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The Best Business Laptops

the-best-business-laptops

Why you should trust us

I’ve been testing, reviewing, and otherwise writing about PCs and other gadgets for AnandTech, Ars Technica, and Wirecutter since 2012. I’ve been building, upgrading, and fixing PCs for two decades, and I spent five of those years in IT departments buying and repairing business laptops and desktops as well as helping people buy the best tech for their needs.

Who this is for

Photo: Michael Hession

Most people who want a Windows laptop are best served by a thin and light ultrabook. An ultrabook that is future-proofed with at least 16 GB of memory and a 512 GB solid-state drive is more than enough computer to last you for a few years, and those systems are thinner, lighter, and cheaper than most business laptops but still capable of delivering solid performance and strong battery life. But those systems are difficult to open, repair, and upgrade. Generally, their memory is permanently affixed to the motherboard, limiting the laptop’s future usefulness if you didn’t pay for extra memory you didn’t need at the time. Other parts, such as the battery, may be held in with glue or simply difficult to access without tearing the entire laptop apart. And unlike business laptops, which typically include ports for docking at a desk or connecting to a projector for presentations, ultrabooks can have a limited port selection, necessitating the use of a hub or dongle if you use external monitors or other accessories.

That’s what makes business laptops appealing, even if you’re buying a laptop for yourself and not for an actual business. To appeal to corporate IT departments, many of these laptops still have memory, SSDs, and batteries that you can easily replace and usually access using nothing but a Phillips-head screwdriver. Replacing other parts that commonly wear out over time, such as the keyboard and the hinge, is typically possible, too.

Business laptops also come with lots of ports to minimize the number of dongles and adapters necessary to use thumb drives and conference-room projectors. Most of these laptops include at least one USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 port, but they also include multiple USB-A ports, SD card readers, full-size HDMI ports, and sometimes Gigabit Ethernet ports, which most other laptops gave up years ago.

Business laptops are primarily marketed to, well, businesses that buy them in bulk at discounted rates, so they’re more expensive to buy individually than a regular laptop with similar specs. Almost every feature you could want in a nice, modern laptop—a solid-state drive, 8 GB or more of RAM, a 1080p IPS screen or touchscreen, a fingerprint sensor, or even a backlit keyboard—you’ll have to pay for on top of the already high starting prices.

How we picked

Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Shopping for a business laptop is different from buying an ultrabook, but the most important things to look for aren’t all that different:

  • Performance: A good laptop for most people needs to have at least 8 GB of memory, a 256 GB or larger SSD, and a tenth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor or a 4000-series AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processor. If you need a faster processor or a dedicated GPU for gaming, photo and video editing, or other work, check out our pro laptop and gaming laptop guides.
  • A great keyboard: Business laptops are the quintessential document and spreadsheet devices, so they should have keyboards with layouts and key travel that make them comfortable to use over long periods. A backlight is strongly preferred.
  • A great trackpad or pointing device: Though business laptops should be sturdy, most wouldn’t be able to survive your throwing them at a wall because of trackpad frustrations. We prefer Microsoft Precision Touchpads because they’re accurate and compatible with Windows 10’s multitouch trackpad gestures. Additional pointing devices, such as a nub in the middle of the keyboard, are nice but not required.
  • A 14-inch 1080p IPS screen: We prefer 14-inch business laptops because they’re more pleasant for editing large documents or spreadsheets than 13-inch laptops, yet they’re still smaller and lighter than 15-inch laptops. A 1080p screen keeps text and images sharp, with lots of room to fit more information, and an IPS panel (rather than a TN panel) improves color accuracy and viewing angles. Higher resolutions are sometimes available on these laptops, but they eat into battery life without adding much functional benefit for most people.
  • A wide range of ports: We prefer systems with a mix of old and new ports for maximum flexibility. Everything we’ve considered for this guide has had at least one USB-C port (which you can use to link external monitors, charge the laptop, and connect USB-C accessories), a USB-A port, and an HDMI port; not everything we’ve tested has offered an SD or microSD card reader or an Ethernet jack, but we definitely prefer to have those. Thunderbolt 3 is optional, as are additional display outputs like DisplayPort or VGA.
  • Good battery life: We prefer around eight hours of battery life—enough for a full 9-to-5 day or a coast-to-coast flight plus time spent waiting at the airport. Even business laptops no longer include swappable external batteries.
  • Reasonable size and weight: Business laptops are usually larger and heavier than ultrabooks, partly because they’re built to be sturdier and partly because components such as removable memory take up more space than non-upgradable parts. But everything we’ve tested for this guide weighs less than 4 pounds, and most models weigh less than 3.5 pounds.
  • Upgradable, repairable: Although we have considered a few thin and light ultrabook-esque laptops, the majority of models we’ve looked at for this guide are designed to be opened and serviced easily. The laptop should allow you to get at the SSD bay or slot and the battery with minimal effort, and access to at least one RAM slot and the Wi-Fi card is a plus.1 And the laptop should let you replace the keyboard and other parts without having to take the entire thing apart or needing to replace a bunch of other, unrelated components.
  • A competitive (if not low) price: Business laptops are typically more expensive than budget ultrabooks or cheap laptops. Prices fluctuate widely depending on discounts and coupon codes, but in general you should expect to spend between $800 and $1,000 for a good business laptop and between $1,200 and $1,600 for an outstanding one. Because most are designed to be upgraded, you can sometimes save money on memory and storage upgrades if you’re willing to do them yourself. And by being easier to upgrade and repair, a business laptop can give you better long-term value despite costing more up front.
  • A fingerprint reader or IR camera for speedier logins: Most business laptops offer a fingerprint reader for a nominal fee, and some offer infrared cameras that can scan your face instead. Technology improvements and Windows 10’s Windows Hello feature make logging in with your finger or face more reliable and predictable than it used to be.

