Notebookcheck's Top 10 Multimedia Notebooks

Martina Osztovits (translated by Martina Osztovits), 08/17/2014

August 2014 update. Here you will find the current best multimedia notebooks 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.

Every month Notebookcheck reviews numerous notebooks of all kinds. Many of them are multimedia devices. We call laptops of 14-inch size or bigger multimedia laptops if they are all-round laptops given the configuration selected by the manufacturer.

The following table shows an overview of the Top 10 multimedia laptops reviewed by Notebookcheck in the previous 8 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").

Multimedia Notebook Charts as of August 2014

Pos. RatingDateModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionFinish
189%07/14

Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 2013
Intel Core i7 4850HQ
Nvidia GeForce GT 750M
16 GB RAM, SSD
- from $1849 at Amazon

2.0 kg18 mm15.42880x1800glossy
283%06/14
Asus N750JK-T4042H
Intel Core i7 4700HQ
Nvidia GeForce GT 850M
8 GB RAM, HDD
- from $1449 at Amazon
3.1 kg30 mm17.31920x1080matte
382%08/14

new!
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54218G1Taii
Intel Core i5 4210U
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
8 GB RAM, SSHD
- from $569 at Amazon
2.0 kg21 mm15.61920x1080matte
481%

06/14

Asus N550JK-CN109H
Intel Core i5 4200H
Nvidia GeForce GT 850M
8 GB RAM, HDD
- from $1079 at Amazon
2.4 kg27 mm15.61920x1080matte
581%04/14Samsung ATIV Book 8 870Z5G
Intel Core i7 4700HQ
Nvidia GeForce GT 750M
8 GB RAM, HDD
- from $2244 at Amazon
2.4 kg21 mm15.61920x1080matte
680%06/14

MSI GP60-2PEi585
Intel Core i5 4200H
Nvidia GeForce GT 840M
8 GB RAM, HDD
- from $849 at Amazon

2.4 kg38 mm15.61920x1080matte
780%05/14Asus VivoBook S451LB
Intel Core i5 4200U
Nvidia GeForce GT 740M
8 GB RAM, HDD
- from $699 at Amazon
2.2 kg22 mm14.0 1366x768glossy
880%04/14Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
Intel Core i7 4500U
AMD Radeon HD 8850M
8 GB RAM, HDD
- from $800 at Amazon
2.5 kg31 mm15.61920x1080matte
980%04/14Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
Intel Core i5 4200U
AMD Radeon R7 M265
4 GB RAM, HDD
- from $731 at Amazon
2.4 kg25 mm15.6 1920x1080matte
1079%04/14Lenovo IdeaPad U530 Touch
Intel Core i7 4500U
NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
8 GB RAM, SSD
- from $1939 at Amazon
2.3 kg22 mm15.61366x768matte

Top 10 of the previous 8 months at the time of writing - current articles are listed first

Editors' Comments

Leader: Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 (2013)
Leader: Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 (2013)
Asus N750: 17-inch multimedia all rounder
Asus N750: 17-inch multimedia all rounder
Cheap gaming laptop: Acer Aspire V5-573G-54218G1Taii
Cheap gaming laptop: Acer Aspire V5-573G-54218G1Taii
Asus N550: full sound thanks to external subwoofer
Asus N550: full sound thanks to external subwoofer
Now with Haswell and anti-glare - Samsung ATIV Book 8 870Z5G
Now with Haswell and anti-glare - Samsung ATIV Book 8 870Z5G

1st

Although Apple's MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch (2013) is already available for a while, it did not come to us earlier, since it only marginally differs from its predecessor. Alike its predecessor the notebook impresses with a high-end case, very good input devices, and an extraordinary good high-res Retina display. You can save money when selecting the CPU. An Intel Iris Pro Graphics integrated in the CPU or optionally an Nvidia GT 750M GPU can be configured. The start price ranges from 2000 to 2600 Euro depending on the configuration.

2nd

Asus' N750JK multimedia notebook with a size of 17-inch largely convinced in our test. With Intel quad core CPU (standard voltage) and Nvidia GTX 850M, which is already based on the new Maxwell architecture, it is also suitable for friends of PC games. While the built-in display has an ergonomic matte surface, it looses points in brightness of the colors. With a battery life of above 5 hours in realistic scenarios, the 17-incher convinces in mobility.

3nd

The Acer Aspire V5-573G-54218G1Taii model with GeForce GTX 850M (Maxwell) could be even considered a gaming notebook, but it only costs 799 Euro. Besides, the 15.6-incher features the popular FHD resolution and a contrast-rich IPS display! Is there anything left to be desired? While the low voltage processor slightly decreases the frame rates, the gaming performance is still outstanding in this price range. Apart from native FullHD, almost all titles of 2013 are playable with maximum details. We liked the good battery life of just under six hours in our WiFi test.

The Asus N56JR-S4080H would be fourth because it achieved a rating of 82% at the beginning of this year. But, we removed it from the list, since it is not available.

4th

The Asus N550's design and features are partly identical to its bigger brother's, but it uses a ULV CPU. The throughout powerful GTX 850M from Nvidia is also available for the N550. Alike the bigger N750, it is delivered with an external subwoofer, which improves the sound volume of the device.

5th

The ATIV Book 8 870Z5G with Haswell chipset and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M comes in below. We liked the non-reflective and bright display. Positive: The colors are already well-calibrated in factory state. Another calibration does not bring further improvements. All things considered, a contrast-rich and bright Full HD display, a noble aluminum case, and strong gaming performance are pros of the ATIV Book 8 870Z5G.

