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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Staff, 07/16/2016

July 2016 update. Here you will find the current 10 best office/business notebooks for under 800 Euros 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").

Budget Office Notebook Charts (<800 Euro) as of July 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%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
382%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
481%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
581%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
681%11/2015Acer Aspire E5-722-2611Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
AMD E2-7110
AMD Radeon R2 (Mullins/Beema)
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.5 kg27.9 mm17.3"1600x900glossy
779%07/2016
New!
Dell 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
879%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
978%02/2016Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DNAcer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
AMD A8-6410
AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
8 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.4 kg26.1 mm15.6"1366x768matte
1077%07/2016
New!
Lenovo E51-80 80QB0008GELenovo E51-80 80QB0008GE
Intel Core i7-6500U
AMD Radeon R5 M330
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.3 kg24.7 mm15.6"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 is the only exception. The Lenovo E51-80 (see review) missed the list by a small margin. While it shines in its specifications with a Core i7 6500U CPU and AMD Radeon R5 M330 GPU, its poor keyboard is not worthy of an office device.

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

Lenovo ThinkPad E560: also IPS models are available for significantly below 800 Euros.
Lenovo ThinkPad E560: also IPS models are 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 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 viewing-angle-stable, contrast-rich and high-resolution IPS display will hardly miss anything. Certainly, optional docking solutions are available for a ThinkPad of the E series. They can be connected to the native docking port on the underside.

3rd

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

The ProBook 450 G2 (L3Q27EA) was replaced by the ProBook 450 G3 and even achieved a slightly better rating of 83%. The 15-inch device 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, it has sufficient performance for smooth operation. Despite its hard drive, it can outperform the SSD model 450 G2 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.

4th

Third of the triumvirate: ProBook 440 G3
Third of the triumvirate: 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).

Discussion

5th

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

We reviewed the ProBook 430 G3 (see review) sibling immediately afterwards. It replaces the ProBook 430 G2, which has been in the top list to date. 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.

6th

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 the 6th 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 are 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.

7th

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.

8th

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 to assign it the Best Value Award for June 2016.

9th

Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN

Office laptops are delightful if they do not produce noise and feature a good keyboard. In this respect, the Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN can score points. The connectivity includes a peculiarity: Apart from one USB and a card reader, all interfaces are on the back. This ensures a clean desk. Unfortunately, the CPU performance is relatively weak, yet sufficient for simple office and multimedia tools. The buyer had better not run current games with the Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L). However, older games (up to 2012) or browser games are not a problem - at least at low settings.

The Aspire ES1-521-87DN features a matte display. However, the contrast is low and PWM flickering already starts at 90% brightness and below (but at a frequency of 1000 Hz). In our opinion, the price of 500 Euros (~$564) for this configuration is much too high. We recommend cheaper models of the ES1-521 series with A6-6310 APU. They perform only marginally worse.

10th

Lenovo E51-80 - weak input devices
Lenovo E51-80 - weak input devices

Lenovo's E51-80 (see review) is similar to HP's 500 series: It is designed to meet the simplest office requirements: decent input devices, a simple, yet matte display and a solid chassis with low emissions. But wait, our E51-80 80QB0008GE test model comes with an Intel Core i7-6500U, a Radeon R5 M330 and a 256 GB SSD. Its price is already 750 Euros (~$830) and not really suitable for a simple plastic build, a dark and viewing-angle-unstable HD display, and poor battery runtimes and only modest input devices.

Lenovo has to ask itself one question; Why should anybody want to spend 700 Euros (~$775) on the E51-80 if he can get a ThinkPad E560 (Model: 20EV002UGE) for 720 Euros (~$797)?

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)

Notebooks in Comparison

Measurement Results

Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400Lenovo 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-C6QMAcer Aspire ES1-521-87DNLenovo E51-80 80QB0008GE
Screen
Brightness225234214215205231211213238208
Brightness Distribution83839184908588878890
Black Level *0.240.270.430.50.710.360.620.470.420.45
Contrast1021952491492299694326491583478
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *6.897.169.258.612.0612.9412.359.110.4912.03
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *6.456.289.839.3613.4113.5613.469.5511.4713.06
Gamma *2.462.442.822.392.411.912.442.472.522.71
CCT6857 95%6806 96%10890 60%11226 58%15382 42%13627 48%15217 43%11384 57%13286 49%15959 41%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)40.136.636.437.834.3523938.843835
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)61.857.357.359.154.2826160.596056
Noise
Idle Minimum *29.229.229.729.729.831.93131.731
Idle Average *29.229.229.729.729.831.93131.831.6
Idle Maximum *29.229.229.729.730.931.93131.831.6
Load Average *32.533.633.132.733.332.634.233.233.4
Load Maximum *37.235.534.235.137.436.434.333.233.8
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *40.84540.241.442.12636.139.939.144.1
Maximum Bottom *51.939.84250.244.129.94744.750.242
Idle Upper Side *25.226.132.53431.125.931.7332827.6
Idle Bottom *27.627.73133.332.92732.93528.329.6
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle11538845755374491024
Load9710490101118157
WiFi v1.3425342309293377283542631290279
H.264431413337321337
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *3.14.24.95.24.75.54.94.25.55.1
Idle Average *6.37.58.28.27.29.37.26.38.37.4
Idle Maximum *7.98.2998.39.57.57.39.68
Load Average *29.549.630.128.826.419.225.412.52733
Load Maximum *57.365.836.1343223.92815.929.344.6

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4911 Points ∼61%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
5102 Points ∼63%
HP ProBook 450 G3
3075 Points ∼38%
HP ProBook 440 G3
3022 Points ∼38%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
2984 Points ∼37%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
1742 Points ∼22%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4591 Points ∼75%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
4650 Points ∼76%
HP ProBook 450 G3
3901 Points ∼64%
HP ProBook 440 G3
3840 Points ∼63%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
4106 Points ∼67%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
2444 Points ∼40%
Dell Latitude 15-3570
4477 Points ∼73%
Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM
1327 Points ∼22%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
2813 Points ∼46%
Lenovo E51-80 80QB0008GE
5194 Points ∼85%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
3092 Points ∼55%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
3595 Points ∼63%
HP ProBook 450 G3
2910 Points ∼51%
HP ProBook 440 G3
2871 Points ∼51%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
3043 Points ∼54%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
1744 Points ∼31%
Dell Latitude 15-3570
3337 Points ∼59%
Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM
1630 Points ∼29%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
1872 Points ∼33%
Lenovo E51-80 80QB0008GE
3509 Points ∼62%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
1869 Points ∼8%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
2689 Points ∼12%
HP ProBook 450 G3
1260 Points ∼6%
HP ProBook 440 G3
1238 Points ∼5%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
1222 Points ∼5%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
693 Points ∼3%
Dell Latitude 15-3570
1363 Points ∼6%
Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM
433 Points ∼2%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
829 Points ∼4%
Lenovo E51-80 80QB0008GE
1884 Points ∼8%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
5210 Points ∼3%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
10288 Points ∼6%
HP ProBook 450 G3
5800 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 440 G3
5600 Points ∼3%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
5963 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
3093 Points ∼2%
Dell Latitude 15-3570
5909 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM
2230 Points ∼1%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
3317 Points ∼2%
Lenovo E51-80 80QB0008GE
5284 Points ∼3%
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