Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Staff, 02/16/2017

February 2017 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, ergonomic displays 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").

Top 10 Budget Office Notebooks (<800 Euros) as of February 2017

Pos.RatingDateImageModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
185%01/2017Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400
Intel Core i5-7200U
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
1.9 kg23.7 mm14"1920x1080matte
285%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
384%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
482%11/2016Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.1 kg30.4 mm14"1920x1080matte
582%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
681%02/2017
New!
Dell Vostro 15-5568Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel HD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
1.9 kg19.2 mm15.6"1920x1080
781%10/2016HP ProBook 655 G2 T9X09ETHP ProBook 655 G2 T9X09ET
AMD Pro A8-8600B
AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.3 kg27.4 mm15.6"1366x768matte
880%11/2016Acer Aspire E5-774-54HJAcer Aspire E5-774-54HJ
Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel HD Graphics 620
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
3 kg28 mm17.3"1920x1080matte
979%12/2016Acer Aspire ES1-332-P91HAcer Aspire ES1-332-P91H
Intel Pentium N4200
Intel HD Graphics 505
4 GB Memory, 1000 GB HDD
1.5 kg20.7 mm13.3"1366x768matte
1078%10/2016Acer Extensa 2520-59CDAcer Extensa 2520-59CD
Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel HD Graphics 520
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
2.4 kg24.9 mm15.6"1366x768matte

Editors' Comments

There are many acceptable and good office devices for under 800 Euros (~$834). The best models stem from Lenovo and HP and cost between 600 and 900 Euros (~$626 and ~$939). 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 E460/L460 and the Medion Akoya S4219 are exceptions.

1st

Entry-level ThinkPad - once again with IPS display
Entry-level ThinkPad - once again with IPS display
Best Value Award in January 2017: Lenovo ThinkPad E470
Best Value Award in January 2017: Lenovo ThinkPad E470

E-series ThinkPads define the entry-level business model without making too many compromises. We reviewed a ThinkPad E470 (review) with Kaby Lake i5 and GeForce 940MX (DDR3). The base model with Core i3, HD 620, SSD (256 GB), and FHD-IPS panel is currently available for 570 Euros (without OS), which is really competitive for HP and Dell when you consider the features.

High-quality, good hardware and well-made: the Lenovo ThinkPad E470 is a price/ performance hit with all-round qualities.

We do not only like the high-resolution IPS display with wide viewing angles and high contrast. The chassis quality is decent – although not as sturdy or sophisticated as ThinkPads from the T-series. One important aspect is the excellent keyboard. It is the same model we can find in the L460, but not completely identical to the more expensive T-series ThinkPads. A runtime of 5:26 hours is okay, we like the WiFi performance, and there is an additional TrackPoint. 

We must also consider the downsides of this model: the heavy case with few upgrade options and limited modern ports. We would have appreciated having at least one M.2 slot or a USB Type-C port.

Drawbacks? The port variety and the maintainability are not great. Still: The E470 gets the Best Value Award in January 2017 for the excellent price-performance ratio.

2nd

Office master with IPS: Lenovo ThinkPad L460
Office master with IPS: Lenovo ThinkPad L460

Together with the very similar E460 (2nd place), the Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400 (see review) sets new standards in our Budget Office charts. At just under 800 Euros (~$834), 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, especially since the Full HD model of the E460 sibling also offers IPS and only costs about 700 Euros (~$730).

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 (~$834) with a big margin against the competitors. Those who are budget-conscious will take a look at the following 460.

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

3rd

Lenovo ThinkPad E560: IPS models are also available for significantly below 800 Euros (~$834).
Lenovo ThinkPad E560: IPS models are also available for significantly below 800 Euros (~$834).

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 is a 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 a Radeon R7 M370 costs just over 800 Euros (~$834). However, the many variants with iGPU and Core i3 or Core i5, HDD/SSD are 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 a viewing-angle stable, contrast-rich and high-resolution IPS display will hardly miss anything. Optional docking solutions are available for a ThinkPad of the E series. They can be connected to the native docking port on the underside. The HP ProBook 650 G2 can keep up with its rivals. Despite poor display (HD, TN) its rating is higher than the ThinkPad E560's.

