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The Best Budget Multimedia Notebooks

September 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
186 %
09/2021
New!
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACHLenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
2 kg17.5 mm16.00"2560x1600matte
285 %
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
385 %
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
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 %
06/2021
HP Pavilion 15-eg0025clHP Pavilion 15-eg0025cl
Intel Core i7-1165G7
NVIDIA GeForce MX450
16 GB Memory, 1024 GB SSD
1.7 kg17.9 mm15.60"1920x1080glossy
781 %
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
881 %
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
979 %
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 – IdeaPad 5 Pro

IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH
IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro is a powerful and long-lasting all-rounder based on AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 platform. In addition to the powerful 8-core CPU this 16-inch notebook also features 16 GB of soldered RAM as well as a 512 GB large SSD. The 16:10 display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz is also worth noting as it performed pretty well overall and offered a decent color gamut.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro is a powerful all-rounder with a good display.

Should you choose to use the IdeaPad 5 Pro for gaming you are not necessarily limited to the Ryzen’s iGPU as a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 1650 Mobile is also available, and it is powerful enough to run even current games as long as you don’t mind gaming in reduced details.

If you prefer Intel’s platform the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro is also available with Intel’s Tiger Lake SoC equipped with a slower Nvidia GeForce MX450 GPU, the same display, and an optional 16 GB of RAM.

At the time of writing the AMD SKU was unavailable in North America while the Intel SKU was listed on Amazon with prices starting at $930.

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 – Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15

Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 with exceptionally long battery life
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 with exceptionally long battery life

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05 is a powerful and long-lasting all-rounder based on Intel’s Core i5-1035G1 (Ice Lake). Its 8 GB of RAM are running at 3,200 MHz and are sufficient for most applications. Unfortunately, this is the device’s weakest point as it does not allow for upgrading.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05 is a powerful all-rounder with gaming ambitions.

However, we found its pros to outweigh its cons by and large, and the device therefore easily made it onto this top 10 list. Its slim case is modern yet not particularly sturdy when compared to its contemporaries, and thanks to Nvidia’s dedicated GeForce MX350 GPU it is even somewhat gaming capable. In our test it offered a high overall system performance, a very long battery life, and decent overall connectivity.

The device is currently unavailable in North America.

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Pricecompare

4th - 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

5th – HP Pavilion 15

HP Pavilion 15
HP Pavilion 15

The HP Pavilion 15 offers good performance and a dedicated gaming-capable Nvidia GeForce M450 GPU. The 15.6-inch large notebook also offers a good keyboard and low overall emissions, good speakers, and charging via USB-C. On the flip side the display is not particularly bright, and the included power supply is only rated at a meagre 65 W.

The HP Pavilion 15 may be a good multimedia laptop, but it is too expensive for what it is.

Availability was very limited at the time of writing, and the only SKU listed on Amazon was one without aforementioned dedicated Nvidia GPU.

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

399 mm / 15.7 inch 259 mm / 10.2 inch 19.3 mm / 0.76 inch 2.7 kg6.02 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 lbs360.2 mm / 14.2 inch 234 mm / 9.21 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 1.7 kg3.85 lbs356.7 mm / 14 inch 233.1 mm / 9.18 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 1.7 kg3.66 lbs356 mm / 14 inch 251 mm / 9.88 inch 17.5 mm / 0.689 inch 2 kg4.36 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 lbs
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Sebastian Bade (Update: 2021-09-14)