WFH Laptop is more than just for work.

Safe Distancing

For non-essential workers, laptop has become the most important work-from-home (WFH) essential. While most employers supply company laptops for their staffs, many staffs still have to depend on personal laptops for Zoom meeting, for example, because of app installation restriction.

As a result,  most work-from-home staffs require WFH laptops to be truly productive at home. End of the year is also the best time to grab a brand new laptop due to year-end sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas sales and New Year sales. The following guidelines will be very helpful to nail down the best WFH laptop for our budget.

1. Fit-For-Purpose Budget

For around SGD $500, the computing devices are mostly limited to Chromebooks. They’re similar to laptops but with lower performance specifications. Note that they’re NOT suitable for installing Windows-based applications because the operating system (OS) is Chrome OS which is not compatible with Windows OS.

Gaming laptops are high-end laptops with some of the most advanced performance specifications. They’re designed for applications that require intensive processing power and high graphic display resolution like gaming or graphic editing. All these performance improvements come with a heftier price tag of SGD $1500 or more.

Fortunately, regular WFH laptops with standard specifications are becoming more affordable and they fall around SGD $1000. Within this price range, there’re many choices of laptops that are suitable for popular Windows-based applications.

2. Eye-Comfort Screen Size

Smartnion for WFH laptop screen size

WFH laptops with 13″ screen display are more favorable for people who need to work outside home because they’re lighter to carry around. Unfortunately, they’re not so easy on our eyes. While at home, viewing with external monitor is highly recommended.

On the other hand, 15″ screen display is common for gaming laptops. People who are into gaming are also more willing to invest in multiple external monitors and immerse in the virtual world.

For a comfortable viewing experience, consider laptops with at least 14″ screen display. They may be bulkier but this is not a concern for home use. External monitor is optional but highly recommended for better productivity especially when working on multiple documents.

3. Fast Processing Power

Another important consideration is the applications that we plan to run in the laptop. If the main applications are cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications like Google Workspace or Zoom, then Chromebooks should be able to get the job done.

Due to expensive licensing fee, it’s unlikely that we need to install specialized applications which require high-end laptops. If that’s the case, the company would have provided the appropriate laptops to the WFH staffs.

In general, a regular WFH laptops with processor Intel Core i3 or better for smooth and responsive running multiple Windows-based applications like Microsoft 365 as well as SaaS applications. Choose memory of 8 GB DDR4 whenever available for fast switching among different applications.

4. Generous Storage Space

Free cloud storage are readily available nowadays. For instance, Microsoft OneDrive offers 5 GB of free cloud storage while Microsoft 365 plans include cloud storage of 100 GB and above. Similarly, Google Drive gives 15 GB of free cloud storage and Google Workspace plans provides cloud storage starting from 30 GB.

Cloud storage is extremely useful for data storage and sharing files with colleagues across the globe. However, we still prefer WFH laptops with generous local storage space for application installation and data storage. Disk space of 256 GB or bigger is becoming common in new laptops.

Since Windows OS and factory software take up no more than 50 GB of disk space, a regular WFH laptop with disk space of 256 GB will leave us about 200 GB of disk space. Although laptops with SATA hard disk drive (HDD) is cheaper, we strongly recommend to opt for laptops with Solid State Drive (SSD) because of the huge speed improvement.

5. Dependable After-Sales Support

Smartnion for WFH laptop brand

Last but not least, check whether the laptop website provides good online support like documentations, device drivers and software downloads (including OS recovery and BIOS driver), diagnostic help,  accessories and so on. This’ll save us plenty of time on getting the relevant information and support asap before looking for customer support.

It’s advantages to choose a laptop brand that has a service center near you. In the unfortunate event of laptop hardware failure or software corruption, we’ll be able to visit the service center for immediate assistance.

At this moment, the top selling laptop brands are Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer and others. Browse through these websites and use the existing filters to narrow down the models that meet or exceed all our requirements. Then we know the exact models and brands that we’re looking for during year-end sales.

A Dream WFH Laptop During New Norm

So far we haven’t mentioned about webcam and speaker for video conference because these’re standard built-in features for most laptops and the specifications are fixed. However, it’s important to confirm their existence since some Chromebooks and low-end laptops may not include built-in webcam.

Don’t forget that WFH laptops are not just for work only. They’re alternative source of entertainment while movement restriction is still in force. During break time or leisure time, use them to view streaming TV shows and movies from Prime Video, listen to Music Unlimited, or even play online games in Twitch channel. Now we’ve another perfect reason for adding a monitor to our year-end shopping list.

Stay safe and be socially responsible.

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