When our clients are looking at buying laptops for their veterinary practice, we always make sure that they consider the following 5 areas before spending their hard-earned cash: Laptop Screen, Storage, Battery Life, Peripherals and Ports.
This is by no means and exhaustive list but will help you on your way to make a good decision for your practice.
Because you will probably end up staring at your laptop screen for hours at a time, you’ll probably want to make sure it’s not painful and that you aren’t spending your days squinting at the screen. It also might be that you use programs in your veterinary practice that require a bigger screen to be easier to use – for example imaging might be better viewed on a larger screen.
This means that you might want to consider how big a laptop you need, smaller models are often easier to carry around with you and will fit easily into smaller bags, but they just might not be as practical considering the work that you do.
Another screen related consideration you may have is whether you want your laptop to have a touchscreen.
There is generally two schools of thought when it comes to touchscreen laptops, you love them or you hate them. Some people find them more interactive and intuitive, whereas others find its just a feature they don’t need or want to use. It really is down to personal preference.
If you are planning to store a lot of x-ray images, drugs labels etc then you will need a good amount of storage. You will also need to think about the type of disk as well.
This is because traditional hard drives can be slow, somewhat bulky, and produce noticeable heat and noise, none of which are practical for use in a veterinary practice. On the other hand, a solid-state drive (SSD), offers a lot more speed than a hard drive, runs silently, and can be installed in a form factor that doesn’t add too much to the weight and bulk of a laptop.
A Veterinary IT expert would be able to discuss your storage needs with you to help you understand what your exact requirements are and how to best address them.
We can’t stress enough the importance of getting a laptop with a good battery life. If you are always on the move, interacting with your laptop and using apps such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive, or maybe remotely access your PMS and imaging systems then this can be very battery intrusive.
A good practice here is to look at the rating of the battery in Watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh). The larger these figures are, the longer the battery can last. For example, a 13.3in Ultrabook with a battery rating from 44Wh to 50Wh will give you the best results.
Additionally, when looking for a laptop, see if it is labelled as being “fast-charging” as this will benefit you day to day, especially if you are one of those people that always forget to keep their laptop charged.
There are quite a few peripherals that you might want to consider buying alongside your laptop. The three most common that we come across in the veterinary sector are a Mouse, Webcam and a Headset.
Not everyone enjoys using the touchpad below their keyboard as a way of navigating their laptop. Often Mice are easier to use and are more precise, we often get told by clients that they also more comfortable to use for longer periods of time.
When Telemedicine boomed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic so did sales of Webcams if telemedicine is here to stay at your practice then you may want to think about investing in some decent webcams for your computers. Luckily, these days most laptops have them built in – but they aren’t all the same quality or in the same position, keep an eye out for where the camera is on the models you are looking at and ask to test the quality before buying
Another suggestion would be a dock, so you are able to dock your laptop at your desk or be on the move.
With these peripherals it’s important that you can enough of the right ports (UBS, HDMI etc) to be able to use them.
How many you need will depend on how many peripherals you use alongside your laptop. However as a general rule, when purchasing a laptop we advise that you get one that has at least two USB ports and a USB-C port, so you are able to connect to dock if need be. Remember, your dock will have additional ports too, but you will want to make sure that you have enough on the laptop itself for when you are using it away from your dock/desk setup.
If you are having trouble deciding what laptops would be most suitable for your practice needs feel free to get in touch, and one of our Veterinary IT Experts will happily advise you to find the tools that you need.