4th

Work device with Full HD: Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452
Work device with Full HD: Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452

A newcomer in fourth position and a surprising one, too: As you might know, the 14-inch Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452 (see review) belongs to the entry-level TravelMates (P2 series). You can see from the first glance that the chassis is made from an aluminum plastic combination. It appears solid enough for everyday tasks. Acer has put a lot of effort in the hardware. It includes a fast SSD as well as a matte Full HD display. Unfortunately, the latter is not an IPS-type and is relatively dark. However, the TravelMate P249-M can convince us with a Core i5-6200U, a maintenance hatch, a keyboard light, an almost silent system noise, a good keyboard, and long battery runtimes. If you require a better TFT, you have to buy the TravelMate P6 series, which comes with IPS panels.

The battery life and input devices are also good. The manufacturer rounds off the package with a three-year warranty. We can only criticize the screen as Acer has chosen a TN panel, which offers decent contrast but poor viewing angles and brightness.

We had a high-end model with FHD display and a 256 GB SSD and the low-cost model P249-M-3895 (Core i3, HD resolution) under review. The entry-level model for 550 Euros (~$574) also comes with a dark, low-contrast display with narrow viewing angles.

Discussion

5th

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

The ProBook 450 G3 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 (~$667 to ~$798), 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 card, it has sufficient performance for smooth operation. Despite its hard drive, it can outperform the 450 G2 predecessor (SSD model 450) 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 and certainly the ThinkPads L460/E560/E460 perform better at this price range. However, in view of the low price (the 450 G3 is already available from 450 Euros (~$469) depending on the configuration) the display is suitable and not a fail as in the expensive ProBook 650 G2.

6th

Mediocre input devices: Dell Vostro 15 5568
Mediocre input devices: Dell Vostro 15 5568

Dell's Vostro 15-5568 (see review) should cater to the lower office mid-range. Thanks to its Kaby Lake processor and a fast SSD, there is no need to worry about performance. Further pros are decent maintenance and a realistic battery life of about six hours in our real-world Wi-Fi test.

We liked the good performance, the quiet operation and the nice chassis, which does not reveal the low entry-level price. The Vostro 15 does not have to hide behind more expensive systems in terms of stability, either.

The 15-inch laptop is not an excellently office device in all aspects. A weak TN display and mediocre input devices are something which we do not want to find in a device for about 700 Euros. In view of this, the Core i3 variant for 470 Euro appears to be more adequate. In our opinion, the ThinkPad L and ThinkPad E series are the better alternative. They features IPS displays and a dedicated docking port (L series).

We would primarily like to see a better keyboard as well as an IPS display, at least as an option.

7th

Docked: The 6-series ProBooks are equipped with a real docking port.
Docked: The 6-series ProBooks are equipped with a real docking port.

The ProBook 655 G2 (AMD) (here in review) is the similarly constructed sibling of the ProBook 650 G2 (Intel). Except for the chipset, the 15-inch systems are identical. The Intel version is not listed in the Budget Office list because of its price, which is north of 800 Euros (~$834). The 655 G2 – just like the 650 G2 – has numerous advantages, but it also has significant drawbacks: The input devices are suited for frequent writers, but there is no background illumination. It has a docking port for HP docking solutions. The well-built and sturdy chassis gets hardly warm and is very quiet.

AMD's Pro A8-8600B is unfortunately not the fastest chip, and it is much slower than the Intel Core i5. Then there is the short runtime of just 3:40 hours – insufficient for an office notebook. The biggest drawback, however, is the TN panel with limited viewing angles, in the case of the test model even with the outdated HD resolution. This problem affects both the 655 G2 and the 650 G2 (Intel), because the FHD TN screens are not better, either. In view of this, you might want to consider the ThinkPad L and ThinkPad E series mentioned above.

