Best Laptops for Working from Home in the Philippines 2020
Working from home can be a hassle if your laptop keeps crashing or can't keep up with your work requirements. Your laptop should be able to be fast enough to surf the net, as home-based work requires much of this and at the same time supports content-creation, productivity tools as well as collaboration tools without heavy lags. Here's a list of laptops with specs that will match almost any nature of home-based jobs.
The COVID-19 pandemic that took the world by surprise early in 2020 has brought a major disruption that is bringing lots of adjustments to personal and work environments. As the deadly virus continues to spread and governments had to impose quarantine and lockdown, business must go on for organizations and employees to avoid economic repercussions. Work-from-home initiatives are therefore becoming the new normal for professionals. Even studying from home is starting to be adopted as well.
Before this health crisis, however, it is important to note that a good number of freelancers, consultants, digital content creators, and the likes have already been working from home or been home-based for a significant part of their careers. This setup isn't really something new, it just got more popular recently as organizations are starting to see its value.
In this new age of advanced technology, working from home is as easy as plugging in your laptop and your internet source. But of course, the reality is that most homes aren't as equipped as offices to deal with day-to-day online demands. The laptop has become a key piece of equipment that can either make the user's work-from-home experience smooth and successful, or truly stressful if the laptop fails to deliver.
We, at Priceprice.com, have listed laptops that will be good bets for work-from-home situations. These laptops are those that can support collaboration or meeting tools with minimum lag, can support heavy content creation, and have fast response even when working with multi-applications – features that are of utmost importance to professionals working remotely.
- Recommended Laptops for Working from Home
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Laptop
- Recommended System Requirements of Laptops for Remote Working
Recommended Laptops for Working from Home
Here's our pick, but note that there are other options out there; you just need to take a good look at the system requirements and features and how they align with your needs.
1. Lenovo Thinkpad X1 CARBON
The 7th generation Lenovo Thinkpad X1 CARBON has recently been removed from Lenovo's offerings, but the 6th generation Lenovo Thinkpad X1 CARBON is equally powerful. This 14-inch active, lightweight, ultrathin laptop comes with processor configurations of up to 8th Gen Intel Core and Intel Core vPro. The lowest configuration is Intel Core i5 which is already good enough for remote working. An Intel UHD 620 graphics processor complements the CPU. Lowest RAM capacity is 8GB which is more than enough to support multitasking and multi-apps with no lags. The lowest internal configuration is at 256GB HDD or 128GB SSD, with a maximum configuration of 1TB SSD.
Display resolution can be switched from 1080p to 4K, though the 4K display setting can shorten battery life.
Overtime work is not an issue as this impressive laptop can stay powered up for 15 long hours, depending on usage. Its Li-ion 57Whr battery has RapidCharge features so that you can easily juice up.
The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 CARBON is equipped with Dolby Atmos speakers and noise-canceling dual-array microphones. It supports video chats with a 720p HD webcam with ThinkShutter feature and an IR camera.
2. Apple MacBook Pro 16
The Apple MacBook has always been a reliable laptop for students, professionals, and content creators, and the MacBook Pro 16-inch is great for someone who is just starting on his/her digital home-based career. Packed with a powerful CPU of the 9th-generation hexa-core Intel Core i7 with clock speeds of 2.6GHz, paired with an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M GDDR6 VRAM GPU, this slim, thin-bezel laptop can support video editing, computer-aided graphics apps, even Android development and game development with no difficulty. It's a perfect match for all kinds of jobs including engineers, computer programmers, video editors, graphic designers, and the likes.
Its 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD internal storage plus up to 11 hours of battery life ensure a smooth, seamless, undisrupted workflow while its 16-inch Retina 3072p x 1920p display offers crisp and vibrant image quality.
The MacBook Pro 16 comes with a shortened Touch Bar and dedicated ESC key which are designed for users to have a good typing experience.
