5 Laptops That Will Help You Work from Anywhere

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The coronavirus continues to upend and disrupt our daily lives, including how we work. In light of new rules and public health considerations, many of us must now work remotely, either from home or some other socially responsible location. This type of remote work brings with it a host of new challenges, including how to set up your virtual office, best practices for maintaining productivity and, of course, equipment. We’ve put together a gear list of the items we think could help you get the most out of working remotely, no matter what you’re working on or where you’re working from. Best of all, these are items that you’ll keep using once the pandemic is over and a more normal way of life returns.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

One of the major criteria for making it onto our list was that each item had to be something that enabled you to work from anywhere, whether it’s in the office, at home, or on the go. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 not only fully meets that criteria, but goes well beyond, thanks to its portability, familiar but excellent design, bolstered performance, and solid battery life.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Unlike its predecessors, the Surface Laptop 3 doesn’t reinvent the Windows laptop game—it doesn’t need to. Instead, it offers a number of significant spec and performance upgrades over its predecessor, in effect making last year’s model even better. Those upgrades include better processors, which ramp up performance speeds, and the addition of a much-needed USB-C port. According to their spec sheets, last year’s model does offer better battery performance, but real-world application would probably make them pretty similar. For the Surface Laptop 3, that means in the 10- to 11-hour range, which is right around the premium standard.

Overall, what makes the Surface Laptop 3 such a capable work-from-anywhere laptop is how well rounded it is. It really is a machine that will help you do almost any job, anywhere. It does have one or two drawbacks—no Thunderbolt™ 3 port, for example—but otherwise this is a laptop you can rely on now and for years to come.

Oh, and we didn’t mention it up top because it doesn’t exactly fall into the “work” category, but the Surface Laptop 3’s display is flat-out gorgeous. It wasn’t a consideration when we decided on this list, but it’s definitely a nice-to-have.

HP Elite Dragonfly

Even though the HP Elite Dragonfly is mentioned second on our list, it’s the first laptop we thought of when brainstorming this article. One of the reasons why is because the concept of work is so easily associated with business, and the Elite Dragonfly is one of the best business laptops we’ve seen in the last few months. What makes it so great? Well, for starters it doesn’t look like your run-of-the-mill business laptop, which is to say it’s fairly gorgeous. The magnesium-blue chassis is nothing short of gorgeous and its 13.3-inch display is richer and more vibrant than most of its competition.

HP Elite Dragonfly

But we must remember: this is a list of work-anywhere devices, and though it’s surprisingly easy on the eye, what earned the Dragonfly its space on our list are its work and business credentials. For starters, let’s talk safety. The Elite Dragonfly is as secure as they come, with a built-in fingerprint reader, IR scanner, and adjustable webcam you can use to beef up on protection. As far as getting things done, the Dragonfly delivers across all fronts. Armed with an Intel® Core™ i7-8665U processor and 16GB of RAM, the Dragonfly can handle the majority of your work demands with ease, and both its keyboard and responsive touchpad enhance the overall type-and-touch experience, never hindering it. The Dragonfly’s lightweight, 2-in-1 design means you can take it just about anywhere, and despite the sleek build, it features a full complement of ports, including HDMI, USB, Thunderbolt™ 3.

We could go on and on about why the Elite Dragonfly is such a great work laptop, but if you want a truly detailed account of why it’s so special, then check out this article from one of our staff members. He’s so fond of the Dragonfly, he penned it a love letter.

Acer ConceptD

Not all work is the same. Different jobs require different tasks, which require different tools. That’s why a laptop might be great for a trial lawyer or is only so-so for a videographer or creative professional. Luckily, for those in a creative field, Acer’s line of ConceptD devices makes working anywhere possible.

Acer ConceptD 9

Looking at their spec sheets alone, one could be forgiven for thinking the ConceptD laptops are intended for gamer—especially its powerhouse model, the ConceptD 7. Both its massive 15.6-inch 4K display and beastlike graphics seem right out of a PC gamer’s wish list. But the ConceptD series’ graphic-intensive designs aren’t meant for gamers. They’re intended for creative professionals who work with color-critical content, heavy video editing, and other graphic-intense endeavors.

Acer ConceptD 7 Laptop

You can choose between multiple variants of the ConceptD line. Each model represents a gradual increase in power and capability, starting with moderate photo and video editing tasks, all the way up to VR design and development. It’s important that you consider the work you’re doing now and the work you’ll be doing in the future when making your choice, but so long as you do, we’re comfortable recommending whichever model you choose as something you’ll use for years to come.

MacBook Air

At less than a month old, the newest MacBook Air is by far the most recent entry on our list. Normally, we shy away from endorsing items this new and untested, but the long-standing good reputation of the MacBook Air, combined with its recent upgrades, were more than enough to convince us to put it on our list.

MacBook Air

Why were we so easily swayed? Well, you’ve probably heard that the MacBook Air is Apple’s most popular, best-selling Mac. That’s true. The story of the MacBook Air is one of relentless customer affection, and the reasons why are many: extreme portability, power despite its size, and performance. All of these features are also what helped make the MacBook Air an excellent work-almost-anywhere computer. For most people, there was little you couldn’t do with a MacBook Air.

This latest model champions those virtues and adds to them. Specifically, the new MacBook Air got better, faster processors and a new (and thankfully much better) keyboard. These two features were enough to cement the MacBook Air’s spot on our list because they guaranteed that 1) the MacBook Air would be able to handle most general workloads and 2) typing would once again be a pleasurable experience. Add to that what we already know about the MacBook Air’s portable design, display, and robust secondary features, and it’s easy to recommend confidently.

Now, our one caveat with the MacBook Air is that it’s not a powerhouse—comparatively speaking. If your workloads are more intense than the average day-to-day user, the MacBook Air might not be for you. It’s not something that’s meant to handle sustained, high-demanding tasks for hours on end and years to come. But for everyone else, it’s excellent. And it’s going to keep being excellent long after we all go back to working in an office or school or wherever it is you hang your work hat.

MacBook Pro

As we mentioned above: As good as the MacBook Air is for most people, it’s not going to be perfect for everyone. Some people are going to need laptops that can handle heavier workloads—for example, video editors, graphic designers, and the like. If you are someone who needs more horsepower, there’s still a Mac for you—the aptly named MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro

We published multiple hands-on reviews of the new MacBook Pro earlier this year, each geared toward a specific kind of use case, including creative and every day. The reviews were overall very positive, with plenty of favorable comments about the MacBook Pro’s power and performance. However, reviewing it strictly through the lens of an everyday work or home computer, I did come to the conclusion that arguably it was too much computer. By that, I meant as someone who doesn’t do a lot of heavy video editing or file rendering, the MacBook Pro doesn’t get to show off its full potential. On the other hand, our photo and video reviewers found it to be a great machine for those more demanding tasks, which is why it might be a better option for creative workers than the MacBook Air. However, even if you don’t need all the horsepower, the MacBook Pro will not disappoint. And the fact that it is such a capable machine means it will continue to serve you well for years to come.

That wraps up our list of five laptops that can help you work from anywhere. We know that these are strange and challenging times, and that our work routines are schedules are constantly changing. Our hope is that one of these five laptops can help you during these challenging times, and for a long time after. If you have questions about any of these laptops, or if you need help selecting a different device, please drop us a comment or question below.

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