Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Staff (translated by Martina Osztovits), 07/17/2015

July 2015 update. Here you will find the current best office/business notebooks for under 800 Euros (~$868) 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.

For the original German article, see here.

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

Budget Office Notebook Charts (<800 Euros) as of July 2015

Pos.RatingDateModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreen
182%03/15HP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EAHP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EA
Intel Core i5-5200U
Intel HD Graphics 5500
4 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
2.1 kg25.5 mm15.6"1366x768matte
281%03/15Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
Intel Core i3-5005U
Intel HD Graphics 5500
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.4 kg27 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
380%03/15HP ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EAHP ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EA
Intel Core i5-5200U
Intel HD Graphics 5500
4 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
1.5 kg21 mm13.3"1366x768matte
478%03/15Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
AMD A6-6310
AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
4 GB Memory, 1024 GB HDD
2.3 kg25.3 mm15.6"1366x768matte
577%06/15Dell Vostro 3558Dell Vostro 3558
Intel Core i5-5200U
Intel HD Graphics 5500
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.4 kg25.6 mm15.6"1366x768matte
677%06/15HP 350 G1 F7Z01EAHP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
Intel Pentium 3558U
Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.3 kg26.1 mm15.6"1366x768matte
777%03/15Acer TravelMate P236-M-57R4Acer TravelMate P236-M-57R4
Intel Core i5-5200U
Intel HD Graphics 5500
8 GB Memory, 240 GB SSD
1.5 kg20 mm13.3"1366x768matte
877%02/15Toshiba Satellite L50D-B-12ZToshiba Satellite L50D-B-12Z
AMD A6-6310
AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.2 kg23.5 mm15.6"1366x768glossy
977%11/14Lenovo Thinkpad E555Lenovo Thinkpad E555
AMD A8-7100
AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.4 kg27.1 mm15.6"1366x768matte
1076%06/15Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SMAcer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
Intel Pentium N3540
Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.2 kg26.1 mm15.6"1366x768matte

Editors' Comments

1st

Office avant-garde: HP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EA
Office avant-garde: HP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EA

The HP ProBook 450 G2 (L3Q27EA) is a 15-incher with a matte display, good input devices, and a stable case which is suitable for daily use. It achieved a rating of 82%. Only balanced devices without serious drawbacks can manage that. Unlike the 6xx series ProBooks, demanding laptop buyers will not get a genuine docking port for 800 Euros (~$868), but the maintainability is good (RAM, HDD, WLAN, free M.2 slot). Thanks to an Intel Core i5-5200U (Broadwell) and a Samsung SSD PM851, the HP always runs smoothly. In addition, the system noise is very low and the device hardly gets warm. While HP is frugal with the standard warranty (12 months), they include Windows 7 as well as Windows 8. The very good battery life of 7.5 hours is significantly better than most of its competitors in this price range. The biggest drawback is the dark, low-contrast TN type display with an outdated resolution of 1366x768 pixels and poor viewing angles.

Buy HP ProBook 450 G2 for $689

2nd

Work hero: ThinkPad Edge E550 model: 20DGS00300
Work hero: ThinkPad Edge E550 model: 20DGS00300

The entry-level models into the mid-priced office world are an important mainstay of Lenovo. The cheap ThinkPad Edge series have a starting price of just under 500 Euros (~$542). The ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300 is equipped with a new Core i3-5005U (Broadwell). The rest of the hardware is as expected. The matte FHD panel with an above average resolution is impressive, but it disappoints in contrast and brightness. Unfortunately, lackluster colors and milky black are still common among TN panels of the business mid-range.

The keyboard impresses with long key travel and clear pressure point. The touchpad works precisely and has good gliding traits. The features are standard and include VGA d-Sub, Ethernet, and a DVD multi-burner. In addition, the E550 features a genuine docking port. The special power connector allows connecting to the ThinkPad OneLink Pro Dock. The solid case has some minor flaws in detail, but temperature and system noise remain very low. The battery life of 6:30 hours is quite good. Certainly, the biggest drawback is the poor TN display. Nevertheless, the Edge E550 has an attractive price-performance ratio. Where else can you get an FHD panel with such good input devices? Therefore, we assigned it the Best Value Award in March 2015.

