With COVID-19 still going, many people are continuing to work from home. Some jobs are even making the permanent transition to remote work.
If you’re one of the ones who are setting up a spare room in your house for an office, there’s a handful of things that you’re going to need. One of those things is a killer laptop that can run all your career software.
Choosing the best computer for remote work is a little more difficult than it sounds. There’s a lot of things you need to take into consideration and tons of terms that will be thrown your way while you’re shopping.
We can help clear up some of your confusion. Check out this guide to find out what you need to look for.
The CPU is the brain of the entire system. It’s responsible for all the processing power. If you don’t have a good one, you won’t be able to load any of the tools necessary for work.
Two phrases that you’ll hear thrown around when you’re shopping for a CPU are clock speed and cores. The more cores a CPU has, the more intensive stuff it can take on. Clock speed is a measurement of how quickly it can handle little tasks such as answering emails.
If you’re working in the graphic design business, having a good GPU is almost as important as having a powerful CPU. It determines how well your machine can render images. If you don’t have a proper one, it will be hard to work with editing software.
If you’re not a graphic designer, you can get by with an integrated GPU. It’s a graphics card that’s attached to the CPU. It keeps the price low and suits most business professionals.
RAM is responsible for your computer’s short-term memory. When you’re looking around for laptops, don’t settle for one that has less than 4GB of RAM. It won’t be able to handle the workload that you throw at it.
If you’re working with imaging software, you’ll need to look for something more in the 8GB range. For intensive tasks, you can’t get by without 16GBs.
You need a computer with adequate storage space if you’re going to hold all the files your job sends to you. You have two choices in that matter. You can go with a standard hard drive or a solid-state drive.
Solid-state drives are faster than hard drives and can hold as much data. The only drawback is that you’ll pay a lot more for it. You can always go with a laptop with a smaller SSD and invest in an external hard drive to hold more files.
Spending your entire day squinting at your computer screen is a good way to give yourself a horrible migraine. You need a display that’s easy on the eyes.
It’s for this reason that you should get a laptop that has at least a 14-15-inch display. It will be large enough for you to see everything clearly while still staying light enough to carry around.
Take a step back for a moment and think about how you’re going to be using this work from home computer of yours. If you’re a graphic designer, having a touchscreen laptop may suit you well.
If you’re going to be typing a lot, make sure that the keyboard doesn’t leave your fingers cramped. Cheap laptops tend to have trackpad trouble.
In short, make sure that the computer has all the functions that you need to do your job before you commit to the purchase and don’t buy more than you’re ever going to use.
If you’re going to have your computer set up in your home office all the time, you can get a laptop with a little more heft. You don’t want to get a bulky gaming laptop if you like to have a change of scenery every once in a while.
It will be hard for you to pack it up in your bag. Again, grabbing a 15-inch laptop is your best bet. You’ll have plenty of screen real estate and it won’t be that hard to carry around.
If you’re a real digital nomad, you can even go as small as 13-inches. The screen will be a little small, but you’ll be able to take it everywhere you go.
This is another thing you need to take into consideration if you tend to travel around a lot. You can’t always ensure that you’ll get the seat by the outlet when you go to your favorite cafe.
You also never know when emergencies come up. You may find yourself waiting for half a day at a car dealership to get your ride repaired. You can’t get any work done while you sit around if there are no power outlets to speak of.
You need a computer with at least 8 hours of battery life. This should give you adequate time to be productive before you have to start hunting around for a plugin.
Of course, your budget is going to be a deciding factor when you’re hunting for small business computers. You can’t buy a top-of-the-line model if you can’t afford it.
You may have to make a few compromises to find a laptop that suits your needs while also fitting inside your budget. Still, you shouldn’t be too much of a penny pincher. If you go too cheap with your purchase, you’ll need a new computer in a few months or so.
There will come a time when you want to connect some other device to your computer. For example, using a large monitor is a little easier on the neck than looking down at a laptop screen.
You can plug an external monitor into a port on your laptop. If you want to back up your data or store something on an external hard drive, you’re going to need to plug it in. Same thing if you’ve opted to use an external mouse and keyboard instead of the trackpad.
Choosing the Best Work from Home Computer
Now that you know all the work from home computer requirements, let’s talk about a few models that meet the criteria. Consider adding one of the following laptops to your shopping cart.
Apple MacBook Pro
If you need a good all-rounder, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is great for beginner freelancers and businessmen and women alike. It has an impressive CPU. It can stay alive for 11 hours before it needs a charge.
The backlit keyboard makes it easy to type no matter what time of day it is. It’s got an impressive speaker system that will allow you to hear all your big conference calls clearly. The only problem is that Macs come with a pretty large price tag.
Lenovo has plenty of choices when it comes to business computers. If your work isn’t too demanding, the Ideapad is an inexpensive computer that will pack all the power that you need.
The battery can last for 8 hours before you’ll have to start looking for a power outlet. It has a built-in webcam that will allow you to make conference calls.
The ASUS C202 is compact enough for you to carry it around in a bag without throwing out your shoulder. It’s shockproof, so if you drop your bag, it’s not going to do that much damage to the computer.
The keyboard is spill-proof. That’s good news if you’re on the clumsy side or you want to work by your pool. This is technically a Chromebook, so all your data is backed up to the Cloud.
If someone steals your computer or it gets fried by a virus, you’ll be able to easily recover all your information.
HP Envy X360
If you’re looking for a computer with tons of battery life, this laptop has you covered. It can keep going strong for up to 13 hours off the charger.
It comes with 8GB of ram, which is a little above the standard 4. It’s got a touchscreen with a pen. That makes it ideal for the graphic designers out there.
It’s lightweight, so you can work from pretty much anywhere. The only drawback is the fan. It can be almost distracting with how noisy it is.
Best Computer for Remote Work
No home office is complete without the best computer for remote work. The model that you need mostly depends on what you do for a living.
If you’re a freelance writer, you don’t need something too powerful. Graphic designers and video editors should spring for something with gaming computer specs. It might be bulky, but it will be able to tackle whatever you throw its way.
Need more tips for getting your home office up and ready to go? Check out the Business section of our blog to get started.