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The Best Budget Multimedia Notebooks

June 2021 update. Whether you are looking at gaming, office use, or photo and video editing, multimedia laptops cover a wide spectrum. Below, you will find the all-round notebooks with the best price-performance ratio as well as true bargains.
Sebastian Bade, 👁 J. Simon Leitner (translated by Finn D. Boerne), 🇩🇪 🇸🇪 ...

Multimedia laptops are all-rounders and very popular among customers. Whether it is web browsing, office work, or modern games, modern multimedia laptops can handle everything. For this ranking, however, we limit the theoretical budget to 1000 Euros (lowest current price at the time of writing). The minimum requirement for the performance level is a GeForce MX150, which can at least handle modern games in 1366x768 pixels. The other multimedia ranking and more interesting lists are obviously still available:

The Best Budget Multimedia Laptops

Position
Total Rating
Date
Image
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Screen
185 %
08/2020
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7-14ARELenovo Yoga Slim 7-14ARE
AMD Ryzen 7 4800U
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 4000)
16 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
1.4 kg14.9 mm14.00"1920x1080glossy
285 %
11/2020
Honor MagicBook Pro 4600HHonor MagicBook Pro 4600H
AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 (Ryzen 4000/5000)
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
1.7 kg16.9 mm16.10"1920x1080glossy
384 %
03/2021
Honor MagicBook Pro 10210UHonor MagicBook Pro 10210U
Intel Core i5-10210U
NVIDIA GeForce MX350
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
1.7 kg16.9 mm16.10"1920x1080matte
483 %
07/2020
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05
Intel Core i5-1035G1
NVIDIA GeForce MX350
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
1.7 kg17.9 mm15.60"1920x1080matte
582 %
04/2020
Acer Aspire 5 A515-54G-56XEAcer Aspire 5 A515-54G-56XE
Intel Core i5-10210U
NVIDIA GeForce MX250
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
1.7 kg17.9 mm15.60"1920x1080matte
681 %
06/2020
HP Envy 17t-cg000HP Envy 17t-cg000
Intel Core i7-1065G7
NVIDIA GeForce MX330
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2.7 kg19.3 mm17.30"3840x2160glossy
781 %
07/2020
Asus VivoBook S14 S433FL-EB029TAsus VivoBook S14 S433FL-EB029T
Intel Core i7-10510U
NVIDIA GeForce MX250
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
1.4 kg16 mm14.00"1920x1080matte
879 %
02/2020
Acer Aspire 5 A514-52-58U3Acer Aspire 5 A514-52-58U3
Intel Core i5-10210U
Intel UHD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
1.7 kg17.95 mm14.00"1920x1080matte

The table above contains an overview over the best budget multimedia notebooks reviewed by Notebookcheck over the course of the past 12 months as well as still relevant and available older products. In cases of identical score the more recent device is listed first. All prices in above table and price comparisons are updated daily and can thus differ.
Link: all devices in this class reviewed

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Editors' Comments

There are plenty of multimedia laptops for under 1,000 Euros. This category features a good price-performance ratio, because all multimedia-class device are equipped with a discrete graphics card and provide decent gaming performance. Inexpensive entry-level models are often shipped with a powerful processor, but the common GeForce MX150 is not a perfect solution for modern 3D games. Manufacturers also try to save money in terms of storage, which can quickly become the bottleneck due to high storage requirements of multimedia contents like games, picture, or videos. You should favor an SSD/HDD combination.

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1st – Lenovo Yoga Slim 7

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 with plenty of oomph
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 with plenty of oomph

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (see review here) offers a brand-new AMD APU with excellent system performance and decent gaming performance. For less than $1,000 you get a device with plenty of performance, a quiet cooler, long battery life, and last but not least a PWM-free display.

We liked its simplistic modern design resulting in a very slim case. Nevertheless, the aluminum chassis offered decent sturdiness, even the display lid. In return, we would have expected more of its external ports as it only offers two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports without support for Thunderbolt 3, and HDMI, which is not necessarily a deciding purchase criterion.

Lenovo’s Yoga Slim 7 is a modern multimedia notebook with plenty of performance and a usable iGPU.

Its 512 GB NVMe SSD was very fast and acceptably spacious for a multimedia device. If you need more space you will have to either replace the SSD or add a secondary via the M.2-2242 slot.

Pricecompare

2nd – Honor MagicBook Pro

Great price-performance ratio: Honor MagicBook Pro
Great price-performance ratio: Honor MagicBook Pro

The MagicBook Pro (see review here) is a true price-performance hit and a great all-round notebook with gaming ambitions. Thanks to AMD’s latest Renoir SoC the multimedia device not only offers improved multi-core capabilities but also a Vega-based iGPU. Other benefits include a modern design and a robust base, and the Honor MagicBook Pro scored very well overall and thus deserves its spot on our top 10 list.

At around 900 Euros the Honor MagicBook Pro receives our full endorsement if you are looking for a multimedia laptop.

Nevertheless, it is not entirely free of drawbacks. Its speakers are average at best, and the device turned out to be fairly load. It also lacked an SD card reader.

3rd – Honor MagicBook Pro

Honor MagicBook Pro (Intel, Nvidia)
Honor MagicBook Pro (Intel, Nvidia)

The Honor MagicBook Pro is a good multimedia notebook based around Intel’s Core i5-10210U paired with a dedicated and somewhat gaming-capable Nvidia GeForce MX350. When compared directly with its AMD-based sibling the Intel variant performs only marginally worse overall. Both units are built around the same base and therefore share most of their pros and cons. Our review unit was equipped with 16 GB of RAM and a 16 GB SSD and should suffice for the average user.

At around $900 the Honor MagicBook Pro is worth a closer look for those in the market for a multimedia laptop.

