Computers have dominated the last 30 years. Even today it is an essential business tool for communicating and accessing information and the services used to operate a business. This is true whether you are out installing siding on a building or in your office programming software. But the world is changing because of mobile smartphones.
We’ve talked about gadgets for your business but here we want to discuss what computer is needed if any. Years ago I purchased an iMac for the family. My thought was that it was a nice large monitor and that would be good. Through the 80s and 90s I mostly used a desktop computer and later a laptop. But I always had a desktop available to me.
Now as I consider my computer use history I see I kept with a desktop too long. Yes they were cheaper but I had a laptop anyway. Lately I’ve tried to move with the curve so last year I experimented with eliminating my laptop. I can report that when using my phone and a tablet I was able to handle up to 85% of my needs. But that last 15% is still elusive. I think it will be a several years at least before I can finally eliminate the laptop. But what about you, the average business owner?
Unless you have a very specific business need like computer graphics stay away from a desktop (other reasons are to prevent easy theft.) Otherwise stick with a laptop, plain and simple. You need portability and you need full computer function. There are still too many things that are business specific that tablets and phones can’t do. Business banking and finance sites are often behind compared to the consumer side, my bank’s business account is not accessible via an app. Even some of the convenience functions on the website are not available. I have a Bank of America business credit card and the website doesn’t even allow an online statement (huh?) On a call a representative stated flatly, “We don’t have that for our business Visa cards”.
Given that you need a laptop I will say that any modern laptop will do. I would suggest that you not pay over $400 for a new Windows 7/8 laptop unless you have a particular functional need. Today’s laptops have not changed in CPU or memory capability in a long time. Sure you get some better graphics and power management gets better and form factor. But functionally over the last five years I say “meh”. I use as my main laptop a 13″ Samsung Series 9 mainly because I am impatient and I hate slow boot up times. This comes up from cold boot in about 15 secs but I don’t really need it and it cost me an extra $500 to get it.
I’ll add here that if you do graphic design or some other computer specialization then this advice is not for you but the average joe should save money and get whatever deal they can find. Maybe tomorrow we all can get a 9″ tablet that weighs half a pound and allows easy fast typing and access to all back office systems and tools.