Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Multimedia Notebooks

Sebastian Bade, 👁 J. Simon Leitner, Felicitas Krohn (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 02/03/2018

February 2019 Update. Here you will find the best multimedia notebooks under 1000 USD/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 purchasing decisions.

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 following table shows an overview of the Top 10 budget multimedia laptops as reviewed by Notebookcheck in the past 12 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").

Note: The cheapest street price at the time of the last revision of this article applies to the following list. The sales prices shown in the following table and in the price comparison with the individual articles are automatically updated daily and can therefore differ!

Best Budget Laptops (Multimedia) as of February 2019

Pos.RatingDateImageModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
185%06/2018Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKBLenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKB
Intel Core i5-7200U
AMD Radeon RX 560 (Laptop)
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2 kg23 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
285%12/2018Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
2.4 kg27 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
385%03/2018HP Envy 17-ae143ngHP Envy 17-ae143ng
Intel Core i5-8250U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
3 kg23.3 mm17.3"1920x1080glossy
485%11/2018Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-53PUAcer Aspire 5 A515-52G-53PU
Intel Core i5-8265U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
1.8 kg17.95 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
582%10/2018Xiaomi Mi Notebook 15.6 (E58514D1D)Xiaomi Mi Notebook 15.6 (E58514D1D)
Intel Core i5-8250U
NVIDIA GeForce MX110
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
2.2 kg21 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
682%05/2018Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
AMD Radeon RX Vega 10
6.9 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2 kg17.95 mm15.6"1920x1080glossy
782%10/2018HP Pavilion 14-ce0002ngHP Pavilion 14-ce0002ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
1.7 kg17.9 mm14"1920x1080matte
882%05/2018Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-509AAcer Aspire 5 A515-51G-509A
Intel Core i5-8250U
NVIDIA GeForce MX130
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.2 kg21.6 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
982%08/2018Lenovo Ideapad 530S-15IKBLenovo Ideapad 530S-15IKB
Intel Core i5-8250U
Intel UHD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
1.7 kg17 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
1081%06/2018
New!
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
Intel Core i7-8550U
NVIDIA GeForce MX130
8 GB Memory, 1024 GB HDD
1.6 kg19.4 mm15.6"1920x1080matte

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Top 10 of the previous 12 months at the time of writing - current articles are listed first

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.

1st - Lenovo IdeaPad 720

A usable multimedia device: Lenovo Ideapad 720-15IKB
A usable multimedia device: Lenovo Ideapad 720-15IKB

The second place is secured by the IdeaPad 720 (here in review). Lenovo still equips the 2018 model with an outdated processor from 2016, but the overall package based on the Intel Core i5-7200U was convincing and got a good score of 85%. The Lenovo Ideapad 720 is priced at under 1,000 Euros (~$1174), so it is a perfect candidate for the multimedia segment.

Thanks to the AMD Radeon RX 560, you can also use the notebooks for some gaming. The performance of the Radeon RX 560 is comparable to the GeForce GTX 1050.

Lenovo offers a decent laptop despite the old CPU, and the system performance is very good thanks to the PCIe-SSD storage.

All in all, the performance of the Lenovo IdeaPad 720 is decent and meets the expectations for a multimedia device. The hardware is surrounded by a sophisticated case with a nice design. We also like the good input devices as well as the steady system performance under load.

Pricecompare

2nd - Acer Nitro 5

Acer's Nitro 5 uses AMD components and a good screen
Acer's Nitro 5 uses AMD components and a good screen

The Acer Nitro 5 is an unusual device, which can secure a top spot in our Top 10 ranking with a total score of 85%. The big notebook manufacturers usually use processors from Intel. Acer now equipped the Nitro 5 with an AMD Ryzen 7 2700U, which is comparable to an Intel Core i7-8550U. Besides the AMD processor, you also get the dedicated AMD Radeon RX 560X for usable 3D performance. Overall, the Acer Nitro 5 offers sufficient performance even for demanding games.

The well-equipped multimedia device does not lack storage, either; 1.1 TB should be sufficient. You get a 128 GB SSD in combination with a conventional 1 TB hard drive for large amount of files.

AMD fans will be happy about the combination of Ryzen 7 2700U and Radeon RX 560X, because the AMD CPU is on par with the Intel counterpart.

Users get an IPS display with wide viewing angles and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This adds to the good price-performance ratio, which is an advantage of the Acer Nitro 5.

Pricecompare

3rd - HP Envy 17-ae143ng

The HP Envy 17-ae143ng offers a decent CPU performance thanks to its adequately sized cooling solution.
The HP Envy 17-ae143ng offers a decent CPU performance thanks to its adequately sized cooling solution.

