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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Staff, 09/09/2016

September 2016 update. Here you will find the current 10 best office/business notebooks for under 800 Euros (~$902) reviewed by Notebookcheck in the last few months. Our list of top models is regularly updated, maintained and commented on and should assist in purchase decisions.

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Office notebooks, cheap bargains and computers for everyday tasks: They require decent input devices, an ergonomic display and connectivity that should allow the user to easily connect to the home or workplace environment.

The following table shows an overview of the Top 10 budget office laptops reviewed by Notebookcheck in the previous 10 months. If ratings are equal, the latest review is listed first. The table can be sorted by clicking its headers and filtered by entering text in the text field above it (e.g. "matte").

Top 10 Budget Office Notebooks (<800 Euros) as of September 2016

Pos.RatingDateImageModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
185%03/2016Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
Intel Core i7-6500U
AMD Radeon R5 M330
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
1.9 kg24.3 mm14"1920x1080matte
284%08/2016
New!
HP ProBook 640 G2-T9X60ETHP ProBook 640 G2-T9X60ET
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2 kg27 mm14.0"1920x1080matte
384%08/2016
New!
HP ProBook 650 G2-T9X61ETHP ProBook 650 G2-T9X61ET
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.3 kg27.4 mm15.6"1366x768matte
484%12/2015Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
Intel Core i7-6500U
AMD Radeon R7 M370
8 GB Memory, 192 GB SSD
2.4 kg27.1 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
582%12/2015HP ProBook 450 G3HP ProBook 450 G3
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.1 kg24.8 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
681%12/2015HP ProBook 440 G3HP ProBook 440 G3
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
1.7 kg21 mm14.0"1920x1080matte
781%11/2015HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ESHP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
1.5 kg21 mm13.3"1366x768matte
881%11/2015Acer Aspire E5-722-2611Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
AMD E2-7110
AMD Radeon R2 (Mullins/Beema/Carrizo-L)
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.5 kg27.9 mm17.3"1600x900glossy
979%07/2016Dell Latitude 15-3570Dell Latitude 15-3570
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
2.1 kg23.25 mm15.6"1366x768matte
1079%05/2016Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QMAcer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM
Intel Celeron N3050
Intel HD Graphics (Braswell)
2 GB Memory, 32 GB eMMC
1.6 kg17.9 mm14.0"1366x768matte

Editors' Comments

There are many acceptable and good office devices for under 800 Euros (~$902). The best models stem from Lenovo and HP and cost between 600 and 900 Euros (~$677 and ~$1015). Anything cheaper than these will have even more disadvantages, for example worse input devices or a more flexible case.

IPS panels are rare in the Budget Office Top 10. Currently, the ThinkPad L460 and the Medion Akoya S4219 are exceptions. We did not include Lenovo's ThinkPad E460-20EUS00000 in the top list, since only the IGP variant with HD Graphics 520 is available in the German market. The price of 670 Euros (~$752) is interesting for an office model with Full HD resolution and 192 GB SSD. It is very similar to the L460.

1st

Office master with IPS: Lenovo ThinkPad L460
Office master with IPS: Lenovo ThinkPad L460
Editors Choice in April 2016 for the Lenovo ThinkPad L460
Editors Choice in April 2016 for the Lenovo ThinkPad L460

The Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400 (see review) sets new standards in our Budget Office charts. At just under 800 Euros (~$902), or slightly above, the 14-inch device definitely does not fit into everybody's budget. However, the components which Lenovo has combined are worth the price. First of all, the laptop comes with a matte IPS display with wide viewing angles and high contrast. This is new in this price class and no other Top 10 model features an IPS panel.

The L460 has inherited the excellent keyboard from the more expensive T series ThinkPads. Not even HP ProBooks come up with a similar quality (no dual pointing with the TrackPoint). The battery life of about seven hours and the SSD, which are becoming more and more common in mid-priced devices, are nothing to sneeze at. We had the variant with Core i7-6500U and AMD Radeon R5 M330 under review, which, however, is only very rarely offered in the German market. The following table lists the common three variants.

