The challenging workplace: Is your device up to the task?

Joe Svetlik

Monday 4 December 2017

Your workplace might not be a danger zone, but your technology still needs to perform under pressure. Just ask these CTOs. Warning: includes spilled Coca-Cola.

Down the tube

In today’s rough-and-tumble business world, laptops have to be tougher than ever. Just ask Dhruvin Patel, founder of Ocushield, a company that makes screen protectors for mobile phones.

“I was working on the Tube on the way to a meeting, and kept my laptop open as I disembarked and went up the steps. Then, disaster – I dropped it and it fell down about 10 steps.

He feared the worst – “cracked screen, broken keyboard and ruptured hard drive all came to mind” – especially because it was open when he dropped it. But when he picked it up, he was relieved to see it was unscathed. “No screen damage, it was still functioning and I hadn’t lost any data,” he says. “It must’ve landed perfectly.”

In the drink

It’s not just out and about where a laptop needs to be tough. The relative safety of the office can quickly turn into a hazardous environment.

“I’ve managed to spill Coca-Cola on my laptop before,” says Georg Hansbauer, CTO of Testbirds. “Luckily it still worked. Otherwise I would’ve been in trouble. The only issue was the keyboard was very sticky and difficult to use. Still, it could’ve been much worse.

“My laptop’s decent battery life has also saved me on more than one occasion. When you’re rushing to a meeting and putting the finishing touches to a presentation, you really need a trustworthy computer to get through a very stressful situation.”

A different kind of flight mode

Sometimes a situation arises that’s not even your fault. Chris Grey, CTO of Intelity, tells of the time he and a colleague were on a business trip. “My colleague had lost his laptop charger, and was about to board a different plane,” he says. “I gave him my charger. Because my laptop has great battery life, I was able to work my whole flight home.”

Meeting the pros’ demands

So what do industry professionals demand from a laptop? “It needs to be powerful enough to multitask with multiple browser tabs open, but agile and lightweight,” says Patel. “Something that can take a knock but doesn’t weigh you down.

“It needs to be able to work for at least three to four hours before needing a recharge.”

Hansbauer agrees. “Strong battery life is a must. It needs to have a full keyboard with a good non-reflective screen, be easy to use with all common necessities and be portable, ideally weighing less than 1.5kg.”

Grey has similar priorities. “Because of my job, I look for great battery life, portability, a high-resolution screen, decent power and silent running.”

Even if you’re in a relatively sedentary, desk-based job, a robust, well-performing laptop is a must. When looking for a new laptop, remember these anecdotes and think about what could’ve happened if they were using a lesser model.

In order to anticipate the absolute worst-case scenario, Lenovo’s X1 Labs puts technology through its paces to ensure all X1 devices can withstand the most demanding situations – for example, assessing exposure to extreme temperatures, investigating how a device stands up to a forceful impact or being dropped, and even testing whether its latest laptops could survive in space.

Check out Lenovo’s extraordinary approach to testing with a look at its anecdotal simulation division, and find out more about mobility strategies with the first instalment in our ebook series – Office 2020: What 21st-century organisations need to know.

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