If you’re looking to buy the best mobile workstation for your needs – both in the office and on the road – then you’ll want to make sure you pick the right one before spending a sometimes considerable amount of money on a mobile workstation.
Buying the best workstation for your business isn’t just about plonking down cash for the most powerful laptop money can buy. Instead, you’ll be looking for a versatile device that provides the same level of power you’d expect to find in a desktop PC, but within the mobile laptop form factor that allows you to work on it when out of the office.
However, you will need to pay a bit more for the best mobile workstation, as the parts they use, build quality and the level of after-sales services mean that these are an investment that can be expensive, but choosing the right one means you’ll have a solid and dependable performer that will help you with your work for years to come.
Also, thanks to our price comparison tool, we can help take the sting out of the price tag by helping you find the very best prices for these excellent mobile workstations. By using our guide to the best mobile workstations, you could find yourself saving quite a bit of cash.
These portable powerhouses are popular in a number of verticals: CAD/CAM, Geospatial, oil & gas and engineering because they allow workers to be flexible on the move, reducing downtime that might be associated with long commutes or intercontinental flights.
A number of recent trends have accelerated this shift. Component manufacturers have shifted their attention away from the desktop to the laptop markets with a laser focus on delivering the best performance per watt.
Some vendors – like MSI – are also using experience acquired in other markets – such as gaming – to design and build their mobile workstation portfolios. Then there’s also the move to further miniaturise the form factor with a number of models falling in the UItrabook category by virtue of their size and heft.
If you’d prefer a Best Desktop Workstation roundup or, if you’re interested in a business laptop that isn’t necessarily a workstation, we’ve got you covered.
Because mobile workstations are so specialist – and come with such a high price tag – finding one that suits your business needs is important, and we’re here to help with this list of the best mobile workstations in 2017.
1. Dell Inspiron 15 7566
CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6300HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GTX 960M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 256GB SSD
Dedicated GTX 960M GPU
Bold design might put off some
Very few laptops on the market can compete with this model. Dell’s Inspiron range is aimed at business and consumers with a definite nudge towards the former. Dare we say, the 7000 series is one that will please almost everyone, including gamers. For the price, you get a laptop with an aluminium chassis and a long list of impressive features. As this is not your typical workstation, the laptop comes with Windows 10 Home but can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for £99.99.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000
2. Razer Blade
Bigger, stronger and longer lasting
CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD
Longer battery life
4K display option
Trackpad buttons need to go
Not only is the Razer Blade one of the best gaming laptops money can buy, it is also an excellent desktop replacement and mobile workstation for non-gamers, thanks to its excellent array of features and powerful components. It’s thin, powerful and includes some of the latest hardware money can buy.
Read the full review: Razer Blade review
3. HP ZBook 17 G3
Still a storming workstation offering
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1575M v5 7700HQ | Graphics: Intel Iris Pro Graphics P580 | RAM: 64GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 500GB HDD
Great build quality
Plenty of configurability
Can be expensive
Battery isn’t great
HP’s mobile workstation Ultrabook has already reached its third generation but the last one is still very much a best-in-class especially when it comes to sheer value for money. It is one of the cheapest workstations on the market to offer a professional dedicated graphics card, and the most affordable business laptop to come with a whopping half-decade warranty. HP opted for a 14-inch diagonal which may well hit a sweet spot for some.
Read the full review: HP ZBook 14 G2
4. HP ZBook Studio G3
A winning combination of brains and beauty
CPU: 2.8GHz (3.7GHz) Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro M1000M | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 pixels | Storage: 512GB SSD
Intel Xeon processor
Battery life isn’t the best
No option for spinning disks
HP calls it the perfect combination of brains and beauty and it is kind of hard to disagree. The G3 is essentially a mobile workstation that has been squeezed in an Ultrabook form factor. A 4K monitor adorns it and there’s plenty of oomph under the hood. It is actually the only device known to us that comes with a Xeon CPU. Add in extensive ISV certification, a super-long warranty and MLD-STD 810G certification and you have a very attractive candidate.
