Get smart to the best tech for business
Adrian we ck ler’ s essential guide to the best technology production tools for your working day, from phones to a pp sand laptops
THE BEST BUSINESS PHONES
BEST ANDROID Huawei P20 Pro (£813 or subsidised from networks) If there’s one phone we’ve tested that tops all rivals in the Android field, it’s Huawei’s 6.1-inch P20 Pro. Huawei has invested billions in trying to put together a sleek, ultra-powerful, battery-optimised smartphone — and it shows. Its business-friendly features include amazing battery longevity and the best screen on any Android smartphone (and arguably on any phone), with a bezel-to-bezel Oled display.
Our test model came with 128GB of storage, the most of any work-friendly Android handset on the market.
For zipping between business apps, the phone has an unprecedented amount of muscle, with an octa-core chip and 6GB of Ram, a combination that blows almost every other phone away.
This is important not just for its ability to handle heavy-duty apps and software tasks today, but also in two to three years’ time.
Another sizeable advantage the P20 Pro has over all comers is its gargantuan battery life which, at 4,000mah, makes it untouchable in its class.
Outside work hours, the P20 Pro also has the best camera we’ve ever tried on a phone, with a 40-megapixel, 3x optical zoom. Samsung used to own the Android work phone market, but it looks now to have been overtaken.
BEST IPHONE iphone X (£1,066 or subsidised from networks) The iphone X is an excellent work smartphone with one qualification: its battery life. Its battery reserve is decent but doesn’t match that of some rivals. However, Apple’s flagship 5.7-inch device excels in almost every other feature set, from industry-leading engine muscle to a perfect all-screen form factor. And long after the demise of Blackberry, it remains the default ecosystem for business apps. While you can get 80% to 90% of the same business apps on Android, IOS is still the platform your company will most likely use when introducing a new system. The main difference between the iphone X and its companion iphone 8 or 8 Plus devices is the lack of a front-facing button. The iphone X uses Face ID (facial recognition) instead.
To date, the iphone X is the only phone on the market where this technology works fairly flawlessly.
The iphone X is also the only smartphone on the market to offer 256GB of storage, a big advantage for those who really want to work their handset as their true pocket computer.
Be warned, however, that Apple is about to unveil its new, updated iphone models in a fortnight.
That doesn’t mean that the current iphone X will cease to be a business-friendly handset, but it does mean more powerful models to be introduced (on the upside, it means that this model is likely to see a price cut of anything up to £135).
WATCH OUT Samsung Note 9 (£922 on pre-order) In theory, Samsung’s latest flagship phone should be a contender for your next business handset. But we can’t recommend it yet. Pending its release, there are more questions than answers about the 6.4inch Galaxy Note 9. Regular usage over time will tell. But some early signs are a cause of worry. Irish mobile operators have turned their noses up at the premium version, believing there’s not enough interest in it here: normally, highend versions of new phones are coveted. This means that the Note 9 with 8GB of Ram and 512GB of storage — which most would look to as setting a standard — isn’t available here. It may not help that Samsung is still trying to convince business users that the Note range of phones has left those disastrous overheating issues behind. Business users will doubtless remember that the company had to perform a full recall of one of its models across the world in 2016 when Note smartphones started catching fire due to faulty battery engineering.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 (£1,720) As business-friendly laptops go, Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Yoga is topof-the-line stuff. From my testing, it has a best-in-class keyboard, effortless power and an amazing (touch) display.
The only thing that’s less than superb on it is its battery life, which is only average (at around five or six hours per charge).
From a design perspective, this is a joy to use. Its 14-inch HDR widescreen makes it natural to work on two (or more) windows at the same time.
The matt black finish on the inside of the laptop is gorgeous, while the keyboard is near-perfect — just the right amount of give (or ‘ travel’, as tech geeks call it).
This isn’t the lightest or slimmest laptop, but it’s pleasingly high end in both categories. It weighs 1.4kg, still very light for a 14-inch machine.
The test version I had was close to top of the range: 16GB of Ram, a Core i7 chip and 512GB of storage. For almost any task the average business person needs to do, this will slice through it.
The display is one of the high points. It rotates right around on its 360-degree hinge to give you an option of either a long tablet or a screen that stands upright. As far as connections go, it has two USB- C (Thunderbolt) ports, either of which can be used to power the device. There are also two regular USB ports and an HDMI port. There’s no SD card port, which is a bit of a shame, but there is a 3.5mm headphone port.
HP Elitebook 840 G5 (from £1,105) HP’S new Elitebook 840 G5 is very handsomely engineered. It’s thin but sturdy, with its mixture of metal and plastic giving it levity and solidity at the same time.
Its screen is exceptionally bright and sharp. The 14-inch display on my test model (which had a whopping 16GB of Ram and an Intel i7 processor) was a touchscreen version at a ‘full HD’ (1080p) resolution.
The laptop’s battery life is also very respectable, easily lasting me around seven hours of combined internet, word processing and video usage.
In terms of connections, there are a few USB ports, a USB- C (Thunderbolt) port and a 3.5mm headphone port. The keyboard, a crucial element, was also comfortable and efficient to use.