2003 Tech Buying Guide
Businesses are sinking their thinning tech dollars into desktop and PC replacement first and foremost. Laptops are enjoying particularly brisk sales, with the number of units shipped during the third quarter of 2002 increasing 18% over third-quarter 2001 figures, according to market researchers at International Data Corp.
Prices continue to fall. A well-equipped, businessworthy laptop such as the Toshiba shown below has a street price of about $1,500 — a 50% reduction from three years ago. Despite this favorable turn of events, you need to account for this technology expense. While PCs which meet certain IRS guidelines can be written off in one year, a computer is generally depreciated over a five-year period — longer than its likely lifespan, especially when discussing laptops. When allocating dollars, figure on a three- to four-year lifespan, says Keith Waryas, an IDC research manager. He says this is more typical for small- to medium-size businesses.
For business users, the principal dilemma remains portability versus functionality: “There are tradeoffs. Ultraportables [typically 4 pounds or less] are superlightweight, but don’t have any drives,” says Waryas.
STAY THE COURSE
Toshiba’s Satellite 2435-S255 [$1,700 base price; shop toshiba.com] comes with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 CPU, 15-inch display, and combo DVD/CD drive — this provides your shop with more than adequate insurance against obsolescence for at least two years.
MORE SEXY THAN SMART?
Sure, the Apple PowerBook G4′s [$3,299 and up; www.apple.com] 17-inch display is the largest in notebook history, and its keyboard is backlit. But forget using it comfortably in coach. Think of it as a superior desktop PC alternative for the casual traveler.
51% of Inc.com poll respondents figure they’ll keep their laptops “up to two years.”*