• John Encisco

Business vs. Consumer Computers for Small Business Owners

As we have become more dependent on our compute devices to effectively run and manage business operations, it is critical that you provide the right equipment to your staff.

Over the years I’ve worked with business owners across industries who have relied on consumer-based desktops, laptops and displays to run their business. Or, maybe they depend on their employees to BYOD. Their justification is that, on the surface, the systems are the same as slightly more expensive business devices. Maybe the processor speed, memory, and hard disk drive specs are the same, but there is more to the equation than these specifications alone.

Here are the critical factors to consider:

  • Durability

  • Design

  • Configuration

  • Support

  • Power

Most major manufacturers develop and produce separate product lines for consumer and business users. Consumers may use their devices for a few hours a day for simple tasks such as email, social media and web browsing. While downtime due to technical issues may be an inconvenience, it does not typically have a significant impact.

A business user on the other hand must rely on her/his computer for business critical applications, collaboration, supporting internal and customer facing operations, and more. Downtime can cost the business time and money, and negatively impact its reputation.

Business laptops and desktops are made to withstand continual use required for a 40+ hour work week, while parts built for consumer computers might be generic with shorter life expectancy. The components in business grade devices are more durable, reliable and are built to last longer under heavy work environments. This emphasis on durability means that a business-class laptop or desktop should last several years.

Additionally, business devices come with improved warranty coverage and can be more readily supported by your IT staff. For example, business grade devices typically include three-year warranties versus one year for consumer models.

And, you can often upgrade the support to include a dedicated priority support number, onsite repairs, accidental damage and more. These expanded service options ensure that your business remains operational and productive. You’ll receive a resolution to your technical issues in hours or days versus weeks.

If you're buying a laptop or desktop PC to make money or for work purposes, invest in one designed for business users. The investment will pay off in terms of better reliability, easier troubleshooting, and more professional features. Bottom line - a business-class computer provides more value than the consumer version.

Should you find a consumer model that you're interested in, investigate whether the manufacturer offers a similar model in its business division.

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