The models we considered in the latest round were all made by Dell, HP, and Lenovo because these are the only PC makers dedicated to building and maintaining a whole range of computers specifically for businesses. But we have researched and tested models from Acer, Asus, Fujitsu, and Toshiba in the past.

How we tested

We tested each laptop for at least two days of ordinary work—namely, loading up and switching among a couple dozen browser tabs, using Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Slack constantly, and playing music and video. This gave us a feel for each laptop’s keyboard, trackpad, screen, and general performance on common work tasks.

To test the batteries, we used a Spyder5Pro colorimeter to set each laptop’s screen backlight to 150 nits (or candelas per square meter, cd/m²) and ran a web-browsing battery test that cycles through web pages, email, Google Docs, and video. We ran the test twice on each laptop and averaged the results.

In our battery life tests, most laptops proved that they could get through most of a workday, but a great business laptop can handle a day of travel or meetings and then some.

We also removed the bottom panel from each laptop and noted how many screws (and other things, if applicable) you need to remove to access the memory, storage, and internal battery for repair or replacement. Replacing major components in a business laptop should be easier than it is for a regular ultrabook, but replacing a screen, motherboard, or keyboard yourself can still void the warranty, so we didn’t test this firsthand.

Our pick: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8

Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Our pick

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8

The best business laptop

An excellent keyboard and trackpad, light weight, and stellar battery life make the X1 Carbon one of the best laptops you can buy, period. You can’t upgrade the memory later, though, so we recommend buying it with 16 GB even if you don’t think you’ll need it.

Processor: quad-core Intel Core i5-10210U Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Intel HD 620 Screen: 1080p IPS
Memory: 16 GB Weight: 2.4 pounds
Tested battery life: 12.5 hours    

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 gives you the sturdy construction and excellent keyboard of a ThinkPad in a thin, light laptop that’s easier to carry and fit in a bag. Its battery will last through a full day of work, and it’s even lighter than most ultrabooks despite having a larger screen. The only downsides, aside from its price: The X1 Carbon doesn’t have user-upgradable memory, it doesn’t give you an Ethernet port like our other picks do, and you’ll have to buy an external SD card reader if you need one.

Although we normally recommend laptops with 8 GB of memory, we think you should buy the version of the X1 Carbon with 16 GB of RAM instead of 8 GB, even if you don’t edit large photos or work with big spreadsheets or databases. The X1 Carbon is relatively expensive, and you don’t want to discover that you need more memory a year or two down the line.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad keyboards and trackpads have a reputation for excellence, and the X1 Carbon lives up to that reputation. Its slightly scooped, not-quite-square keys provide satisfying travel and are firm without being stiff, and the backlight is bright and even. None of the other business laptops we tested had bad keyboards, but all of the other models’ keyboards were either shallower or mushier than the keyboards on the ThinkPads we tested.