Read the full review: HP ZBook Studio G3
5. Dell Precision 7510
Build your own mobile workstation
CPU: Intel Core i5-6300HQ | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: Up to 1TB HDD
Showing its age
Not the most powerful
The more upmarket version of the Inspiron 15 7000 above is the Precision 15 7000, an outrageously fast machine with an equally outrageous price tag. As expected you get cutting edge components and the type of flexibility in the customisation process that sorely lacks with the SOHO-oriented Inspiron range. This is Dell’s direct, built-to-order model at its best: From the latest Intel quad-core CPU to a plethora of other high end parts, this is as good as it gets.
5. Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga
A champion convertible of a workstation
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro M500M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 14.1-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 256GB SSD
Unique convertible design
So-so battery longevity
Only a one-year warranty
Lenovo hails this model as the world’s first multi-mode workstation, one that manages to combine power and creativity thanks to a 360-degree hinge that has, to some extent, set the standard when it comes to convertible or 2-in-1 designs. What’s more, it is one of the very rare laptops to come with built-in Wacom Active ES pen technology, capable of delivering 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition.
6. MSI WS60
Supercharged gaming laptop
CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6300HQ | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro M600M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 1TB HDD
Large display bezel
MSI is not a brand that we usually associate with workstations but the Taiwanese company, unlike its staunchest competitors, Gigabyte and Asus, has made some remarkable inroads in this lucrative niche market. The WS60 is essentially a more expensive version of its gaming laptop with a certified professional GPU. It’s worth noting that this laptop is one of the slimmest and lightest of the workstations in this list.
Read the full review: MSI WS60
7. Lenovo ThinkPad P70
A top-spec beast powered by Intel Xeon
CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro M5000M 8GB | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, 3840 x 2160 pixels | Storage: 512GB SSD + 500GB HDD
Disappointing storage options
This is the top-of-the-range workstation at Lenovo, the apex predator, the one to beat. Targeting designers, engineers and professionals in the oil and gas industry, it is one of the only two models to feature an Intel Xeon processor. There’s also a built-in colour calibrator as well as a steep price tag for the top-end model to highlight its premium nature. It is a shame though that it doesn’t offer any RAID option at this price and tops out at 512GB storage.
Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad P70
8. Toshiba Tecra Z40T-C-10M
CPU: Intel Core i7-6600U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 512GB SSD
Toshiba’s excellent range of Tecra business laptops has produced this brilliant mobile workstation, which packs a heck of a lot of power into an easily portable body. As well as offering plenty of power and mobility, there’s also plenty of connectivity options which makes this an excellent laptop for business use.
9. MSI WT72 6QK
Ideal workstation for CAD and graphics applications
CPU: Intel Core i5-6300HQ | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 1TB HDD
Great build quality
A large notebook
The MSI WS60 6QH 088UK is an excellent mobile workstation, and with MSI being known for producing powerful gaming laptops, it’s no surprise that the company has also created this powerful workstation that excels in CAD and graphics applications. This laptop has been updated to provide some of the latest components to ensure a top notch experience.
10. PC Specialist Octane III Quadro
Customise your workstation just as you want
CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro M1000M | RAM: 64GB | Screen: 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 500GB SSD x 2
Fastest CPU on the market
Big and heavy
No onsite warranty or NBD support
In the world of workstations lies an even smaller niche. One for vendors that build to order using parts from the likes of Foxconn. The Octane III is one of them, allowing the user to choose exactly what parts they want to power their workstations and more. Sure, you don’t get the sort of support you’d expect from the likes of Lenovo, Dell or HP, but for many, the pros of using a vendor like PC Specialist will outweigh the cons.
The model we configured came with the best consumer grade laptop CPU on the market, 64GB of RAM and two 500GB SSDs in RAID-0 mode. Of course, you’re free to specify the machine as you wish – but there are plenty of options when it comes to powerful components, that’s for sure.