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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Martina Osztovits (translated by Martina Osztovits), 12/07/2014

December 2014 update. Here you will find the current best office/business notebooks for below 800 Euros (~$1038) 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 and 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").

Notebookcheck Budget Office Notebook Charts (<$1000) as of December 2014

Pos. RatingDateModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionFinish
184%03/14Lenovo Thinkpad L540
Intel Core i5 4200M
Intel HD Graphics 4600
4 GB RAM, HDD
from $599 at Amazon
2.3 kg31 mm15.61920x1080matte
281%02/14Acer Travelmate P455-M
Intel Core i5 4200U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, HDD
from $888 at Amazon
2.4 kg25 mm15.61920x1080matte
378%

12/14

new!

Acer TravelMate P256-M-39NG
Intel Core i3 4005U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
8 GB RAM, HDD
from €599 Euro at Cyberport

2.3 kg26 mm15.61920x1080matte
478%

08/14

Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Intel Core i3 4030U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, HDD
from €419 at Notebooksbilliger

2.5 kg26 mm15.61366x768matte
578%

03/14

Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
AMD A10-5750M
Radeon HD 8650G+HD 8570M
8 GB RAM, HDD
from $799 at Amazon
2.4 kg34 mm15.61366x768matte
677%

11/14

new!

Lenovo Thinkpad E555
AMD Kaveri A8-7100
AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
4 GB RAM, HDD
from €379 Euro at Notebooksbilliger
2.5 kg26 mm15.61366x768matte
777%

08/14

HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
AMD A-Series A8-6410
AMD Radeon R5 (Beema)
4 GB RAM, HDD
from $639 at Amazon

2.6 kg28 mm17.31600x900glare
877%04/14HP ProBook 645 G1
AMD A6-5350M
Radeon HD 8450G
4 GB RAM, HDD
from $725 at Amazon
2.0 kg25 mm14.0 1366x768matte
977%02/14HP ProBook 655 G1
AMD A-Series A6-5350M
AMD Radeon HD 8450G
4 GB RAM, HDD
from $812 at Amazon
2.3 kg26 mm15.61366x768matte
1077%02/14HP ProBook 450 G1 E9Y58EA
Intel Core i7 4702MQ
Intel HD Graphics 4600
8 GB RAM, HDD
from $1000 at Amazon
2,4 kg26 mm15.61366x768matte

Editors' Comments

Versatile office allrounder: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge L540
Versatile office allrounder: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge L540

1st

The entry-level model of Lenovo's ThinkPad L540 is available for below 800 Euros (~$1038). In Lenovo's product range, L-series models are cheaper than T-series models. Our L540 test model features an Intel i5-4200M (standard voltage) CPU with integrated Intel HD 4600 graphics solution and a matte Full HD display. The latter provides a lot of overview on the desktop and good brightness even on battery, but its colors are a mixed bag. Further pros of the L540 are its quiet system noise, good system performance, and many interfaces (docking port). An important criterion is that the input devices are on the usual high ThinkPad level.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Office worker with FHD screen: Acer Travelmate P455-M
Office worker with FHD screen: Acer Travelmate P455-M

2nd

Acer's TravelMate P455-M ranks in at the top of our charts. The title of our review was "Good, but overpriced" at the beginning of this year. At that time the price of the device was above 800 Euros (~$1038), but since then the price has fallen by over 150 Euros (~$194). Its Intel i5-4200U (ULV) CPU and integrated HD 4400 are apt for everyday office apps and keep the energy demand low. Unfortunately, Acer only equipped the laptop with an especially small battery, with which the device achieves a battery life of about 4 to 5 hours in realistic scenarios. The matte Full HD display provides a big screen real estate for several parallel windows, but its brightness is lower than the leading L540's. Users will also appreciate the quiet system noise of the TravelMate P455.

» reaad the review    » buy the notebook

Große Übersicht mit FHD: TravelMate P256-M-39NG
Große Übersicht mit FHD: TravelMate P256-M-39NG

3rd

Acer designed the TravelMate P256-M-39NG for the same target group as HP its ProBooks below 800 Euro: 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 plastics chassis is functional and solid. The low-contrast, discolored display and the high price for the Core i3 model are disadvantages.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Good typing for little money: Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Good typing for little money: Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4

4th

Acer's Extensa 2510-34Z4 is a 15.6-incher for budget-minded buyers looking for a matte display, sufficient performance, and decent input devices. The Extensa delivers these, but, unfortunately, its HD panel has a low contrast and is not especially bright. While it is difficult to work outdoors, you can appreciate the very low emissions and a relatively good system performance indoors. Apart from the Core i3-4030U, the hard drive is striking since it reads slightly faster than some HDDs in mid-range office notebooks. The battery life of 6:31 hours (WLAN test) is great. Acer won our Best Value Award in September 2014 for this bundle.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Now (unfortunately) with ClickPad: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E545
Now (unfortunately) with ClickPad: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E545