Downsides include the at best mediocre speakers as well as the annoying fan noise. In addition, we did not particularly like the webcam placement. If you can live with those drawbacks the Honor MagicBook Pro can be a good looking slim mulitimedia notebook.

The Intel-based Honor MagicBook is available on Amazon for around $900.

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Pricecompare

4th – Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15

Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 with excellent battery life
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 with excellent battery life

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05 (see review here) is a powerful long-running all-rounder based on Intel’s Core i5-1035G1 (Ice Lake). Its 8 GB of RAM are running at 3,200 MHz and are adequate for most applications. Unfortunately, this might be a sticking point with this device as RAM cannot be upgraded retroactively.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05 is a powerful all-rounder with the potential for gaming.

However, its benefits outweigh the drawbacks, and the device easily made our top 10 list. The slim case is fairly modern but not particularly rigid. Its dedicated GeForce MX350 GPU ensures a certain degree of gaming compatibility, and the device also offered a high level of system performance and very long battery life.

Connectivity was plentiful as well.

Pricecompare

5th - Acer Aspire 5 A515

The Acer Aspire 5 A515 supports WiFi 6
The Acer Aspire 5 A515 supports WiFi 6

The Acer Aspire 5 A515 (see review here) has been a viable budget notebook for a long time. The latest model, equipped with Intel’s latest Core i5-10210U, continues its long line of ancestors. The GPU of choice is Nvidia’s GeForce MX250, which should be fast enough for casual gaming, and both SSD and IPS panel are available on this sub-$1000 laptop as well.

The Acer Aspire 5 A515 is an affordable all-rounder with gaming capabilities and Wi-Fi 6.

Our biggest gripe was the display due to its low maximum brightness and its inaccurate colors. In addition, the Comet Lake SoC remained far behind its theoretical capabilities, and the device lacks a card reader.

Pricecompare

6th – HP Envy 17

HP Envy 17 with large 17-inch display
HP Envy 17 with large 17-inch display

The HP Envy 17’s (see review here) good performance took us by surprise. Its Core i7-10510U CPU offers a good multi-thread performance and is a great fit for a multimedia laptop.

The case is modern and of a very high build quality, which is furthermore substantiated by HP’s good choice of materials. Its Nvidia GeForce MX250 is even somewhat gaming-capable and should thus be well suited for occasional gaming.

Thanks to its sheer size the HP Envy 17 can be considered a decent desktop replacement. Unfortunately, its maintenance options are fairly poor.

Benefits include its good input devices as well as its overall GPU performance. The device even supports Wi-Fi 6 and thus substantially faster Wi-Fi transfer speeds. On the flip side its battery life was comparatively poor as the device powered off four hours into our Wi-Fi battery test already.

Pricecompare

7th – Asus VivoBook S14

Asus VivoBook S14 - a lifestyle notebook
Asus VivoBook S14 - a lifestyle notebook

The Asus VivoBook S14 (see review here) is a modern multimedia notebook with a surdy case and good battery life. It is particularly interesting due to its versatility, and its Core i7-10510U paired with 16 GB of RAM make for plenty of oomph resulting in an overall very smooth system performance. Its fast NVMe SSD is a factor in this as well and with 512 GB offer an adequate amount of storage space. The device even supports a secondary M.2 SSD.

3D applications benefit from the GeForce MX250, which is also somewhat gaming capable.

The Asus VivoBook S14 is a decent allrounder. It's fair price-performance ratio is particularly striking.

Downsides include the somewhat slow card reader and the dim display. If you don’t mind these the Asus VivoBook S14 is going to reward you with decent everyday performance.

Pricecompare

8th – Acer Aspire 5 A514

Acer Aspire 5 A514 with pre-calibrated display
Acer Aspire 5 A514 with pre-calibrated display

The Acer Aspire 5 A514 (see review here) is an affordable mid-range laptop. Our review unit lacked a dedicated GPU, which means that all things graphics were handled by the Core i5-10210U’s integrated GPU instead. In other words, it was only fast enough for simple multimedia tasks, and gaming was certainly not one of them.

In return, the Acer Aspire 5 A514 offers a well-calibrated display, long battery life, easy and straightforward maintenance, low noise emissions, and a low price to boot.

A good display is not enough to remain competitive in the 14-inch laptop market segment.

Unfortunately, the Core i5-10210U was incapable of fully utilizing its performance potential and disappointed. Visually, the device did not look particularly modern, and its weight was fairly high for a 14-inch device.

Pricecompare

Top 10 in Comparison

Size Comparison

369 mm / 14.5 inch 234 mm / 9.21 inch 16.9 mm / 0.665 inch 1.7 kg3.75 lbs369 mm / 14.5 inch 234 mm / 9.21 inch 16.9 mm / 0.665 inch 1.7 kg3.75 lbs364 mm / 14.3 inch 250 mm / 9.84 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 1.7 kg3.83 lbs358 mm / 14.1 inch 237 mm / 9.33 inch 19 mm / 0.748 inch 2 kg4.5 lbs358 mm / 14.1 inch 245 mm / 9.65 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 1.8 kg3.86 lbs356.7 mm / 14 inch 233.1 mm / 9.18 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 1.7 kg3.66 lbs328.8 mm / 12.9 inch 236 mm / 9.29 inch 17.95 mm / 0.707 inch 1.7 kg3.75 lbs325 mm / 12.8 inch 214 mm / 8.43 inch 16 mm / 0.63 inch 1.4 kg3.09 lbs320.6 mm / 12.6 inch 208.2 mm / 8.2 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.4 kg3.15 lbs320.6 mm / 12.6 inch 208.18 mm / 8.2 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.4 kg3.09 lbs
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Sebastian Bade (Update: 2021-06-23)