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    12 Best Laptops for Remote Work and Distributed Teams

    As an IT Manager, you face 99 problems—finding the ideal laptop for remote teams shouldn't be one of them.

    According to an Owl Labs State of Remote Work report, 56% of global companies allow remote work, while 16% of global companies are fully remote.

    This means that the latter half of companies completely rely on their distributed teams’ laptop capabilities. Design leaders pitching new products or developers fixing software bugs all require laptops that operate without a hitch, no matter their location or network conditions.

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    We understand that countless hours can be wasted scouring product specification charts and studying reviews. Fret not; this guide reviews the 13 best laptops for remote work. Let's dive in!

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    9 Factors to Consider for Remote Work Laptops

    Let's examine a few factors that you should consider when equipping your remote teams with laptops. 

    Performance capacity 

    Think about the kind of tasks your team will need to handle.

    Are they running multiple virtual machines, crunching big datasets, or dealing with complex code compilations? For instance, they might need a machine with a higher-end processor like an Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7, ample RAM (think 16GB or more), and perhaps even a dedicated GPU.

    For simpler tasks like managing emails, basic coding, or documentation, mid-range options with Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 and 8GB of RAM should be sufficient. Evaluating your team’s specific needs is essential to ensure you're providing them with the right tools for the job. Remember, if team members are involved in graphic design or video editing, they might need a more advanced GPU.

    Check thermal performance too; you don’t want machines overheating during critical tasks. 

    Also, consider SSDs over traditional HDDs; faster storage can significantly boost performance for intensive applications and large file transfers. 

    Battery Life

    Consider laptops that can last throughout the workday, especially if your team travels or works in areas without easy access to power outlets. 

    Look into devices that promise at least 8-10 hours of real-world battery life. Real-world factors often reduce advertised battery life, so aim high. 

    Some laptops also offer fast charging capabilities, allowing a quick power boost during short breaks. Additionally, consider battery health over time; longer lifespan batteries can mean fewer replacements and consistent performance over years of usage.

    Security features 

    Consider laptops with hardware security modules like TPM (Trusted Platform Module) for secure cryptographic operations. 

    To reinforce security, explore built-in biometric authentication options—such as fingerprint scanners or facial recognition. Opt for devices supporting secure boot and OS encryption, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. 

    Given the increasing importance of remote access, ensure VPN support and consider endpoint security solutions. This offers additional layers of protection against threats like malware and phishing attacks.

    Operating system

    Depending on the existing company infrastructure and the tasks at hand, you might favor Windows, macOS, or Linux.

    Windows is quite versatile, but macOS excels in creative industries, and Linux is a powerhouse for development and IT tasks.

    Providing a mix or allowing choice will ensure flexibility while maintaining productivity and compatibility across different projects and scenarios. 

    Portability

    Look for laptops that offer a good balance between performance and weight.

    Aim for a device under 3 pounds if frequent travel or mobility is a factor for your team. Coming to size and weight, a 13-inch screen is perfect for ultra-portability, while a 15-inch or larger screen might be more comfortable for extensive use, especially if detailed work is involved. High-resolution displays (1080p and up) result in crisper visuals and better multitasking capabilities.

    Thin and light models like the Dell XPS 13 or the MacBook Air are excellent choices. Also, consider the build quality—carbon fiber and aluminum chassis can withstand the rigors of travel better than plastic ones.

    Features like backlit keyboards and high-resolution, anti-glare screens can improve user comfort and productivity when working from various locations.

    Connectivity 

    Ensure laptops have plenty of USB ports, including USB-C, for fast data transfer and charging capabilities. 

    Look for models with HDMI or DisplayPort outputs for multi-monitor setups, Bluetooth support for peripheral connectivity, and strong Wi-Fi modules to handle high-speed internet requirements. 

    In newer laptops, Wi-Fi 6 can offer improved performance and reduced latency. Additionally, Ethernet ports are still crucial for reliable, wired connections, especially in areas with temperamental Wi-Fi reliability.

    Display quality 

    When choosing laptops, prioritize displays with high resolution (at least 1080p) for clarity and IPS panels for better color accuracy and wider viewing angles. This is crucial for tasks that require precision, like design or UI/UX work. Also, consider the screen size—balance portability with usability. 

    A 14 to 15-inch display often provides a good middle ground. For users working outside or in various lighting conditions, a higher brightness level and an anti-glare coating can make a big difference in visibility. OLED screens can be dazzling, but check for potential burn-in issues. 

    Eye-comfort technologies like blue light filters and flicker-free screens are also important for reducing strain during long working hours. It's not just about good visuals; productivity and well-being matter, too.

    Pay attention to the screen-to-body ratio (also called display aspect ratio or DAR), which maximizes screen real estate while keeping the device compact. The ideal ratio is currently 16:10. 