The new Skylake processor provides a plus in computing power. At the same time, Lenovo manages to increase the battery life significantly.

Unfortunately, the matte display is quite dark (225 cd/m²). Thus, it is only barely suitable for outdoor use. The test model's fan generated a quiet high-frequency noise and the tester was also not satisfied with the fan control. Nevertheless, the ThinkPad L460 is the best office notebook in the price range up to 800 Euros (~$902) with a big margin against the competitors.

ModelSizeTFTCPUGPURAMHDD/SSD/etc.Price
ThinkPad L460 (20FU001QGE)14"1920x1080 IPSi5-6200UHD 5208 GB256GB SSD / LTEfrom €970
ThinkPad L460 ((20FU001JGE)14"1920x1080 IPS5-6200UHD 5204 GB500GB SSHDfrom €770
ThinkPad L460 ((20FU001LGE)14"1920x1080 IPSi5-6200UHD 5204 GB192GB SSDfrom €795

2nd

Nearly 10 hours: HP ProBook 640 G2 (FHD, 256GB)
Nearly 10 hours: HP ProBook 640 G2 (FHD, 256GB)

Together with its ProBook 650 G2 sibling, the HP ProBook 640 G2-T9X60ET (see review) storms the Top 10, gets 2nd place at once and supersedes the ThinkPad E560 as well as the ProBook entry-level models 450 G3, 440 G3, and 430 G3. The author refers to the 14-inch ProBook 640 G2 as a well-made refresh. With non-glare Full HD display (TN), hard drive, and Core i5, the device costs just under 800 Euros (~$902). You'll get a solid chassis, input devices for prolific writers, a bright display, and a long battery life of 9:30 hours. The 640 G4 belongs to the models with the longest battery life in this category. An LTE modem is optionally available, while all variants come with an optical drive. Unfortunately, the viewing-angle dependent TN panel is still standard for this price point; at least in the business mid-range. In addition, the pulsating fan and the unfavorable interface layout are annoying.

Buyers who can ignore the viewing-angle dependent screen and bulky build will find a solid work device for office applications in the ProBook 640 G2, which, compared with the competition, also comes with a rare unique selling point in the form of the optical drive.

The direct competitor is the ThinkPad L460. HP delivers better battery runtimes, but a worse TN panel. These are the most important variants of the HP ProBook 640 G2:

ModelSizeTFTCPUGPURAMHDD/SSD/etc.Price
HP ProBook 640 G2 (T9X60ET#ABD)14"1.920x1.080 TNi5-6200UHD 5208 GB256GB SSD + LTEfrom 1.140 Euros
HP ProBook 640 G2 (T9X62ET#ABD)14"1.920x1.080 TNi5-6200UHD 5204 GB500GBfrom 790 Euros
HP ProBook 640 G2 (T9D93AW#ABD)14"1.366x768 TNi5-6300UHD 5204 GB500GBfrom 1.170 Euros
HP ProBook 640 G2 (T9X62EA#ABD)14"1.920x1.080 TNi5-6200UHD 5204 GB500GBfrom 790 Euros

3rd

Fail with an HD panel: HP ProBook 650 G2
Fail with an HD panel: HP ProBook 650 G2

The HP ProBook 650 G2-T9X61ET (see review) is the 15-inch variant of the above 14-incher 640 G2. We had the base model with TN panel and HD resolution under review. Full HD is an option, yet not for under 800 Euros (~$902). The display of our 700-Euro (~$786) test model is indeed its biggest disadvantage. Brightness, colors, viewing-angle stability and brightness reduction method (PWM @200 MHz) are subpar. Thus, the tester recommends the Full HD version, which should be combined with an SSD for better performance. We have requested this variant for a test update.

HP's ProBook 650 G2 convinces with solid system performance. The impression is literally marred by the below-average screen quality that simply has no place in this price range.