The Envy 17-ae143ng’s most notable feature is its classy aluminum chassis, although we were somewhat disappointed by its lack of rigidity and would have expected more of a aluminum case. HP’s Envy is one of the last notebooks with an optical drive, but it also feature modern connectivity such as USB Type-C.

In our review, the Core i5-8250U performed above average by and large, and it was even capable of keeping up with the Core i7-8550U thanks to the HP Envy 17-ae143ng’s sufficiently dimensioned and very well-working cooling solution. Accordingly, even sustained load does not cause any trouble whatsoever.

Gaming, on the other hand, is not necessarily the Envy’s strong side due to the fairly limited GeForce MX 150 GPU that is incapable of handling the latest games. Older titles should run fine on medium or even high settings, though.

The HP Envy 17-ae143ng is a decent multimedia laptop and offers a solid overall performance. Its most notable drawbacks are the poor speakers and the lack of Thunderbolt 3.

Pricecompare

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4th - Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G

The Acer Aspire 5 with Whiskey Lake CPU
The Acer Aspire 5 with Whiskey Lake CPU

Acer's Aspire 5 A515-52G (here in review) is an inexpensive multimedia notebook based on a Whiskey Lake CPU. The Intel Core i5-8265U is more than powerful enough for the majority of multimedia workloads. The case is now a bit slimmer compared to the predecessor. A fast SSD and 8 GB DDR4-RAM in a dual-channel configuration ensure a responsive system performance.

The allrounder is equipped with a matte IPS panel, which is not the brightest model. The step towards displays with wide angles in the low-price segment is still a positive trend.

For about 900 Euros, you get a solid laptop with dedicated graphics card (GeForce MX150), which can handle some gaming, but you will have to waive high resolutions and details. You can also implement an additional storage drive if the 256 GB SSD is not sufficient. An empty 2.5-inch slot is available. The Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G is a good allrounder without any real drawbacks.

Pricecompare

5th - Xiaomi Mi Notebook 15.6

The Xiaomi Mi is not available in all regions.
The Xiaomi Mi is not available in all regions.

The Xiaomi Mi Notebook 15.6 is a good multimedia laptop from the Chinese manufacturer for less than 800 Euros. The device is unfortunately not sold officially in every region, so there might be limitations in terms of warranty and keyboard layout. The operating system is Windows 10, but the default language is Chinese, so there is some fiddling. You should therefore consider a fresh installation of the operating system.

The performance of the Intel Core i5-8250U is very good during our review and the dedicated GeForce MX110 can handle simple 3D games like Overwatch, Team Fortress, or the Fifa-series. We like the mostly silent operation in office scenarios.

The Xiaomi Mi is a system with a very good price-performance ratio, but the compromises might scare off some potential buyers.

Pricecompare

6th - Acer Swift 3 SF315

Acer Swift 3 with Ryzen 7 2700U and Radeon RX Vega 10 iGPU
Acer Swift 3 with Ryzen 7 2700U and Radeon RX Vega 10 iGPU

Acer's Swift 3 (here in review) is the familiar Swift 3 laptop, but with AMD's most powerful APU. The Ryzen 7 2700U also features the powerful RX Vega 10 GPU. However, the Ryzen 7 in the Swift 3 is just ahead of the Ryzen 5, and the Intel competition cannot be beaten.

The Acer Swift 3 is an inexpensive alternative to Intel system. it convinces with a good price-performance ratio, because the Vega 10 GPU is superior to Intel's integrated GPUs.

The Acer Swift 3 unfortunately uses a bad screen. The device might still be interesting if you can waive Thunderbolt 3 and use it primarily in combination with an external monitor.

Pricecompare

7th - HP Pavilion 14

Das HP Pavilion 14 with a new design
Das HP Pavilion 14 with a new design

HP also offers an inexpensive multimedia device. The Pavilion 14 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-8550U supported by 8 GB DDR4 RAM. 3D calculations are handled by the GeForce MX150, which is a good choice for smooth frame rates in simple games.

HP updated the chassis and we think it was a success. The tactile impression is good and the design looks modern. Both the excellent build quality and the stability were convincing as well.

However, there are many drawbacks. The display is too dark, which makes the use in sunshine impossible. We often criticize the lack of an SD reader. Well, the Pavilion 14 has one, but it only supports USB 2.0 speeds, so the performance is slow. Overall, the thermal management is not good and the fan is clearly audible under load.

The HP Pavilion does not have an easy time to find a new owner. It will probably have to be a great deal.

Pricecompare

8th – Acer Aspire 5 A515

Acer Aspire 5 A515 with dedicated entry-level GPU
Acer Aspire 5 A515 with dedicated entry-level GPU

Acer equipped its Aspire A515 with a modern CPU and a dedicated entry-level GPU. The multimedia notebook is further equipped with a 256 GB SSD, which is on the low side. We would also not expect too much of the GeForce MX130 GPU.

