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You can tell the difference between business laptops and consumer laptops pretty easily. Not by the specifications, or the price - as USB 3 and hard drive protection become common, often the only visible difference is whether it comes with a fingerprint scanner. What really sets them apart is the design; consumer laptops come …

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Stop

I can't imagine....

....letting a user pick their own machine, even the most savvy ones will bring something that's just a mass of inconsistencies, I can appreciate the idea of letting them have their own machines and saying "your pc, your problem" but the simple fact remains that HP customer support (or acer customer support etc etc) won't provide support for any bespoke software, and from my experience, bespoke software is what screws up most of the time, hardware fixes are relatively rare where I work.

Because of this, it's pretty likely that your IT team will need to be nearly as big, but customers will still have to liaise with their manufacturer. Which is similar to my workplace now; We do everything, if something breaks we tell <provider> to send us a new part, or send them the whole laptop if it's the motherboard.

I can only really see this working well in a smaller business that doesn't do anything particularly fancy with their machines, but from where I'm sitting, I see a 4000+ users who would buy the pretty looking one and come knocking because none of their software worked.

Interestingly, all our laptops are fancy looking brushed aluminium jobs with terrible build quality...so maybe it's not just end users who make poor decisions on this.

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Black slab?

I love my black slab and I paid through the nose for it. Functional is beautiful.

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Bronze badge

Consumer vs Business

Another way to tell with Consumer HP laptop is consumer keyboards don't have tabs to keep the keyboard in place when the screws are removed below where as Business ones do.

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Anonymous Coward

Most business laptops I have used...

...from Dell and HP, are better (more solidly) built. Not necessarily latest technology.

The main benefit of business laptops is the availability of docking stations, ar at least port replicators which allow them to be used as effective desktop replacements. Plus you normally get some compatibility between different laptop generations and the docking stations, protecting your investment.

The lid of my work laptop hasn't been opened for circa 6 months. It spends its whole life, home and at work, plugged into replicators with 27" displays, external keyboard/mouse, and wired ethernet.

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So...

which ones have the fingerprint scanners? Most of them seem reliable enough to keep a clever eight-year-old out of the porn stash, but that's about the limit. I wouldn't rely on one to keep other people out of something, nor on it to let me at something I needed right then either.

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Company bought

I'm more than happy for the company to just give me a laptop as long as:

1. It isn't so badly configured (or loaded up with security software) that applications and services fail to work, crash or lock up on a regular basis. By all means load stuff on it, just make sure you have versions that actually work.

2. It isn't so woefully underpowered that it can barely run the operating system, let alone the operating system, Outlook, IE6 and Word at the same time.

3. It doesn't look like it has been used as a football.

4. It isn't so old that clients look at me oddly in a "Why are you using that ancient thing? Aren't you supposed to be a technology company?"

5. It doesn't weight a tonne so that your back hurts lugging it in a bag.

6. It doesn't have a battery life of about 35 minutes.

7. It doesn't have random things locked down for no particular reason in the name of "security". Like the loud speaker or the ability to use an external mouse.

8. It doesn't have anything later than IE6 and Windows Media Player 9. As such I cannot view videos supplied to me by agencies and vendors.

Unfortunately all the laptops given to me by various companies have had one or (often) more of the following.

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Anonymous Coward

Ever wondered...

If your prima donna attitude might have made the IT department to tick every single one of those boxes?

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FAIL

Here's a hint - the problem isn't with all those company laptops...

So according to Point 4 it must be new and shiny because "You're a technology company", yet according to 2 and 8 you still want to be running a two-major-releases-out-of-date OS. With a three-major-releases-out-of-date browser.

Perhaps this post isn't an accurate representation of how you conduct yourself generally (plaintext being crap at conveying mood etc), but if you come across as being this self-important and inconsistent when dealing with your IT department, it's hardly a surprise that they've not gone out of their way to sort you out.

If you want to be taken in any way seriously, you should know by now that what you're asking for is available (and has been for several years) from all the major vendors (any decent core i5/i7-powered lappie can handle Win 7 + XP Mode without even blinking, and even before that you could manually set up a VM to achieve the same thing). Whether or not your position is deemed to be important enough to merit the company spending a grand or more on a laptop for you at ex-VAT corporate pricing is another matter, and one you may be overlooking.

On a separate note, what kind of technology company employee are you that you're insisting on needing IE6 and/or Media Player 9 to see videos in particular? Have you never heard of VLC?

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Re: Here's a hint - the problem isn't with all those company laptops...

Ahh, the list looks a little schizophrenic as they aren't requirements - more the experiences I've had in the last 5-6 companies.

Some companies have been better than others but then they have their own oddities. One gave you a nice new beefy machine but decided that allowing you to connect a mouse was a security risk. One company gave me a laptop which looked like it had been kicked around like a football. One company upgraded everyone to XP but the hardware simply couldn't cope with it and your virus checker would render the machine unusable between midday and 2pm whilst it did a full system scan - which you couldn't prevent.

Finally, I'm not insisting on IE6 and WMP9, it's just that often that is all I get. I've used VLC on company laptops before. However one company I was at didn't have any other authorised video playback tool except for WMP9! Mind you they also blocked people from accessing Wikipedia on the grounds that it wasn't "work related" ...

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Badgers

@Silver

OK, that makes a lot more sense, though I would expect^W*hope* that any half-decent company in the last 3-4 years bothering with laptops would get something decent enough that it'll last for 3-5 years without the last 2 years being unending misery. No point in spending £500 on laptops every 2 years when you can spend £1k every ~4 years, though if you're pushing yourself as *that* type of tech company you'll have to take the hit and probably buy new Macbook Pros/Macbook Airs for your sales/account management types every year. (There again, nobody forces anyone to be *that* type of tech company, so fuck 'em).

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Unhappy

For us its the phone

IBM are just moving into making the employee pay for their business phones. So if you want an iPhone, cough up 400 quid for the priviledge of having the security lockdown imposed upon you. Or you can take a low rent model. Either way, if it breaks it is your problem not theirs.

Thinkpads will be next I expect, followed by rent-a-chair and pay-as-you-go toilets. Its just more "f-ck you" externalising of costs.

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Silver badge

I don't think so

"You’re probably already supporting users who want to connect their smartphone to the company systems, at least for email - and if you're not doing it officially, check whether users aren’t just forwarding messages to webmail they can read on their phones – which is a whole different security and compliance headache."

You'll probably find they don't do that for long as termination normally results.

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FAIL

2100$ WTF

Our anus clutchers spend about $400 per desktop.

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