12 Best Workstation Laptops in 2017

Depending on how you use your computer for work, a standard consumer laptop just might not be enough to get the job done. A workstation laptop is essentially a notebook computer that features high-end computing power that you wouldn’t get from a “civilian” consumer model.

If you’re new to workstations or computers in general, it can be daunting to sort through all the features to figure out what you actually need. We can help you find the best workstation laptop for your needs!

Read on to see some of our favorite mobile workstations and then we will teach you how to be selective when you are purchasing your own model.

Top 12 Workstation Laptops Ultimate Table

DesignNameDisplay SizeProcessing PowerRating (1-5)
  1. Thinkpad Yoga 14 2-in-1 20FY0002US 14 inches 2.3 GHz 4.5
  2. HP T6E86UT#ABA Commercial Specialty T6E86UT 15.6″ ZBook E3-1505M 15.6 inches 2.8 GHz 4.5
  3. VAIO S Laptop (Intel Core i7-6500U 13.3 inches 2.5 GHz 4.3
  4. Apple MacBook Pro MLH42LL/A 15.4-inch Laptop 15.4 inches 2.7 GHz 4.3
  5. VAIO Z Canvas 12.3-Inch Laptop 12.3 inches 2.2 GHz 4.3
6. Toshiba Tecra PT640U-06002R 15.6-Inch Laptop 15.6 inches 2.8 GHz 4.0
7. Dell Inspiron 5000 Touchscreen 17.3″ FHD Laptop 17.3 inches 3.1 GHz 4.0
8. MSI WT72 6QL-400US 17.3″ SLIM AND LIGHT WORKSTATION LAPTOP 17.3 inches 2.8 GHz 3.9
  9. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 12.3 inches 2.2 GHz 3.9
  10. HP Business W0T01UT Chromebook 13.3 inches 1.1 GHz 3.8
  11. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 4 Business Ultrabook 14 inches 3.4 GHz 3.5
  12. Dell XPS9560-7001SLV-PUS 15.6″ Laptop 15.6 inches 3.8 GHz 2.9

How Do You Know Which Workstation Laptop Is Right for You?

Whether you are an architect rendering 3D models, a graphic designer illustrating a new concept, or an entrepreneur keeping track of revenue on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, you need a responsive workstation that can go with you wherever your work takes you.

At first glance, searching for the best workstation laptop can seem a lot like shopping for any regular computer. In a lot of ways this is true. However, what sets a mobile workstation apart from other laptops is its ability to perform under high-intensity workloads.

Here’re few things to keep in mind before purchasing a laptop workstation.

  • How Much Storage Space Do You Need? – If your work comes with large amounts of multimedia (PowerPoint slides, high-res photos and video, etc.), then hard drive space is most likely the first thing to consider when choosing a mobile workstation. If storage is a concern, we recommend a hard drive between 500 GB and 1 TB (1 terabyte=1000 gigabytes). Here are the two main types of hard drives:
    • Hard Disc Drive (HDD) – HDDs are the “classic” when it comes to laptop storage. They are usually cheaper per GB than a solid state drive and can store up to 2 TB on a mobile workstation. However, their moving parts make them more susceptible to damage in transit.
    • Solid State Drive (SSD) – SSDs are and update to HDDs in a lot of ways. They draw less power, conserving battery life, and because there are no moving parts, they are far more durable than HDDs. They also boot up faster and have less noise. The cost and limited storage of SSDs (maximum of 1 TB in a laptop, usually), in our opinion, are their only downsides.

If storage isn’t a concern, a Chromebook might be the best option for you. These workstation laptops run Google’s Chrome Operating System, which is used primarily to run web applications. Because of this, data on a Chromebook will usually be stored in a cloud, meaning you don’t need a lot of physical hard drive space.

  • What About Memory and Processing Power? – Random access memory (RAM) and processing power is crucial to the performance of your mobile workstation.
    • RAM – To ensure top performance, we recommend a minimum of 4GB of RAM for those using their computers for day to day business activities. This will allow you to run multiple programs at once without too much of a slow down.

If you require a lot of processing power (looking at you, graphic designers accountants), then you will want a minimum of 8GB of RAM, if not 16GB.

    • Processing Power – This is a quick way to gauge how fast your computer can accomplish tasks. The higher the Gigahertz (GHz), the faster the computing power. Remember that fast processors can drain your battery faster, so make sure to weigh the pros and cons and only get the speed you need.

If you decide to go with a Chromebook, keep in mind processing power isn’t as critical when it comes to running web applications.