The A515’s two maintenance openings sit in a well-cooled base large made of metal. Unfortunately, it is quite chunky.

The TN panel is definitely subpar and failed in pretty much every one of our evaluation categories. It is the main reason why the device failed to score higher in our ranking.

Due to its abysmal display the Aspire A515 failed to score higher in our ranking.

Pricecompare

9th - Lenovo Ideapad 530S

The Lenovo Ideapad 530S is almost silent
The Lenovo Ideapad 530S is almost silent

The Ideapad 530S (here in review) is an affordable multimedia laptop. It is available with a discreet GPU, but our test model only comes with the integrated graphics adapter. This means the GPU performance is low, but the performance utilization of the Intel Core i5-8250U could have been better as well.

The Lenovo Ideapad 530S is still a nice multimedia notebook with a sturdy chassis. You can maintain it and the system is usually very quiet. We like the anti-reflective surface of the screen, even though the luminance is rather average at 270 nits.

The Ideapad 530S offers surprisingly many features for the small price tag. SKUs with dedicated GPU still retail for less than 1000 Euros.

Pricecompare

10th - Asus VivoBook 15

Asus VivoBook 15 with Core i7 and GeForce MX130
Asus VivoBook 15 with Core i7 and GeForce MX130

The Asus VivoBook 15 (here in review) convinced with good performance results. The additional performance of the Intel Core i7-8550U is not affected by throttling and the dedicated GeForce MX130 is noticeably faster than the Intel UHD Graphics 620 you can find in many 13-inch laptops. Asus wants to attract customers with a modern design including slim bezels. The crisp and matte IPS panel as well as the decent speaker quality are other advantages.

CPU, GPU, and the matte IPS display are the highlights of this multimedia laptop, but the slow hard drive, a cheap keyboard and a loud fan during gaming affect the overall impression.

The storage equipment with a 1 TB mechanical hard drive is not up to date anymore. The case looks good, but we have to criticize the stability of the base unit. The same applies for the display, which is too dark and only covers a limited color space. We did not like the input devices, either; the typing experience is spongy and feels cheap.

Pricecompare

Top 10 in Comparison

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKBAcer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0HP Envy 17-ae143ngAcer Aspire 5 A515-52G-53PUXiaomi Mi Notebook 15.6 (E58514D1D)Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9HP Pavilion 14-ce0002ngAcer Aspire 5 A515-51G-509ALenovo Ideapad 530S-15IKBAsus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42 (22, 20)
48.4 (24, 24.4)
33 (15, 18)
45 (24, 21)
46 (22.4, 23.6)
43.2 (22.8, 20.4)
40 (21, 19)
43.3 (22, 21.3)
37.2 (19.6, 17.6)
27.2 (13.2, 14)
Response Time Black / White *
26 (15, 11)
32.8 (18, 14.8)
21 (11, 10)
35 (19, 16)
34 (15.2, 18.8)
39.6 (22.8, 16.8)
31 (18, 13)
13.8 (9.5, 4.3)
32.4 (18.4, 14)
24.8 (14, 10.8)
PWM Frequency
20000 (90)
60 (100)
21370
200 (90)
25970 (19)
25770 (67)
Screen
Brightness middle
270
299
352
296
280
203.4
239
246
285.1
257
Brightness
250
284
330
268
267
188
223
225
271
246
Brightness Distribution
87
88
88
81
85
71
88
81
88
89
Black Level *
0.25
0.24
0.31
0.3
0.2
0.27
0.27
0.51
0.28
0.34
Contrast
1080
1246
1135
987
1400
753
885
482
1018
756
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.79
4.98
4.34
4.01
5
5.21
5.3
11
4.38
4.54
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.83
7.67
8.69
8.7
7.9
21.85
10.03
32.4
24.07
16
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.66
4.58
5.66
0.98
3.7
3
5.85
11.6
3.1
4.6
Gamma
2.64 83%
2.55 86%
2.29 96%
2.35 94%
2.08 106%
2.184 101%
2.45 90%
1.91 115%
2.24 98%
2.44 90%
CCT
7179 91%
6397 102%
6326 103%
6408 101%
7309 89%
5983 109%
7169 91%
11807 55%
6705 97%
7096 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
37
57
57
38
38.09
37
38
40
37.5
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
59
87
88
58
59.26
58
59
62
59.2
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
3.7
4
3.6
4.94
3.64
4.6
3.95
3.61
Noise
off / environment *
30.3
29
304
30.5
29.9
28.1
30.5
31.1
28
28.5
Idle Minimum *
30.3
29
31.9
30.5
29.9
28.1
32.7
31.4
28
30.8
Idle Average *
30.3
31
31.9
30.5
30.6
28.1
32.7
31.9
28
30.8
Idle Maximum *
30.3
32
31.9
30.9
35
29.3
32.7
32.2
30.1
31
Load Average *
39.2
36
39.4
41.2
38.8
32.6
42.9
41
30.2
45.6
Witcher 3 ultra *
41.6
44
33.3
41.3
45.6
Load Maximum *
39.2
46
39.7
41.9
45.3
35.7
45
46.4
33.2
46.7
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
41.2
47
36
52.9
48.2
40.2
49.2
41
33.8
35.2
Maximum Bottom *
36.4
44
37.6
51.5
58.8
44.2
47
49
43
52
Idle Upper Side *
22
30
26.2
28.4
26.3
27.6
22.5
26
28.6
30.6
Idle Bottom *
23.6
28
27.8
29.7
28.6
29.8
23.1
28
33.4
34.2
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
963
846
613
795
797
867
WiFi v1.3
425
340
487
450
340
317
414
350
391
232
Load
50
101
75
145
162
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
9.9
7
4.8
3.8
5.6
5.9
6.3
5.1
3.5
5.9
Idle Average *
9.5
10
8.3
6.3
8.6
8.6
8.4
7.6
5.6
7
Idle Maximum *
10.7
18
10.3
9.6
8.7
8.7
10.2
8.2
10.3
8.5
Load Average *
62
79
61
59.5
39.9
32.8
59
49.4
30.5
54.5
Load Maximum *
86.7
128
86
64.4
59.9
40.9
66.3
68
33.8
55.7
Witcher 3 ultra *
84
98
33.2
38.2
42.1
50.6

