Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Martina Osztovits (translated by Martina Osztovits), 11/08/2014

November 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 November 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%

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
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 $499 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 $642 at Amazon
2.5 kg30 mm15.61366x768matte
778%01/14HP ProBook 650 G1
Intel Core i3 4000M
Intel HD Graphics 4600
4 GB RAM, HDD
- from $744 at Amazon
2.3 kg25 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 $1060 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 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

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

3th

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

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.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

AMD alternative: HP ProBook 455 G1
AMD alternative: HP ProBook 455 G1

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 almost all similar competitors, the display has an ergonomic matte surface and a resolution of 1366x768 pixels.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Ideal for typing: Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E540
Ideal for typing: Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E540

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.

» read the review    » buy the notebook

Many interfaces: ProBook 650 G1 H5G74E
Many interfaces: ProBook 650 G1 H5G74E

7th

The ProBook 650 G1 H5G74E is a mid-range office device from HP for professionals. In terms of performance (standard voltage CPUs) and connectivity (docking port, SIM card slot with antennas for a 3G/LTE modem) is is very well equipped and it is easy to maintain. Unfortunately, its HD display is not very bright and low-contrast. However, a model with 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) is also available. Special feature: HP incorporated a serial port, which is still used in trade and industry.

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

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 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

Runners-up

Poor keyboard: Lenovo B50-70
Poor keyboard: Lenovo B50-70
Skyrocketing battery life: Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C
Skyrocketing battery life: Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C

Six simple cheap 15.6 and 17.3 inch devices did not make it into our Top 10. Buyers have to accept significant trade-offs for partly less than 300 Euro. This applies especially to the HD displays with blue tint, narrow viewing angles and below-average brightness.

Lenovo's B50-70 delivers a good system performance, works quietly most of the time and does hardly get warmer. In addition, its storage capacity is big and it is easy to maintain and upgrade. Furthermore, it comes with a matte FHD display, which unfortunately does not reach good readings. Because of the poor keyboard, we do not want to recommend the B50-70. 

The price cutters including Lenovo G50-30, HP 250 G3, Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C and Acer Extensa 2509-C052 cost all significantly below 300 Euro and come with Windows 8 Bing. All these devices use Intel's Bay Trail platform and so, most of them do not have a fan. The performance of the Celerons is sufficient for simple office tasks. Their advantage is a low power consumption. The Aspire E15 ES1 stands out of the crowd with a spectacular WLAN battery life of 6:54 hours. The Acer Extensa 2509 performs almost as well with 6:37 hours in the same test. Acer's Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C is a highlight among the low cost models with its decent keyboard, almost no heating and 24th warranty. Unfortunately, a maintenance hatch is missing.

In addition, Acer's Aspire E17 E5-721-69FX (75 %) went through our tests. The 17-incher features AMD's A-Series A6-6310 (Beema) and focuses more on battery life (WLAN test: 5:42 hours) than on performance. The display is unfortunately glossy and its brightness is sub-par, but it achieves a good contrast of 726:1. The laptop hardly gets warmer and the fans are very quiet most of the time. With the AMD Radeon R4, games often do not even run smoothly with lowest settings.

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
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
Screen
Brightness Center303195190252218337238182209
Black Level *0.700.540.71.460.430.900.680.270.64
Contrast433361271173507374350674327
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *11.5811.1610.186.2210.2210.9512.1810.499.33
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *13.6512.0210.627.5210.512.7113.5711.429.36
Gamma *2.593.052.312.42.5922.12.322.27
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)51.1247.93846.336.15045.637.634.7
Noise
Idle Minimum *31.930.529.730.83232.23031.631.3
Idle Average *32.431.229.7313232.23031.631.3
Idle Maximum *32.431.230.431.232.132.230.734.931.9
Load Average *34.832.533.232.532.434.43036.934.1
Load Maximum *36.134.733.233.736.3373440.238.3
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *40.836.535.54533.744.8333633.8
Maximum Bottom *39.033.337.442.140.742.73652.143.6
Idle Upper Side *31.631.72830.130.128.329.831.531.2
Idle Bottom *34.531.129.330.530.432.128.337.839.2
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle391493391516499540568559
Load93657010264998684
DVD180214155193214200193
WiFi298270391256261434274289288
H.264233
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *9.54.34.210.98.88.64.58.49.4
Idle Average *13.110.56.313.211.211.78.810.511.3
Idle Maximum *13.412.78.613.414.713.710.311.514.5
Load Average *38.630.416.844.735.249.121.440.341.2
Load Maximum *49.53924.661.335.961.528.747.850.8

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
2805 Points ∼42%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
2344 Points ∼35%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
2025 Points ∼31%
HP ProBook 455 G1
1586 Points ∼24%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E540
3727 Points ∼56%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
1810 Points ∼27%
HP ProBook 645 G1
1908 Points ∼29%
HP ProBook 655 G1
1890 Points ∼29%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
3008 Points ∼61%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
2028 Points ∼41%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
2092 Points ∼42%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
2813 Points ∼57%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
2033 Points ∼41%
HP ProBook 645 G1
2230 Points ∼45%
HP ProBook 655 G1
2201 Points ∼44%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo Thinkpad L540
4077 Points ∼74%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
2973 Points ∼54%
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%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
777 Points ∼4%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
784 Points ∼4%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
1802 Points ∼10%
HP ProBook 455 G1
501 Points ∼3%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E540
1854 Points ∼10%
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 ∼5%
Acer Travelmate P455-M
4547 Points ∼5%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
4738 Points ∼5%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E545
6545 Points ∼7%
HP ProBook 455 G1
2717 Points ∼3%
Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E540
7423 Points ∼8%
HP Pavilion 17-f050ng
3225 Points ∼3%
HP ProBook 645 G1
3166 Points ∼3%
HP ProBook 655 G1
3171 Points ∼3%
Read all 1 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading comments

Comment this article:

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2014-11- 8 (Update: 2014-11- 6)