Canstar Blue’s 2021 Small Business Computers review has seen HP, Lenovo, Acer, Apple and Dell rated on value for money, customer service, user friendliness, reliability, design and customer satisfaction.
There’s plenty that goes into keeping a business running smoothly. There’s ensuring that the lights turn on, the internet is quick, and even making sure that you have enough coffee on hand to keep the troops happy! But when it comes to getting work done, there’s not many industries that don’t need some sort of technology to keep things going, meaning what type of printer, portable devices and desktop computers you decide to stock the office with can have a direct impact on how much work you can do in a day.
But with technology often not cheap, it can quickly become a question of cost/benefit, as while going for the sleek machine on the top shelf may be tempting (and aesthetically pleasing), if your office only needs a machine to do the basics, it may not be worth it. But on the other hand, you don’t want your workforce constantly running into issues when it comes to your machines not keeping pace, or having to constantly replace units that aren’t up to the task.
To help small businesses ensure they’re plugged in, our annual ratings provide a guide as to which brand may prove the best fit with your business practices and workload. This year, Canstar Blue surveyed over 300 business owners and key decision makers that have recently purchased technology or electronics – such as computers and laptops – for business purposes, so we could turn their feedback into the ratings table you see above, with brands compared on important factors like customer service, reliability, design, value for money and so on. Those which received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are featured in our results. So, what did we find?
HP took out top spot in our inaugural Small Business Computer ratings, claiming five stars across multiple categories, including value for money, user friendliness, reliability, design and overall satisfaction.
Here are the best computer brands for small businesses in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s inaugural review:
HP successfully booted up some five star results in our 2021 ratings, scoring five stars value for money, user friendliness, reliability, design and overall satisfaction, with a few other brands also getting in on the five star action.
Acer also scored five stars for value for money, while Apple was rated five stars for design, in addition to being the only brand rated five stars for customer service. Lenovo was a solid performer with four stars across the board, while Dell was consistently rated three stars in all ratings categories.
When asked what type of office technology they purchased, survey respondents answered with:
30% of survey respondents also stated that they like to buy the latest office technologies and electronics, although it seems many wait for the right time, with 37% only buy office technology and electronics when they are on sale, while 28% usually wait until the End of Financial Year sales before purchasing. But considering that computers generally don’t come cheap, and you may be purchasing multiple computers for your workforce, waiting until the next sale to roll around can certainly help your back pocket.
HP – otherwise known as Hewlett-Packard – is an American computer brand first founded in 1939, where it produced audio oscillators, before making the leap into computers in the 60s and 70s. Nowadays, HP is arguably one of the most well-known brands in the computer scene, with a wide range of laptops, desktop computers, printers and business solutions available for both personal and work use.
HP’s Business range includes laptops, desktop computers and all-in-one packages, allowing you to find what best suits your business and office. HP’s Business laptop range includes the Elite, Z, Pro, Essentials and Cloud Computing line-ups, with 2-in-1 models also available. The HP Business desktop range includes Elite, Z, Pro and Cloud ranges, with Point-of-Sale computers also available to help with other areas of your business. Reasonably priced within the industry, HP computers are available to purchase directly through the HP website, or through a variety of electronic retailers or specialty computer stores.
A Chinese brand, Lenovo has been a mainstay within the electronics and computer industry since its founding in 1984, with a variety of desktops, laptops, monitors, accessories and gadgets all available to help with work and play. Lenovo also helps you find the best fit for your needs by dividing its range into ‘Work’, ‘Creativity & Entertainment’, ‘Student’, ‘Gaming’ and ‘Everyday Use’, taking some of the guess work out of the process.
Lenovo’s Work range includes ThinkBook and ThinkPad laptops, as well as 2-in-1 models for those who need a bit of additional flexibility in their work. For those after a desktop for the office, Lenovo offers the ThinkStation and ThinkCentre ranges, as well as All-in-One models such as the V Series or IdeaCentre 500 Series to cover a variety of price points and capabilities, making the brand worth checking out. Lenovo products are available to purchase directly via the Lenovo website, or through electronic retailers and computer stores.
A Taiwanese brand, Acer has been operating since 1976, and has covered a wide variety of electronics, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, storage devices and virtual-reality products for equal parts business and play. Splitting its computer range into Home and Work, Acer further breaks down the ranges into model types to help you find what you’re after.
Acer’s desktop range is split into Towers and All-in-One models, with the Veriton and ChromeBox ranges offering both model types. If you’re after a laptop, Acer offers the Enduro, Chromebook, Extensa or TravelMate ranges, covering ultra-thin, convertible, classic and lighter portable models to suit both those who work in a traditional office space, or those who often find themselves working on the road. If you’re really looking to sort out your office hardware, Acer additionally offers tower and rack servers to help keep everything running smoothly, with the Acer range available via the website or through electronic and computer retailers.
A brand that often needs no introduction, Apple has become a more popular option in the workplace, with its range offering plenty of power and aesthetic to help a workplace get the job done. Apple offers the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptop – which is available in a 13 or 16inch model – for those who prefer something more portable, while the iMac desktops (available as a 24 or 27inch model) likely to suit a few office spaces.
In addition to the MacBook and iMac, Apple also offers the Mac Pro workstation and server, as well as a smaller Mac Mini for those who don’t need as much firepower. Apple also offers a number of business solutions to help your business to get to the next level or help take care of any issues that may pop up. Apple products are available through the Apple website, or through select electronics retailers.
An American brand, Dell was well-known in the early 2000s as the go-to brand for customisable computers, with the brand today offering a wide variety of desktops, laptops, monitors, printers, software, work stations as well as small business solutions to help keep the wheels turning in the office.
Dell’s business laptop range includes models such as the Dell Volstro, XPS 2-in-1 models, Latitude laptops, Chromebooks as well as Rugged laptops for those who need something hardy to take on the job site or that needs to travel well. For those after something for the office, Dell’s range of desktop computers include the OptiPlex range, as well as Vostro, Inspiron, XPS and Precision models, with traditional desktops and All-in-One models available. Dell computers can be purchased through the Dell website, as well as through electronic and computer retailers.
Technology is an important part for any business, with many processes, workloads and projects reliant on hardware that’s up to the task. And while initially an expensive area to equip your office with, it’s also essential, meaning that you’ll want to be equipping your staff with computers that can not only get the job done, but with minimal hassle.
But with no shortage of brands, ranges, models and capabilities to choose from, looking carefully into all of your options, and what your staff and business really need to help you consistently achieve tasks and goals – both on a daily basis and over the long run – will ensure that you aren’t pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete on your money. And if all of this talk has got you interested in potentially upgrading your own personal computer, why not check out our ratings on the best desktops and best laptops, because you’ll always need something for when you’re off the clock.
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This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Photo Credit: Roman Arbuzov/shutterstock.com, rawpixel.com/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 2,000 Australian small to medium-sized business owners or key decision-makers (i.e. the key decision-maker for the business) across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased technology or electronics for business purposes in the last two years (e.g. printers, computers, mobile phones) – in this case, 309 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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