5th

The 15-inch Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E545-20B2000PGE features a solid case built for day-to-day use. The input devices are perfectly suitable for prolific writers. It features an excellent keyboard also found in devices for professionals for above 1000 Euros (~$1297). Important difference: HP still uses separate mouse buttons, while Lenovo switched to a ClickPad but left the two TrackPoint buttons (can be used as mouse buttons). Under the hood is the first AMD platform in our charts. The A10-5750M CPU belongs to the fastest mobile processors from AMD. Coupled with a dedicated graphics card it makes for an acceptable basic piece of multimedia equipment.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Best Value Award für das Lenovo Thinkpad E555 im Dezember 2014
Best Value Award für das Lenovo Thinkpad E555 im Dezember 2014

6th

As so often, Lenovo offers office devices for an aggressive price: The Thinkpad E555 already starts from 379 Euro (without Windows). Nevertheless is achieved a rating of 77 % and made it into our Top 10. So, we assigned it our Best Value Award in December 2014 in the budget office notebook category. The functional plastics chassis is not beautiful, but at least it is insensitive. The mechanical keyboard has just a strong feedback as the input devices in more expensive T and L series ThinkPads. AMD's Kaveri A8-7100 is slightly slower than a ULV Core i5. With fast 7200 rpm hard drive, the system performance is on par with Ivy Bridge i3 platforms. The APU ensures quiet and especially cool operation (but the HDD is loud). But, the Thinkpad E555 is by far not the best in battery life with about four hours in the WLAN test.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Best Value Award September 2014: HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
Best Value Award September 2014: HP Pavilion 17-f050ng

7th

Budget-minded buyers can find office notebooks with AMD hardware for little money in price comparisons again and again. Among these HP's Pavilion 17-f050ng is a giant with its size of 17-inches. It is already available for 389 Euros (~$504) with Windows operating system. The tester was very enthusiastic, although the Pavilion 17 is not perfect. In view of the price, you can be happy about the high-end, light chassis, the very good speakers, the good battery life (4:30 hours) and the excellent emissions. Office fans will get used to the relatively low performance of the AMD A series A8-6410 if they do not want to run current games. The disadvantages include black value and contrast of the TFT. Both of them are poor, but unfortunately this is usual in this price range. HP got the second Best Value Award in September 2014 for this interesting bundle.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Exotic device with serial port: ProBook 645 G1
Exotic device with serial port: ProBook 645 G1

8th

HP's ProBook 655 and ProBook 645 G1 are the AMD counterparts to the 640 and 650 models and are almost completely identical. A special feature of the 15-incher is its serial interface. The 6xx models feature the same input devices as the 4xx models. The 6xx series models differ from the ProBooks of the 4xx series by having more features (interfaces: e.g. docking port, TPM, fingerprint reader etc.) and a more high-end build quality. The ProBook 450 G1 (Haswell) and the ProBook 450 (Ivy Bridge) are the entry devices into the ProBook world. The cheapest models start from just under 500 Euros (~$648).

» read the review    » buy the notebook

HP ProBook 655: AMD-Exot mit harten Geschäftsfakten
HP ProBook 655: AMD-Exot mit harten Geschäftsfakten

9th

With the ProBook 655, HP sells a 15.5-incher with usual business strengths: decent input devices, solid chassis, low emissions, easy maintainability and a matte display. The ProBook 655 could have achieved a higher rating with a bright display and a higher contrast. The ProBook 650 G1 in the Top 10 is the otherwise identical Intel counterpart. The 655 uses an AMD A series A6-5350M APU of the Richland generation, which has been replaced in the meanwhile. Its performance is only modest and does not seem apt for just under 800 Euro.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Computing artist: HP ProBook 450 G1 E9Y58EA
Computing artist: HP ProBook 450 G1 E9Y58EA

10th

The HP ProBook 450 G1 E9Y58EA is an all-round business device with a size of 15 inch. The ProBook entry-level model hardly brings real professional features like docking port, DisplayPort, or Smartcard reader. It is a scaled-down EliteBook. The performance of the standard voltage hardware (Core i7 4702MQ) does not need to hide. Advantages of the ProBook 450 G1 are its robust, durable build quality, very good input devices without ClickPad (separate mouse buttons) and easy maintainability. For example, there is a free slot for an mSATA SSD. But, the TN-type display is poor. It features HD resolution and  narrow viewing angles.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Runners-up

Office friends with aggressive price: HP 355 G2 / HP 350 G1
Office friends with aggressive price: HP 355 G2 / HP 350 G1
Cheapest: Inspiron 15-3531
Cheapest: Inspiron 15-3531

Four 15.6 incher did not make it into our top list. These are cheap entry-level devices and customers have to accept more or less compromises.

Lenovo's B50-45 (MCD2GGE) is a candidate for 279 Euro. Its slowness was annoying for the tester. Buyers have to be patient with the AMD E-Series E1-6010 (Beema), especially if they demand more than web surfing or e-mailing. In return, the 15 incher always remains cool and quiet and brings a matte, relatively bright display.