ThinkPad keyboards and trackpads are typically exemplary, and the X1 Carbon doesn’t change anything about them. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

The version of the X1 Carbon we tested came with a 14-inch 1080p screen that was brighter than the display on any of the other models we tested. That extra brightness, plus the screen’s matte coating, makes the X1 Carbon better suited for outdoor use than many other laptops, so it should be good for working from an outdoor café. Lenovo offers a 2560×1440 screen upgrade and a brighter, HDR-capable 4K screen for around $250, but most people should get the default 1080p IPS screen (or pay for the 1080p touchscreen, if you want that), because the higher-resolution options will reduce battery life.

The X1 Carbon’s port selection is good, though the laptop’s smaller size prompted Lenovo to make a couple of sacrifices. It has two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, one on each side (some other models we tested have three). You still get a full-size HDMI port, but if you want to use wired Ethernet you’ll need to buy a dongle to plug into one of the X1 Carbon’s two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and there’s no SD or microSD card reader. You can also use either of the Thunderbolt 3 ports to charge the laptop or to connect high-end accessories like external graphics cards.

  • The X1 Carbon has two Thunderbolt 3 ports (one of which is also a Lenovo docking port), one USB Type-A port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack on its left side. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

  • One more USB Type-A port and the laptop’s power button and lock slot are on its right side. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

  • The X1 Carbon’s built-in webcam privacy cover obviates the need for tape or a separate cover. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

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The X1 Carbon is easy to repair and upgrade—remove five Phillips-head screws, and the bottom panel pops off easily, exposing the battery and SSD. This is how you open most of the business laptops we tested, though the X1 Carbon doesn’t require any kind of plastic opening tool to pry the bottom of the laptop off as other laptops sometimes do. To make the X1 Carbon thinner and lighter, Lenovo soldered the memory and Wi-Fi card to the motherboard rather than including one or two RAM slots. The detailed service manual (PDF) can walk you through replacing just about any other major part, in the event that you need to do out-of-warranty repairs yourself.

The X1 Carbon’s 51 Wh internal battery lasted for 12 hours 30 minutes in our battery test, more than any other model we tested in 2020—most people should be able to go a full workday on this laptop without needing to recharge it. And whereas most business laptops are larger and heavier than most ultrabooks, the X1 Carbon is noticeably lighter than the 2.7-pound Dell XPS 13 (though the X1 Carbon’s larger screen means the laptop is still a little bigger than the XPS 13 overall).

You can order the X1 Carbon with both a fingerprint reader and a face-scanning IR camera, but we recommend choosing the unlocking device you prefer rather than spending extra money to get both.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

A lack of user-upgradable memory is arguably a flaw in any business laptop, though it’s typical in most other kinds of laptops and it’s (mostly) mitigated in the X1 Carbon by an upgrade to 16 GB of memory. If you need more than that for some reason, consider one of our other picks or even a pro laptop that also includes a more powerful processor and GPU.

Budget pick: HP ProBook 445 G7

Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Budget pick

HP ProBook 445 G7

Heavier but still great

It’s over a pound heavier and its battery life isn’t as good, but the 445 G7 costs about half what the X1 Carbon does. It’s fast, too, and it’s easy to upgrade and repair.

Processor: six-core AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: integrated AMD Radeon Screen: 1080p IPS
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.5 pounds
Tested battery life: 7.1 hours    

If you don’t mind a bulkier laptop and middling battery life, the HP ProBook 445 G7 performs as well as or better than our top pick but typically costs about half as much. The 445 G7 uses AMD Ryzen 4000–series processors that provide excellent performance (enough, even, to play some games). It also has a comfortable keyboard and an accurate trackpad, a nice 1080p screen, and a useful selection of ports, as well as two memory slots and room for both an SSD and a 2.5-inch hard drive (or a second SSD). To get a fingerprint reader or face-scanning webcam, you have to pay more for a built-to-order version. Aside from being larger and heavier than more expensive models, the 445 G7 offers battery life that’s only good, not great. But those are flaws that affect most budget business laptops.

On common tasks like browsing, editing documents, watching videos, going through email, and chatting on Slack, few people would be likely to notice the difference between the 445 G7’s AMD Ryzen processor and the X1 Carbon’s Intel Core processor. But Ryzen 4000 processors offer more processor cores than the equivalent Intel chips,2 which makes them better at tasks like video editing and encoding. And they have much better integrated graphics processors than Intel’s chips do, so they’re a bit better at running 3D drafting and modeling software—or playing games after work. The 445 G7 can’t replace a gaming laptop, but it’s good enough to play most modern games at medium or low settings.

