Business notebooks are always a popular category, as they’re the notebooks South Africans are most likely to have some sort of exposure to. This year’s win was hard-fought, and even though our winner wasn’t technically manufactured in 2016, it’s a testament to its overall quality and appeal that it beat out others that were.

WINNER

Lenovo ThinkPad X240
Price: R16 999

Specifications
  • Intel Core i7-4600U Processor @ 2.10 GHz
  • 4GB DDR3 Memory
  • 500GB / 7200rpm Hard Drive
  • Intel HD Graphics D4400
  • 5-inch Anti-Glare Screen @ 1080p
  • Intel 7260 AC 2 x 2 WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0, USB (3G upgradable)
  • 6-Cell battery
  • 4-in-1 reader
  • Windows 8 Pro 64-bit

When it comes to shopping for a business laptop that delivers on performance without breaking the bank, it’s not a bad idea to look back to a hardware generation or two ago for value.

That’s clearly what the majority of our voters did when it came to choosing their favourite business notebook from our GOTY line-up, voting in Lenovo’s venerable ThinkPad X240 as their overall favourite of 2016 by a slim margin. It beat out Dell’s rock-solid Inspiron 15-5559 and HP’s excellent EliteBook 745, a really impressive feat considering the X240 is older than those two by quite a margin (2 years).

The state of our economy and an emphasis on shrinking IT budgets could be responsible, but there’s also a lot to like here that isn’t simply the X240’s good price. Lenovo’s excellent laptop keyboard, for instance, AC-class WiFi, a built-in fingerprint reader and the fact that it’s genuinely thin and light without feeling cheap all count considerably in the X240’s favour.

Votes
Percentage of votes: 30.9%
Runners-up: Dell Inspiron 15-5559 (28.6%), HP EliteBook 745 G2 (27.1%)

Journalist’s choice

I don’t quite agree with the readers, but I suppose there’s no denying the appeal of an affordable yet competent work laptop. For me, Dell’s Inspiron 15-5559 was a more compelling offer than the X240: while it was a bit fatter and heavier and slightly more expensive at R17 899, I’d have chosen it as my GOTY for its newer hardware (Intel 6th-gen) and sleek looks.

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.