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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Staff, 02/10/2016

February 2016 update. Here you will find the current best office/business notebooks for under 800 Euros (~$868) 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, an ergonomic display and connectivity that 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").

Budget Office Notebook Charts (<800 Euro) as of February 2016

Pos.RatingDateimageModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreen
183%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
282%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
381%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
481%03/2015Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
Intel Core i3-5005U
Intel HD Graphics 5500
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.4 kg27 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
580%08/2015Fujitsu Lifebook A514Fujitsu Lifebook A514
Intel Core i3-4005U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
2.2 kg30.9 mm15.6"1366x768matte
680%07/2015Fujitsu Lifebook A555Fujitsu Lifebook A555
Intel Core i5-5200U
Intel HD Graphics 5500
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
2.3 kg30.9 mm15.6"1366x768matte
779%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
878%12/2015Asus ASUSPRO Essential P2520LA-XO0167HAsus ASUSPRO Essential P2520LA-XO0167H
Intel Core i5-5200U
Intel HD Graphics 5500
8 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.4 kg23.3 mm15.6"1366x768matte
978%10/2015HP 350 G2 L8B05ESHP 350 G2 L8B05ES
Intel Core i5-5200U
AMD Radeon R5 M240
4 GB Memory, 750 GB HDD
2.3 kg26.1 mm15.6"1366x768matte
1078%09/2015Toshiba Satellite C70D-C-10NToshiba Satellite C70D-C-10N
AMD A4-7210
AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema)
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.6 kg26.5 mm17.3"1600x900glossy

Editors' Comments

The lead of the two not perfect HP laptops clearly shows one thing: There are many acceptable and good, yet no very good devices in the office class below 800 Euro. All positions below them have even more disadvantages and/or a weak performance. For example there are no laptops with IPS display in our Budget Office Top 10. We would have liked to include the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E460 in our Top 10, but, unfortunately, the 14-incher with AMD Radeon R7 M360 is not available in Germany. Thanks to its matte FHD screen, its good keyboard, and probably its moderate price, the E460 would take the lead and replace HP.

1st

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

The office top list remains firmly in the hand of HP, even if the leading duo changes within the family. The ProBook 450 G2 (L3Q27EA) was replaced by the ProBook 450 successor and even achieved a slightly better rating of 83 %. The 15-incher with matte display, good input devices and a stable case suitable for everyday use does not have serious flaws. For 640 to 765 Euro, 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). In being equipped with an Intel Core i5 5600U (Broadwell) and an integrated graphics, it brings sufficient performance for smooth operation. Despite 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 partly even better than the SSD model's. However, the energy consumption did not decrease and unfortunately the WiFi battery runtime is shorter, too. Unfortunately, the display is still a problem, since the matte TN display brings poor viewing angles, dull colors and a low brightness. Several consumers with IPS display perform better at this price point.

2nd

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

Things are shaping up well for HP. Office friends 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 completes the triumvirate with a handy 14 incher. You'll even get a matte Full HD display for 620 Euros here. Unfortunately, it is a low-contrast TN panel with poor color precision and only sufficient brightness. Another small 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 in 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 more or are not available in Germany at all. Those who want to please their eyes, might consider the Dell Latitude 3450 with its high-end IPS panel, which, however, costs already 900 Euros. Our budget charts does not include devices with IPS displays.

3rd

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

We have reviewed the ProBook 430 G3 sibling immediately afterwards. It replaces the ProBook 430 G2, which was in the top list to date, too. Despite simple configuration without SSD and with 1366 x 768 pixels TN display, it is sufficient for quite good 81 % - only few other office devices can do so. The ProBook 430 G3 belongs to the entry level devices in the mid-priced office segment. You have to accept several disadvantages compared to full grown ProBooks including HD resolution, missing docking port and a budget display. So far, a variant with SSD is not available. Valuable case, good battery runtimes and the new Skylake Core i5 turn the 13-incher a office subnotebook suitable for work. In addition, there are a maintenance hatch and a free M.2 slot. Here too, the biggest weakness ist the dark, low-contrast display. This is no longer state-of-the-art in this price range.

4th

Work hero: ThinkPad Edge E550 model: 20DGS00300
Work hero: ThinkPad Edge E550 model: 20DGS00300

The entry-level models into the mid-priced office world are an important mainstay of Lenovo. The cheap ThinkPad Edge series has a starting price of just under 500 Euros (~$542). The ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300 is equipped with a new Core i3-5005U (Broadwell). The rest of the hardware is as expected. The matte FHD panel with an above average resolution is impressive, but it disappoints in terms of contrast and brightness. Unfortunately, lackluster colors and milky black are still common among TN panels in the business mid-range.

