Notebookcheck's Top 10 Premium Office/Business Notebooks

Martina Osztovits (translated by Martina Osztovits), 08/05/2014

August 2014 update. Here you will find the best office/business 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 purchasing decisions.

For the original German article, see here.

Besides entry-level office and business notebooks (top 10 available here), we also want to provide a ranking of upscale business laptops reviewed by us in the last few months. For significantly above 1000 Euros (~$1335), they offer a lot and customers demand a lot from them: durable, stable case, many security features, excellent connectivity, high performance and moderate emissions. In addition, professional users demand special services regarding warranty and support. Due to significantly longer product cycles (availability of service parts!), we will consider models as old as 12 months.

Notebookcheck Premium Business Notebook Charts as of August 2014

 # Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUGPURAMDrivePrice/Buy
102/1490%Lenovo ThinkPad T440s1.7 kg14.0-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4600UIntel HD Graphics 44008 GBSSDstarting at $1429
2new89%Toshiba Tecra Z501.8 kg15.6-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4600UIntel HD Graphics 440016 GBSSDstarting at $1556
305/1387%HP EliteBook 840 G11.8 kg14.0-inch 1600x900 matteIntel Core i7-4600UIntel HD Graphics 44008 GBSSDstarting at $1479
407/1486%Fujitsu LifeBook E7541.9 kg15.6-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4702MQIntel HD Graphics 46008 GBSSDstarting at $1099
-04/1486%Lenovo ThinkPad T540p2.6 kg15.5-inch 2880x1620 matteIntel Core i7-4700MQNvidia GeForce GT 730M8 GBSSDstarting at $1499
606/1485%Acer TravelMate P645-MG1.5 kg14.0-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4500UAMD Radeon HD 8750M8 GBSSD + HDDstarting at $1275
-05/1485%Lenovo ThinkPad T4401.7 kg14.0-inch 1600x900 matteIntel Core i7-4600UIntel HD Graphics 44008 GBHDD + Cachestarting at $1053

-03/1485%HP EliteBook 850 G12.0 kg15.6-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i5-4200UIntel HD Graphics 44004 GBHDDstarting at $899
-02/1485%Dell Latitude E64402.1 kg14.0-inch 1600x900 matteIntel Core i5-4300MAMD Radeon HD 8690M8 GBSSHDstarting at $969
-12/1385%Lenovo ThinkPad T440p2.2 kg14.0-inch 1600x900 matteIntel Core i7-4700MQNvidia GeForce GT 730M8 GBHDDstarting at $1996

Top 10 of the last 12 months at the time of writing; current reviews are listed first

#Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUGPURAMDrivePrice/Buy
-new88%Lenovo ThinkPad T440s1.5 kg14.0-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4600UNvidia GeForce GT 730M8 GBSSDstarting at €1700
-new82%Toshiba Tecra Z401.5 kg14.0-inch
1600x900 matte
Intel Core i5-4200UIntel HD Graphics 44004 GBHDDstarting at $1029

Further reviews from each month - current reviews are listed first

Editors' Comments

Slim remake of a classic laptop: Thanks to its convincing performance the ThinkPad T440s is 1st.
Slim remake of a classic laptop: Thanks to its convincing performance the ThinkPad T440s is 1st.
Almost without drawbacks: Toshiba's Tecra Z50-A is a successful business all-rounder.
Almost without drawbacks: Toshiba's Tecra Z50-A is a successful business all-rounder.
Not quite as good: The HP EliteBook 840 G1 got 3rd.
Not quite as good: The HP EliteBook 840 G1 got 3rd.
Combines performance and mobility: The Fujitsu Lifebook E754 is a balanced all-rounder.
Combines performance and mobility: The Fujitsu Lifebook E754 is a balanced all-rounder.
More than just an outsider: The Acer TravelMate P645 can compete with the established competition.
More than just an outsider: The Acer TravelMate P645 can compete with the established competition.
Small but compact: Those looking for maximum performance in a 14-inch device, will be happy with the T440p.
Small but compact: Those looking for maximum performance in a 14-inch device, will be happy with the T440p.

