Choosing the best Dell business laptops for your organization? Get our complete rankings based on price, battery life, screen size and more.
Credit: ShutterstockIt's hard to go wrong with a business laptop from Dell. If you're looking for a notebook with a great keyboard, extra processing power or just something that's really portable, there's probably a Dell system that will suit you — or your company's — needs. Plus, you can expect strong security, a durable design and one of the industry's best warranties. But with so many models to choose from, picking the right Dell laptop for your team isn't easy. Read on to see our choices for the best Dell laptop suited for different needs and budgets.
How We Evaluate Laptops
Every laptop on our list has been fully reviewed on our sister site, BusinessNewsDaily.com. We use precise, repeatable testing procedures to evaluate products and help our readers make informed buying decisions. Our methods include industry-standard synthetic benchmark tests, including the Geekbench 3 performance test and the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics test.
We also use several in-house tests to assess each laptop's battery life, file-transfer speed and more. We then interpret those results from a business and IT professional's point of view to determine which laptops make the most sense for your company.
For more information on how we evaluate laptops, check out our testing guide.
Dell Latitude 5285
At CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Dell took the wraps off its upcoming Latitude 5285, which will go on sale on Feb. 28, 2017 for $899. This Microsoft Suface-like PC is a tablet that comes with a build-in kickstand, which is meant to be used with its soft keyboard cover. It also supports a stylus. The 12.3-inch display features a 3:2 aspect ratio and features a 2736 x 1824 pixel resolution. Inside you'll find as much as a 1TB SSD with up to 16GB of RAM, and supports Intel Core i processors. In terms of security, you can opt for an infrared camera for Windows Hello facial recognition logins, and comes with a FIPS 201 Smart Card Reader. It supports DisplayPort over USB Type-C and the Dell Wireless Dock. Stay tuned for a rull review, when the device becomes available.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Dell Business Laptop
Dell's business laptops offer similar security, durability and manageability features across the board. Below is an overview of what to expect from the brand.
XPS vs. Latitude vs. Precision
Dell sells business laptops in three different lines. Here's a quick breakdown of the different types:
- XPS: These laptops are premium consumer laptops that happen to be good picks for small businesses. Dell says they're also suitable for executives and other select users in an enterprise environment. They come with strong security features, including hardware-based encryption, but have limited manageability compared to the Latitude line.
- Latitude: These laptops are made to be deployed in a managed IT environment. Latitudes are good for companies that demand top-notch security and mobile management features, and they offer stronger durability credentials compared to the XPS line, like the ability to withstand moisture, shocks, dings, and drops.
- Precision: These workstation-class laptops offer similar durability, security and manageability compared to the Latitude line. The primary difference is that they offer faster processors and more powerful dedicated graphics cards. Precision laptops also happen to be significantly more expensive.
Dell's business laptops offer a variety of security features, including:
- Encryption: All of Dell's business laptops come equipped with a Trusted Platform Module for hardware-based encryption.
- Biometric Security: Biometrics let you unlock your work laptop using your own body. The most basic form of biometric authentication is a fingerprint scanner, which is available on most Latitude and Precision models but not on XPS laptops. A few Latitude models have cameras capable of facial recognition, so you can unlock your laptop just by looking at it.
- Lock Slot: All of Dell's business laptops come with a special slot—called a Kensington lock slot—that lets you physically chain your system to your desk with a cable.
Many Dell business laptops can be purchased with special manageability tools, including:
- VPro: Many Dell models are available with secure manageability via Intel vPro technology. VPro is a management platform baked right into certain Intel processors, giving you access to laptops at the hardware level. That makes it possible to run software and group policy updates even when a system has been turned off. The ability to manage a powered-down system also helps when you need to locate the system, restrict access to it, or wipe it clean if it's been lost or stolen.
- vPro Extensions: Dell also offers unique vPro extensions that let you update BIOS settings when systems are powered down.
- Deployment: Dell's basic deployment services provide businesses with project coordination along with a la carte options for data migration, asset tagging and system image loading. Meanwhile, the Managed Deployment plan can provide businesses with end-to-end project management services, including data migration. Finally, enterprise customers can pay for on-site device configuration from Dell.
Dell's business laptops generally offer excellent durability features, such as:
- MIL-SPEC: Latitude and Precision models come with MIL-SPEC durability credentials. MIL-SPEC is a set of standards that test ruggedness and resistance to extreme temperatures, pressure, humidity, dust and vibrations.
- Spill Resistance: Some of Dell's business laptops offer spill-resistant keyboards that can drain small amounts of moisture, safely routing liquid away from the laptop's circuitry.
Dell offers a variety of services to ensure the reliability of your company's PCs like:
- Warranties: Dell's business laptops generally come with a three-year hardware-service warranty, which includes remote diagnosis and on-site service. That's the most extensive basic warranty you'll find on the market. Extended warranties are also available for up to five years, with the option for next-business-day on-site service.
- On-Site Servicing: A variety of on-site servicing options are available for businesses, including diagnosis, troubleshooting, and repair. Businesses can also opt in for on-site parts management to eliminate delivery and dispatch time for needed parts.
- Tech Support: Dell's ProSupport Plus plan provides 24/7 priority access to Dell tech support representatives for hardware and software issues, repair for accidental damage, and the return of replaced hard drives to ensure your data stays secure.
Add-Ons & Accessories
A few key add-ons can give your Dell laptops a boost, such as:
- Docking: Dell's $140 USB 3.0 docking station adds extra ports and connectivity options to any of the company's business laptops. Additionally, the $269 wireless dock gives you the same benefits without extra wires.
- Extended Batteries: Some Dell laptops are available with batteries that extend your laptop's battery life. Extended batteries can be purchased at checkout for around $20.
Dell ships most of its business laptops with some preinstalled software, including these useful utilities:
- Operating System: Dell lets you opt for Windows 7 Professional or Windows 10 Pro at checkout on most of its business laptops.
- Utilities: You typically get a variety of Dell utilities, such as Dell's Command Update, which helps keep your drives, firmware and BIOS up to date. Meanwhile, the Command Power Manager app helps you optimize your battery life and manage your laptop's heat threshold.
- Bloatware: While other vendors pack their business laptops with useless extra apps, Dell laptops come mostly free of bloatware.
Dell's XPS line includes some of the sleekest laptops on the market, including models with slim profiles and edge-to-edge displays. The Latitude and Precision lines generally have simpler, boxy designs. Many feature soft-touch exteriors, which make them easy to hold onto.
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