Small Business Tech Buying Guide

Investing in the right technology is an important part of building or growing any small business or IT department. 

We’re here to guide you through the hardware, software and services landscapes so you can make the right decisions for your unique business needs. 

Laptops vs. 2-in-1s for small business 

First things first, a laptop doesn’t have a touchscreen and does bend into tablet mode. That’s a 2-in-1 which gives you versatility and flexibility especially if you are not at a stationary position with your device on a desk all day along. 

When it comes to business laptops, there is only one place to start. ThinkPad is the world’s #1 business laptop of all time*. For good reason, too. The performance, durability and security is unmatched in the market.

While ThinkPad is a timeless choice, those small businesses looking for a different type of aesthetic and a modern feature set, the ThinkBook lineup could be more up your alley. If you find yourself Netflixing on your PC after a long day of meetings, you’ll appreciate the improved speakers. 

Of course, this doesn’t rule out the Lenovo Legion, YOGA and IdeaPad lineups for your small business. Even though they are more consumer-facing products, the line between business and consumer products is constantly blurring especially if you use the same product professionally and personally. 

Now, let’s break it down by type of user. 

  • Mobile: You’ll want something light that doesn’t weigh down your travel bag. On the upper side of the budget, consider the ThinkPad X1 series like an X1 Carbon or the new X1 Nano, the lightest ThinkPad ever. If you don’t need something so premium, ThinkBook could be the perfect fit. 
  • No-Nonsense Reliability: 360 hinges and graphics cards aren’t necessary for everyone. Meet the ThinkPad T Series.
  • Power Users: If your employees work in CAD or Adobe Creative Suite, you’ll want to invest in the ThinkPad P Series which fuses the portability of a laptop and the performance of a workstation. 
  • Budget Friendly: We are proud to offer quality laptops at whatever price you need. ThinkPad E Series and ThinkBook will get the job down whether you want the classic ThinkPad heritage or modern, silver goodness of ThinkBook. 
  • For the Environment: The ThinkPad L Series are our greenest budget laptops for business and everyday use, the ThinkPad L Series is built for productivity, low energy consumption, and with more recycled materials than any other ThinkPad. 

Desktops and All-in-ones for small business 

If we’re being honest with ourselves, a lot of us work for our respective businesses from a stationary position. While the desktop class of PCs isn’t as ubiquitous as it once was, it can be an excellent way to get top-shelf performance at whatever price range works for your business. Plus, the lack of mobility – while necessary for some businesses – actually reduces the risk of accidental loss, theft or mishandling. 

Much like the laptops and 2-in-1s, the products with the “Think” designation are specifically design for business, but, depending on your business needs, you could consider one of Lenovo’s other product brands like Lenovo Legion, YOGA or Idea. 

  • Performance: The ThinkStation P Series is to desktops what the ThinkPad P Series is to laptops. They’re the ultimate workstations. If you want to match that type of performance but don’t want to match the price tag, the ThinkCentre M Series is a compelling option. 
  • Small Form Factor: Is space at a premium for your small business? Again, similar the option depending on your specifications. ThinkStation P SFF Series vs. ThinkCentre M SFF Series. 
  • Tiny: When we say “Tiny,” we mean it. We even make monitors that you can directly attach these miniature PCs directly to the back. ThinkStation P Series vs. ThinkCentre M Tiny series. Hey, we’re consistent. 
  • All-in-ones: Even with Tiny, you’re going to (obviously) need a monitor. So maybe an all-in-one will work best for your business. ThinkCentre M AIO series are our enterprise-level space-savers. 

Servers for small business 

Everyone knows what laptops and desktop computers do.  A server? Well, you may or may not...heck, maybe you just pretend to know because you heard about a lot. Anyway, basically, a server is the in the central nervous system for your entire tech fleet.  

It works with your business’ laptop and desktop computers to take on a wide variety of tasks from running your email platform, to managing the security updates and permissions on your fleet of PCs, to acting as a protected data vault for your most sensitive files.  

Unlike good ol’ laptops or desktops, servers are designed to be  24/7 workhorses – always on, and always available to connect your people to the software and shared resources they need to get their work done. 

  • Rack servers: From growing small businesses to enterprise workloads, Lenovo rack servers offer the unmatched value, flexibility and industry-leading efficiency to meet mission-critical demands with legendary quality and reliability. Learn more. 
  • Tower servers: Powerful performance and versatile storage configurations in a small footprint for small to medium sized businesses. Get the reliability you expect from the data center, delivered in a package optimized for office environments. Learn more. 

As your business grows beyond the classical definition of a “small business,” you may need more advanced server offerings like Edge, Blade, High-Density servers, etc. Learn more. 

Monitors for small business 

Whether or not your employees are working from home, they will need monitors to ensure maximum productivity. Multiple screens allows your employees to have multiple programs up at the same time, preventing needless back and forth. Your employee’s eyes will also thank you for boost in screen real estate!  

At Lenovo, the Think brand is the definitive way to go for small business monitors with the ThinkVision line delivering the ultimate in performance. Of course, there are other lines that may fit either your productivity or budgetary needs. 