Otherwise, the 650 G2 is a balanced product for professional use with very many advantages: good battery life of just under seven hours, combined with a relatively stable chassis and many security features. The docking port from HP, no performance throttling, and low temperatures are standard in this category. The M.2 interface (PCIe, 2280) on the motherboard is an interesting feature. It is free in several variants and can be used to add an SSD. These are the most important variants of the HP ProBook 650 G2:

Discussion
ModelSizeTFTCPUGPURAMHDD/SSD/etc.Price
HP ProBook 650 G2 (T4J10EA#ABD)15.61.920x1.080 TNi5-6200UHD 5208 GB128GB SSDfrom 1.050 Euros
HP ProBook 650 G2 (V1A44ET#ABD)15.61.920x1.080 TNi5-6200UHD 5208 GB256GB SSDfrom 1.050 Euros
HP ProBook 650 G2 (T9X61ET#ABD)15.61.366x768 TNi5-6200UHD 5204 GB500GB HDD, M.2 frei, LTEfrom 900 Euros
HP ProBook 650 G2 (T4J10ET#ABD)15.61.920x1.080 TNi5-6200UHD 5208 GB128GB SSD, M.2 freifrom 877 Euros
HP ProBook 650 G2 (T4J06ET#ABD)15.61.366x768 TNi5-6200UHD 5204 GB500GB HDD, M.2 freifrom 750 Euros

4th

Lenovo ThinkPad E560: IPS models are also available for significantly below 800 Euros.
Lenovo ThinkPad E560: IPS models are also available for significantly below 800 Euros.

Lenovo's ThinkPad E560 (see review) is a solid 15-inch device for work, which is gaming capable to some extent thanks to the Radeon R7 M370 and a pleasure to the eye thanks to the IPS display with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. There are many configurations of this device. The model with Radeon R7 M370 costs just over 800 Euros (~$902). However, the many variants with iGPU and Core i3 or Core i5, HDD/SSD are rather significantly cheaper. In addition, we reviewed the cheap model with HD display (no IPS), Core i3 and HDD. Due to the poorer display, its rating is significantly lower. Here is the review of the low-cost model of the ThinkPad E560 20EV000MGE, which achieved a rating of 83%.

You cannot make a mistake when you buy the ThinkPad E560 – but you should carefully consider if you need the Core i7 processor and Radeon GPU.

Regardless of the variant, all E560 models share a good price-performance ratio. With decent case quality, excellent keyboard, and low system noise, they meet important aspects. Those who opt for a model with a viewing-angle stable, contrast-rich and high-resolution IPS display will hardly miss anything. Optional docking solutions are available for a ThinkPad of the E series. They can be connected to the native docking port on the underside. The HP ProBook 650 G2 can keep up with its rivals. Despite poor display (HD, TN) its rating is higher than the ThinkPad E560's.

5th

Office vanguard with weaknesses: HP ProBook 450 G3
Office vanguard with weaknesses: HP ProBook 450 G3

The ProBook 450 G3 with a matte display, good input devices and a stable case is suitable for everyday use and does not have any serious flaws. For a price ranging between 640 to 765 Euros (~$722 to ~$863), demanding laptop buyers do not get a real docking port as in the 6xx series ProBooks, but the maintainability is good (RAM, HDD, WLAN, free M.2 slot). By being equipped with an Intel Core i5-5600U (Broadwell) and an integrated graphics card, it has sufficient performance for smooth operation. Despite its hard drive, it can outperform the 450 G2 predecessor (SSD model 450) in the total rating, since the keyboard is better (concave keys now). In addition, the PCMark scores are somewhat better than the SSD model's. However, the energy consumption has not decreased and unfortunately the Wi-Fi battery runtime is shorter. The display is still a problem, since the matte TN display brings poor viewing angles, dull colors and a low brightness. Several consumer devices with IPS displays perform better at this price range.

6th

Entry into the business world: ProBook 440 G3
Entry into the business world: ProBook 440 G3

Things are shaping up well for HP. Office fans can purchase an HP notebook almost without hesitation. The Skylake generation of HP's ProBook business entry-level devices were broadly convincing in our reviews. The ProBook 440 G3 (see review) is a handy 14-inch device. You will even get a matte Full HD display for 620 Euros (~$699) here. Unfortunately, it is a low-contrast TN panel with poor color precision and only sufficient brightness. Another minor flaw is the battery life of only five hours. The input devices feel spongy to the touch and the keyboard features a two-level backlight. Our tester found the touchpad to be responsive but complained about poor sensitivity along the edges.

