Technology Unwrapped

The most important technology concepts, strategies and actions uncovered for your business.

Can I Purchase a Consumer-Class Laptop for My Business? What You Should Know.

HP_NotebookEvery now and then we have a client that for one reason or another ends up with a consumer class computer. They may be wanting to save money, or needed a computer for a new hire ASAP. So what's wrong with that? If it's an HP computer that should be good enough right?

HP, as well as most computer vendors, have two lines: consumer and business class computers. These can be desktops or laptops, so what is the difference?

Consumer class computers will typically have:

A shorter warranty period, with more limitations

Most consumer PC warranties are carry-in or ship-back vs onsite. Notebooks in particular usually need to be shipped back for consumers which may leave you without a computer for many days or even weeks.

A "home" operating system that cannot join corporate network domains

You're stuck with what comes loaded unless you spend the money for an upgraded version of the operating system such as Windows.

More "bloatware"

Bloatware is software packaged with the computer meant for home users. Licensing agreements with the vendor are another reason the computer cost is low. This means that a computer with more bloatware is sold for a cheaper price.

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Business class computers will typically have:

Longer warranty periods & greater parts availability

And these warranties come with better options, such as next business day parts. If the vendor is offering a longer warranty period, they have engineered the hardware to last longer. This means that you are less likely to need the warranty in the first place. 

Business class computers will also have greater parts available to meet warranty requirements, meaning that machines won't have to be returned to the vendor for repair.

Pro version of the computer's operating system

A Pro version of an operating system can be joined to your business domain, allowing for centralized management of the machine.

Longer periods of availability for product lines

Longer periods of product line availability allow for consistency and ease of getting support. 

A business-class product line will be in production for a year or two, whereas consumer models change monthly, if not more frequently. The longer production period allows you to limit the potential hardware sets and drivers you have to support.

There is also more opportunity for automation. For instance, here at CoreTech we use an imaging and deployment tool to streamline the configuration process—saving our clients’ money.

Downgrade rights for the operating system

If your line of business application does not support Windows 8.1, you may be able to install Windows 7 and still be legally licensed.

A higher standard for performance and reliability

Business class computers are engineered to meet the resource requirements of business applications, which are very different from the way a consumer PC is assembled, which is often with gaming and multi-media consumption in mind.

Better expansion and connectivity options

A business laptop may have multiple video outputs for connecting to projectors, Ethernet and serial ports.

Less bloatware

Vendors are getting better about this, however a PC configured by CoreTech will have a clean install once the deployment process is complete.

When taking into account all of the above, a consumer-class computer will  end up costing you more money in the long run. Necessary operating system updates, downtime from waiting on parts, a shorter replacement lifecycle, and additional upgrade will all factor into that cost.

When you're in the market for new computers for your business, the best place to start is talking with your IT service provider. 

Some providers may have technology management agreements excluding computers not purchased from the provider. These agreements may also exclude machines that do not meet required specs or that are not under manufacturer warranty.

If you have questions about consumer-class versus business-class technology for your business, the expert IT consultants at CoreTech can help. Reach out to us today to start the conversation. 

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Topics: Equipment Purchases