9 Best Laptops for Remote Work and Distributed Teams in 2023
As more companies take advantage of a globally talented workforce and offer remote working to their current employees, they have to make sure their workforce has the best laptops for remote work.
This means ensuring employees have a laptop that is easily transportable and can handle multiple programs and tabs at the same time. So, how do you find the right laptop to equip your new remote hire, and how do you get it to them?
This guide will help you choose the best technology for your remote workforce. With the right laptop, you can easily manage a remote team efficiently.
Things to consider before buying a laptop for remote work in 2023
So you might have just found a unicorn employee who is both skilled in paid digital marketing and is an SEO wizard. You want to send them a new Macbook, but they are based in Colombia and the shipping costs are through the roof.
Maybe you are onboarding a C++ developer from Nigeria and want to offer them a stipend for a new laptop but don't know how much to give. These issues will become increasingly common as over a third of the global workforce adopts remote work.
Companies will also have to reconsider what they offer as part of their remote onboarding plan to attract top international talent. Some organizations have dedicated programs like the Amazon virtual onboarding program where they set up technology before the employee start date.
However, the problem is distribution bottlenecks. The best laptops for remote work have substantial price differences depending on where you live or work from. Most are readily available in the USA and Europe. While countries in Latin America and Africa have to spend large amounts of money on the same products.
To overcome this hurdle, strategic international laptop shipping through platforms like GroWrk ensures equitable access globally, fostering an inclusive remote work environment.
On top of all that, some remote employees are interested in changing their locations or want to work and travel. Depending on the job function, whether they are developers, marketers or graphic designers, their laptop requirements will be different.
Keep in mind that providing the right equipment for your distributed teams can increase their productivity and prevent remote employee burnout :
When looking for the right laptop for remote work, consider these categories:
a) Weight and size
Of course, a laptop's weight and size are considerations for digital nomads and those who want to clock-in while on vacation in the Caribbean. You want to have a lightweight laptop and not too bulky travel laptop so that it can fit in any carry-on luggage.
However, these are also factors that should be taken into account when ordering and sending laptops to locations worldwide. The weight and size will impact how much you pay for shipping and the taxes at the border.
A good-sized laptop screen that won't make you squint but is also portable is around 13 inches. This makes it easy to transport and also won't require extensive packaging material when shipping.
Anything above 1.5 kilograms or around 3 pounds will start to get a bit heavy for carrying around large distances. This also fits in the lower weight categories for most shipping services and taxes for going through customs.
b) Battery capacity
Another critical factor in remote working is your laptop's battery life. Think if you have to send an email in a bus station or airport without any available outlets. If you want to work several hours outside enjoying the fresh air, you will also need long battery life.
Most laptops offer between 6-12 hours of battery life. The problem is that it is rare batteries actually maintain that capacity for more than the first several months of use. Battery life degrades over time depending on how often and how long you charge.
Battery capacity also varies depending on your settings and what programs you are running. It is good to get a laptop that advertises 10 hours of battery life, and that way, you are left with 6-8 hours for years to come.
Your processor is what renders everything you see on your screen. This is often a tricky subject for those not familiar with the difference between processor types like dual core processors, I5 processor and I7 processor.
The question you have to ask yourself is, what does the team member or your job require? If they are working with heavy graphic design programs and have to save various files to their hard drive, they would probably do better with an Intel Core I5 and up.
If they do basic data entry and surf the web, then I3 or a dual-processor should be enough to get the job done.
Looking for Laptops for Remote Teams?
Learn how GroWrk helps you to arrange laptops for your globally distributed team.Request Demo
Laptops these days don't make it easy for the consumer. New generation Mac computers require you to buy separate adapters for anything that isn't an Apple product. Think USBs and HDMI cords.
Other computer manufacturers follow suit with many new laptops only having one or two USB outlets and no HDMI ports.
Consider how much you are willing to spend on a new reliable laptop for yourself and always include 50-100 USD for adapters and cords. You may also want to think about whether a touch screen and tablet functionality are essential.
