Nearly 60 percent of computers sold in 2011 were notebooks of one kind or another — desktop PCs, by contrast, accounted for less than 30 percent. Over the years, laptops have become generally slimmer, lighter and less power-hungry, and they will remain the staple tool of business workforces worldwide for the foreseeable future.
Articles about Laptops
Lenovo's ThinkPad T510 is heavy, but in exchange you get solid build quality and a large screen. The keyboard is well designed and although battery life isn't great, this notebook is likely to spend more of its time on the desk than on the move.
Sony's 13.3in. VAIO S doesn't stand out in terms of slimness, aesthetics or affordability. Although it's solidly built and performs well, some users may need to invest in a high-capacity battery.
We like the 13.3in. MacBook Air's slimline design, high-resolution screen, fast boot time and long battery life. If the price and one or two feature omissions don't put you off, it's a great notebook to use and to be seen using.
Lenovo's ThinkPad Edge 11" gives top-end netbooks a run for their money, offering a capable processor, decent hard drive capacity and a screen of reasonable size and resolution.
The 17.3in. ProBook 4720s is likely to be deskbound for much of the time, although it will deliver good battery life if necessary. One or two niggles aside, this jumbo notebook combines stylish looks and good performance with very attractive pricing.
The ThinkPad L412 is a chunky notebook and you'll need to add a few upgrades from the entry-level spec to get a business-ready configuration. Some may find the keyboard noisy and the ports are tricky to access, but Lenovo's use of recycled materials is admirable.
Toshiba's Portégé R700 is a well-made 13.3in. ultraportable, although the lid section is too flexible for our liking. Some may find the keyboard too spongy, and you'll have to spend more if you want an integrated optical drive. Battery life is good, though.
The 15.6in. Samsung P580 has a decent specification, including a nice keyboard, and delivers respectable performance. Battery life could be better though.
HP's EliteBook 8540p has a superb keyboard and is packed with top-notch features, including a couple of USB 3.0 ports. It's expensive, but you're paying for top-quality components and solid build. The standard battery is unlikely to see you through a full working day though.
Dell's Latitude 13 is an affordable ultraportable notebook that has sacrificed a lot to slim down. Suitable for immodest people with modest computing needs, it lacks power and expandability but is a good fit for many enterprise tasks.
The ThinkPad T410s is a well-built ultraportable with a good specification, including a touchscreen. However, you may need to replace the optical drive with a second battery to get a day's work away from mains power.
Fujitsu's 13.3in. Lifebook S760 is well built, apart from a rather flexible lid, and has enough functionality to satisfy the needs of most business travellers.
The ThinkPad W701 is an extremely well-specified mobile workstation. Bulky, heavy and very expensive, it's a system for specialist power users with a big budget.
The Latitude Z600 looks refreshingly different, the software extras are useful and the screen is superb. However, battery life is disappointing, while the wireless docking and inductive charging units are expensive extras.
Sony's supremely fast VAIO Z VPCZ11Z9E/B features a dual-mode graphics subsystem, an excellent wide-format 13.1in. screen and a high-quality keyboard. It's expensive, and some mobile professionals may need to carry a spare battery, but otherwise highly recommended.