you read that correctly) are just a few of the standout features. Dell defeats the Surface Pro with the Latitude 7320 Detachable. All of this is housed in a sleek metal chassis that fits easily into a backpack or purse.

Despite these flaws, the Dell Latitude 7320 is an excellent version of this ultra-mobile form factor for Dell enterprise customers who want to work or relax from anywhere. The kickstand is flimsy, and the exorbitant price will put off all but the most powerful executives and corporations. In a few areas, the Latitude varies.

See our full

Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable review

.

The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 workstation is the best on the market.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

8. Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2

The most powerful workstation

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-11950H vPro
GPU:
Nvidia RTX A5000
RAM:
32GB
Storage:
1TB SSD
Display:
15.6-inch, FHD (1920×1080)
Size:
The dimensions are 14.7 x 9.9 x 1.2 inches.
Weight:
6.2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Class-leading performance


+Excellent array of ports


+Bright display


+Durable build

Reasons to avoid

Expensive


Heavy

With upgraded performance and stellar battery life for the 1080p model, the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 improves on what was already a winning formula with the original ThinkPad P15.

The laptop’s 11th Generation Intel Core i9-11950H processor, Nvidia RTX A5000 GPU, and 32GB of RAM make it a true workhorse. The display is the only concern for creatives, but if it’s critical to you, consider an OLED panel or an external display. If you’re looking for pure performance, the ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 is hard to beat.

See our full

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 review

.

Asus ExpertBook B9450
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

9. Asus ExpertBook B9450

Ultra portability

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-10510U
GPU:
Intel UHD
RAM:
16GB
Storage:
1TB
Display:
14-inch, 1080p
Size:
12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches
Weight:
2.2 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Record-setting battery life


+Incredibly lightweight yet durable


+Attractive midnight-blue design

Reasons to avoid

Mixed performance


Touchpad and keyboard quirks

Because I am unable to do so. No other laptop has lasted as long as this one. Isn’t that incredible? It’s been almost 17 hours. It took me 16 hours and 42 minutes to complete this task. On our battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits, the ExpertBook B9450 lasted that long.

Asus still has a few issues to work out, such as the annoying keyboard, but it’s on the right track. Or the fact that the midnight-blue chassis is among the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. That is, without a doubt, a very long sentence. There are numerous reasons to admire the ExpertBook B9450 and to prefer it to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. But what if I told you that the world’s most powerful laptop only weighs 2.2 pounds? Or that it’s powered by an Intel U-series processor from the 10th generation? It’s remarkable for a variety of reasons.

Read our full

Asus ExpertBook B9450 review

.

Whether you’re a business user or an IT administrator looking to purchase a fleet of laptops, the EliteBook 840 G7 is a solid choice.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

10. HP EliteBook 840 G7

The best mainstream business laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-10810U CPU
GPU:
UHD graphics
RAM:
16GB
Storage:
512GB SSD
Display:
14-inch, 1080p
Size:
The dimensions are 12.74 x 8.45 x 0.7 inches.
Weight:
3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Sleek aluminum chassis


+Fast performance


+Comfortable keyboard

Reasons to avoid

Weak graphics


Top configs are expensive

It has a long battery life of 9 hours and 23 minutes, a great keyboard, and, when you need it, a SureView privacy display to keep strangers from looking at your screen. But it’s not just about appearances. The EliteBook 840 G7 is a sophisticated business laptop.

Yes, the webcam isn’t ideal, but that’s something that can be remedied with an external solution. The EliteBook 840 G5 is less expensive than most premium business laptops, with a 10th Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 64GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. There are a lot of ports, so you can get rid of the dongles, and the top-firing speakers sound great.

See our full

HP EliteBook 840 G7 review

.

The Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable is an improved Surface Pro 7+.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

11. Microsoft Surface Pro 7+

The best business 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i5-1135G7
GPU:
Iris Xe
RAM:
4GB/8GB/16GB
Storage:
256GB
Display:
12.3 inches, 2736 x 1824-pixel
Size:
The dimensions are 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches.
Weight:
1.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Bright, vivid display


+Faster CPU and graphics performance


+Swappable SSD

Reasons to avoid

Battery life could be better


Thick display bezels

The battery life has been improved slightly, and the new processor performs admirably in both synthetic and real-world tests. The Surface Pro 7+ upgrades the Surface Pro 7 by adding 11th-generation Intel processors, 4G LTE connectivity, and an easily swappable SSD.

The Surface Pro 7+ has a USB-C port for charging and connecting peripherals, but the design hasn’t changed. The Type Cover with Alcantara and the super-responsive Surface Pen, which makes it easy to draw or take notes on the tablet’s vivid and bright 12.3-inch display, are still available from Microsoft.