Buy Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550 for $469

3rd

Display as stumbling block: ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EA with HD TN panel
Display as stumbling block: ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EA with HD TN panel

The HP ProBook 430 G2 belongs to the entry-level devices in the mid-priced office lineup of the manufacturer. Since it comes with an SSD, it currently costs more than 800 Euros (~$868). However, there are also models with HDDs but otherwise identical or similar components priced well below 800 Euros (~$868). Thanks to its premium case, low energy demand, good battery life, fast SSD, and new Broadwell Core i5, the 13-incher is fit for work. It also has a maintenance hatch and a free M.2 slot. Once again, HP includes two Windows OS versions in the box. The biggest weakness is the too dark, low-contrast display, which is no longer appropriate in this price range.

Buy HP ProBook 430 G2 for $749

4th

Too dark: Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6
Too dark: Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6

Cheap and good? With the Acer Aspire E5-521-60Y6, Acer offers a 15-incher for 400 Euros (~$433). By itself, this is not unusual, but the quite balanced result of the 15-incher is. The matte display is necessary for office use. We liked the almost silent system noise and the low temperature increase. The hard drive has a capacity of 1000 GB, and the AMD APU is that frugal that the device achieves very good battery runtimes of roughly seven hours. The feedback of the keyboard is not as good as ProBooks' or ThinkPads'. Unfortunately, the list of good or acceptable features ends with an inappropriately dark and low-contrast TN panel.

Buy Acer Aspire E5-521 for $399

5th

Old-school - VGA instead of HDMI: Dell Vostro 15 3558
Old-school - VGA instead of HDMI: Dell Vostro 15 3558

The Texans livened the low-priced Vostro models up. With the Core i5, the 15-inch Vostro 3558 features upscale components which want to offer its owner good performance for many years to come. The reasonably solid, yet not especially elegant case gets hardly warmer in use and remains largely quiet. A decent battery life of 6:30 hours in the Wi-Fi test and a keyboard with strong feedback top the Vostro off. However, typical business features like TPM, biometric access control, and a docking port are missing. Unfortunately, this is also true for a digital-video out (HDMI/DisplayPort). The Vostro has a maintenance hatch (RAM, WLAN, HDD, CMOS-battery) and a removable battery. The latter is no longer a matter of course. The matte TN display has a low contrast, only an HD resolution and is very bluish in factory state. But, the display is reasonably bright; also on battery. All things considered, Dell offers an unspectacular office entry level device for just under 500 Euros (~$542).

Buy Dell Vostro 3558 for $379

Discussion

6th

Under 300 Euros (~$325) with Windows: HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
Under 300 Euros (~$325) with Windows: HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
Best Value Award in July 2015: HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
Best Value Award in July 2015: HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA

Typical HP: Those who want to sell large numbers of devices offer such for under 300 Euros (~$325) with preinstalled Windows. We saw HP's 350 G1 F7Z01EA with Intel Pentium 3558U, 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD from 280 Euros (~$303). With a Pentium, the 15-incher is slightly faster than the Intel Bay Trail processors and AMD Beema APUs usually found in this price range. The simple, yet solid case remains quiet most of the time and only gets slightly warmer. In addition, there are good input devices, which we even liked slightly better than the Vostro 15 3558's. Maintenance hatches make fast access to RAM and hard drive possible. Brightness and contrast of the matte display are not outstanding, but this is perfectly acceptable for its price. We assigned the Best Value Award to the HP 350 G1 in July 2015.