As with its 15 and 13-inch siblings, the build quality is appropriate and solid. The basic business features including software solutions, TPM, Kensington lock, and fingerprint reader are nothing to sneeze at. The Lenovo ThinkPad E450 and E460 with fast SSD storage and dedicated graphics card are alternatives, but they cost at least 150 Euros (~$169) more or are not available in Germany. Those who want to please their eyes might consider the Dell Latitude 3450 with its high-end IPS panel, which, however, costs 900 Euros (~$1015).

7th

Poor display: ProBook 430 G3 with HD TN panel
Poor display: ProBook 430 G3 with HD TN panel

We also reviewed the smaller ProBook 430 G3 (see review) sibling. Despite a simple configuration without SSD and a 1366x768 pixels TN display, it is sufficient for a fairly good rating of 81% - only a few other office devices can manage this. The ProBook 430 G3 is one of the entry level devices in the mid-priced office segment. You have to accept several flaws compared with the full-grown ProBooks including HD resolution, missing docking port and a budget display. So far, a variant with SSD is not available. Quality casing, good battery runtimes and the new Skylake Core i5 turn the 13-inch device into an office subnotebook suitable for work. In addition, there is a maintenance hatch and a free M.2 slot. Once again, the biggest weakness is the dark, low-contrast display. This is no longer state-of-the-art in this price range.

8th

Quiet and cool: Acer Aspire E5-722 with AMD hardware
Quiet and cool: Acer Aspire E5-722 with AMD hardware

It is remarkable that the Aspire E5-722-2611 (see review) with AMD hardware got 8th place. It is not a big performance advantage that carries weight for the 17-inch device, but the well-made bundle including a good keyboard, hardly perceptible system noise, decent battery runtimes of up to just under 5 hours, and a 24-month warranty. Drawbacks include the absence of a maintenance hatch and the fact that the battery is fixed. The good connectivity including four USB ports, VGA, and Ethernet is commendable for typical office use. However, the display also has a disadvantage: Many color shades are missing in the rare 6-bit panel. In extreme scenarios, the differences between color shades are clearly visible.

All in all we can say: The Aspire is a convincing package with a good price-performance ratio.

9th

Dell Latitude 15-3570: the smallest and cheapest business Latitude
Dell Latitude 15-3570: the smallest and cheapest business Latitude

The Latitude 15-3570 (see review) is Dell's attack on cheap HP ProBooks or ThinkPads of the E series. Although you will get an SSD for 630 Euros (~$697), the display has to do with HD resolution and TN technology. There are many variants to choose from. The input devices are good yet not on par with the ThinkPads or the Latitude 5000 or 7000 models. In addition, the 15-inch device always remains cool. If the price is ok (discount offers), the Latitude 15-3570 can pay off. Otherwise, we would recommend a ProBook 450 because of its better input devices or a ThinkPad E560 because of its (optional) IPS panel.

10th

Long-lasting yet weak: Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431
Long-lasting yet weak: Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431
Best Value Award in June 2016: Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14
Best Value Award in June 2016: Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14

Cloudbooks are simply laptops for web surfing that rely on Cloud storage such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. Thus, these devices come without exception with a small eMMC, which is only used for Windows and the installed apps. The Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM is relatively large and poorly equipped with an Intel Celeron N3050. On the other hand, the 14-inch device includes Windows and a one-year Office license for just 280 Euros (~$310).

In contrast to its Chromebook competitors, the Cloudbook allows installing / using usual desktop software. However, the storage capacity is limited. About 15 GB is free out-of-the-box.

The Cloudbook is silent and runs relatively cool with a two-year warranty thrown in. In the realistic Wi-Fi test, it achieves a very good battery life of 10:30 h. The keyboard is comfortable enough that we forgive its PWM flickering and assigned it the Best Value Award for June 2016.

