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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Budget Multimedia Notebooks

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

October 2018 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 October 2018

Pos.RatingDateImageModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
186%11/2017Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro i5Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2 kg15 mm15.6"1920x1080glossy
285%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
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
484%11/2017Asus GL503VD-DB74Asus GL503VD-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
16 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
2.2 kg23 mm15.6"1920x1080matte
584%10/2017Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5
Intel Core i5-8250U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
1.9 kg18 mm15.6"1920x1080glossy
684%11/2017Acer Swift 3 SF314-52G-89SLAcer Swift 3 SF314-52G-89SL
Intel Core i7-8550U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
8 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
1.6 kg17.95 mm14"1920x1080glossy
782%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
882%01/2018Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
8 GB Memory, 256 GB NVMe
2 kg17.9 mm15.6"1920x1080glossy
982%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
1082%08/2018
New!
Lenovo 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

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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 – Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

Performance meets mobility: Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro
Performance meets mobility: Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

The first place in this rating is occupied by a notebook with a very good rating, which is not officially available in central Europe. We are talking about the Mi Notebook Pro from the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi. Xiaomi announced the availability of its smartphones in Spain recently, but the notebooks are not sold officially. Instead, you have to import it or buy from Chinese shops. 

Insider's tip for some, a no-go for others: The Xiaomi Mi Pro splits the opinions of potential buyers.

The laptop was convincing when we reviewed the Mi Pro with the i5 CPU, starting with the high-quality aluminum case, the bright and high-contrast panel all the way up to low noise emissions and long battery runtimes up to 10 hours in practical scenarios. The combination of i5-8250U processor and MX150 graphics card is also a good compromise between performance and mobility.

Pricecompare

2nd - 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

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 – Asus ROG Strix GL503VD

Entry-level gaming or multimedia? Asus ROG Strix GL503VD
Entry-level gaming or multimedia? Asus ROG Strix GL503VD

Gaming or multimedia? The transition is seamless, and Asus' ROG Strix GL503VD (here in review) is a fine example. The stylish 15-inch case houses a powerful i7-7700HQ CPU & a GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. You see the content on a Full HD IPS display with a matte surface, which is decent when it comes to luminance and contrast ratio.

Good performance and solid hardware with a touch of gaming design – the Asus ROG Strix GL503VD.

The GTX 1050 can handle games in the native 1080p resolution, but with some reduced details. We liked the keyboard during the review, and the battery runtime is up to 6 hours in practical scenarios.

Pricecompare

5th – Acer Swift 3 SF315

Slim laptop with solid performance and stamina: Acer Swift 3 SF315
Slim laptop with solid performance and stamina: Acer Swift 3 SF315

If you like Acer's Swift series, but prefer a 15-inch display, you should consider the Acer Swift 3 SF315 (here in review). A 15W ULV CPU (quad-core) once again meets a GeForce MX150, so there is plenty of performance for different multimedia scenarios. This also includes gaming, but with adjusted quality settings.

Acer's Swift series is an interesting option if you can live without an integrated DVD drive.

We liked the wide viewing angles and the good contrast ratio of the IPS screen during the review, but the luminance is not great. The emissions are low in all scenarios and the practical battery runtime of more than 8 hours is not bad, either.

Pricecompare

6th - Acer Swift 3 SF314

Compact multimedia laptop: Acer Swift 3 SF314
Compact multimedia laptop: Acer Swift 3 SF314

The desire for sufficient multimedia performance is not necessarily linked to a big chassis. Acer's Swift 3 SF314 (here in review) is a good example. The notebook uses a 14-inch screen and tips the scale at 1.6 kg, so it is noticeably lighter than many 15 or 17-inch systems.

The Swift 3 SF314 offers plenty of performance on the go thanks to long battery runtimes and low weight.

The combination of Core i7-8550U quad-core ULV CPU and GeForce MX150 graphics card can cover all multimedia needs all the way up to modern games. It is also a good travel companion with practical battery runtimes of up to 8 hours.

Pricecompare

7th - 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

8th - Acer Swift 3 SF315

Acer Swift 3 with AMD Ryzen 5 2500U and AMD Vega 8 GPU
Acer Swift 3 with AMD Ryzen 5 2500U and AMD Vega 8 GPU

Acer's Swift 3 SF315 (here in review) is an impressive example for AMD's ne mobile Ryzen chips. The Ryzen 5 2500U and the AMD Vega 8 GPU are placed inside a nice and slim chassis. This combination provides solid performance figures for multimedia applications. The Vega IGP is much faster than Intel's UHD Graphics in total.

The Acer Swift 3 SF315 can compete with Intel's 8th Gen. CPUs thanks to the new AMD Ryzen 5 2500U. The performance of this SoC does not have to hide behind the competition, and the Vega 8 graphics unit is much more powerful than Intel's counterpart (Intel UHD Graphics 620).

Short battery runtimes and a comparatively slow PCIe-SSD prevent a better rating for the Acer Swift 3 SF315. The display is also too dark with small color gamut. All in all, it is still sufficient for the 10th place in our Top 10 ranking for budget multimedia laptops this month.