There are still some things that could be done better. Check out our thoughts on the Still, this is one of the best 2-in-1 devices on the market, and it’s a great option for travelers. The Surface Pro 7+, for example, has chunky display bezels, inexplicably expensive storage/RAM upgrades, and no Thunderbolt 3 port. Are you still undecided about the Surface Pro 7+? ThinkPad X12 Detachable

See our full

Surface Pro 7+ review

.

If you can afford it, the HP ZBook Studio G8 is another excellent workstation.
(Image credit: Future)

12. HP ZBook Studio G8

Powerful workstation with stunning display

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i9-11950H
GPU:
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
RAM:
32GB
Storage:
2TB SSD
Display:
15.6-inch, OLED 4K (3840 x 2160)
Size:
The dimensions are 14.1 x 10.1 x 0.6 inches.
Weight:
3.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Stunning 4K OLED display


+Powerful overall and gaming performance


+Comfortable keyboard

Reasons to avoid

Pricey


Can get hot

This seductive eye-catcher features an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, 2TB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU that will more than handle all of your Adobe Creative Suite power-hungry needs and then some.

The $4,727 system is beautiful, powerful, and MIL-SPEC tough, and it’s one of the best content creator laptops on the market, in my opinion. Oh, and don’t forget about the OLED 4K touchscreen, which is bright, vivid, and absolutely stunning.

However, for the price, I would prefer that the battery lasted longer and that it did not get as hot. The $2,999 MSI Creator Z16 is a much more affordable option if you want longer battery life and a smidge more power.

See our full

HP ZBook Studio G8 review

.

How to choose a business laptop

Here are some considerations to make when selecting a business laptop for yourself or your company.

  • Do you need Intel vPro or AMD Pro? Many business laptops come with processors that have Intel vProEven if the computer can’t boot, technology allows a support person to log in remotely. You won’t use this feature unless you have a large IT department and a large fleet of laptops that you need to be able to service remotely.
  • How fast do you need it to be? A laptop with a dual-core processor will suffice for most business users. Core i5 CPUsuch as the Core i5-7200U or Core i5-7300U (vPro) and the integrated graphics processor of the CPU If you need a mobile workstation with a quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 CPU (model numbers end in HQ) and Nvidia Quadro graphics for 3D modeling, professional video editing, or creating predictive models, get one with a quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 CPU (model numbers end in HQ).
  • Long battery life:Nobody wants to run out of battery power in the middle of a long day at work or on a long flight across the country. When choosing between regular and extended batteries for your business system, always go with the higher capacity option. Unless you’re getting a massive workstation, look for a laptop with a battery life of more than 9 hours.
  • At least a 1080p screen:When you can’t see much text on the screen, it’s difficult to be productive. Laptops should be avoided if possible. low-resolution, 1366 x 768 screensas if it were the plague Choose one with a 1920 x 1080 resolution or higher.
  • SSDs for responsiveness: SSDs are at least three times faster than traditional hard drives at booting up, opening programs, and multitasking. Get a solid state drive instead of a mechanical hard drive if you want a truly fast computer.
  • The right ports: Choose a laptop with a memory card reader if photography is a big part of your job. Make sure your laptop has an Ethernet port if you frequently connect to a wired network. Whatever your requirements, a Thunderbolt 3 port will enable you to connect to a new generation of high-speed peripherals, universal chargers, and powerful docks. Nobody enjoys lugging around a bag full of dongles. Think about the types of connections you or your employees will require the most.
  • A great keyboard: However, when it comes to business systems, a pleasant typing experience is even more important. Look for snappy feedback, a lot of travel, and no flex. Every laptop should, almost without exception, have a good keyboard.

How we test business laptops

Before our reviewers get their hands on a laptop, we put it through extensive benchmark testing, both synthetic and real-world. We look at the laptop’s performance, battery life, display, speakers, and heat management, among other things.

We put the laptop through a slew of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests, to see how well it performs. We use a Klein K10 colorimeter to determine the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop’s display during our benchmarking.

We put the laptop through its paces by converting a 4K video to 1080p resolution and duplicating a 4.97GB multimedia file. The Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution is our real-world graphics test.

Finally, our battery test entails continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. We also perform heat tests on the laptop by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in various areas. A runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result for MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise.

Our reviewers also put the laptop through extensive hands-on testing, critiquing everything from the materials to the feel of the touchpad.

The Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable is an improved Surface Pro 7+.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Phillip can be found playing video games, reading, traveling, or watching soccer when he’s not tinkering with gadgets. Prior to that, he covered 5G and IoT for RCR Wireless News. Phillip joined the Daily Dot as a tech reporter after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a journalism degree. Phillip Tracy works as an assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops, phones, and other gadgets as well as reporting on industry news. He covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity while there, writing reviews for a variety of gadgets.