Best Mobile Workstations In 2016

Mobile workstations have changed the way we work on-the-go. Instead of being locked down to your high-powered desktop computer, you can work and play anywhere thanks to mobile workstations.

From ultrabooks to high-powered tablets to computers you can use 3,000 feet underneath an oil drilling rig, there are plenty of mobile workstations from which to choose. Which one is the best choice for you?

Mobile Workstations

Dell Precision M6800 ($2,300)

The Dell Precision may be a bit pricey, but it’s designed for a niche audience. Chances are, you’re not paying the $2,300 price tag on your own: your company is paying for it.

Even with its high price tag, the Dell Precision M6800’s enormous tech specs easily make it worth it for buyers who require high levels of performance.

Some of the Dell Precision’s key specs include:

-Processor: Quad-core Intel Core i7

-Video Card: AMD FirePro M6100 Mobility Pro with 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory

-RAM: 32GB

-Display: 17.3 inch with 1600×900 resolution

-Storage: 750GB HDD

-Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

-Camera: 720p

-Weight: 7.86 pounds (3.57kg)

-Dimensions: 1.71×16.41.10.65 inches

Understandably, these specs deliver impressive performance. That’s the main benefit of the Dell Precision. The other key benefit is its sturdy design suited for a diverse range of situations.

On the flip side of things, that sturdy design comes at a cost: with its thick frame and heavy weight, the Dell Precision M6800 isn’t the most portable mobile workstation. It also has less than stellar battery life – but what can you expect from a laptop with more performance power than most desktop computers?

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s ($1500)

The Lenovo ThinkPad W550s is more within the budget of an average workstation user. It’s a high-end laptop with an impressive display and excellent tech specs for its price – these are the same traits that have made Lenovo the world’s bestselling PC manufacturer.

Here’s what the ThinkPad W550s has to offer for tech specs:

-Processor: 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-5600U

-Video Card: Nvidia Quadro K2100M

-RAM: 16GB

-Display: 15.5 inch with 2880×1620 (3K) resolution (multi touch)

-Storage: 512GB SSD

-Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

-Camera: 720p

-Weight: 5.47 pounds (2.48kg)

-Dimensions: 15×10.2×0.92 inches

The ThinkPad W550s’s strengths lie in its lengthy battery life and strong overall performance at a variety of tasks. It won’t offer the same extremely-high-end performance of the Dell Precision – but it also doesn’t cost $12,000.

The high battery life, however, comes at a cost: Lenovo has been forced to add a bulky extended battery onto the laptop that somewhat diminishes its portability. It’s still lighter and less bulky than the Dell Precision, however.

HP ZBook 14 G2 ($1,800)

You can debate the durability of HP’s standard laptops however much you like, but the company’s higher end workstations pack surprisingly good power and performance at an affordable price tag.

Called “the belle of the mobile workstation ball” in its TechRadar review, the ZBook 14 G2 is easily the most stylish mobile workstation on this list. If you look sleek curves and a lightweight package over hardcore durability, then the HP ZBook 14 G2 might have what you’re looking for.

Here’s how the tech specs break down:

-Processor: 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-5600

-Video Card: AMD FirePro M4150 (1GB GDDR5)

-RAM: 16GB DDR3L (1600MHz)

-Display: 13.3-inch full HD screen with 1920×1080 resolution

-Storage: 256GB SSD

-Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

-Camera: 720p

-Weight: 3.77 pounds

-Dimensions: 13.35×9.33×0.83 inches

If you don’t need it for high-intensity tasks, and you’re simply taking your workstation from office to clients to home and back, then the HP ZBook 14 G2 provides a strong balance of style, function, and performance.

If we had one complaint about the ZBook 14 G2, is that the battery life leaves little to be desired. If you require or appreciate a touchscreen for your job, then please note that the 14 G2 also does not have a touchscreen.

HP ZBook 17 G2

Do you like the price, style, and performance of the HP ZBook 14 G2 – but could use a bigger screen and more muscle?