 

 

8th

Also available with GeForce 940MX
Also available with GeForce 940MX

The E5-series is Acer's entry into the mainstream segment. The 15-inch system Aspire E5-774-54HJ (here in review) is equipped with a brand-new Kaby Lake processor. This means the Aspire E5 is always quiet and does not really get warm. Our test model was not equipped with an SSD, but it can be added in the M.2 slot. Similar to HP, the Full HD resolution is only available as a TN screen, but it has a pretty good contrast.

It is unfortunately a TN screen with limited viewing angles. However, it is one of the better panels and manages better viewing angles compared to similar models in the entry-level segment.

The Aspire E5-774G is shipped with the dedicated GeForce 940MX, which is equipped with GDDR5 video memory. This is not only rare, it also results in 20-30% higher frame rates compared to the DDR3 version. Hence, the Aspire E5-774 is suitable for those who deal with office work and require acceptable gaming qualities. However, an IPS display would almost be too much to ask for.

9th

Good runtime and compact: Acer Aspire ES1-332
Good runtime and compact: Acer Aspire ES1-332

The ES-series represents Acer's entry-level notebook lineup. The Aspire ES1-332-P91H (here in review) still manages to secure a spot in our Top 10 list, because it offers some details for a low price of 400 Euros (~$417). This starts with the good runtime of six hours, followed by the large storage capacity and the two-year warranty. Another positive aspect is the maintenance hatch; other cheap laptops sometimes just waive it. The Pentium N4200 is from Intel's new Apollo Lake architecture. It cannot compete with Core i, but it manages a decent amount of performance for simple applications. The system is quiet and cool in practice.

Acer's Aspire ES1-332 is an affordable, mobile typewriter and browsing machine, which should also be popular with students.

10th

Not with the full performance: Acer Extensa 2520-59CD
Not with the full performance: Acer Extensa 2520-59CD

The Extensa 2520-59CD (Test) is a 15-inch office system from Acer. There are some advantages like the matte display, the low operating noise, and the decent runtimes of five hours. However, not quite as many as the Lenovo E470, and one reason is the screen. 

The matte screen is not convincing – Acer has installed a dark, low-contrast, viewing angle dependent model.

The processor cannot utilize its full performance, either, and there is no maintenance hatch. The ports are slimmed-down as well without USB Type-C. Acer's Extensa 2520-59CD for around 500 Euros is more affordable than the entry-level SKU of the Lenovo ThinkPad E470 (1st), but the Extensa offers less features and no FHD-IPS screen.

Recent Budget Office/Business Awards

Editor's Choice in April 2016: Lenovo ThinkPad L460
Editor's Choice in April 2016: Lenovo ThinkPad L460
Best Value Award in June 2016: Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14
Best Value Award in June 2016: Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14
Best Value Award in January 2017: Lenovo ThinkPad E470
Best Value Award in January 2017: Lenovo ThinkPad E470