  • All-Arounders: Like the ThinkPad T series laptops, the ThinkVision T series monitors are great at just about everything and come in at a palatable price tag. Learn more 
  • Maximum Productivity: 4K means more pixels. More pixels means you can fit more on your screen. More docs, tables, decks...you name it! Just like with your TV in the living room, you may not notice at first, but you’ll never want to go back again. Learn more. 
  • Maximum Accuracy: If you are a creator, designer, etc, you want your monitor’s colors to be...the right color. The ThinkVision P series sports up to 99% sRGB or 72% NTSC color gamut, delivering vibrant and true-to-life colors. Plus, the entire ThinkVision lineup is certified with TÜV Rheinland eyecare certificates, allowing you to focus on your work like never before. Learn more. 
  • Gaming: Perhaps obvious to say but fast, accurate monitor performance matters more on the virtual battlefield than just about anywhere. Look for a gaming monitor with a 144hz refresh rate and a response time on one MS. Stay twitchy. Learn more. 
  • Mobility: Once you have a second monitor, you can never see yourself going back, so why to do it to yourself while on a business trip? The ThinkVision M14t mobile monitor is 14” full-HD monitor, weighing only 1.54lbs and it has a touchscreen. Learn more. 
  • Budget: If you need to maximize your budget, you’ll have to move away from the ThinkVision lineup, but don’t worry, there are excellent choices that won’t affect productivity. Learn more. 

Accessories for small business 

Laptops, 2-in-1s, desktops, servers and monitors are the big-ticket items. As they say, “the devil is in the details,” so make sure you are making a sound decision when outfitting accessories for your small business. 

Of course, Lenovo computers are compatible with a wide range of accessories from other brands out there. We are obviously biased towards our own, but feel free to see what works the best for your needs.  

  • Keyboard: Laptop keyboards are great. ThinkPad’s legacy is built partially on having the industry-standard laptop keyboard. That being said, laptop keyboards still have to fit within a specific chassis. A separate keyboard can be more ergonomic and provide more feedback, giving you a performance edge. Perhaps, a simple way to look at it is to look at our friends in the eSports arena. Dedicated keyboard and mice every time. Learn more. 
  • Mice: TrackPads are great. TrackPoint is a classic...but most users feel most comfortable with an ergonomic mouse. It helps prevent overuse injuries like carpal tunnel and (for most people), a more accurate pointing device. Want to declutter? Get a wireless one? Need pinpoint accuracy? Stick with a wired solution. Learn more. 
  • Headsets: Whether it’s to block out Fluffy’s incessant barking or ensure that you don’t sound like a robot, a headset makes a lot of sense. Active Noise Cancelling will help you tune out distractions while solid cushioning will ensure that you can go the full eight (haha!) hours. Learn more. 
  • External Storage: With only the slightest bit of hyperbole, we can say there is nothing more frustrating than “disk full” error message when trying to save an important document. Then you . If you’re hoarders like us, you’ll want to keep every last file. That’s where external hard drives come in. Pick an SSD (solid state drive) if you want the speediest external storage. Grab a HDD (hard disk drive) if you want the best price per GB of data. Learn more. 
  • Backpack/Messenger Bag: As people often say around our Raleigh, North Carolina headquarters, “Different strokes for different folks.” A backpack is a great solution for those who need to travel hands-free and the weight is distributed equally. Just make sure to get one with a built-in laptop sleep/travel case. A messenger bag is perhaps more stylish and gives you a little more access to its contents when on-the-go. Learn more. 
  • Travel Case: Do not let your devices get damaged in transit! While our products are tough, it’s better safe than sorry. Nestle your precious devices in a travel case or laptop sleeve whether within the confines of a bag or your own trusty hands. Learn more.

Software for small business 

We’ve talked a looooot about hardware, but it’s time to give software the time to shine.

  • Lenovo-made apps: Just like what we try to do with LenovoPRO, we may software applications that are design. Lenovo Vantage for small business makes it easier to manage your settings, improve performance, and enhance your PC. Airstack helps your teams and tools get on the same page. The Lenovo Security Console is a cyber security tool for your business. Learn more. 
  • Office suites: Chances are, you already have a pretty strong opinion personally, but it may be worth examining Microsoft 365 vs Google’s G-Suite on security, productivity features, collaboration capabilities and your employees’ preferences. Learn more. 
  • Design: If your business does design or creation in-house, you’ll need Adobe Creative Suite to help your employees put inspiration into action. While fancy graphics and slick videos are a big part of the Adobe solution, sometimes you just want to edit a PDF without the hassle and that’s where Adobe Acrobat Pro comes in. Learn more. 
  • Security: Where you’re a big business or a small business, security is key. It matters so you don’t have any service issues and that your trusted customer data doesn’t get stolen. There are a variety of third party security solutions from DeepArmor to Absolute to McAfee that designed with small businesses in mind. Learn more. 

Services for small business 

All the swanky hardware and software we just ran you through won’t do your business any good if there isn’t great service to match. We have customizable solutions to fit exactly what your small business needs. 

  • PC Services: Services that enhance your IT experience. Learn more. 
  • Data Center Services: End-to-end solution services and support while providing customer satisfaction. Learn more. 
  • Asset Recovery Services: Hardware disposal that saves the planet and your bottom line. Learn more. 
  • Premier Support: IT staff and end user’s VIP support solution. LenovoPRO membership (and Think purchase) gets you one free year of Premier Support! Learn more. 
  • Premium Care: Stress-free services that exceed customer expectations. Yes, seriously. Learn more.  

Additional Spotlight ROI resources

Don’t forget to checkout our full week of extra coverage on how your small business can maximize its investments.

Do you have questions about what tech hardware, software or services to invest in? Relishing in the new knowledge of the difference between laptops vs. 2-in-1s? 

Post a comment in the replies and we’ll make sure your inquiry is addressed! 

*Based on ThinkPad total unit sales for business laptops; reported by IDC 1992-2021. 

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