Enter the HP ZBook 17 G2.

In addition to a 17 inch screen (17.3 inches, to be exact), the HP ZBook 17 G2 includes a vastly superior processor and a beefier graphics card. It also weighs twice as much as its little brother.

Here are the tech specs you’re getting with the HP ZBook 17 G2:

-Processor: 3.10 and 3.30 GHz Intel Core i7-4940MX (both are available)

-Video Card: Nvidia Quadro K5100M

-RAM: 16GB

-Display: 17.3-inch Full HD screen with 1920×1080 resolution

-Storage: 1TB 7200 RPM SATA and a 256GB PCIe SSD

-Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

-Camera: 720p

-Weight: 7.42 pounds

-Dimensions: 16.37×10.7×1.33 inches

Like the HP ZBook 14 G2, the 17 G2’s battery life isn’t as great as it could be – that’s the tradeoff of having a slimmer, sexier chassis.

MSI Prestige PE60 2QD & WT72

MSI is known for its powerful gaming laptops. As you’ve probably realized, many powerful gaming laptops also make perfectly capable mobile workstations (as long as you don’t get too distracted by Steam).

The MSI Prestige PE60 2QD is one laptop that can handle the latest games and the most complicated spreadsheets at the same time with ease. And now, with the new Micro-Star International WT72 just being released and fully Virtual Reality headset ready, you can bet on MSI’s newest model to take the cake.

The Prestige as well as the MSI WT72 features powerful performance and a top-of-the-line video cards that beat out most gaming laptops and computers. The screen also has a helpful anti-glare feature that is particularly useful if you’re working (or gaming) outside.

Here’s the specs:

-Processor: 2.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7-4720HQ

-Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 2GB

-RAM: 12GB

-Display: 15.6-inch full HD screen with 1920×1080 resolution and anti-glare

-Storage: 1TB HDD, 7200 RPM

-Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

-Camera: 720p

-Weight: 5.29 pounds

-Dimensions: 5.07×10.23×1.06 inches

If you need graphics processing for your job (or your games), then this laptop is your best mid-range choice on this list. That GTX 960M is one of the most powerful mobile video cards available today within this budget. Paired with the beautiful 15-inch LCD screen, it’s a winning combination.

Tips and Tricks for Buying Mobile Workstations

Shopping around for other mobile workstations? Here are some tips you can use to compare mobile workstations for your job:

Pay Attention to Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Certification

One of the most important things to look for when shopping for mobile workstations is ISV certification.

Many people who buy mobile workstations have unique software needs – like intense graphics or other computationally difficult features. Think CAD/CAM software, for example.

That’s why many mobile workstation manufacturers put their hardware through a certification process called ISV certification. ISV certification ensures that the company’s hardware works with a particular software program. Then, that manufacturer lists all of its compatible software. In any case, you can use ISV certification to ensure your mobile workstation works with whichever unique software you need for work.

Graphics Power and Battery Life Don’t Get Along

Some people require high-end graphics cards for their mobile workstations. Others don’t.

If you don’t require high-end graphics cards, then you should look for a computer with an embedded graphics card – like Intel’s Graphics HD systems. High-end graphics processing destroys battery life.

Of course, many mobile workstations have dual graphics processing systems: like an embedded card for economic battery life and a discrete (separate) video card for high-powered tasks.

To put this battery consumption into perspective, an average laptop consumes 40 watts of power total. The Quadro K5100M graphics card on some mobile workstations consumes 100 watts of power alone. Even lower-powered discrete cards, like the Quadro K2100M, consume 55 watts of power on their own.

Application-Specific Benchmarks

Are you going to use your mobile workstation for a specific task – like CAD/CAM software? You may be able to find benchmark tests that specifically address that software program – or one like it.

Use these benchmark tests to help narrow down your selection. Some mobile workstations are particularly good at CAD/CAM software, for example, but may offer poor 4K video editing.

By balancing all of these requirements, you can find the mobile workstation that works best for your unique needs.

 

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY