Let’s face it, it is tempting.“Lenovo Laptop on special for $1099”and they’re even throwing in a carry case! How could you go wrong?
Actually there is plenty that can go wrong for a business. As far as business PCs go, we want PCs (and laptops) that are reliable, process our work as fast as possible, can stay on for 12 hours at a time, don’t mind a bit of rough use during travel, and the ability to have it fixed in the comfort of your home or office if things go wrong with it.
Computers that are for home use are significantly different to those that are used in businesses. Here are some of the reasons why:
The build quality of a local chain stores PCs or Laptops (think Harvey Norman, JB HI-FI) and commercial grade machines is significantly different. Firstly the commercial range laptops from major computer manufacturers have gone through several iterations of learning what parts work best together. Each part that was faulty in a year, was improved in the next. Much like a good car manufacturer. The chassis used in commercial machines are more advanced than in the cheaper ones. Chassis on devices are crucial to the way heat is expelled. Heat extraction determines how well the parts will operate under pressure when you have 15 applications open. It could literally mean the difference between a blue screen of death or an phased PC.
Electronic devices have over 500 parts that make it work. There is a lot that can go wrong. Warranty with most retailers is one year and sometimes you may be able to purchase an additional year. This is because the PCs are generally built to last around the 12/24 month mark. Whereas warrantys for business range PCs and laptops can be extendable up to 5 years. They know that the build quality is good enough for it to last 5 years. Warranty acts like insurance for your car and is crucial to ensure that warranty is at least 3 years.
And when things do go wrong most business machine manufacturers like Dell, HP, IBM offer on site warranty. Meaning if the hardware goes wrong they will come to your home or office to fix it. Harvey Norman or JB Hifi will ask you to bring the machine in and leave it with them for 3 weeks at a time to get it fixed
Windows Home vs Windows 10 Pro
One of the main reasons the machines from stores like JBHI and Harvey Norman are cheaper is because they come standard with Windows 10 Home. If you then need to upgrade to W10Pro it will cost $300+
Most businesses need Windows 10 Pro and the security of its operating system. Windows 10 Pro is safer when it comes to protecting your PC and protecting data. In addition, you can link a Windows 10 Pro device to a domain, which isn’t possible with a Windows 10 Home device. Windows 10 Pro also has useful features such as Remote Desktop to remotely connect to another PC in the office.
Support and Service
If you ever need phone support the devices that are more expensive generally will also have more people on their support team. So you’ll find that Dell’s Vostro call centre will have a 2 hour wait and no call back service whereas Dell’s Latitude range will have no wait time and an alternate chat service.
Overall you get what you pay for when you buy a PC. If you’re only using it for home use, okay with mediocre service, blue screens, and fine not having a pc for 2 weeks while it gets fixed, then ‘retail range’ PCs are for you. If you’d like a PC that you can connect to the domain, can stay on for 12 hours at a time, can handle several applications without restarting, and good service when things go wrong, then buy a good quality PC/Laptop once every 3-5 years.
Here is a quick checklist on what to look out for when purchasing PCs:
- If a price of a PC is too good to be true, question it!
- Ensure it has warranty that states next business day – preferably onsite
- Ensure it comes with Windows 10 Pro – otherwise add $300 to the price to upgrade.
- Call the service centre and see how long you’re on hold to get to a support technician
- Check that the plastic quality doesn’t sound hollow