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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Office/Business Notebooks

Staff, 04/15/2016

April 2016 update. Here you will find the current 10 best office/business notebooks for under 800 Euros (~$902) 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 April 2016

Pos.RatingDateImageModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
185%03/2016
New!
Lenovo 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
282%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
382%11/2015Lenovo ThinkPad E550-20DF00CNGELenovo ThinkPad E550-20DF00CNGE
Intel Core i7-5500U
AMD Radeon R7 M265
8 GB Memory, 1000 GB HDD
2.4 kg27 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%07/2015Fujitsu 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
879%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
979%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
1078%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

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). All positions below them have even more disadvantages, for example worse input devices or a flexing case. IPS panels are rare in the Budget Office Top 10. Currently, the ThinkPad L460 is the only exception.

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 newcomer in first place, 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-incher definitely does not fit to everybody's budget. However, the components which Lenovo 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 clearly.

Unfortunately, the display is quite dark (225 cd/m²). Thus, it is only suitable for outdoor use to some extent despite its matte surface. The test model's fan generated a quiet high-frequency noise and the tester was also not satisfied with the fan control.

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

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 successor and even achieved a slightly better rating of 83%. The 15-inch device with a matte display, good input devices and a stable case suitable for everyday use does not have 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-point range.

3rd

Power-Edge: ThinkPad Edge E550 with i7 and Radeon R7 M260
Power-Edge: ThinkPad Edge E550 with i7 and Radeon R7 M260

The many variants of the ThinkPad Edge E550 from 430 to 850 Euros (~$485 to ~$959) are the entry into the ThinkPad family. The ThinkPad L460 in 1st place is the next higher level towards the upper price class (T series). The models overlap in the price range from 700 to 900 Euros (~$789 to ~$1015). In contrast to the L460, the E550 lacks an IPS panel and features simple TN displays with HD and FHD resolution. Our FHD test model was relatively dark and, thus poorly suited for use in the sun.

All things considered, the E550 is a solid workhorse with superb input devices and a very low noise level. Of course there are some differences in quality in some areas compared to the higher-end L and T-series models, but considering the much lower price, those differences seem acceptable.

Our ThinkPad Edge E550 features a Core i7-5500U, an AMD Radeon R7 M265, and 8 GB of RAM. The input devices are identical to the L460's and, thus, excellent. The tester praised the stable construction and the low temperature and noise development. This is an advantage over the slightly too loud L460.

ModelSizeTFTCPUGPURAMHDD/SSD/etc.Price
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550 (20DF00CQGE)15.6"1366x768 TNi3-5005UHD 55004 GB500 GB HDDfrom €500
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550 (20DF00D1GE)15.6"1920x1080 IPSi7-5500URadeon R7 M2608 GB1TB HDDfrom €850
Discussion

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 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).

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 was 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 to 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 6th place. It is not a big performance advantage that militates 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

Disappointing display: LifeBook A555
Disappointing display: LifeBook A555

For about 750 Euros (~$846; 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 gamer: The model with Radeon R7 M260 is available from 740 Euros (~$835).

8th

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 (~$564) at the time of testing is too high. Overall, the 15-inch device would have been a balanced bundle, if it were not for the poor 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.

9th

Feeble: Satellite C70D-C-10N
Feeble: Satellite C70D-C-10N

The Toshiba Satellite C70D-C-10N (see review) is no longer available in this variant. We have left the 17-incher in our charts, since Toshiba sells its Satellite C70D-B variants with AMD A6-6310, 8 GB, and AMD Radeon R4 (IGP) for just under 500 Euros (~$564) instead of it. The same case is also available with AMD A8-6410, 4 GB DDR3, and 500 GB HDD for 350 to 400 Euros (~$394 to ~$451). With that, the weak APU AMD A series A4-7210 (Carrizo-L) and the AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema) on board of our test model have been replaced by slightly faster AMD cores. Nevertheless the performance is on the lowest level and can hardly keep up with Intel's Core i3.

Apart from this, 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 also convincing. But, the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550 is even better in this respect. The 15-incher costs about the same (corresponding configuration) and is based on Intel hardware.