The Lenovo ThinkPad T440s still occupies the unchallenged first place. We also reviewed the cheaper base model in the past, which also impressed with the usual ThinkPad qualities, including an excellent keyboard, accurate build quality, and low system noise. But some details required improvement. The top model for above 1800 Euros (~$2403) not only features a faster Core i7 CPU and a high-res IPS panel with wide viewing angles but also an especially big memory capacity. DDR3 RAM was doubled from 4 GB to a whopping 8 GB and the 500 GB HDD was replaced by a 250 GB flash memory. In addition, the Lenovo comes with a battery group with a total capacity of 96 Wh, which makes for record-breaking battery life of up to 28 hours despite strong performance.

Only 1% behind the T440s is the only newcomer this month, the Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K. The Japanese technology company has been a synonym for high-quality business notebooks for many years, but the public often concentrates on the bigger rivals like Lenovo, Dell or HP. Wrongfully, as the Z50-A proves: Advantages like the noble magnesium case, great input devices as well as the very low temperature and noise development show Toshiba's big experience in the professional segment. The excellent 15.6-inch IPS display with Full HD resolution deserves praise as well - many manufacturers try to save some money in this area. Since the Tecra does not reveal any real drawbacks, it gets our Editor's Choice Award.

Although it also performs well, the HP EliteBook 840 G1, one of the most serious competitors of the ThinkPad T440s, just got third. The EliteBook can keep up with the similarly expensive ThinkPad in terms of quality. In certain details, including impression of the used materials, the 840 G1 made from aluminum and magnesium even performs marginally better. Another pro: Many users might prefer the conventional touchpad with dedicated buttons to Lenovo's ClickPad solution. The very modest TN panel is one of its few weaknesses. It can hardly meet the premium claim. Together with shorter battery life, higher system noise, and smaller SSD, the final total rating is 3% lower than the T440s', but it is still excellent.

In fourth place (shared) of our Top 10 is the Fujitsu LifeBook E754. Quad-core CPU and a weight of only 1.9 kg prove that performance and mobility are not a contradiction. Otherwise, the slim business notebook is virtually flawless, too. It impresses with surprisingly good battery runtimes, good input devices, and a high-end IPS panel with Full HD resolution. Another purchase incentive: Although the LifeBook is not a bargain, its RRP appears to be attractive compared to the competition.

For example, the Lenovo ThinkPad T540p with the same rating belongs to the latter. The bulky 15-incher brings the advantages of classic ThinkPads of previous years: The bulky design primarily focuses on quality and durability, while weight and size were not considered that important. Despite a somewhat old-fashioned design, the hardware, including fast quad-core CPU and big memory capacity, is very modern. The high-res 3K display belongs to the special highlights: Apart from an impressive pixel density, good brightness and wide viewing angles are delightful. If it wasn't for the strange touchpad without mouse buttons, which made precise clicking more difficult, the T540p could have achieved a significantly higher rating.

That all the other notebooks from places 6 to 10 have the same rating proves that the competition is very dense in the professional range. It is somewhat surprising that the Acer TravelMate P645, a 14-inch high-end model with focus on maximum portability, ranks in here. Acer has seldom been represented in the business world so far. The Acer only weighs just above 1.5 kilograms and lasts almost 7 hours on battery in everyday scenarios. The robust plastic case with carbon reinforcements, the excellent quality of keyboard and touchpad and low system noise show the efforts of the manufacturer to offer a notebook for the special requirements of demanding business customers.

The Lenovo ThinkPad T440, a business veteran, should not be missing from any Top 10 list. At first glance it hardly differs from the T440s sister model. But, there are small differences in details: The price is slightly lower, but the case is minimally bigger and heavier. Unfortunately, several optional features, including the Full HD panel, are not available for the T440.