6th

With the GP60, MSI made a cheap all-round laptop with GT 840M graphics. However, it is combined with a standard voltage dual core CPU.

7th

The 14-inch Asus VivoBook S451LB ended up here. Its GeForce GT 740M belongs to the weakest models in the multimedia range, since the 840M and 820M successors are already available. Performance is delivered by low-voltage components, but the mid-range gaming performance does not suffer from it. The VivoBook S451LB looks nice and some might suspect a MacBook clone. However, haptics and stability are far from those of the paragon. All things considered, it is a good all-round notebook for a fair price.

8th

Dell's Inspiron 15R-5537 is a rather powerful 15-inch notebook with appealing features like a matte Full HD panel and the fast AMD Radeon HD 8850M. It is only a TN panel with limited viewing angles, and the contrast is also too low for multimedia purposes. We like the good gaming performance and the good feedback from the input devices. Drawbacks are the inconvenient fan noise under load as well as the issues with the GPU driver during our review.

9th

Acer's Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk is one of the first devices with an AMD Radeon R7 M265. You can run games with medium to high settings on the Full HD panel, but this is not possible in Full HD resolution. In our in-depth gaming test, it is about on par with the GeForce GT 740M and the Radeon HD 8750M. Ambitious gamers should still select a GT 750M or higher. Apart from high performance, the E1-572G unfortunately has quite a lot of disadvantages. The most annoying ones are very narrow viewing angles and only a single USB 3.0 port.

10th

Not a new test, but a latecomer: Lenovo's IdeaPad U530 Touch slides into our Top 10, since we had to remove two devices because of their age (8 months) with this update. The advantages of the IdeaPad U530 Touch are rather mobility, CPU performance, a metal case (top and base unit), and low system noise. The GeForce GT 730M is only apt for gamers to some extent. In principle the Lenovo is a balanced bundle, but it suffers from a weak TN panel with HD resolution. However, dealers also offer models with FHD, which justifies the high price.

Runners-up

Dell's Inspiron 17-5748 belongs to the multimedia range because of its size and its interesting FHD resolution with touch input. It aims at buyers who do not mind gaming (HD Graphics 4400) but appreciate solid build quality, good input devices, low system noise, and low power consumption. Do office users get their money's worth? Not exactly! The bluish and glossy display (with good contrast) is annoying and the 17-incher only features few interfaces (only three USB, no VGA) despite sufficient space.

Dell was not more successful with its Inspiron 15-5547, a consumer mid-range model of the Texans. The case of the 15-incher is quite elegant with aluminum finish on the lid, but its build quality is not perfect. Again, we liked the input devices, the long battery life (6 hours in the WiFi test), and the low system noise. Unfortunately, there are also many weaknesses, for example the "throttled" Radeon R7 M265 graphics card and that the hardly attractive HD display is very bluish.

Acer tries new hardware: The Aspire E5-551-T8X3 is powered by AMD's new Kaveri platform (A10-7300). This APU is made for low-end devices. As a result gaming and CPU performance are low. Despite big battery (56 Wh), the Aspire can only achieve just under five hours of battery life, but system noise and temperature are very low. The sharp HD display (matte, TN), with good color fidelity after calibration is a surprise. Extensive benchmarks and analysis of the AMD A10-7300 are available in our special article about Kaveri.

Recent Multimedia Awards

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2013-10
Asus N750JK-T4042H
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54218G1Taii
Asus N550JK-CN109H
Samsung 870Z5G
MSI GP60-2PEi585
Asus VivoBook S451LB-CA072H
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
Lenovo IdeaPad U530 Touch
Illumination
Brightness Center332275326284294228208260231192
Black *0.33260.310.560.3880.30.30.250.450.630.49
Contrast998887582732980760832578367392
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *1.954.773.25.243.77.114.114.7810.167.39
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *2.114.773.657.74.758.384.055.9410.998.05
Gamma *2.342.32.292.632.462.222.312.613.112.57
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)60.658476156385249.3839.82
Loudness
Idle Minimum *2831.53033.830.933.030.932.130.331.4
Idle Average *2831.53033.830.933.231.132.13231.4
Idle Maximum *2834.830.633.931.033.431.332.23232.0
Load Average *35.834.839.741.940.436.238.741.936.234.6
Load Maximum *45.840.94043.640.650.039.242.740.637.0
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *4646.152.348.54840.638.246.941.642.0
Maximum Lower Side *4244.250.246.34842.544.143.041.441.2
Idle Upper Side *3426.831.32931.427.030.632.129.326.8
Idle Lower Side *3326.633.928.73427.53234.631.726.5
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle853453624305868360484651472814
Classic / Load1815215961108561359880156
WLAN551321346220405170325362241659
Idle Minimum *7.66.57.217.66.5-5.37.35.65.95.75.4
Idle Average *12.411.321.110.013.18.110.910.16.7
Idle Maximum *15.615.517.42410.221.79.212.512.56.9
Load Average *80.485.95483.575.450.839.852.940.340.8
Load Maximum *88.5118.685.9108.783.874.546.363.553.741.9

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2013-10
Asus N750JK-T4042H
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54218G1Taii
Asus N550JK-CN109H
Samsung 870Z5G
MSI GP60-2PEi585
Asus VivoBook S451LB-CA072H
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
Lenovo IdeaPad U530 Touch
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance2692461638344289242725621819244420121763
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score720489077245226772505468549333358893891145785
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score180027662506269714501448170712111001
PCMark 7
Score58423205393528822764
2764
29532834331927424702
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v238273046307236992934
Total Average (Program / Settings)

Comment this article:

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Multimedia Notebooks
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2014-08-17 (Update: 2014-08-17)