If you listen to technology pundits, it’s easy to get the impression that no one is using laptop computers any more. In the real world, though, there are still many, many tasks for which a laptop computer is the only solution that makes sense.
It’s not that mobility isn’t important, but for many users it’s one of the considerations rather than the only consideration. The distinction is important, because having mobility as a part of the list means that other parameters can be modified to optimise between critical considerations.
There are three parameters you should keep in mind to choose the right mobile system.
When it comes to storage, it’s easy to fall into a “capacity is everything”mindset. While capacity certainly matters, other issues come into play if mobility is part of the requirement set. Solid state drives (SSDs), for example, are far more shock-resistant than spinning magnetic disks. Even within the spinning disk category, it is possible to specify those with the greatest ability to shrug off falls and shocks.
There are two broad types of input to think about: human input and machine to machine input. Each will have a significant impact on the mobile mission the laptop can fulfil.
The most obvious question in human input is whether the laptop will have a touchscreen. If your systems will be ordered with Windows 10, or if you have plans to migrate your fleet to Windows 10 within the lifespan of the new machines, then there’s a compelling argument to be made for the touchscreen. If, on the other hand, you are going to stay with Windows 7 or 8 until the end of their support life, then the keyboard and touchpad will be all the input you need.
Machine to machine input is largely a question of how many USB and display ports to provide. Here you get to trade mobility against flexibility. Will the laptop be the heart of a solar system of peripherals or will it stand alone with only occasional attachments?
Finally, there’s the question of display. Here the issue is less about the native display (which you’ll be hard-pressed to order at a resolution that won’t support any operating system or application) than the external capabilities. Will your users attach to large desktop displays? Will they use projectors for group presentations? If so, you’ll be able to specify ports for connections ranging from XVGA to HDMI. If there is only the rarest of needs, then USB adapters can handle the requirements.
Mobility doesn’t need to suffer when choosing laptop computers over tablets. The question is just how you’ll specify and build the more capable systems that keep your users productive through the lifespan of the laptops you buy.