With a fundamentally revised concept, which focuses primarily on mobility and lightweight design, the HP EliteBook 850 G1 tries to reinvent the classic business notebook. With success: The 850 G1 is surprisingly slim for a 15-inch device and does not even weigh 2 kg. Nevertheless, the stability is excellent and impressive compared to the more massive predecessor, thanks to light metals like aluminum and magnesium. The use of frugal ULV processors was necessary for this slimming down; those who can accept the slightly lower performance might be delighted by a professional device with good build quality, many security features, and flawless input devices.

Although the Dell Latitude E6440 with Intel Core i5-4300M and dedicated AMD graphics card houses quite powerful hardware in a small case, temperature and noise remained pleasingly low. But it isn't just the cooling system that is convincing: The E6440 also scores points with its robustness and stability. However, the case is notably thicker than the E7440 sister model's. Security features and ergonomic input devices are also available. The display is the only serious point of critique. Too bad, the Latitude E6440 could have performed even better without this weakness.

If you are looking for a smaller alternative to the already mentioned T540p, you should take a closer look at the ThinkPad T440p sister model. Price, connectivity, and features of the two models are nearly identical. So, the display format you prefer is the decisive factor. The only model we would not recommend to quality-conscious buyers is the one with the WXGA++ TN panel that we reviewed.

Finally, we want to briefly look at the notebooks which did not qualify for our Top 10. With a rating of 88%, the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s (20AQ006BGE) cannot quite keep up with the previously reviewed sibling, which is mainly caused by the higher emissions from the additional GeForce GT 730M. If you don't necessarily need the small performance advantage of the Nvidia GPU, you should get a cheaper configuration with an Intel GPU - the HD 4400 is more than sufficient for office and multimedia applications.

Another notebook that didn't make our Top 10 is the Toshiba Tecra Z40-A, a smaller version of the Tecra Z50-A in second place. Contrary to the latter, the Z40-A, unfortunately, just uses a TN panel that could be improved. The build quality and the input devices cannot quite keep up, either. Still: The Z40-A also has its advantages like the excellent mobility, which should make the notebook interesting for some users.

Recent Premium Office/Business Awards


Editor's Choice in January 2014: Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
Editor's Choice in January 2014: Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
Editor's Choice in May 2014: HP EliteBook 840 G1
Editor's Choice in May 2014: HP EliteBook 840 G1
Editor's Choice in July 2014: Toshiba Tecra Z50-A-12K
Editor's Choice in July 2014: Toshiba Tecra Z50-A-12K
Best Value Award in March 2014: Lenovo ThinkPad S540
Best Value Award in March 2014: Lenovo ThinkPad S540

Automated top 10 list updated daily


of the last 12 months
1
90% v4
Review Update Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ0069GE Notebook
Lenovo Thinkpad T440s 20AQ0069GE
Review Update Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ0069GE Notebook
Intel Core i7 4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 02/06/2014
2
89% v4
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K Notebook Review
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 07/14/2014
3
88% v4
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE Ultrabook Review Update
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE Ultrabook Review Update
Intel Core i7 4600U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M, 07/07/2014
4
87% v4
Review HP EliteBook 840 G1-H5G28ET Ultrabook
HP EliteBook 840 G1
Review HP EliteBook 840 G1-H5G28ET Ultrabook
Intel Core i7 4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 04/14/2014
5
86% v4
Fujitsu LifeBook E754 (E7540MXP11DE) Notebook Review Update
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
Fujitsu LifeBook E754 (E7540MXP11DE) Notebook Review Update
Intel Core i7 4702MQ, Intel HD Graphics 4600, 06/17/2014
6
86% v4
Review Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE Notebook
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
Review Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE Notebook
Intel Core i7 4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M, 04/01/2014
7
86% v4
Review Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection Notebook
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
Review Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection Notebook
Intel Core i7 3632QM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 10/11/2013
8
85% v4
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk Notebook Review
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4500U, AMD Radeon HD 8750M, 06/16/2014
9
85% v4
Review Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE Notebook
Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE
Review Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE Notebook
Intel Core i7 4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 04/15/2014
10
85% v4
Review HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET Notebook
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
Review HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET Notebook
Intel Core i5 4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 03/11/2014
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Premium Office/Business Notebooks
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2014-08- 5 (Update: 2014-08-11)