  • How Mobile Does Your Workstation Need to Be? – Ensure that the workstation laptop you choose is mobile enough for you. For some, this could mean a lightweight, long battery life model for frequent travel. For others, a mobile laptop can’t have 12 hours of battery life because it needs max computing power, so they may need a heavier computer by default.

Think about your average work day. How much do you have to carry your laptop? Can you easily find power? Do you need an extra sturdy design because you work in high-risk environments? All these questions can help you find the perfect workstation for you.

As you can see, searching for the best workstation laptop is not easy and there are a lot of things to consider. Now that you’ve gotten a crash course, let’s take a closer look at some of the workstation models from our top 12-list!

Top 5 Best Workstation Laptop Reviews

1. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga

The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga gets our number one recommendation because it seems to embody what a businesswoman or businessman needs from a truly mobile workstation. At less than 5 pounds and completely foldable screen, Lenovo’s Yoga provides a genuinely “flexible” experience.

  • 14 inch Touchscreen – Perfect for designers and photographers, editing photos or creating new designs is intuitive and easy on the Yoga’s touchscreen and stylus. Not only is creating easy, but it’s beautiful to see on the 1080p resolution HD display.
  • Solid State Drive – The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga’s SSD can handle all the travel you can throw at it. The SSD also helps make the Yoga only .8 inches thick!
  • Built-in webcam – Do you frequently video conference with clients or check in via video with your boss? Unlike many workstations, the Yoga comes with a 720p resolution webcam built-in.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga is a perfect combination of mobility, design, and performance. We recommend it especially to those creatives out there who could get the most out of the touchscreen and stylus.

2. HP ZBook Commercial Specialty Studio 3

The HP ZBook Studio 3 has the RAM and hard drive space a professional could need to work on the go. Built especially for commercial use, the ZBook can keep up with 3D renderings and other high-computation tasks that come with design-type work.

  • 512 GB SSD with 16 GB of RAM – This HP laptop is a real workhorse. It meets our standard of 500GB of storage (for those with large data needs) and is at the top of the pile when it comes to RAM. At 16 GB, you could render 3D models in real time with no lag.
  • Microsoft 10 Pro – The ZBook Studio 3 runs Microsoft 10 Pro. This OS provides security and other features that Microsoft 10 Home does not, such as device integration and remote desktop access (so you can access your PC from anywhere).

The HP ZBook Studio 3 is a no-frills take on mobile workstations. It has the computing power to handle anything you throw it and the added features of Microsoft 10 Pro are a huge plus.

3. VAIO S Mobile Workstation

The VAIO S workstation laptop is the cream of the crop in lightweight technology. What it lacks in storage space, it makes up for in processing power and sheer mobility. If your work involves a lot of travel and communication via computer, the VAIO S might be for you.

  • Minimalist Design – This mobile workstation is very small. At less than 3 pounds, the biggest problem you may have is remembering that it’s in your bag. If you do forget, don’t worry. The VAIO S is subjected to stress tests pre-distribution to ensure durability.
  • VGA and LAN connections – In a world where USB and Thunderbolt reign supreme, VAIO recognized that sometimes you need more “old school” connections for presentations, so they included VGA for video and LAN for internet connection.

For businesspeople that are constantly on the go, we recommend the VAIO S mobile workstation because it’s light but performs like a true workstation.

4. Apple MacBook Pro

Apple’s MacBook Pro almost needs no introduction because it is so prolific in the business arena, and for good reason. Apple’s design and dedication to performance have kept these computers popular and this year’s Pro is no different.

  • Touch ID for Security – If you work with sensitive company information on your workstation, extra security is always a plus. The MacBook Pro is touch ID enabled so only you can access your computer.
  • Performance Stats – With 2.9 GHz of processing power, 8GB of RAM, and 256 GB of SSD, the MacBook Pro can handle the most intensive of work tasks but its easy to use OS makes it great as personal computer after hours, as well.

Apple’s MacBook Pro is a great mobile workstation for a variety of industries, but its high price tag is definitely a downside for us.

5. VAIO Z Canvas Workstation Laptop

The Z Canvas Workstation is yet another small but powerful laptop from VAIO. We added it to the list because of its versatility. Its screen completely detaches for a tablet experience, if desired.

  • Great for Designers and Illustrators – The detachable touchscreen can really result in an organic design process for creatives. The ability to remove the clutter of the keyboard is a huge benefit.
  • Windows 10 Pro – Any workstation with 10 Pro installed gets a thumbs up for us because it comes with all the tools you need to run and grow your business.

If designing on the go is how you work, it’s hard to beat the incredibly light and powerful VAIO Z Canvas Workstation.