    Keyboard and Touchpad 

    There are different types of keyboards and touchpads. Pay attention to key travel distance, actuation force, and layout. A comfortable and responsive keyboard can make coding and prolonged typing sessions less fatiguing.

    Look for touchpads with precision drivers for better gesture control and responsiveness. Features like physical buttons versus touch-sensitive, multitouch support, and size also matter. If your team uses shortcuts a lot, customizable keys and backlighting can provide an additional boost to productivity during late-night coding marathons or in low-light environments.

    Also, if your teams are distributed worldwide, be wary of the keyboard layout. For example, if your remote worker is located in France, they might prefer an AZERTY layout instead of a QWERTY.

    Graphic capability 

    Think about GPU requirements based on their specific tasks. For general office work, integrated graphics might suffice. But for those working with CAD, 3D modeling, or intensive video processing, a dedicated GPU like NVIDIA's RTX series or AMD's Radeon is a must. 

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    12 Best laptops for remote work and distributed teams

    1. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023)

    Many people consider the Apple MacBook Pro the best laptop for remote work. It is a very powerful laptop with a fast processing speed and many useful features.

    The Apple MacBook Pro 16 has a Magic Keyboard feature, along with its Touch ID, that allows you to easily enter any emojis, secure your laptop with advanced safety features, and easily carry out many functions.

    With Touch ID, you can easily buy any product on Apple apps, use Apple Pay, and lock and unlock your system. The Apple MacBook Pro 16 is a powerful machine that’s a perfect fit for remote workers in graphic design, video editing, and coding, 

    Specifications: 

    • CPU - 16 Core GPU

    • Graphics - Apple M2 Pro GPU (19-core)

    • RAM - 32GB

    • Screen - 16

    • Storage - 512GB SSD Storage

    • Ports - Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.0

    Pros

    • Powerful process and high graphics card

    • High-quality resolution display

    • Fastest Mac laptop ever. 

    • Accommodates more RAM and internal storage than any previous MacBook.

    • Gorgeous display.

    Cons

    • It is not user-upgradeable. You have to decide on the RAM and internal storage when you’re about to buy it.

    • Just (4) USB-C/Thunderbolt ports. No card reader. No USB-A ports. No HDMI output. No Ethernet jack. 

    2. Dell XPS 16 (2024)

    When most people think of a “Big screen productivity laptop”, Dell XPS 16 comes to mind. It offers multiple GPU options for remote workers who might need more power.

    While it has a sleek design, do not let that design fool you. It can become a beast if you decide to upgrade it to a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 laptop graphics card, 64GB of RAM, and up to an Intel Core 9 Ultra CPU.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Intel Core Ultra 7 155H

    • Graphics -  Nvidia RTX 4070 (60-watt TGP, dGPU), Intel Arc (8 Xe cores, iGPU)

    • RAM - 32GB

    • Screen - 16.3-inch 4K+ OLED, Touch

    • Storage - 512GB

    • Ports - 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-C, 1x 3.5mm audio jack

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth v5.4

    Pros

    • Sleek design and sturdy build

    • Wonderful OLED display

    • Excellent CPU performance

    • Great battery life

    Cons

    • GPU performance hampered by design

    • Minimal ports for the size

    • Expensive for the parts

    3. Dell XPS 17 (2022)

    The Dell XPS 17 is a wide beauty. It might be difficult to fit it in a backpack. This sleek machine gives off a firm and rigid feeling.

    Opening the Dell XPS 17 should be done with two hands as it does not have a notch or lip on the front edge.

    The Dell XPS 17 is a big-screen laptop that can do a lot. This big beauty comes with a comfortable keyboard, roomy touchpad, and outstanding battery life.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Quad-core Intel Core i7-13700H

    • Graphics - Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070

    • RAM - 32GB

    • Screen - 17”

    • Storage - 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

    • Ports - 4 USB Type-C, Thunderbolt 4, combo audio jack, SD card slot

    • Connectivity - Wifi v6, Bluetooth V5

    Pros

    • Expansive 17-inch 16:10 display

    • Thin chassis

    • Incredible battery life

    Cons

    • High price without an OLED display

    • Low-wattage GPU limits 3D performance

    • Low-res 720p webcam

    4. Microsoft Surface Pro 8

    To die-hard users, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the most iconic Surface laptop so far. It's fast, has great screen quality, and you can even take it apart to use as a tablet. 

    You can get it in two sizes: a smaller 13.5-inch or a bigger 15-inch. Both have a touch screen that shows things very clearly.

    The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 comes with nice cameras that give you clear images. 

