Many companies I have worked with have asked me to save money and you have to find creative ways to do it. One of the favorite ways for companies to save money, is to give equipment to its employees that is an economical as possible.
Since the computer market is highly competitive, there are many models and new options coming out all the time. I have been investigating the sub $500 laptop market, and there seem to be two winners here. One is a Lenovo ThinkPad E450.
The other is a Asus VivoBook S200E. These both offer more than the most common traditional vendors of laptops which are Dell, Toshiba, and HP. Specifically, I have worked with those other models in every past job and they have had tons of issues. The Lenovo carbon laptops also had issues, but another Lenovo that was in use in that business was reliable.
Vendors who sell these sub $1000 laptops say they are disposable and not worth purchasing. However they come with warranties, and seem like worth taking a chance on. I think that vendors get kickbacks from selling higher priced laptops, and in some cases those laptops are justified. However when you have a workforce that loses laptops, uses them in hostile environments like manufacturing, the argument for more expensive laptops is not justified.
Of course you can say why not tell people if they lose a laptop then they buy the next one? It never works that way. Salespeople tend to lose laptops, and the lost time and productivity is very costly to a company. Getting a laptop that is more rugged might work for the short-term, but it introduces another model to test and verify into a support environment, and a rugged model wouldn’t be used by everyone. So in that case, once you figure in the labor costs, it might be cheaper to keep buying cheap laptops than a more expensive one.
The bottom line here is that you have to think creatively and realistically when you give out equipment. While it is nice for everyone to get the same model, in most businesses this never happens. Ideally the less models the better, and perhaps buying cheap is one way to find a good average.