HP's 355 G2 achieved a rating of 75%. It also uses an AMD APU (AMD A-Series A8-6410). The system performance is significantly better than the B50-45 (MCD2GGE)'s mentioned above and is sufficient for simple office use. Input devices and maintainability are pros of the HP 355 G2, but we were not pleased by the dark, low-contrast, bluish display.

Dell also offers a Bing notebook, the 15 inch Inspiron 15-3531. The Bay Trail Celeron contributes to long battery life (above 5 hours in teh WLAN test) and low temperature increase. However, the Inspiron 15-3531 does not have an optical drive and only a dark, low-contrast display.

The HP 350 G1 is the more expensive Intel sister to the HP 355 G2 mentioned above. Core i5 4210U and Radeon HD 8670M pay off if the buyer occasionally want to run games beside work. The HD display is not glossy, too. The price of just under 500 Euro is slightly higher. Unfortunately, the low-contrast display corresponds to the low cost range.

Recent Budget Office/Business Awards

Best Value Award in December 2013: Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
Best Value Award in December 2013: Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
Editor's Choice in December 2013: Dell Latitude 3440
Editor's Choice in December 2013: Dell Latitude 3440
Best Value Award in January 2014: Acer Aspire E1-532
Best Value Award in January 2014: Acer Aspire E1-532
Best Value Award in February 2014: ThinkPad Edge E540
Best Value Award in February 2014: ThinkPad Edge E540
Best Value Award in September 2014: Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Best Value Award in September 2014: Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Best Value Award in October 2014: Packard Bell Easynote TF71BM-C8R1
Best Value Award in October 2014: Packard Bell Easynote TF71BM-C8R1
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
Acer Travelmate P455-M
Acer TravelMate P256-M
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
HP ProBook 645 G1
HP ProBook 655 G1
HP ProBook 450 G1
Screen
Brightness Center303195232190203252238182209228
Black Level *0.700.540.660.70.651.460.680.270.641.08
Contrast433361352271312173350674327211
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *11.5811.161210.1811.016.2212.1810.499.3312.64
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *13.6512.0212.6510.6211.577.5213.5711.429.3613.43
Gamma *2.593.053.092.312.092.42.12.322.272.43
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)51.1247.953383946.345.637.634.734.8
Noise
Idle Minimum *31.930.53329.734.730.83031.631.333.5
Idle Average *32.431.23329.734.7313031.631.333.5
Idle Maximum *32.431.233.130.434.731.230.734.931.933.6
Load Average *34.832.533.833.236.132.53036.934.136.4
Load Maximum *36.134.734.933.237.933.73440.238.340.9
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *40.836.534.235.539.245333633.837.1
Maximum Bottom *39.033.336.837.43742.13652.143.650.8
Idle Upper Side *31.631.726.62833.730.129.831.531.226.6
Idle Bottom *34.531.129.329.337.530.528.337.839.227.8
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle391493721404391540568559579
Load9365145917099868459
DVD180214286155214200193190
WiFi298270368391238256274289288288
H.264193
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *9.54.354.210.910.94.58.49.46.3
Idle Average *13.110.510.86.314.313.28.810.511.38.6
Idle Maximum *13.412.710.98.614.913.410.311.514.58.8
Load Average *38.630.428.316.834.144.721.440.341.241.6
Load Maximum *49.53929.524.641.561.328.747.850.858.2

* ... smaller is better

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
2805 Points ∼40%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
2344 Points ∼34%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
2098 Points ∼30%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
2025 Points ∼29%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
2150 Points ∼31%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
1810 Points ∼26%
HP ProBook 645 G1
1908 Points ∼28%
HP ProBook 655 G1
1890 Points ∼27%
HP ProBook 450 G1
2736 Points ∼39%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
3008 Points ∼61%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
2028 Points ∼41%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
1869 Points ∼38%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
2092 Points ∼42%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
2813 Points ∼57%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
2033 Points ∼41%
HP ProBook 645 G1
2230 Points ∼45%
HP ProBook 655 G1
2201 Points ∼44%
HP ProBook 450 G1
2737 Points ∼55%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
4077 Points ∼74%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
2973 Points ∼54%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
2624 Points ∼48%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
2970 Points ∼54%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
3769 Points ∼69%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
2748 Points ∼50%
HP ProBook 645 G1
3175 Points ∼58%
HP ProBook 655 G1
3090 Points ∼56%
HP ProBook 450 G1
3696 Points ∼68%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
849 Points ∼5%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
777 Points ∼4%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
802 Points ∼4%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
784 Points ∼4%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
1802 Points ∼10%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
964 Points ∼5%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
859 Points ∼5%
HP ProBook 645 G1
789 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 655 G1
787 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 450 G1
1042 Points ∼6%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
5106 Points ∼4%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
4547 Points ∼4%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
4738 Points ∼4%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
4738 Points ∼4%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
6545 Points ∼6%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
3959 Points ∼3%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
3225 Points ∼3%
HP ProBook 645 G1
3166 Points ∼3%
HP ProBook 655 G1
3171 Points ∼3%
HP ProBook 450 G1
5765 Points ∼5%
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2014-12- 7 (Update: 2014-12- 4)