The keyboard impresses with long key travel and a clear pressure point. The touchpad works accurately and has good gliding capabilities. The components are standard and include VGA d-Sub, Ethernet, and a DVD multi-burner. In addition, the E550 features a genuine docking port. The special power connector allows connecting to the ThinkPad OneLink Pro Dock. The solid case has some minor flaws in detail, but temperature and system noise remain very low. The battery life of 6:30 hours is quite good. Obviously, the biggest drawback is the poor TN display. Nevertheless, the Edge E550 has an attractive price/performance ratio. Where else can you get an FHD panel combined with such good input devices? Those who want to save money and do not want to cut on the quality of the input devices should consider the Lenovo ThinkPad E555 sibling with the same look. The 15-incher uses AMD hardware and is available with A8-7100 and without OS from 319 Euros (~$354).

Discussion

5th

fast hardware: LifeBook A514
fast hardware: LifeBook A514

This is rare: Fujitsu combines an SSD with a Core i3 in the LifeBook A514. Nevertheless, we feel that the MSRP of 500 Euros (~$542) at the time of testing is too high. Overall, the 15-incher would be a balanced bundle, if it were not for the too low display brightness. On the other hand, the contrast is above average for a TN panel in this price range. The LifeBook A514 achieves a good rating thanks to its decent input devices, low power consumption and acceptable battery runtimes.

6th

disappointing display: LifeBook A555
disappointing display: LifeBook A555

For about 750 Euros (~$835/ depending on the configuration), the Fujitsu LifeBook A555 delivers up-to-date hardware and good input devices, which should also satisfy prolific writers. Despite a hard drive, the system performance is relatively high and it works almost silently while idling. Pros are four USB ports and battery runtimes of just under 6 hours. However, the display is poor. Its low resolution, low brightness, low contrast and narrow viewing angles are disappointing. The bulky chassis, which is made entirely of plastic without an alloy finish, appears to be old-fashioned, especially in this price range. The competition often performs better in this respect. Interesting for the casual gamers: The model with Radeon R7 M260 is available from 740 Euros (~$944).

7th

quiet, cool, slow: Acer Aspire E5-722
quiet, cool, slow: Acer Aspire E5-722

Quiet and cool - that is how the reviewer describes the Acer Aspire E5-722-2611, a 17-incher for 400 Euro. But, is it capable of more or are these the only selling points, which would certainly not be sufficient? The performance of the AMD E2-7110 and the slow AMD Radeon R2 are certainly not impressive. In contrast, it is sufficient for light office tasks and web applications, but ranks in at the bottom beside the Intel Pentium or Celeron. The battery life of just under five hours is alright, but does not knock anybody's socks off. The relatively good contrast is nice, but the display is not anti-reflective and only delivers an HD+ resolution. However, the reviewer praised the good keyboard, which is apt for extended typing. Alike many of today's Acer notebooks, the laptop lacks a maintenance hatch. Those looking for a frugal office device with big display cannot go wrong with the Aspire E5-722.

8th

solid, but the display is out-dated: Asuspro P2520LA mit WXGA
solid, but the display is out-dated: Asuspro P2520LA mit WXGA

The 15 inch Asuspro Essential P2520LA can be considered as an inconspicuous office notebook. With i5, HD resolution, TN panel, hard drive and integrated graphics, the device comes with standard features. For the higher price of about 550 Euros, we would like to see a Full HD display. The keyboard is good, but cannot keep up with the ProBooks or ThinkPads. Unfortunately, the plastics chassis is susceptible to fingerprints. Fortunately, temperature development and fan noise are relatively low. The battery life of five hours is not perfect, but sufficient. The system performance is nothing to sneeze at with its 7200 RPM HDD. All things considered, the Asuspro Essential P2520LA is a device for home use. Those who spend many hours with it will soon wish for a better display and a more high-end case and might want to consider the Edge E550 or the ProBook 450 G3.

9th

cheap, but complete: HP 350 G2
cheap, but complete: HP 350 G2
Best Value Award November 2015: HP 350 G2
Best Value Award November 2015: HP 350 G2

Nowhere a highlight, yet still recommendable? The HP 350 G2 L8B05ES and its many siblings with different configuration are a kind of device, with which the buyer can hardly go wrong. Reason: HP implements a "solid" concept and combines good, mainstream build quality with mid-range or entry-level hardware. The AMD Radeon R5 M240 can run the one or other game and the Intel Core i5 5200U is powerful enough for the coming years with Windows 10. We cannot complain about a battery life of just under 5 hours and the matte display delivers sufficient contrast. The device does neither get warm nor loud during use and a maintenance hatch for replacing important components is available, too. Acer can learn from HP in view of their sealed E5 models, but it is vice versa in terms of warranty. HP only includes a warranty of 12 months. A Pro of the HP 350 G2 is Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, which can be optionally installed (media included). Certainly, a Windows 10 Upgrade is possible, too. In addition, the price from 250 Euro is attractive. Therefore, we assigned it the Best Value Award in November 2015.

With the HP 350 as mainstream office laptop, customers get a system with solid values, which can be configured to meet your budget and up to medium demands.