Audio-wise, the laptop comes with a 6-speaker system with 4 noise canceling-woofers to enhance the audio experience, just perfect for Skype calls or audioconferences. Other features useful for people working from home are the Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth support, a microphone jack, FaceTime HD Webcam, and a Touch ID.
3. Dell XPS 15 9570
Dell laptops have always been a trusted partner by most organizations, and it has always been innovating on its offerings. The Dell XPS 15 9570 is an upgraded version of the Dell XPS 15 9560 model, with impressive features to boast of, but at a price point that is almost 50% lower than the Apple MacBook Pro.
Running on Windows 10 Professional OS, the highest processor configuration of the Dell XPS 15 is a 2.2GHz 6-core, Intel Core i7-8750H and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, with 16GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM and 512GB SSD. The lowest configuration is a still-decent Core i5 8th Gen 7300HQ processor with 4GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage.
The 15.6-inch display has the lowest resolution of 1920p x 1080p, with 4K Ultra HD or 3840p x 2160p as the highest display quality. It stays slim and lightweight in spite of its size though.
Connectivity features include Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth, 3 USB ports, a multi-card slot and mic-in ports.
Unplugged, the Dell XPS 15 can last up to 7 hours. Its Thunderbolt 3 feature is useful as it allows users to charge the laptop and connect to USB-C ports.
One key feature that is perfect for working remotely is the XPS 15's key travel, allowing a decent typing experience for users as the keyboard's palm rest is very comfortable. The Touchpad is highly responsive and accurate and there's awesome tactile feedback.
The webcam, however, is situated a little bit to the left side, which has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the user's requirements for webcam use. For home-based digital workers who wanted a smaller sized, more portable laptop, the Dell XPS 13 is a great alternative to the Dell XPS 15.
4. Acer Aspire 5
At launch, the Acer Aspire 5 was marketed as a work-from-home laptop, which is best for users who do routine work. But given its specs that are comparable with most laptops meant for the same purpose, the Acer Aspire 5 can support more than just an average daily routine. It can do much more especially with the Philippine version being recently equipped with AMD's latest Ryzen 4000 Series of Mobile processors and AMD Radeon GPU, and a very fast 24GB DDR4 RAM and up to 2TB HDD.
With a 15.6-inch FHD 1920p x 1080p IPS display is comparable with high-end laptops but at a cheaper price. Staring almost 24/7 at your computer is made comfortable with Acer's BlueLightShield technology that aims to protect the eyes and minimize eye strain.
The battery is long-lasting and can support lots of overtime, unplugged, with up to 9.5 hours of battery life.
The laptop's keyboard is highly responsive, accompanied by an equally responsive touchpad with multi-touch inputs. Audio is enhanced by the Acer TrueHarmony sound technology.
One of the unique features of the Acer Aspire 5 is its fusion connectivity features, in which you will find a headphone jack, two USB 2 ports, one USB 3 port, and a Kensington lock port alongside the DVD drive, Ethernet port, and HDMI port. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but sadly, there's no SD card slot.
5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
The 2nd-generation Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is a versatile machine that can certainly get the work done. Lightweight yet sturdy at 13.5 inches, you can carry this device anywhere and work comfortably in places other than your home, such as in coffee shops, restaurants, in transit or even by the poolside. It's quite big on the performance side, with 8th-gen Intel Core processors. A good 8/16 RAM makes multitasking smooth and without lag, coupled with a vast amount of SSD internal storage. You can switch between multiple apps on the browser without facing any lag.
Display-wise, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2's 13.5-inch display PixelSense is quite competitive especially with laptops of the same form factor. With a display resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 coders, designers and video editors will find this laptop appealing enough.
This laptop's battery can last up to 14.5 hours, which is very much ideal especially when working remotely in places where there's no available power plug.
6. ASUS VivoBook 15
Joining the lightweight 15-inch laptops that are suitable for digital nomads is the ASUS VivoBook 15. It boasts a NanoEdge 1920p x 1080p display screen with wide-viewing angles. It is also one of the affordable laptops among those with similar system capabilities. The Philippine version of the ASUS VivoBook 15 is powered by AMD's Ryzen processors, with up to 12GB DDR4 RAM memory. A lower configuration is available, which uses an AMD Athlon II Dual-Core 300U processor instead.