Buy HP 350 G1 for $459

7th

A lot of overview with FHD: TravelMate P256-M-39NG
A lot of overview with FHD: TravelMate P256-M-39NG

Acer has designed the TravelMate P256-M-39NG for the same target group as HP with its ProBooks priced at 800 Euros (~$868): Price-conscious, demanding consumers or business customers who want to buy solid devices but do not want to spend much money on high-end devices. The highlight of the TravelMate P256-M is its matte FHD display. The 15.6-incher with Core i3 is quiet, remains quite cool and still features an optical drive. The feedback of the input devices is good and the plastic chassis is functional and solid. The low-contrast, discolored display and the high price for the Core i3 model are disadvantages.

Buy Acer TravelMate P256-M for $570

8th

Unfortunately, a glossy TFT: Satellite L50D-B-12Z
Unfortunately, a glossy TFT: Satellite L50D-B-12Z

Toshiba's Satellite L50D-B-12Z enters our Top 10 in an unremarkable way. We did not expect that the cheap 15-incher could achieve this. The AMD A-Series A6-6310 (Beema) APU ensures a very solid performance and a noteworthy battery life: It lasts 5:45 hours in the WLAN test. The tester liked the low waste heat and the almost non-existent system noise. Even the input devices are good and the chassis is solid. Unfortunately, the display blunders with too low brightness, blue tint, and narrow viewing angles. Office users deserve something better.

Buy Toshiba Satellite L50D for $449

9th

Very cheap without Windows: ThinkPad E555
Very cheap without Windows: ThinkPad E555

As well as the Edge models, Lenovo offers an even cheaper line of ThinkPads: The ThinkPad E555 models without the Edge in the designation. The final number 5 in the name indicates AMD configurations at Lenovo, in our case an AMD Kaveri A8-7100 with AMD Radeon R5 chipset graphics. If you decide to buy the 15-inch device you are going to get a simple and pretty solid device without any frills, but with a very good keyboard and obviously a matte panel. The simply designed E555 gets hardly warm in operation and provides sufficient runtimes of around 4 hours (WLAN test).

It is nice that you can extend the ports with Lenovo's own OneLink docking station; the E555 has a special power connector for this purpose. Unfortunately, the fast 7200 rpm hard drive is the loudest component of the system. Once again, the biggest drawback is the low-contrast display with a pretty low luminance. Using the device under sunlight is no joy and the matte panel cannot really improve the situation. The viewing angles are limited, which is typical for the TN technology. All in all, the E555 is an interesting offer for price-conscious users that do not need a huge amount of performance. The latter is slightly lower than a low-voltage Core i3 from the Haswell generation.

Buy Lenovo ThinkPad E555 for $382

10th

Cheap with Windows: Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
Cheap with Windows: Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM

Unlike the HP 350 G1, Acer does not use a Haswell Pentium but a Bay Trail-Pentium N3540 in the Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM. The latter has two cores but requires less energy. This ensures battery runtimes of just under six hours, but the performance is lower than the HP 350 G1's in the relevant single-core tests. However, the Aspire E15 ES1 does not have problems running many undemanding tasks in parallel. At 300 Euros, the price is similarly attractive to the HP's and Windows is included as well. The quality of the input devices is appropriate and comparable with the Vostro 15 3558's. We liked the simple, textured, and robust surfaces just as much as the moderate fan noise. The Aspire E15 ES1 belongs to the few notebooks with interfaces on the rear side. These ensure a tidy desk.

However, the low resolution and the narrow viewing angles won't win a prize. It's a pity that a maintenance hatch is missing and the battery is fixed. While this ensures a nice, homogeneous underside and a more stable chassis, you have to loosen many screws and carefully remove the whole underside if you want to upgrade the RAM or replace the battery.

