Business Choice 2021: Laptops and Tablets-news

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Work computing shifted dramatically in 2020. Staying in bed with a laptop all day constituted a full day at the office for some (and still does). But one thing every office needs, from big enterprises down to the smallest home office, is the right laptop or tablet to get work done. And these are the brands PCMag readers recommend most for work.


Business Choice Laptop Brands for 2021

Apple’s 9.0 out of 10 is the best Business Choice overall satisfaction score it has managed since 2016. It’s on top in almost every metric we asked about for business laptops. The exceptions are cost at 7.3—its second worst, next to Microsoft’s 7.2—and size and weight, where it has a still-glittering 8.9, but comes in second to Microsoft’s even shinier 9.0.

Winning the Business Choice award for laptops running Windows was Microsoft’s fight to lose; its Surface line of laptops has won every time since we launched the award in 2016. But lose it did, to an “upstart” called Asus, which had better rankings overall (8.9) and for likelihood to be recommended to colleagues (8.6), as well as ease of use, reliability, tech support, and repairs. (Scroll through the chart below for each manufacturer’s rating on all criteria.)

Microsoft’s loss stems from dropping its overall score to 8.5, still a great number but not enough to beat Asus and Apple. Redmond still comes out on top in the category of size and weight, earning that aforementioned 9.0. It also landed a great screen quality rating of 9.1, but that’s second to Apple’s 9.4.

Businesses you’d expect to be great at servicing other businesses—like the big three of Lenovo, HP, and Dell—do okay in this survey. They all have overall satisfaction and recommendation scores above 8.1, but none of them stand out.

For more, read The Best Business Laptops for 2021The Best Business Laptops for 2021.


Business Choice 2-in-1 Laptop Brands for 2021

We’ve only looked at business use of hybrid/convertible laptops—which undock or flip around into a tablet—for three years. Microsoft won at first, but the award went to HP by a hair in 2020.

This year, Microsoft is back. It managed a score increase to 8.8 for overall satisfaction, up from the 8.7 it earned in the last few years. Lenovo, however, came very close to the title for 2021. It’s not a crowded field. The only other company with hybrids that makes the cut for 2021 is Dell.

All have great overall satisfaction scores above 8.5, and there are some standout numbers, like Lenovo and HP both beating Microsoft in the ease-of-use category with a 9.1. Dell bests all the rest in tech support and repairs (Microsoft’s repairs score of 5.9 is the lowest number on the grid). And HP is kicking butt when it comes to screen quality (9.2) and touch-screen use (9.3).

The scores are all close in many areas. Business-use hybrids from any vendor here are likely to make your employees happy, but Microsoft retains the edge this time.

For more, read The Best 2-in-1 Convertible and Hybrid Laptops for 2021The Best 2-in-1 Convertible and Hybrid Laptops for 2021.


Business Choice Tablet Brands for 2021

Apple’s overall satisfaction score for the iPad in the workplace dropped from 9.1 last year to 8.8 this time. No worries, iPad fans. It’s more than enough to carry the company to another Business Choice win. Apple can’t compete on price satisfaction, ever, and has a low rating when it comes to repairs, but it manages top scores or ties in most of the other tablet categories.

The only other vendors getting any traction with our readers for tablets to use in the office are Microsoft, which makes Windows tablets, and Samsung, the top maker of Android tablets. Despite winning this award once in 2014, Microsoft didn’t even make the cut as a work tablet last year; instead, the third runner-up was Amazon. But for 2021, Microsoft landed with an 8.6 overall, enough to move Samsung, which held steady at 8.4 overall, from second to third place.

For more, read The Best Tablets for 2021The Best Tablets for 2021.


 Full Results

The PCMag Readers’ Choice survey for Laptops and Tablets was in the field from January 11, 2021, to February 1, 2021. For more information on how our surveys are conducted, read the survey methodology.

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