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Core i5-1135G7, Core i7-1185G7

    • Graphics - UHD (Core i3), Iris Xe (Core i5, i7)

    • RAM - 32GB

    • Screen - 13-inch PixelSense Flow (2880×1920

    • Storage - 128GB/256GB removable SSD; 512GB/1TB

    • Ports - 2 USB-C (USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4), 1 Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover Port, 3.5mm jack

    • Connectivity - WiFi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1

    Pros

    • Superior screen: larger, higher-res, higher refresh rate

    • Inking is a pleasure

    • Good audio, with louder speakers

    • The new optional Type Cover integrates the pen well

    Cons

    • It cannot be upgraded since it is a tablet

    • The pen and keyboard still cost extra bucks (it’s quite expensive)

    • It costs quite a lot even without the pen and keyboard

    5. Dell XPS 13

    The Dell XPS 13 has an updated design and a 12th-generation Intel Core processor that allows it to perform nicely. This model looks very similar to the XPS 13 Plus.

    Many people term it as the Windows equivalent of Apple MacBook Air in terms of its lightweight.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Intel Core 7 Ultra 155H

    • Graphics - Intel Arc Graphics

    • RAM - 16GB

    • Screen - 13.4 inches

    • Storage - 512GB

    • Ports - 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C with Power Delivery, SD Card reader, 

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4

    Pros

    • Elegant design

    • Sleek and lightweight (highly portable)

    • Great display

    • The keyboard is very comfortable

    Cons

    • No upgrade options

    • No headphone jack

    • The webcam is quite average

    • More expensive than its predecessor

    6. HP Spectre x360

    If you’re looking for a portable yet slim 2-in-1 that can do it, look at the HP Spectre X360. This beauty stands out for its quality build and durability, and it’s quite versatile.

    The HP Spectre X360 comes equipped with a nice grip, which can be very handy as the laptop is not lightweight. It also has a high-resolution screen that allows you to work outdoors without stress.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Intel Core Ultra 7 155H

    • Graphics - Intel Arc integrated

    • RAM - 32GB

    • Screen - 14 inches

    • Storage - 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4 solid state drive

    • Ports - 2x USB Type-C, 1x USB Type-A, 1x 3.5mm combo audio jack, Thunderbolt 4

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 7 Bluetooth 5.4

    Pros

    • Attractive, versatile 2-in-1 design

    • A large, responsive touchpad

    • Quite fast

    • Great battery life

    • Beautiful OLED touchscreen

    • Excellent webcam with biometric design

    Cons

    • No HDMI port

    • No SD card reader

    7. ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11

     

    Even though the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 is quite sturdy, it’s lightweight compared to a MacBook Pro. It will boast of being “one of the toughest out there” as it can handle a clumsy fall from your hand (please don’t go smashing it) and still work well.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Intel Core i7-1355U

    • Graphics - Intel Iris Xe Graphics

    • RAM - 16GB

    • Screen - 14 inches

    • Storage - 512 GB

    • Ports - 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt™ 4, 2 x USB-A 3.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Audio jack (3.5 mm)

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 6E Bluetooth 5.3

    Pros

    • Decent performance and long battery life

    • World-class keyboard

    • Great slim and light design 

    • Plenty of ports to choose

    • Great display

    Cons

    • It’s quite pricey (very expensive)

    • No SD or microSD card slot

    8. Apple MacBook Air 13

    13-inch MacBook Air, open, display with thin bezels, FaceTime HD camera, raised feet, rounded corners, Midnight colour

    When most people think of the most affordable Apple MacBook laptop, they think of the MacBook Air 13. With Apple’s M1 processor, the MacBook Air can carry out a variety of creative tasks.

    Although the MacBook Pro is more advanced compared to the MacBook Air, the Air still boasts a great display and amazing processing speed.

    The Air is very portable and lightweight, making it a perfect fit for remote workers who enjoy traveling and working.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Apple M3 

    • Graphics - Apple M3 (10-core)

    • RAM - 16GB

    • Screen - 13.6 inches

    • Storage - 512 GB

    • Ports - 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, MagSafe 3 charging port, 1x Audio jack (3.5 mm)

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 6E Bluetooth 5.3

    Pros

    • Impressive blend of portability and power

    • Capable graphics performance

    • Slim, lightweight, all-metal design

    • Expanded support for external displays

    • Speedy and versatile Thunderbolt 4 ports

    • All-day battery goes and goes

    Cons

    • Quite pricey

    • Limitations to monitoring support

    • Distracting camera notch

    Price

    It has a starting price of $999

    9. HP EliteBook 1040 G10

    HP Elitebook 1040 G10 Notebook PC - Customizable

    When this model came out, HP called it “The world's most advanced business laptop”. The EliteBook 1040 G10 is designed to raise all workspace.