Buy Acer Aspire E15 for $300

 

 

Recent Budget Office/Business Awards

Best Value Award March 2015: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
Best Value Award March 2015: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
Best Value Award in December 2014: Lenovo ThinkPad E555
Best Value Award in December 2014: Lenovo ThinkPad E555

Notebooks in Comparison

Measurement Results

HP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EA Lenovo TP Edge E550 HP ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EA Acer AS E5-521-60Y6 Dell Vostro 3558 HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA Acer TM P236-M-57R4 Toshiba Satellite L50D-B-12Z Lenovo TP E555 Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
Screen
Brightness Center254228176185267250188182203224
Black Level *0.720.68810.640.780.750.7770.40.650.63
Contrast353331176289342333242455312356
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *10.7310.0413.628.8414.6213.3112.2112.511.0111.81
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *11.2310.6514.5111.0416.0313.2413.113.2411.5712.93
Gamma *2.212.532.82.492.362.482.662.012.092.17
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)36.238.833.840393339.4403938
Noise
Idle Minimum *28.931.329.232.931.832.429.132.734.732.7
Idle Average *28.931.329.232.931.832.429.132.934.732.7
Idle Maximum *28.931.331.632.931.832.429.132.934.733.2
Load Average *32.932.83633.632.234.238.732.936.136.5
Load Maximum *34.333.837.134.439.738.940.837.137.936.5
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *32.732.739.13333.231.833.531.739.231.5
Maximum Bottom *34.534.346.24338.335.344.838.63735.8
Idle Upper Side *29.12930.227.536.923.629.527.433.727.6
Idle Bottom *2832.53328.731.925.73330.137.533
Battery Runtime
WiFi456395365427359345238
Reader / Idle748736404521
Load1288491178
WiFi v1.3310389290349
H.264328374193
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *2.43.32.742633.510.95.6
Idle Average *4.46.54.46.55.18.15.76.914.38
Idle Maximum *5757.568.36.3814.98.2
Load Average *23.827.325.419.923.424.530.219.434.116.6
Load Maximum *36.235.637.623.725.527.839.124.341.520

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo TP Edge E550
2784 Points ∼38%
Dell Vostro 3558
2113 Points ∼29%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
2541 Points ∼35%
Acer TM P236-M-57R4
4097 Points ∼56%
Lenovo TP E555
2150 Points ∼30%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
1750 Points ∼24%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EA
2973 Points ∼54%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
2544 Points ∼46%
HP ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EA
2986 Points ∼54%
Acer AS E5-521-60Y6
1946 Points ∼35%
Dell Vostro 3558
2151 Points ∼39%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
2758 Points ∼50%
Toshiba Satellite L50D-B-12Z
1933 Points ∼35%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EA
4125 Points ∼74%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
3321 Points ∼60%
HP ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EA
4135 Points ∼74%
Acer AS E5-521-60Y6
2759 Points ∼50%
Dell Vostro 3558
1693 Points ∼30%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
3800 Points ∼68%
Toshiba Satellite L50D-B-12Z
2743 Points ∼49%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EA
958 Points ∼5%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
909 Points ∼5%
HP ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EA
941 Points ∼5%
Acer AS E5-521-60Y6
788 Points ∼4%
Dell Vostro 3558
574 Points ∼3%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
913 Points ∼5%
Acer TM P236-M-57R4
1014 Points ∼6%
Toshiba Satellite L50D-B-12Z
788 Points ∼4%
Lenovo TP E555
964 Points ∼5%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
268 Points ∼1%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G2 L3Q27EA
5169 Points ∼4%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
4854 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 430 G2 L3Q21EA
5130 Points ∼4%
Acer AS E5-521-60Y6
3326 Points ∼3%
Dell Vostro 3558
3423 Points ∼3%
HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
5179 Points ∼4%
Acer TM P236-M-57R4
5463 Points ∼4%
Toshiba Satellite L50D-B-12Z
3332 Points ∼3%
Lenovo TP E555
3959 Points ∼3%
Acer Aspire E15 ES1-512-P1SM
1425 Points ∼1%
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Author: Staff, 2015-07-17 (Update: 2015-07-17)