Some people prefer the compactness of tablets like an iPad Pro or a Surface laptop with the ability to add a keyboard and mouse. These are great for remote working but are limited to what they can do
Whether you are equipping your remote team or looking to upgrade, budget plays the most crucial role. Be careful with selecting the lowest priced option as this is a device someone will be using day-in and day-out.
Don't sacrifice functionality or power for a low price point. You may be investing in a device that will only last a year when, for a couple of hundred dollars more, it could last five. Think about the longevity of your equipment.
There is always the option for resale, or if a remote worker leaves, they can send back the computer, and you can offer it to someone else. The point is you are paying for productivity and getting the job done. A budget laptop prevents that.
You will have to also factor in shipping costs. The best option is to choose a standard model that all new employees receive and then adjust your budget accordingly depending on their location. Luckily some services handle the selection and distribution of laptops all from one platform.
How much RAM do you need for working from home?
If we compile all this information, we are still left with how much RAM and storage is necessary to work from home. Your processor is important, but these components are what make up the power and performance of your operating system.
- Part-time remote work or standard administration: Ram 4GB, Storage 60GB-120GB
- Full-time remote work: Ram 8GB, Storage 250GB-500GB
Complex Job Tasks (Design or programming): Ram 16GB, Storage 500GB-1TB
What is the best laptop for remote work in 2023?
Full disclosure: We love Apple. There are just too many positives in regards to processing power, portability, and design. There is also the fact that with GroWrk, you can get these laptops shipped to over 150+ countries and pay back the costs in monthly installments , all while enjoying the benefits of our comprehensive services, including IT procurement.
We still included several options we offer like the Dell XPS 13 or Lenovo Thinkpad x1 carbon for the Windows laptop lovers out there.
Since we didn't want to limit this list to just the type of portable computer that you can purchase on our platform, we also added the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, HP Envy, Acer Aspire, and the Asus Zenbooks which can also be great choices. Plus, if you need help sending these devices to your distributed team, we got you covered!
Want these options shipped to your address immediately? We offer PC Options and distribution services for your current inventory
1. Apple MacBook Pro -16"
The best laptop for remote work is the 2020 Apple MacBook Pro. This laptop is perfect for graphic designers. It comes equipped with a super-fast Intel Core i9 processor and 32 GB of memory to ensure optimum application responsiveness.
You will never need an external hard drive with 1 TB of onboard storage capacity. The 16-inch Retina display is a perfect screen resolution for an immersive viewing experience. The AMD Radeon Pro graphics card accelerates any type of design task.
- Includes AppleCare+
- Screen Size: 16"
- Processor: Intel Core i9 (2.4GHz)
- 32GB RAM
- Hard Drive: 1TB SSD
- Weight: 1.83kg
2. Apple MacBook Pro - 13"
The new Apple M1 chip operating system gives the 13-inch MacBook Pro up to 2.8x CPU performance. Up to 5x the graphics speed. The advanced Neural Engine for up to 11x faster machine learning. And the laptop boasts up to 20 hours of battery life.
- Includes AppleCare+
- Screen Size: 13.3"
- Processor: M1 8-core GPU
- 8 GB RAM
- Hard Drive: 512 GB SSD
- Weight: 1.37kg
3. Apple MacBook Air 13"
This thin, light powerful MacBook Air is standard among many remote workers across the globe. The Apple M1 chip has completely transformed it with up to 3.5x faster CPU speeds, and up to 5x faster GPU speed. Pair it with a Magic Keyboard or Magic Mouse to make it even better.
- Includes AppleCare+
- Screen Size: 13"
- Processor: M1 8-core GPU
- 8 GB RAM
- Hard Drive: 512 GB SSD
- Weight: 1kg
4. Lenovo Thinkpad x1 Carbon
If we only listed Macs on this list, we might as well be working for Apple. The bias, of course, for most remote teams is that they should select a brand and model to stick with when purchasing a business laptop. Lenovo features a wide variety of durable and powerful laptops, from the Lenovo Ideapad to the Thinkpad that we show below.
Apple is the more well-known brand, but this Windows laptop has almost all the same power as a MacBook. Plus, Lenovo laptops are well known for offering solid performance while being cost efficient.