The ProBook 445 G7’s keyboard is comfortable to use (oddly shaped arrow keys aside), and its trackpad is accurate. The fingerprint-reader cutout on this version is ornamental—the reader is not included in all configurations. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

The ProBook’s keyboard isn’t quite as good as a ThinkPad’s, and its arrow-key cluster is odd (the up and down arrows are wide and short, while the left and right keys are far apart). We found its keys satisfyingly clicky and firm, and its large Precision Touchpad was accurate and capable of handling Windows 10’s multi-finger gestures well. Its 1080p screen wasn’t exceptionally bright, so it looked a little dim in broad daylight in our tests, but it was comparable to the screens of other budget laptops we tested, and it looked great indoors.

To open and repair or upgrade the 445 G7, you need a small Phillips-head screwdriver and a plastic opening tool. You loosen the screws and then carefully pry the bottom off with the opening tool.3 Once you’re inside, you have easy access to two RAM slots, one M.2 SSD slot, one 2.5-inch SATA drive bay, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth card, and the battery. As with most business laptops, HP provides an extensive service manual (PDF) to guide you through most repairs step-by-step.

The 445 G7 has a total of three USB-A ports, a USB Type-C port that can charge the laptop and connect to a monitor, a full-size SD card reader, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet port. This array covers everything most people need to use the laptop without resorting to dongles or adapters.

  • On the laptop’s right side: a headphone jack, two USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port (whose cover folds down to make room for a cable when it’s in use), a USB-C port, and a power jack. You can use either the USB-C port or the power jack to charge the laptop. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

  • On the left side, you’ll find a lock slot, another USB Type-A port, and a full-size SD card slot. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

  • The ProBook 445 G7 has a webcam privacy cover. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

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In our battery test, the 445 G7 lasted for a little over seven hours, which is decent for a budget laptop though far shorter than the battery life of the X1 Carbon; this HP laptop will get you through a workday but with little room to spare. At 3.5 pounds, the 445 G7 is about average in weight for a budget business laptop but over a pound heavier than the X1 Carbon, a difference you’re likely to notice when you’re carrying your laptop around in a bag.

The ProBook configuration we recommend has a cutout on the palm rest for a fingerprint reader, but it’s nonfunctional. To get a reader (or a face-scanning IR camera), you need to add that feature to the more-expensive built-to-order version of the laptop. That said, if installing your own memory and storage upgrades is something you’re comfortable with, you can save money on this version of the laptop by buying more memory and an SSD yourself rather than paying HP’s inflated prices.

Also great: Lenovo ThinkPad L14 (Intel)

Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Also great

Lenovo ThinkPad L14

A more upgradable ThinkPad

The L14 is heavier and larger than the X1 Carbon, but it doesn’t cost as much, it’s more upgradable, and it gives you the same great ThinkPad keyboard and trackpad plus better battery life than most budget business laptops offer.

Processor: quad-core Intel Core i5-10210U Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Intel HD 620 Screen: 1080p IPS
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.6 pounds
Tested battery life: 9.8 hours    

If you don’t mind a big step up in weight and a small step down in battery life, the Lenovo ThinkPad L14 represents a more affordable way to get most of the things that make the X1 Carbon great. It’s over a pound heavier than the X1 Carbon, but it offers the same performance, the same great keyboard and trackpad, a similar screen, excellent battery life, user-upgradable memory, and a better price. Its larger size also gives it more room for ports—including a microSD card reader and an Ethernet port—than the X1 Carbon has.

The L14’s keyboard and trackpad are just as good as the X1 Carbon’s. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

The L14’s keyboard has the same gently scooped keys and nice, even backlight as the X1 Carbon’s; most ThinkPad keyboards and touchpads are essentially identical, so if you’ve used any of them, you have a good idea of what the others feel like. The 14-inch 1080p screen in the L14 we tested was brighter than the 445 G7’s display but not as bright as the X1 Carbon’s. (We tested the 300-nit version; the 250-nit version should be closer to the 445 G7’s display.) It’s not ideal for use in direct sunlight, but it’s usable, and it’s fine indoors.

The L14 has ports for just about everything, including ports the X1 Carbon doesn’t have. You’ll find one USB Type-A port on each side of the laptop, plus two USB-C ports that can charge the laptop or connect to a display as well as USB accessories. This model also has a microSD card slot, an HDMI port, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. And unlike the X1 Carbon, the L14 has user-upgradable memory that you can expand as your needs change. Lenovo has published a service manual (PDF) that can walk you through upgrades and repairs; though the X1 Carbon is still a pretty repairable laptop overall, replacing components like the keyboard can be easier on the L14 since this model’s parts aren’t packed quite so tightly inside the case.