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKB
Radeon RX 560 (Laptop), 7200U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
6828 Points ∼22%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
7640 Points ∼24%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Liteonit CV3-8D128
4893 Points ∼16%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-53PU
GeForce MX150, 8265U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
4749 Points ∼15%
Xiaomi Mi Notebook 15.6 (E58514D1D)
GeForce MX110, 8250U, Samsung PM871b MZNLN128HAHQ
2400 Points ∼8%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9
Vega 10, 2700U, Micron SSD 1100 SED 512GB, M.2 (MTFDDAV512TBN)
3753 Points ∼12%
HP Pavilion 14-ce0002ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk X600 SD9SN8W-128G
3130 Points ∼10%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-509A
GeForce MX130, 8250U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3159 Points ∼10%
Lenovo Ideapad 530S-15IKB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
1690 Points ∼5%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Seagate Mobile HDD 1TB ST1000LM035
3077 Points ∼10%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKB
Radeon RX 560 (Laptop), 7200U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4699 Points ∼18%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
5316 Points ∼20%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Liteonit CV3-8D128
3281 Points ∼12%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-53PU
GeForce MX150, 8265U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3230 Points ∼12%
Xiaomi Mi Notebook 15.6 (E58514D1D)
GeForce MX110, 8250U, Samsung PM871b MZNLN128HAHQ
1647 Points ∼6%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9
Vega 10, 2700U, Micron SSD 1100 SED 512GB, M.2 (MTFDDAV512TBN)
2241 Points ∼8%
HP Pavilion 14-ce0002ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk X600 SD9SN8W-128G
3215 Points ∼12%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-509A
GeForce MX130, 8250U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
2179 Points ∼8%
Lenovo Ideapad 530S-15IKB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
936 Points ∼3%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Seagate Mobile HDD 1TB ST1000LM035
2184 Points ∼8%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
56030 Points ∼5%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Liteonit CV3-8D128
72057 Points ∼6%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-53PU
GeForce MX150, 8265U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
69823 Points ∼6%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Seagate Mobile HDD 1TB ST1000LM035
45310 Points ∼4%
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-53PU
GeForce MX150, 8265U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
6028 Points ∼70%
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKB
Radeon RX 560 (Laptop), 7200U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4464 Points ∼73%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U, SK Hynix HFS128G39TND
3860 Points ∼63%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Liteonit CV3-8D128
3666 Points ∼60%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-53PU
GeForce MX150, 8265U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3725 Points ∼61%
Xiaomi Mi Notebook 15.6 (E58514D1D)
GeForce MX110, 8250U, Samsung PM871b MZNLN128HAHQ
3153 Points ∼52%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9
Vega 10, 2700U, Micron SSD 1100 SED 512GB, M.2 (MTFDDAV512TBN)
3640 Points ∼60%
HP Pavilion 14-ce0002ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk X600 SD9SN8W-128G
3379 Points ∼55%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-509A
GeForce MX130, 8250U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3903 Points ∼64%
Lenovo Ideapad 530S-15IKB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
3585 Points ∼59%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Seagate Mobile HDD 1TB ST1000LM035
3704 Points ∼61%
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Sebastian Bade (Update: 2019-02-20)