Battery life is shorter versus competitor laptops, but 5 hours is not something to sneeze at as a lot could have already been accomplished at work in half a day. Its keyboard and touchpad are responsive and accurate.
Connectivity features are also great, with dual-band 2x2 802.11ac and Wi-Fi support for fast internet connections. The laptop is equipped with USB 2.0 Type-A ports, a microSD card slot, a USB 3 Type-A port, HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a charging slot.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Laptop
There are a few important things that you need to consider when choosing a laptop that will be suitable to your wok-from-home setup- among them are the following:
- Nature of Work
- System Requirements
Nature of Work
Are you a graphic designer or a web developer? A marketing specialist? A writer? A finance executive? The laptop you choose must have features that match your job's requirements. For example, if you are a writer, a document editor or a virtual administrator, your laptop does not need to have high-end CPU and GPU specifications, you just need a good OS and productivity tools such as Microsoft Office. Support for Word, Excel, PPT and PDF are important as well as a decent storage and RAM. If you are a graphics designer or a video content creator, more so, a software developer, then top-performing equipment is needed. Even the size of the display needs to be bigger in this nature of work.
As discussed above, your choice of your laptop's system requirements depends highly on the nature of your work. A lot of home-based jobs have demanding requirements. If you need to access a lot of applications, databases and other online tools, and have to switch between these apps and your Word, Excel or PPT, or image editors, then you need to look for a fast processor speed with a fast RAM capacity. Skipping on this will be quite stressful as your apps will load slowly and opening a lot of apps at the same time might make your laptop hang or crash. If your job requires you to meet with clients all the time, connecting with collaboration tools such as Zoom, Skype for Business or WebEx will be important hence processor and RAM speeds should be high on your list of specs. Imagine logging on to a videoconferencing app and using up more than 10 minutes or more before being able to get into the conference. Being late in a videoconference is just the same as being late in a physical meeting – it is embarrassing and unprofessional. If your job requires your laptop to be open 24/7, then you have to factor in battery, charging and thermal or cooling features. A laptop with a battery that easily drains or heats up fast will not be a good choice for a workhorse.
You are lucky if your company provides you with a laptop to use for working remotely. But if you are one of those professionals in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment, then budget can become a prime factor. The nature of your job again comes into play. If your job requires top-performance laptops, then you need to really save up as these laptops can be expensive. If average specs are sufficient then choose the best one that gives value for your money.
Recommended System Requirements of Laptops for Remote Working
When working from home, it is best to choose a laptop with system specifications that ensure zero lag, zero heating issue, zero crash, and smooth workflow. Though the work has shifted from an office environment to a home environment, you need to bear in mind that deadlines have not changed, work schedules have not changed, and deliverables have not been reduced. The laptop must enable you to provide good work support without delays or disruptions in workflows and outputs. The laptop must also be able to support extended work hours and multitasking. It must support collaboration. A frozen screen or video when you are on a call or when doing an online presentation does not give you extra credit at work.
As such, here are the recommended system requirements:
- Display and OS
- Camera and Speakers
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The recommended processor is the latest 8th to 9th generation Intel Core i7 of the Coffee Lake microarchitecture. The 7th-gen Kaby Lake and 6th-gen Skylake Intel Core i7 processors are also okay.
Intel Core i3 is our recommended minimum system requirement. Note that there will be an evident lag in speed and response versus the i5 and the i7, but if your job does not require heavy content creation, say, your main app requirement is a Word processor, then this minimum system CPU requirement will suffice.
If you're on a budget, there are AMD processors that can also do the job.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
The recommended RAM is the current fastest 16GB. Minimum required is at least 4GB for a business laptop or one being used for working remotely. A poor RAM size would make everything you do a crawl which is not ideal for a work environment.