  • On the L14’s left side: two USB-C ports (one of which is also a Lenovo docking port), one USB Type-A port, an HDMI port, a microSD card slot, and an Ethernet port. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

  • On the right side: a headphone jack, a USB Type-A port, and a lock slot. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

  • The webcam comes with a privacy cover. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

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The ThinkPad L14 lasted nearly 10 hours in our battery life test, landing in between the ThinkPad X1 Carbon at 12.5 hours and the ProBook 445 G7 at 7.1 hours. That’s enough for a full day of work with some time left over. At 3.6 pounds, the L14 is on the heavy side, but it’s comparable in weight to other budget and midrange business laptops and lighter than alternatives like the ThinkPad E14 or Dell’s Vostro 14 3490.

You can configure the L14 with a fingerprint reader, a face-scanning IR camera, or both. The configuration we recommend includes only the fingerprint reader; we generally recommend picking one or the other rather than paying for both, but if you’re willing to spend more you can add both to a built-to-order version of the L14.

Other good business laptops

The following otherwise decent business laptops had at least one flaw that separated them from our top picks. But these models are still good options if our top picks don’t meet your particular needs or if they’re out of stock.

Dell Latitude 5410

Processor: quad-core Intel Core i5-10210U Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Intel HD 620 Screen: 1080p IPS
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.46 pounds (with 68 Wh battery)
Tested battery life: 11.3 hours    

When you choose the version with the larger, 68 Wh battery, Dell’s Latitude 5410 combines the stellar battery life of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with the upgradable memory (and heavier weight) of the Lenovo ThinkPad L14. The configuration we recommend is usually a little more expensive than the L14, but the price fluctuates based on the promotions Dell is running when you’re trying to buy. The Latitude 5410’s keyboard is good and its trackpad is accurate, but the latter’s separate buttons take some getting used to if you’re accustomed to a more typical one-piece trackpad. You don’t get a fingerprint reader or an IR camera in this configuration, and you have no way to add either one without stumbling through Dell’s bewildering system-configuration page and paying more money.

Lenovo ThinkPad T14s AMD

Processor: six-core AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U Storage: 256 GB or 512 GB SSD
Graphics: integrated AMD Radeon Screen: 1080p IPS
Memory: 16 GB Weight: 2.8 pounds
Tested battery life: 8.3 hours    

No version of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with AMD’s Ryzen processors, which offer better all-around performance and graphics performance than Intel’s 10th-generation Core processors. The AMD version of Lenovo’s ThinkPad T14s is about as close as you can get. It weighs 2.8 pounds, almost half a pound more than the X1 Carbon, and its 8-plus-hour battery life is merely great compared with the 12-plus hours the X1 Carbon lasted in the same test. But the T14s has the same great keyboard and basic design as the X1 Carbon, it costs about the same amount, and AMD’s processors are a better choice right now if you need extra processor speed or want to do some light gaming. Be sure to buy a version with 16 GB of memory—like Lenovo’s other T-series ThinkPads this year, the T14s doesn’t include RAM slots.

Lenovo ThinkPad T490

Processor: quad-core Intel Core i5-10210U Storage: 256 GB SSD
Graphics: Intel HD 620 Screen: 1080p IPS
Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.4 pounds
Tested battery life: 8.75 hours    

The Lenovo ThinkPad T490, our previous top pick, is still available at this writing. It’s about a pound heavier than the X1 Carbon, but it has a microSD card slot, a full-size Ethernet port, Thunderbolt 3 ports, and one user-accessible RAM slot for upgrades (8 GB or 16 GB comes soldered to the motherboard and is non-upgradable). The X1 Carbon’s light weight makes it a more pleasant laptop to carry around and use overall, but the T490 is still a great option if you want something a bit lighter than the L14 and don’t want to give up the memory slot.

What to look forward to

HP announced its EliteBook 845 G7 laptop back in May 2020, and it’s due to release around the time of this writing. Like the ProBook 445 G7, this model is an AMD Ryzen–based computer with upgradable memory that meets all our other requirements for a good business laptop. Weighing around 3 pounds for the non-touchscreen version, it may be a promising higher-performance alternative to the Lenovo ThinkPad L14 or Dell Latitude 5410, depending on its pricing and battery life. We’ll be testing it as soon as we can.

