Low pain threshold: For most customers, a notebook must not cost more than 600 euros. That there are anything but lame cucumbers, the test of eight current notebooks shows. That the manufacturers make compromises on the equipment, but also.
Notebooks for 600 euros in the test
The 600-euro price range is increasingly populated by smaller models – larger, chunkier 17-inch models are now rare. Even the 15-inch notebooks, which romped in this price category so far, are in the current comparison test just in the minority: Only three candidates ( Acer Aspire 5 , Fujitsu Lifebook A555 and Toshiba Satellite Pro A50 ) have this size. Instead, smaller and lighter notebooks are pushing. The test included the two 13-inch Medion Akoya S3409 and Toshiba Satellite Pro A30 . In addition came the two 14-inch convertibles Asus Vivobook Flip and Lenovo Yoga 510, Both models allow the display to flip 180 degrees backwards, turning them into fairly large but heavy Windows 10 tablets. In addition, the only 10-inch convertible Asus Transformer Mini T103HA with its detachable display participated in this test.
For 600 euros, the customers expect decent, but not noble notebooks: All test candidates have plastic housing; The budget is not enough for a chic full aluminum housing. For the individual components, the manufacturers try to save money – in different ways. For example, Toshiba and Fujitsu use the red pen for memory and display. The Vivobook Flip in turn has a very cheap, but low-performance processor and memory as an eMMC. Such ” e mBedded M ulti m edia C ard” is basically an affordable, fixed-SD memory card, faster than a conventional hard disk drive, but noticeably slower than a SSD ( S olidS tate D rive).
Notebooks from 10 to 15 inches in the test
There are four sizes in the test: 10, 13, 14, 15 inches. The 10-inch Asus Transformer Mini is comfortably light at 865 grams, but its tiny screen is only partially suitable for longer work. With the 13- and 14-inch devices, the size difference is barely noticeable in practice, the differences are small – but this size is the ideal compromise for mobile and stationary use. Shortcoming: With the 13 incher Medion Akoya S3409, the keys are a bit smaller and require frequent users to change something. However, those who rarely carry their notebook through the area and use it more as a desktop PC replacement, resort to a 15-inch notebook. Main advantage of the larger case: they are wide enough for a numeric keypad next to the keyboard – and deep enough for larger touchpads or touchpads with extra keys.
Notebook Weight: Smaller is lighter
Decisive for the notebook weight is the display size and thus the housing size: The screen itself (beside the battery) is already one of the heaviest components in the notebook – and the bigger the display, the bigger the case, the more weight. If you’re looking for a particularly light notebook, take the aforementioned 10-inch Asus Transformer Mini or a 13-inch model: The Medion Akoya S3409 weighs 1,301 grams and the Toshiba Satellite Pro A30 1,435 grams. Of the other test candidates, only the 14-inch convertible Asus Vivobook Flip (1,471 grams) is similarly lightweight. The Convertible Lenovo Yoga 510 has a more complex joint construction and therefore weighs about 200 grams more. The 15-inch notebooks are generally heavier. The lightest, the Acer Aspire 5, weighs 2,053 grams.
Great tempo differences
For typical office tasks such as writing texts or calculating in tables, all test candidates are fast enough, but at the latest with larger Excel spreadsheets, tempo differences are noticeable. Aspire 5 and Medion depend on the competition with their speed of work: they are about three times faster than the slowest models Lifebook A555 and Satellite Pro A30. It is made possible by the combination of a fast processor (Intel Core i5-7200U), enough RAM (8 GB) and fast SSD. The Satellite Pro A30 shows how much a hard drive in the notebook slows down: Office programs are really lame; only when video editing demands the processor more, it is noticeably faster. On the other hand, how much speed boost an SSD brings is shown by the larger sister model A50:
Noise: Silent notebooks
In the meantime, noise-sensitive users will also find suitable specimens in the 600 Euro class: the Vivobook Flip works fan-less and thus silently. Very quiet in normal operation are the Aspire 5 with 0.1 sone and the Satellite A50 with 0.3 sone. The remaining test candidates are somewhat louder with 0.5 to 0.6 sone. The fans in the Fujitsu unfortunately make more noise than necessary: With 1.3 sons in normal operation, they annoy in a quiet environment, at full load they are really loud with 3.5 sone.
Gear up? This does not always work!
The slightly larger case of cheaper notebooks actually provide enough room to upgrade, but not all manufacturers use the possibilities. Thus, the Aspire 5 can only expand the memory. The notebook has a hard drive bay, but unfortunately the connector is missing – so the shaft is not usable. The Fujitsu Lifebook A555 offers the most options: thanks to maintenance covers, the main memory and hard disk can be easily upgraded. This also works with the notebooks from Acer, Medion and Toshiba – but much more cumbersome, since often the entire notebook underbody can be removed. There are no upgrade options for the Asus and Lenovo convertibles.
Saved on display and keyboard
Only one test candidate convinces with a good display: The Medion Akoya S3409 has a Full HD screen (1920×1080 pixels) that hardly reflects and reproduces colors exactly. Similarly sharp are only the Asus Flip and and the Lenovo – but both show a little pale colors and, as usual with touchscreen models, mirror strongly. The Asus Transformer Mini offers the lowest resolution with 1280×800 pixels, the remaining four displays work with 1366×768 pixels and are also dependent on the viewing angle – if you look at the screen at a slight angle, you will see a flatter image. The manufacturers like to save on the input devices, especially on the mechanics of the keyboard. In this test, only one candidate, the Fujitsu Lifebook A555, had a good keyboard. Good touchpads, on the other hand, are standard, the best is the Yoga 510.
Games? Only manages a notebook!
Six test candidates leave the graphic calculations of the graphics unit in the processor. To work, the completely enough, for graphically complex games but in no way. Only the Acer Aspire 5 is reasonably suitable for gaming: The additional GeForce 940MX graphics chip calculates an average of 35 frames per second for direct X-11 games when the notebook display represents the games. But the power is not enough for an external monitor with higher resolution or particularly complex Direct-X-12 games.
Battery life: quite persistent
You need a lot of battery life? They offer just four test candidates: The two Toshiba models make about six hours on a single charge, the Acer Aspire 5 and the Asus Transformer Mini even more than seven hours while watching video. The thickest battery (49 watt-hours) is in the Fujitsu Lifebook A555, which lasts up to five and a half hours. The notebooks Asus Vivobook Flip, Lenovo Yoga 510 and Medion S3409 do not quite keep up, with three to four hours almost always in it. Batteries for replacement are increasingly rare: In addition to the two satellite models from Toshiba, only the Fujitsu Lifebook A555 has a replaceable battery.
Notebooks for 600 euros: test conclusion
Double victory in the 600-euro class: The 13-inch notebook Medion Akoya S3409 scores with high speed of work, good Full HD display and low weight. The 15-inch notebook Acer Aspire 5 is fast enough while working and thanks to extra graphics chip for games fast enough. The Aspire is a little heavier as a 15-inch model, but very enduring: almost seven and a half hours are in it.