10th

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.

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

Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400HP ProBook 450 G3Lenovo ThinkPad E550-20DF00CNGEHP ProBook 440 G3HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ESAcer Aspire E5-722-2611Fujitsu Lifebook A514Fujitsu Lifebook A555Toshiba Satellite C70D-C-10NAcer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
Screen
Brightness Center245211195246212250231180264245
Black Level *0.240.430.460.50.710.360.390.520.560.42
Contrast1021491424492299694592346471583
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *6.899.259.928.612.0612.948.0810.1111.310.49
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *6.459.8310.069.3613.4113.569.0510.9213.2311.47
Gamma *2.462.822.372.392.411.912.442.272.282.52
CCT6857108901155211226153821362710926126391596213286
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)40.136.43837.834.35239.84838
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)61.857.359.359.154.28262.97360
Brightness Distribution83919084908584878088
Noise
Idle Minimum *29.229.729.829.729.831.929.6293231.7
Idle Average *29.229.729.829.729.831.929.6293231.8
Idle Maximum *29.229.731.129.730.931.9352933.631.8
Load Average *32.533.133.132.733.332.634.236.733.633.2
Load Maximum *37.234.235.635.137.436.435.138.333.633.2
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *40.840.24341.442.12640.442.734.839.1
Maximum Bottom *51.9424450.244.129.946.541.337.650.2
Idle Upper Side *25.232.530.63431.125.929.232.631.628
Idle Bottom *27.63131.933.332.92731.732.133.828.3
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle1153575663537449571
Load979082101118127
WiFi v1.3425309293293377283350340282290
H.264431337311321337391
WiFi350
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *3.14.94.15.24.75.53.855.25.5
Idle Average *6.38.26.78.27.29.36.37.19.98.3
Idle Maximum *7.997.798.39.56.47.714.59.6
Load Average *29.530.137.628.826.419.222.930.620.927
Load Maximum *57.336.154.7343223.927.338.923.829.3

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4911 Points ∼62%
HP ProBook 450 G3
3075 Points ∼39%
Lenovo ThinkPad E550-20DF00CNGE
2819 Points ∼36%
HP ProBook 440 G3
3022 Points ∼38%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
2984 Points ∼38%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
1742 Points ∼22%
Fujitsu Lifebook A514
3367 Points ∼42%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
4147 Points ∼52%
Toshiba Satellite C70D-C-10N
1851 Points ∼23%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
3092 Points ∼55%
HP ProBook 450 G3
2910 Points ∼51%
Lenovo ThinkPad E550-20DF00CNGE
3960 Points ∼70%
HP ProBook 440 G3
2871 Points ∼51%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
3043 Points ∼54%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
1744 Points ∼31%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
3035 Points ∼54%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
1872 Points ∼33%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4591 Points ∼75%
HP ProBook 450 G3
3901 Points ∼64%
Lenovo ThinkPad E550-20DF00CNGE
4020 Points ∼66%
HP ProBook 440 G3
3840 Points ∼63%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
4106 Points ∼67%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
2444 Points ∼40%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
4202 Points ∼69%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
2813 Points ∼46%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
1869 Points ∼9%
HP ProBook 450 G3
1260 Points ∼6%
Lenovo ThinkPad E550-20DF00CNGE
2241 Points ∼11%
HP ProBook 440 G3
1238 Points ∼6%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
1222 Points ∼6%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
693 Points ∼3%
Fujitsu Lifebook A514
752 Points ∼4%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
1000 Points ∼5%
Toshiba Satellite C70D-C-10N
740 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
829 Points ∼4%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
5210 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 450 G3
5800 Points ∼4%
Lenovo ThinkPad E550-20DF00CNGE
9003 Points ∼6%
HP ProBook 440 G3
5600 Points ∼4%
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES
5963 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire E5-722-2611
3093 Points ∼2%
Fujitsu Lifebook A514
4597 Points ∼3%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
5416 Points ∼4%
Toshiba Satellite C70D-C-10N
3191 Points ∼2%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
3317 Points ∼2%
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Staff (Update: 2016-04-16)