Five laptops ready for work

Often work will require you to hit the road, and though business-oriented tablets may suffice in some instances, there's no substitute for a proper laptop. Laptops that are secure, rugged, and long on battery life are vital to getting things done.

Laptops make fine desktop computer replacements too, most offering enough horsepower to handle day-to-day tasks. Combined with a second monitor and full-sized keyboard, laptops can create fine working stations.

If you're in the market for a new workhorse, check out these options.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The newest Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a hard drive option that offers exceptional speed. Being 2.9 pounds and 0.6 inches thick, the X1 Carbon is well-suited for working on the road. You can get up to an i7 3.2 GHz processor and 8 GB of RAM if you need serious horsepower. 512 GB of SSD storage is available, depending on model. The 14-inch display starts at 1920 x 1080 and goes up to 2560 x 1440.

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Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 made a big splash at CES as an ultrabook with an exceptionally thin border around the display. Touch and non-touch varieties of the XPS 13 are available, and the whole package weighs in at about 2.6 pounds and 0.7 inches at its thickest. Under the hood of the base model is an i3 2.1 GHz processor, which can be bumped up to i5 2.7 GHz processors in the higher-end versions. That's paired up with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, which can be upgraded to 8 GB in the top-of-the-line model. A 128 GB SSD should be enough to cover your storage needs, and two USB 3.0 ports can handle peripherals. The resolution of the 13.3-inch display comes in at 1920 x 1080.

HP EliteBook Folio 1020

HP EliteBook 1020

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is a rugged, secure, slim, and light laptop built for business. Inside you'll find a 1.1 GHz Core M processor, 8 GB of RAM, and storage starting at 128 GB. The non-touch 12.5-inch display comes in at 1920 x 1080, or you can upgrade to 2560 x 1440 with touch included. The Special Edition of the EliteBook Folio 1020 due out next month has a carbon weave construction that brings the total weight down to 2.2 pounds. MIL-STD 810G certification means this laptop is built to take a beating, plus a built-in fingerprint scanner alongside other HP security features. The rest of HP's EliteBook family is very much in the same vein. Fans of hybrids will want to check out the EliteBook Revolve 810.


Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme

For those that work in well and truly tough situations, the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme is an obscenely heavy-duty laptop. This laptop has a laundry list of military-grade ruggedization certifications, including water protection thanks to gaskets plugging all enclosures. Though the 14-inch screen's 1366 x 768 resolution and resistive touch capabilities may not impress your everyday consumer, the added glare resistance is perfect for outdoor use, plus friendly for use with gloves or cold hands. On the digital security side of things, you can tack on a smart card reader or fingerprint scanner as add-ons. Besides that, you've got a dual-core i3 1.7 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. For those looking for added flexibility, there's also a 12-inch version with a swivel hinge if you need to operate it as a tablet.


Lenovo ThinkPad T450s

Toshiba 450s

The Lenovo ThinkPad T450s is an all-business laptop. The 14-inch display offers resolution starting at 1600 x 900, but a touch version is available at 1920 x 1080. Under the hood is an i5 2.7 GHz processor, upgradeable to i7 3.2 GHz with 12 GB of RAM. Storage ranges from 128 GB to 500 GB. 3 USB 3.0 slots, built-in memory card reader, and VGA out offers all the outputs you need. A smartcard and fingerprint sensor are available for those particularly concerned with security.


Your favorite business laptops?

There's a wide range of laptops out there; let us know your top pick for getting things done in the comments.

Simon Sage