Recent Budget Office/Business Awards

Best Value Award in November 2015: HP 350 G2
Best Value Award in November 2015: HP 350 G2
Editors' Choice in April 2016: Lenovo ThinkPad L460
Editors' Choice in April 2016: Lenovo ThinkPad L460
Best Value Award in December 2015: Lenovo ThinkPad E560 (i7, FHD)
Best Value Award in December 2015: Lenovo ThinkPad E560 (i7, FHD)
Best Value Award in June 2016: Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14
Best Value Award in June 2016: Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14

Notebooks in Comparison

Measurement Results

Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400HP ProBook 640 G2-T9X60ETHP ProBook 650 G2-T9X61ETLenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000HP ProBook 450 G3HP ProBook 440 G3HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ESAcer Aspire E5-722-2611Dell Latitude 15-3570Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
44.4
43.2
40.4
38.4
41.2
46
54.4
22
37
49.6
Response Time Black / White *
29.6
24
32
22.4
28
27.6
32.8
18
37
21.6
PWM Frequency
200
200
192
100
200
Screen
Brightness
225
304
223
234
214
215
205
231
211
213
Brightness Distribution
83
93
85
83
91
84
90
85
88
87
Black Level *
0.24
0.61
0.61
0.27
0.43
0.5
0.71
0.36
0.62
0.47
Contrast
1021
516
405
952
491
492
299
694
326
491
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.89
8.8
8.8
7.16
9.25
8.6
12.06
12.94
12.35
9.1
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.45
9.44
10.13
6.28
9.83
9.36
13.41
13.56
13.46
9.55
Gamma
2.46 98%
2.53 95%
2.34 103%
2.44 98%
2.82 85%
2.39 100%
2.41 100%
1.91 126%
2.44 98%
2.47 97%
CCT
6857 95%
11794 55%
12581 52%
6806 96%
10890 60%
11226 58%
15382 42%
13627 48%
15217 43%
11384 57%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
40.1
47.37
39.6
36.6
36.4
37.8
34.3
52
39
38.84
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
61.8
74.78
62.2
57.3
57.3
59.1
54.2
82
61
60.59
Noise
Idle Minimum *
29.2
29
30.9
29.2
29.7
29.7
29.8
31.9
31
Idle Average *
29.2
29.8
30.9
29.2
29.7
29.7
29.8
31.9
31
Idle Maximum *
29.2
30.2
31.3
29.2
29.7
29.7
30.9
31.9
31
Load Average *
32.5
30.2
33.8
33.6
33.1
32.7
33.3
32.6
34.2
Load Maximum *
37.2
33.9
36.7
35.5
34.2
35.1
37.4
36.4
34.3
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
40.8
40.7
37.4
45
40.2
41.4
42.1
26
36.1
39.9
Maximum Bottom *
51.9
42.6
38.3
39.8
42
50.2
44.1
29.9
47
44.7
Idle Upper Side *
25.2
29.9
30.1
26.1
32.5
34
31.1
25.9
31.7
33
Idle Bottom *
27.6
30.3
31.1
27.7
31
33.3
32.9
27
32.9
35
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1153
997
690
884
575
537
449
1024
Load
97
173
163
104
90
101
118
157
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
425
573
408
342
309
293
377
283
542
631
H.264
431
382
413
337
321
337
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
3.1
3.3
4.6
4.2
4.9
5.2
4.7
5.5
4.9
4.2
Idle Average *
6.3
6
6.8
7.5
8.2
8.2
7.2
9.3
7.2
6.3
Idle Maximum *
7.9
6.9
7.5
8.2
9
9
8.3
9.5
7.5
7.3
Load Average *
29.5
27.7
26.3
49.6
30.1
28.8
26.4
19.2
25.4
12.5
Load Maximum *
57.3
36.6
35.1
65.8
36.1
34
32
23.9
28
15.9

* ... smaller is better

Notebooks in Comparison

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Staff (Update: 2016-09-10)