The competition

For our latest round of testing, we skipped laptops with older, eighth-generation Intel Core processors or AMD Ryzen 3000–series processors. The Intel processors run fine, but they’re a bit older, and those laptop models may go out of stock or disappear. The Ryzen 3000 laptops we’ve tested in the past have exhibited worse processor performance and battery life than those with eighth- or 10th-generation Intel processors or Ryzen 4000 processors, and they should be avoided.

Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro are intended for professionals—“pro” is right in the name, after all. We have a guide to MacBooks if you prefer macOS to Windows, but the laptops don’t currently meet most of our upgradability and repairability criteria for a good business laptop. They’re difficult to repair and (usually) impossible to upgrade, and they include just a handful of identical ports that necessitate a pile of dongles. The MacBook Pros are light, their screens are fantastic, their keyboards and trackpads are good, and Apple’s support is usually responsive and helpful, but these laptops don’t meet our requirements for this particular guide.

We didn’t test Lenovo’s ThinkPad T14 series or the Intel version of the ThinkPad T14s. Older T-series ThinkPads were our main picks in this guide for years because they were more upgradable than the X1 Carbon yet cost less and still included high-end perks like Thunderbolt 3 ports. But the T14 and T14s have soldered non-upgradable RAM, weigh much more than the X1 Carbon, and don’t cost much less when configured with the same specs. Both the T14 and the T14s have microSD slots, and the T14 has a full-size Ethernet port (no dongle required), both things the X1 Carbon doesn’t offer. But the X1 Carbon is still the better all-around package.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7, our previous upgrade pick, is still available. If you find it significantly cheaper than the Gen 8 model, you should buy it instead, though the two laptops usually cost about the same amount when configured with similar specs. The screen, performance, ports, and battery life are all comparable to those of the Gen 8 version. You miss out on Wi-Fi 6, and some versions of the Gen 7 include eighth-generation Intel processors, but otherwise it’s a near-identical laptop.

The Lenovo ThinkPad E14 is a budget business laptop with two available RAM slots that’s usually available for less than $1,000. Offering 7-and-a-bit hours of battery life, it compares well to the HP ProBook 445 G7 in longevity. But it’s about a quarter-pound heavier than the 445 G7, it usually costs anywhere from $100 to $300 more, and the 445 G7’s AMD Ryzen processors perform better than the equivalent Intel counterparts in the E14.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 AMD hadn’t been released when we were researching models to test, but the ProBook 445 G7 is the better laptop overall. The E14 Gen 2 AMD is similar to the 445 G7—it uses the same AMD Ryzen processors, weighs 3.5 pounds, and meets our other requirements for a good business laptop. It has the excellent ThinkPad keyboard and trackpad, too. But the 445 G7 offers one more USB Type-A port and an SD card reader, as well as two open RAM slots instead of one, and it’s usually a little cheaper.

We didn’t test the HP ProBook 440 G7, which is essentially identical in size, ports, and weight to the 445 G7 but uses 10th-generation Intel processors rather than AMD Ryzen processors. The 445 G7 gives you better performance for less money.

We decided not to test HP’s 340S G7, the company’s lowest-end business laptop. Though it’s no cheaper than the ProBook 445 G7, the 340S G7 has fewer ports, a smaller battery, and a creakier plastic body that is less sturdy than what we usually look for in a business laptop. Go for the 445 G7 instead.

We skipped several laptops from Dell’s Vostro lineup, including the Vostro 14 3490, Vostro 14 5401, and Vostro 14 5490. These basic budget business laptops are usually either the same price or more expensive than the ProBook 445 G7, but they have slower Intel processors and don’t use IPS display panels.

We weren’t able to test Dell’s Latitude 3410, which is similar to the ThinkPad L14 in size, weight, and specs and meets our minimum requirements for a business laptop. Historically, we’ve preferred ThinkPad keyboards, and Dell’s laptop configurations make features such as backlit keyboards and fingerprint sensors harder to find and more expensive than Lenovo’s configurations do. But if you know you prefer Dell to Lenovo or Latitudes to ThinkPads, consider this model over the L14.

We skipped some high-end models with non-upgradable RAM, such as the Dell Latitude 7410 and the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, because they’re heavier and usually more expensive than the X1 Carbon. They are convertibles with foldable hinges, if you need or care about that, but we don’t think that’s a feature most people should pay extra for.

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