    The EliteBook 1040 G10 comes with innovative software solutions that make remote work enjoyable. It comes with a Smart Sense that keeps your PC cool while delivering fast performance.

    The EliteBook 1040 G10 is lightweight, weighing under 2.7 pounds. It also comes with an Intelligent hibernate feature that saves battery life when you’re away from it.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Intel Core i7 1355U

    • Graphics - Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 (80EU)

    • RAM - 32GB

    • Screen - 14 inches

    • Storage - 1 TB PCIe® NVMe™ TLC SSD

    • Ports - 2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 1x HDMI 2.1, Audio jack (3.5 mm)

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, optional Nano SIM

    Pros

    • Sleek design

    • Great battery life

    • Nice convertible

    Cons

    • Starts to heat up under heavy projects

    • No micoSD card slot

    • Low display performance

    10. HP Dragonfly Pro

    When you think of a laptop that can go head to head with a Mac, the HP Dragonfly Pro is the chosen laptop. The Dragonfly Pro gives you a top-notch typing experience.

    The Dragonfly Pro sacrificed ports to give you a sleek and slim design that’s on par with the MacBook Pro. This slim laptop comes with the latest Ryzen processor and 8 high-performance cores that make remote work a breeze.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - AMD Ryzen 7 7736U (8 cores, 16 threads)

    • Graphics - AMD Radeon 680M (12 graphics cores)

    • RAM - 16GB (can go up to 32GB)

    • Screen - 14 inches

    • Storage - 512 GB PCIe NVMe solid-state drive

    • Ports - 2x USB 4 Type-C (40 Gbps, Thunderbolt 3 compatible), 1x USB-C 3.2 10 Gbps

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, optional Nano SIM

    Pros

    • Premium Materials

    • Powerful AMD Ryzen chip

    • Surprising four-speaker setup

    • Good battery life

    • Amazing performance and worth every dollar

    Cons

    • No HDMI

    • No headphone jack

    • No high-speed Thunderbolt 4 port

     

    11. Framework Laptop 13

    If you’re more concerned about lightweight than functionality, or rather, you need something to complete simple tasks, then the Framework Laptop 13 is an ideal laptop for you.

    The Framework 13 started as a project that challenged the everyday laptop designs as an ultraportable laptop.

    Specifications:

    • CPU - Intel Core i7-1360P (12 cores, 16 threads, 4 performance cores, 8 efficiency cores)

    • Graphics - Intel Iris Xe Graphics

    • RAM - 16GB 

    • Screen - 13.5 inches

    • Storage - 512 GB 

    • Ports - 4x Thunderbolt 4, 1x HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm headset jack

    • Connectivity - Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

    Pros

    • It’s very portable

    • Solid design

    • You can easily repair or upgrade it

    • Great keyboard 

    Cons

    • Weak battery life

    • Expansion Modules drive price up for some ports

    • The loud fan kicks on under a moderate load

    12. Samsung Galaxy Book

    The Samsung Galaxy Book is a perfect blend of premium features and affordability in one piece. For a laptop its price, it comes compacted with some premium features which are better expressed in its Pro versions.

    The main step up on this portable device is the Iris Xe Max GPU, which is compared to the integrated graphics you would normally find in laptops of its size.

    While it might not be the best option for creatives or creators who handle heavy-duty tasks, it could easily handle simple video encoding and raw photo editing.

    Specifications:

    • Display size/resolution - 15.6-inch 1,920x1,080-pixel touch display

    • Processor - 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7

    • Memory - 16GB 4,267GHz DDR4

    • Graphics - Intel Iris Xe Max

    • Storage - 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD

    • Ports - USB-C (x2), USB-A (x2), audio/mic jack, HDMI out, microSD card slot

    • Networking - 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) Bluetooth 5.1

    • Operating system - Windows 11

    • Weight - 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)

    Pros

    • Good overall performance

    • Thin, light full-metal chassis

    • Plenty of connection options

    Con

    • Disappointing display

    • The keys aren’t backlit

    • No fingerprint reader

    Let Workwize Help Equip Your Distributed Team With Laptops

    Want to equip your distributed team with MDM-enrolled laptops, but negotiating with countless vendors, custom clearance, high shipping costs, delays, custom fees, manual efforts, and tracking the laptops are bogging you down?

    Enter: Workwize.

    • Global delivery of IT equipment within 5-7 days (local warehouses in 72+ countries)

    • Direct shipment to remote offices, home addresses, local warehouses (keep enough stock for future hires), or employees’ homes.

    • Company-branded self-service portal for employees to request IT equipment

    • Wide catalog of IT equipment and peripherals

    • Buy, rent, or lease options: all devices in all geographies

    Make onboarding your employees a breeze: book a demo with Workwize today!

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