- Screen size: 14"
- Processor: Up to Intel® Core™ vPro™ i7-7600U processor
- RAM: 4GB-16GB
- Hard Drive: 128 GB - 1TB SSD
- Weight: 1.2 kg
5. Dell XPS 13
This Dell laptop is powered with an Intel Core i7-10750H (10th Gen) with 2.6 GHz clock speed that lets you multitask without any lags or interruptions.
You can work for extended working hours with the utmost convenience on this laptop as it comes with a sturdy, full-length, and ergonomically designed keyboard. Also, there are zero chances of battery overheating or battery swelling.
- Screen size: 15.6"
- Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H (10th Gen)
- 32 GB RAM
- Battery: Li-Ion
- Hard Drive: 1 TB SSD
- Weight: 1.83 Kg
- Performance: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1650 Ti
6. ASUS Zenbook 14
The common misconception is that ASUS laptops are bulky and slow. But the new Zenbook is compact and has enough processing power to run most remote work software. It is a much better option than 2020's Asus Zenbook 13. We would also recommend it over a Samsung Galaxy Book Pro for its functionality.
It is light enough to carry around in a backpack without feeling any strain and is one of the best budget laptop for frugal distributed companies or digital nomads. Plus it is durable and can withstand most adventures (kayaking not recommended) with a long battery life.
Just be careful because the memory can fill up fast.
- Screen size: Touch screen 14.0 inches at 1920x1080 resolution
- Processor: 3.9GHz Intel Core I5-8265U
- 8 GB RAM
- Hard Drive: 256 GB SSD
- Weight: 1.26 kg
- Price: $850
7. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
At the office, at home or en route, the new Surface Pro 7 adapts to the way you work — and delivers more power than ever, with a laptop-class Intel Core processor, all-day battery life, instant startup, graphics, and more multitasking connections.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is basically a Microsoft Surface laptop, tablet and portable studio-all in one. You can pair it with a colorful Surface cover (included) and Surface pen to match your style of working remotely.
- Screen size: 12.3" 2736 x 1824 PixelSense Touchscreen
- Processor: 1.1 GHz Intel Core i5-1035G4
- 8GB LPDDR4x RAM
- Hard Drive: 256GB SSD
- Weight: 2.31 Kg
- Price: $900
8. HP Envy x360
The sturdy and ergonomically designed island-style keyboard with a cool numeric keypad will let you work remotely with comfort for longer periods of time. Furthermore, the HP Envy x360 m6-aq105dx (W2K44UA) laptop has a high-quality Lithium Ion battery that does not overheat, perfect for pulling all-nighters, unlike the HP Spectre.
The HP Envy is a bit heavier than the others on this list for its deep hardware so it might not be ideal to carry around on long treks. However, it is still perfect for bringing to the beach or a cool co-working spot.
- Screen size: 15.6" (39.62 cm) display, 1920 x 1080 px
- Processor: Intel Core i7 (7th Gen) Processor
- 16 GB DDR4 RAM
- Hard Drive: 1 TB HDD
- Weight: 2.29 Kg
- Price: $1000
9. Acer Aspire 5
The Aspire 5 packs a lot of power into the chassis with a choice of either Intel® or AMD processors, and either NVIDIA® or AMD graphics. With up to 24GB memory, users have all the power to suit anything from Adobe Photoshop to Final Cut Pro.
Thanks to the narrow border and an 81.61%1 screen-to-body ratio, you can enjoy color-rich Full HD IPS. To further enhance visual appearance and protect the your eyes, it includes Acer Color Intelligence™1. Also, users get easy updates to the latest information with a full range of connectivity options.
It is pretty heavy for digital nomads but it's one of the best laptops to carry around if you work remotely in video or photo.
- Screen size:15.6" Full HD In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Processor: AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 5 Processor
- 8 GB DDR4 RAM
- Hard Drive: 512 GB SSD
- Weight: 2.2 Kg
- Price: $750
Wrapping things up
Once you have figured out the easiest way to equip your distributed team with laptops, don't stop there.
Ask your employees about their current home office setup in an equipment survey and fill in the gaps with GroWrk's wide variety of device options.
You can then use GroWrk's end-to-end IT inventory management system to keep track of your entire IT inventory for the remote work era.