10th

Advantage wanted: Satellite C70D-C-10N
Advantage wanted: Satellite C70D-C-10N

The Toshiba Satellite C70D-C-10N made it into our Top 10 by chance. In view of the high price of about 560 Euro (RRP of 650), it brings hardly any advantages. The main reason for the reviewer's critique is the weak AMD A-Series A4-7210 (Carrizo-L) APU combined with the AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema). Neither the CPU nor GPU can keep up with Intel's Core i3 and HD Graphics. Since you can already have a Core i3 or even Core i5 for the same price, why should you want to select such a slow APU? Despite the flaws, the Toshiba Satellite C70D left a good impression. We liked the case and its display performs well for a TN type. The input devices are convincing, too. But, the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550 is even better in this aspect.

Recent Budget Office/Business Awards

Best Value Award March 2015: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
Best Value Award March 2015: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
Best Value Award July 2015: HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
Best Value Award July 2015: HP 350 G1 F7Z01EA
Best Value Award November 2015: HP 350 G2
Best Value Award November 2015: HP 350 G2

Notebooks in Comparison

Measurement Results

HP ProBook 450 G3 HP ProBook 440 G3 HP ProBook 430 G3 Lenovo TP Edge E550 Fujitsu A514 Fujitsu Lifebook A555 Acer AS E5-722 ASUSPRO P2520LA HP 350 G2 Toshiba C70D-C
Screen
Brightness Center211246212228231180250228251264
Black Level *0.430.50.710.6880.390.520.360.420.530.56
Contrast491492299331592346694543474471
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *9.258.612.0610.048.0810.1112.9410.227.9211.3
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *9.839.3613.4110.659.0510.9213.5611.088.913.23
Gamma *2.822.392.412.532.442.271.912.462.182.28
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)36.437.834.338.839.852374148
Noise
Idle Minimum *29.729.729.831.329.62931.93332.632
Idle Average *29.729.729.831.329.62931.93332.832
Idle Maximum *29.729.730.931.3352931.93332.833.6
Load Average *33.132.733.332.834.236.732.63441.633.6
Load Maximum *34.235.137.433.835.138.336.43444.733.6
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *40.241.442.132.740.442.72641.937.634.8
Maximum Bottom *4250.244.134.346.541.329.937.140.737.6
Idle Upper Side *32.53431.12929.232.625.93027.131.6
Idle Bottom *3133.332.932.531.732.12727.728.333.8
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle575537449748571687
Load90101118128127101
WiFi v1.3309293377310350340283291282
H.264337321337328391361
WiFi395350321
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *4.95.24.73.33.855.54.33.65.2
Idle Average *8.28.27.26.56.37.19.36.75.99.9
Idle Maximum *998.376.47.79.57.45.914.5
Load Average *30.128.826.427.322.930.619.227.838.220.9
Load Maximum *36.1343235.627.338.923.928.447.523.8

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G3
3075 Points ∼39%
HP ProBook 440 G3
3022 Points ∼38%
HP ProBook 430 G3
2984 Points ∼38%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
2784 Points ∼35%
Fujitsu A514
3367 Points ∼42%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
4147 Points ∼52%
Acer AS E5-722
1742 Points ∼22%
ASUSPRO P2520LA
2807 Points ∼35%
HP 350 G2
2492 Points ∼31%
Toshiba C70D-C
1851 Points ∼23%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G3
2910 Points ∼51%
HP ProBook 440 G3
2871 Points ∼51%
HP ProBook 430 G3
3043 Points ∼54%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
2544 Points ∼45%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
3035 Points ∼54%
Acer AS E5-722
1744 Points ∼31%
ASUSPRO P2520LA
2835 Points ∼50%
HP 350 G2
3136 Points ∼55%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G3
3901 Points ∼64%
HP ProBook 440 G3
3840 Points ∼63%
HP ProBook 430 G3
4106 Points ∼67%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
3321 Points ∼54%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
4202 Points ∼69%
Acer AS E5-722
2444 Points ∼40%
ASUSPRO P2520LA
2707 Points ∼44%
HP 350 G2
4453 Points ∼73%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G3
1260 Points ∼6%
HP ProBook 440 G3
1238 Points ∼6%
HP ProBook 430 G3
1222 Points ∼6%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
909 Points ∼5%
Fujitsu A514
752 Points ∼4%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
1000 Points ∼5%
Acer AS E5-722
693 Points ∼3%
ASUSPRO P2520LA
901 Points ∼4%
HP 350 G2
1698 Points ∼8%
Toshiba C70D-C
740 Points ∼4%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
HP ProBook 450 G3
5800 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 440 G3
5600 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 430 G3
5963 Points ∼4%
Lenovo TP Edge E550
4854 Points ∼3%
Fujitsu A514
4597 Points ∼3%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
5416 Points ∼4%
Acer AS E5-722
3093 Points ∼2%
ASUSPRO P2520LA
4571 Points ∼3%
HP 350 G2
5542 Points ∼4%
Toshiba C70D-C
3191 Points ∼2%
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Author: Staff, 2016-02-10 (Update: 2016-02-10)