Notebooks in Comparison

Measurement Results

Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452HP ProBook 450 G3Dell Vostro 15-5568HP ProBook 655 G2 T9X09ETAcer Aspire E5-774-54HJAcer Aspire ES1-332-P91HAcer Extensa 2520-59CD
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
40.8
44.4
38.4
44
41.2
47.6
44
42
39
52
Response Time Black / White *
30.4
29.6
22.4
16
28
27.2
29
23
30
31
PWM Frequency
50
200
1000
1000
1000
Screen
Brightness
231
225
234
238
214
222
230
320
232
200
Brightness Distribution
89
83
83
87
91
82
88
82
82
83
Black Level *
0.37
0.24
0.27
0.41
0.43
0.56
0.56
0.38
0.52
0.43
Contrast
659
1021
952
607
491
409
443
929
490
491
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.41
6.89
7.16
9.09
9.25
10.36
8.7
5.07
13.12
10.53
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.94
6.45
6.28
9.92
9.83
10.9
11.48
13.38
15.01
11.85
Gamma
2.28 105%
2.46 98%
2.44 98%
2.42 99%
2.82 85%
2.21 109%
2.38 101%
2.69 89%
2.41 100%
2.25 107%
CCT
6101 107%
6857 95%
6806 96%
11177 58%
10890 60%
10084 64%
11179 58%
15991 41%
24382 27%
13758 47%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
39.3
40.1
36.6
36.5
36.4
37.69
42
60.1
43
39
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
61.1
61.8
57.3
56.7
57.3
57.92
67
91.6
68
61
Noise
Idle Minimum *
29
29.2
29.2
31.8
29.7
29
31.6
30.8
31.3
31.5
Idle Average *
29
29.2
29.2
31.8
29.7
29
31.6
30.8
31.6
31.9
Idle Maximum *
29
29.2
29.2
31.8
29.7
29
31.6
30.8
33.1
31.9
Load Average *
35.6
32.5
33.6
35.7
33.1
33.9
33.5
32.1
36.7
34.2
Load Maximum *
38.5
37.2
35.5
36
34.2
37
33.5
33.8
39.1
36.8
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
43.8
40.8
45
34.8
40.2
38
35.8
30.4
35.8
33.2
Maximum Bottom *
53
51.9
39.8
42.8
42
39
37.6
30.6
40.4
37.3
Idle Upper Side *
25.9
25.2
26.1
24.6
32.5
25.7
33.4
26.7
27.5
28.7
Idle Bottom *
27.1
27.6
27.7
27.8
31
33.8
33.2
26
29
32
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1043
1153
884
791
575
1011
Load
124
97
104
87
90
110
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
326
425
342
400
309
357
220
320
365
315
H.264
503
431
413
361
337
512
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
2.7
3.1
4.2
3.8
4.9
3.3
5.8
5.3
4.5
5.8
Idle Average *
5.5
6.3
7.5
7.6
8.2
6.8
7.5
10.1
7.6
12.6
Idle Maximum *
6.5
7.9
8.2
8
9
7.7
8.6
10.5
8.5
12.8
Load Average *
44.2
29.5
49.6
30.5
30.1
30.9
31
34.3
17.4
27.6
Load Maximum *
65.2
57.3
65.8
32.5
36.1
40.3
30.5
37
17.6
30

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4911 Points ∼61%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
5102 Points ∼63%
Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452
4603 Points ∼57%
HP ProBook 450 G3
3075 Points ∼38%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
5113 Points ∼64%
HP ProBook 655 G2 T9X09ET
1888 Points ∼23%
Acer Aspire ES1-332-P91H
2441 Points ∼30%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400
4642 Points ∼71%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4591 Points ∼70%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
4650 Points ∼71%
Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452
4463 Points ∼69%
HP ProBook 450 G3
3901 Points ∼60%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
4573 Points ∼70%
HP ProBook 655 G2 T9X09ET
3577 Points ∼55%
Acer Aspire ES1-332-P91H
2801 Points ∼43%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400
3546 Points ∼59%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
3092 Points ∼52%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
3595 Points ∼60%
Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452
3472 Points ∼58%
HP ProBook 450 G3
2910 Points ∼49%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
3331 Points ∼56%
HP ProBook 655 G2 T9X09ET
2634 Points ∼44%
Acer Aspire E5-774-54HJ
2854 Points ∼48%
Acer Aspire ES1-332-P91H
2073 Points ∼35%
Acer Extensa 2520-59CD
2834 Points ∼47%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400
2642 Points ∼9%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
1869 Points ∼7%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
2689 Points ∼9%
Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452
1503 Points ∼5%
HP ProBook 450 G3
1260 Points ∼4%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
1490 Points ∼5%
HP ProBook 655 G2 T9X09ET
1348 Points ∼5%
Acer Aspire E5-774-54HJ (Single-Channel)
1413 Points ∼5%
Acer Aspire ES1-332-P91H
642 Points ∼2%
Acer Extensa 2520-59CD
1247 Points ∼4%
3DMark - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400
9501 Points ∼6%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
5210 Points ∼3%
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000
10288 Points ∼6%
Acer TravelMate P249-M-5452
6924 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 450 G3
5800 Points ∼4%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
6554 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire ES1-332-P91H
2844 Points ∼2%
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