Pricecompare

9th – 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

10th - 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

Top 10 in Comparison

Size Comparison

Measurement Results

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro i5Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKBHP Envy 17-ae143ngAsus GL503VD-DB74Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5Acer Swift 3 SF314-52G-89SLAcer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-509ALenovo Ideapad 530S-15IKB
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
47.9 (22.4, 25.5)
42 (22, 20)
33 (15, 18)
36.4 (16.4, 20)
42 (22, 20)
41 (19, 22)
43.2 (22.8, 20.4)
46 (25, 21)
43.3 (22, 21.3)
37.2 (19.6, 17.6)
Response Time Black / White *
33.7 (19.2, 14.5)
26 (15, 11)
21 (11, 10)
26.2 (14, 12.4)
32 (17, 15)
25 (15, 10)
39.6 (22.8, 16.8)
36 (20, 16)
13.8 (9.5, 4.3)
32.4 (18.4, 14)
PWM Frequency
21800 (99)
21010 (99)
21000 (80)
21370
21000 (90)
25970 (19)
25770 (67)
Screen
Brightness middle
296
270
352
315.9
248
233
203.4
237
246
285.1
Brightness
288
250
330
304
237
217
188
229
225
271
Brightness Distribution
89
87
88
88
79
88
71
88
81
88
Black Level *
0.32
0.25
0.31
0.37
0.21
0.27
0.27
0.19
0.51
0.28
Contrast
925
1080
1135
854
1181
863
753
1247
482
1018
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.3
4.79
4.34
4.9
4.98
5.85
5.21
4.85
11
4.38
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.7
8.83
8.69
9.7
8.41
11.51
21.85
8.34
32.4
24.07
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3
5.66
5.66
3.8
4.26
4.87
3
3.84
11.6
3.1
Gamma
2.1 105%
2.64 83%
2.29 96%
2.24 98%
2.37 93%
2.47 89%
2.184 101%
2.42 91%
1.91 115%
2.24 98%
CCT
7100 92%
7179 91%
6326 103%
6847 95%
7149 91%
6908 94%
5983 109%
6790 96%
11807 55%
6705 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
56.83
37
57
55
38
34
37
37
40
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
86.86
59
88
84
58
54
58
58
62
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
4.94
4.6
3.95
Noise
off / environment *
31
30.3
304
28.3
30.5
30.5
28.1
31.8
31.1
28
Idle Minimum *
31
30.3
31.9
30.6
30.5
30.5
28.1
31.8
31.4
28
Idle Average *
31
30.3
31.9
30.8
30.5
30.5
28.1
32.1
31.9
28
Idle Maximum *
32.6
30.3
31.9
32.8
30.9
30.9
29.3
32.1
32.2
30.1
Load Average *
41.6
39.2
39.4
37.6
35.7
35.6
32.6
33
41
30.2
Witcher 3 ultra *
41.6
41.6
47
35.1
33.3
41.3
Load Maximum *
44.7
39.2
39.7
53.5
35.6
35.6
35.7
34.8
46.4
33.2
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
43.8
41.2
36
60.4
43.4
44.9
40.2
41
41
33.8
Maximum Bottom *
44.9
36.4
37.6
55.2
38.1
42.9
44.2
41.1
49
43
Idle Upper Side *
25.9
22
26.2
32.4
24.8
27.7
27.6
29.9
26
28.6
Idle Bottom *
26.3
23.6
27.8
36
25.2
27.5
29.8
30.9
28
33.4
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
963
647
795
730
867
WiFi v1.3
597
425
487
348
511
465
317
310
350
391
Witcher 3 ultra
83
Load
122
50
73
75
81
162
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
3.7
9.9
4.8
8.2
3.8
4.4
5.9
7.3
5.1
3.5
Idle Average *
7.5
9.5
8.3
11.1
6.5
6.6
8.6
9.7
7.6
5.6
Idle Maximum *
8
10.7
10.3
11.8
9.1
9.2
8.7
13
8.2
10.3
Load Average *
49
62
61
81
53.4
61
32.8
40.4
49.4
30.5
Load Maximum *
55.2
86.7
86
123.3
55.6
50
40.9
42.2
68
33.8
Witcher 3 ultra *
50.6
84
95.11
40
38.2
42.1

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4521 Points ∼14%
Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKB
Radeon RX 560 (Laptop), 7200U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
6828 Points ∼22%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Liteonit CV3-8D128
4893 Points ∼16%
Asus GL503VD-DB74
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, ADATA SX7000NP 256 GB
7465 Points ∼24%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Hynix HFS128G39TND
4918 Points ∼16%
Acer Swift 3 SF314-52G-89SL
GeForce MX150, 8550U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
4857 Points ∼16%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9
Vega 10, 2700U, Micron SSD 1100 SED 512GB, M.2 (MTFDDAV512TBN)
3753 Points ∼12%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
3521 Points ∼11%
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%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
2954 Points ∼11%
Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKB
Radeon RX 560 (Laptop), 7200U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4699 Points ∼18%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Liteonit CV3-8D128
3281 Points ∼12%
Asus GL503VD-DB74
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, ADATA SX7000NP 256 GB
5440 Points ∼20%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Hynix HFS128G39TND
3289 Points ∼12%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9
Vega 10, 2700U, Micron SSD 1100 SED 512GB, M.2 (MTFDDAV512TBN)
2241 Points ∼8%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
1928 Points ∼7%
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%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Liteonit CV3-8D128
72057 Points ∼6%
Asus GL503VD-DB74
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, ADATA SX7000NP 256 GB
115145 Points ∼10%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Hynix HFS128G39TND
82307 Points ∼7%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
60920 Points ∼5%
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro i5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3766 Points ∼62%
Lenovo IdeaPad 720-15IKB
Radeon RX 560 (Laptop), 7200U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4464 Points ∼73%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Liteonit CV3-8D128
3666 Points ∼60%
Asus GL503VD-DB74
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, ADATA SX7000NP 256 GB
3852 Points ∼63%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5
GeForce MX150, 8250U, Hynix HFS128G39TND
3935 Points ∼65%
Acer Swift 3 SF314-52G-89SL
GeForce MX150, 8550U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
3968 Points ∼65%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R6J9
Vega 10, 2700U, Micron SSD 1100 SED 512GB, M.2 (MTFDDAV512TBN)
3640 Points ∼60%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
3450 Points ∼57%
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%
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Sebastian Bade (Update: 2018-10-15)