For the uninitiated, RAM is some sort of short-term memory for your PC. It stores temporarily everything you have on your laptop, from Windows apps to your web browser, to your image- or video-editing tools, and even to the databases you are working on. If you have a slow RAM, your system will have to slowly dig up into the memory every time you open an app or a webpage.
The best storage, especially if you have huge files to store such as if you are a graphics or web designer or a video editor, is the current maximum storage size offered: 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) or 1TB or more hard-disk drive (HDD). For those who have fewer heavy file sizes to keep on their laptops, the minimum storage size is 128GB SSD or 500GB HDD.
HDDs have small, moving parts inside its such as magnetic heads and spindles, which provide more risk of losing your data. SSDs, on the other hand, do not have moving parts, so they are more durable and use less energy, thus delivering better performance and durability versus HDDs.
Running out of juice in the middle of an online meeting or presentation, or even before a design project has completed rendering could be a worst nightmare for someone working from home. Long battery life with fast charge features is therefore highly recommended.
The best battery capacity for work-from-home laptops is one that runs up to 8 hours when unplugged. This ensures full support even when there's a power outage in your area, or when you're working remotely such as in a coffee shop where there's no available power outlet. Minimum capacity should at least be 4 to 5 hours. Less than that will not be cost-efficient in terms of electricity and your workspace will be limited to an area with available working electric sockets.
Display and Operating System
There are jobs for which compact laptops come in handy, such as for virtual admins, as they would need a laptop they can take with them anywhere they go in order to support sending emails, updating Word or Excel files, among others. For this kind of tasks, a 12-inch to 13-inch screen display would be decent enough. Average screen requirement is 14 inches, but for jobs that involve design and similar outputs bigger displays such as 15 inches or larger are recommended, especially since bringing a monitor with you everywhere you go is not such a good idea.
In terms of operating system (OS), it is best to check with your organization which OS is preferred. Having a similar OS with your teammates is important as certain applications, browser versions and productivity tools work with certain OSs only. It would be such a great hassle if you send files which cannot be opened by the receiver or vice versa – you struggle to open files that get sent to you.
The recommended Windows OS is Windows 10, or if you're using a MacBook, the macOS Mojave. We do not recommend using a lower version especially for work purposes, but if it can't be helped, then Windows 8 or macOS X Mojave would be the minimum OS requirement.
These days a strong wireless connectivity has been crucial to business devices. With mobility being the keyword, laptops and other devices must be easily available to get internet access at places like airports, coffee shops or restaurants and even when in transit. Wireless connectivity allows you to check emails and messages real time anytime anywhere.
Work-from-home laptops must have built-in Wi-Fi support that allows satisfactory throughput. A dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi will allow best flexibility for you and your company's IT. An 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is the most common support for devices, runs primarily on 5GHz networks, but works with 2.4GHz networks as well. There's talk of a next generation of Wi-Fi, the Wi-Fi 6, coming to future devices.
Camera and Speakers
High-resolution cameras are not required, but it is recommended to have camera features that work well with collaboration and videoconferencing tools. For audioconferencing, the laptop should come with decent speakers preferably with noise-canceling microphone features. Ports for a headset or earphones are also important.
Not all laptops are designed for home-based tasks. It is critical that the home-based worker's equipment will come with key technological features that will allow for smooth rendering of outputs, and effortless communication and collaboration with the company. Hence, features like processor or CPU speed, random access memory (RAM), internal storage capacity, GPU or graphics card support, battery life, security, Wi-Fi or LAN support, and even camera and sound card which are important in videoconferencing must critically be considered when choosing a laptop for this work setup.
Maintenance support from the manufacturer and warranty could also be important, especially if your organization does not provide IT support. Price is also a factor as laptops with good work-from-home features can be very pricey. There are many other laptops aside from those we mentioned here that are best for working remotely. It is important for you to take a good look at the specifications, compare them and make an informed decision. Choosing the one that best matches your needs will help your perform your tasks with ease, confidence and could guide you through a successful home-based career.