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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

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

January 2015 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").

Office Notebook Charts (<800 Euro) as of January 2015

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
280%

12/14

New!

Fujitsu Lifebook E544
Intel Core i5 4210M (Haswell)
Intel HD Graphics 4600
4 GB RAM, SSHD
from $809 at Amazon
2 kg31 mm14.01600x900matte
379%

12/14

New!

HP Probook 430 G2
Intel Core i5 4210U (Haswell)
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, SSD
from $775 at Amazon

1.5 kg21 mm13.31366x769matte
478%

12/14

New!

Acer TravelMate P256-M-39NG
Intel Core i3 4005U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
8 GB RAM, HDD
from €610 at Cyberport

2.3 kg26 mm15.61920x1080matte
578%

08/14

Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Intel Core i3 4030U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, HDD
from €415 Euro at Notebooksbilliger

2.5 kg26 mm15.61366x768matte
678%

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
777%

11/14

Lenovo Thinkpad E555
AMD Kaveri A8-7100
AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri)
4 GB RAM, HDD
from €349 Euro at Notebooksbilliger
2.5 kg26 mm15.61366x768matte
877%

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
977%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
1077%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

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 laptop with HD+: Fujitsu Lifebook E544
Office laptop with HD+: Fujitsu Lifebook E544

2nd

The Lifebook E544 from Fujitsu is a typical 14 inch business device: The HD+ display has a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels, which is rare in the meanwhile. Core i5 and hybrid hard drive ensure good, yet not extraordinary high performance. The E544 features a genuine docking port and has quite a stable construction. We discovered weaknesses in fan control and viewing angles. An IPS display with wide viewing angles and a higher contrast would be appreciated than this bluish panel.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

13 inch entry into the professional world
13 inch entry into the professional world

3rd

The Probook 430 G2 from HP is a relatively cheap entry into into the ProBook world. Valuable case, acceptable input devices (yet not perfect), good battery life and high system performance thanks to an SSD are arguments for the 13.3 incher. Compared to fully fledged ProBooks, you have to accept several disadvantages. First of all, these are the HD resolution, the missing docking port and the dark, low-contrast display.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

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

4th

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

5th

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

6th

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 for the Lenovo Thinkpad E555 in December 2014
Best Value Award for the Lenovo Thinkpad E555 in December 2014

7th

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

8th

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

9th

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 exotic with hard business facts
HP ProBook 655: AMD exotic with hard business facts

10th

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 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

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

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Lenovo Thinkpad L540 Fujitsu Lifebook E544 HP Probook 430 G2 Acer TravelMate P256-M Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4 Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545 Lenovo Thinkpad E555 HP Pavilion 17-f050ng HP ProBook 645 G1 HP ProBook 655 G1
Screen
Brightness Center303252175232190203252238182209
Black Level *0.70.6961.220.660.70.651.460.680.270.64
Contrast433362143352271312173350674327
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *11.589.112.11210.1811.016.2212.1810.499.33
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *13.659.4413.6612.6510.6211.577.5213.5711.429.36
Gamma *2.592.562.113.092.312.092.42.12.322.27
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)51.1238.633.353383946.345.637.634.7
Noise
Idle Minimum *31.930.331.13329.734.730.83031.631.3
Idle Average *32.430.331.13329.734.7313031.631.3
Idle Maximum *32.432.531.533.130.434.731.230.734.931.9
Load Average *34.836.235.833.833.236.132.53036.934.1
Load Maximum *36.141.535.834.933.237.933.73440.238.3
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *40.832.637.434.235.539.245333633.8
Maximum Bottom *3934.64336.837.43742.13652.143.6
Idle Upper Side *31.628.728.926.62833.730.129.831.531.2
Idle Bottom *34.531.632.629.329.337.530.528.337.839.2
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle391771722721404391540568559
Load93951241459170998684
DVD180286155214200193
WiFi298262332368391238256274289288
H.264331193
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *9.55.43.454.210.910.94.58.49.4
Idle Average *13.19.35.210.86.314.313.28.810.511.3
Idle Maximum *13.410.26.910.98.614.913.410.311.514.5
Load Average *38.6412628.316.834.144.721.440.341.2
Load Maximum *49.552.427.129.524.641.561.328.747.850.8

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
2805 Points ∼40%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
3439 Points ∼50%
HP Probook 430 G2
4556 Points ∼66%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
2098 Points ∼30%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
2025 Points ∼29%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
2150 Points ∼31%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
1810 Points ∼26%
HP ProBook 645 G1
1908 Points ∼28%
HP ProBook 655 G1
1890 Points ∼27%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
3008 Points ∼56%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
2521 Points ∼47%
HP Probook 430 G2
2391 Points ∼45%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
1869 Points ∼35%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
2092 Points ∼39%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
2813 Points ∼53%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
2033 Points ∼38%
HP ProBook 645 G1
2230 Points ∼42%
HP ProBook 655 G1
2201 Points ∼41%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
4077 Points ∼74%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
3774 Points ∼69%
HP Probook 430 G2
3599 Points ∼66%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
2624 Points ∼48%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
2970 Points ∼54%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
3769 Points ∼69%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
2748 Points ∼50%
HP ProBook 645 G1
3175 Points ∼58%
HP ProBook 655 G1
3090 Points ∼56%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
849 Points ∼5%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
838 Points ∼5%
HP Probook 430 G2
781 Points ∼4%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
802 Points ∼4%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
784 Points ∼4%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
1802 Points ∼10%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
964 Points ∼5%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
859 Points ∼5%
HP ProBook 645 G1
789 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 655 G1
787 Points ∼4%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
5106 Points ∼4%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
4983 Points ∼4%
HP Probook 430 G2
4787 Points ∼4%
Acer TravelMate P256-M
4738 Points ∼4%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
4738 Points ∼4%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
6545 Points ∼6%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
3959 Points ∼3%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
3225 Points ∼3%
HP ProBook 645 G1
3166 Points ∼3%
HP ProBook 655 G1
3171 Points ∼3%
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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: 2015-01-22)