Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Martina Osztovits (translated by Martina Osztovits), 09/15/2014

September 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 September 2014

Pos. RatingDate
ModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionFinish
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 $759 at Amazon
2.4 kg25 mm15.61920x1080matte
378%

08/14

new!

Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Intel Core i3-4030U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB RAM, HDD
- from 408 Euros at notebooksbilliger

2.5 kg26 mm15.61366x768matte
478%

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
578%01/14HP ProBook 455 G1
AMD A4-4300M
Radeon HD 7420G
4 GB RAM, HDD
- from $524 at Amazon
2.3 kg23 mm15.61366x768matte
678%01/14Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540
Intel Core i3-4000M
Intel HD Graphics 4600
4 GB RAM, HDD
- from $654 at Amazon
2.5 kg30 mm15.61366x768matte
777%

08/14

new!

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 $1060 at Amazon
2.0 kg25 mm14.0 1366x768matte
977%04/14HP ProBook 655 G1
AMD A6-5350M
Radeon HD 8450G
4 GB RAM, HDD
- from $796 at Amazon
2.3 kg25 mm15.61366x768matte
1077%02/14HP ProBook 450
Intel Core i7-4702M
Intel HD Graphics 4600
8 GB RAM, HDD
- from $889 at Amazon
2.4 kg29 mm15.6 1366x768matte

Editors' Comments

In the charts as the price fell: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge L540
In the charts as the price fell: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge L540
Office worker with FHD screen: Acer TravelMate P455-M
Office worker with FHD screen: Acer TravelMate P455-M
Solid bundle for little money: Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Solid bundle for little money: Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4: Best Value Award September 2014
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4: Best Value Award September 2014
Long lasting business colleague: Lenovo ThinkPad L440
Long lasting business colleague: Lenovo ThinkPad L440
17-incher for tight budgets: HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
17-incher for tight budgets: HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng: second Best Value Award September 2014
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng: second Best Value Award September 2014

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.

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.

3rd

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 wins our Best Value Award in September 2014 for this bundle.

4th

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.

5th

According to the "5" in its model name, HP's ProBook 455 G1 also uses components from AMD. The A4-4300M is about on par with Intel's Pentium CPUs and so is a basic piece of equipment for simple office applications. The tester liked the high-end aluminum case in view of the low price. With a height of 23 mm and a weight of 2.3 kg, the laptop also has a good portability. Alike all similar competitors, the display has an ergonomic matte surface and a resolution of 1366x768 pixels.

6th

The E540 is the Intel model of Lenovo's ThinkPad Edge E545. An i3-4000M CPU coupled with an Intel HD 4600 graphics solution works in our test model. Thanks to the same case as its AMD counterpart, this laptop features high-end input devices. The case has an easy job with the waste heat of the Intel components. The laptop always remains cool and quiet.

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.

8th and 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).

10th

The ProBook 450 is the Intel counterpart of the ProBook 455 and achieved the good 4th rung (tied). The model with Intel Core i3 CPU and matte HD display convinced with its solid case and good input devices in our review. We also liked its low system noise and low temperature.

Runners-up

We reviewed five entry-level and mid-range office devices last month. Three of them did not make it into our charts as they did not achieve a better rating. Lenovo's IdeaPad G50-45 was the best among these. It is a 15-inch notebook based on AMD's A series A6-6310. With narrow viewing angles and poor contrast, the bluish TN meets the expectations of a device for 370 Euros (~$479). However, case and input devices are decent. Further pros are low emissions, its SSHD drive and its easy maintainability. But, the buyer has to live with a short battery life (3:50 hours, WLAN test).

Lenovo's IdeaPad Flex 2 15 is partly a convertible. Its lid can be turned around by 300 degrees. This gives an elegant presentation mode, which is suitable for movies or touch input. We liked the AccuType keyboard with backlight, the removable underside, the optional 1080p IPS touchscreen and the partly high-end and nice build quality with palm rests from brushed aluminum and edge-to-edge display from glass. The weak feedback of the keyboard and touchpad, the low brightness (for outdoors), and the slow hybrid hard drive are disadvantages. The 15-incher would have greatly profited from a good display.

Toshiba's Satellite Pro R50-B-112 is the entry-level system among the business laptops of this manufacturer. We reviewed the "high-end configuration" with Intel Core i5-4210U, which brings a good performance, is frugal and works almost silently. Otherwise, the Satellite Pro R50-B cannot keep up with the competition in its price range of 400 to 650 Euros (~$518 to ~$842, depending on the configuration). The poor input devices are especially disappointing.

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

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Lenovo Thinkpad L540
Acer Travelmate P455-M
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
HP ProBook 455 G1
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E540
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
HP ProBook 645 G1
HP ProBook 655 G1
HP ProBook 450
Screen
Brightness Center303195190252218337238182209228
Black Level *0.700.540.71.460.430.900.680.270.641.08
Contrast433361271173507374350674327211
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *11.5811.1610.186.2210.2210.9512.1810.499.3312.64
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *13.6512.0210.627.5210.512.7113.5711.429.3613.43
Gamma *2.593.052.312.42.5922.12.322.272.43
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)51.1247.93846.336.15045.637.634.734.8
Noise
Idle Minimum *31.930.529.730.83232.23031.631.333.5
Idle Average *32.431.229.7313232.23031.631.333.5
Idle Maximum *32.431.230.431.232.132.230.734.931.933.6
Load Average *34.832.533.232.532.434.43036.934.136.4
Load Maximum *36.134.733.233.736.3373440.238.340.9
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *40.836.535.54533.744.8333633.837.1
Maximum Bottom *39.033.337.442.140.742.73652.143.650.8
Idle Upper Side *31.631.72830.130.128.329.831.531.226.6
Idle Bottom *34.531.129.330.530.432.128.337.839.227.8
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle391493391516499540568559579
Load9365701026499868459
DVD180214155193214200193190
WiFi298270391256261434274289288288
H.264233
Gaming
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *9.54.34.210.98.88.64.58.49.46.3
Idle Average *13.110.56.313.211.211.78.810.511.38.6
Idle Maximum *13.412.78.613.414.713.710.311.514.58.8
Load Average *38.630.416.844.735.249.121.440.341.241.6
Load Maximum *49.53924.661.335.961.528.747.850.858.2

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

Lenovo Thinkpad L540
Acer Travelmate P455-M
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
HP ProBook 455 G1
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E540
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
HP ProBook 645 G1
HP ProBook 655 G1
HP ProBook 450
PCMark 7
Score280523442025158637271810190818902736
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v240772973297037692748317530903696
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance849777784180250118548597897871042
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics5106454747386545271774233225316631715765
static version load dynamic

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2014-09-15 (Update: 2014-09-16)