Notebooks have long since replaced the desktop as work equipment. The guide shows business laptops from 500 to 2000 euros and which equipment is important.
If you use a laptop mainly as a work machine, you need a high-quality and durable device with sufficient performance. Instead of plastic, housings made of metal or other resistant materials are usually used. Processors from Intel or AMD ensure high performance, but powerful graphics cards for games are rarely part of the equipment. Those who travel frequently on business trips also need a device that is as light and compact as possible.
We present various business notebooks and explain which features are important and what they can cost. In the laptop theme world , we show other guides and tests, such as the articles Light and still strong: Compact laptops under 1000 euros and Desktop replacement: What are large laptops up to 17 inches from 350 euros good for?
Display size and design
The optimal size of a laptop depends heavily on user behavior. The standard for devices with the Windows operating system is still 15.6 inches – the all-rounder, so to speak. More compact sizes up to 14 inches are becoming increasingly popular, although we can hardly recommend a device with less than 13.3 inches for work. Computers with a 16-inch display are becoming increasingly common. Large notebooks up to 17.3 inches are considered desktop replacements (guide) .
The larger the laptop, the more comfortable it is to type and you get a lot more display area. Logically, however, the large computers are significantly heavier and larger – apart from a few expensive exceptions. Small notebooks (guides) , on the other hand, have great advantages if you have to transport the device frequently, for example on business trips. These are only slightly larger than a sheet of DIN A4 and rarely weigh more than 1.3 kg. In the long run, however, typing on small models is quite exhausting.
As a design, the classic clamshell shape for opening is common. You don’t necessarily need a touchscreen or a convertible (guide) to work . A business laptop should also be robust and have good workmanship – that’s why the price is often higher than for a simple consumer device. The housing is usually made of aluminum or magnesium alloys. In addition, the shape is flat and the weight is as low as possible.
Equipment: What must a business laptop have?
In order to be able to work sensibly with a laptop, in our opinion an Intel Core i5 (at least tenth generation) or an AMD Ryzen 5 as a processor is part of the basic equipment. Another must-have is at least 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage capacity in the form of an SSD.
If strong performance is important to you, you’d better go for an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 and 16 GB of RAM. And anyone who deals with video editing or animated graphics may need a powerful graphics card and an even more powerful processor, such as a Core i9 or Ryzen 9. This category is also referred to as a creator laptop.
With normal use, however, the usual onboard chips (iGPU) from Intel or AMD are sufficient. A dedicated graphics card is only needed for a gaming notebook (guide) . However, if you also want to gamble with your work device, you should choose a device with a sufficiently strong, integrated Geforce or Radeon chip.
At least two USB-C slots should be available as connections. Ideally, there is at least one USB-A slot, two would be better. When it comes to USB, you should also pay attention to the supported standard. You will not be happy with USB 2, especially if you have to copy large amounts of data from a USB stick, for example.
With more and more laptops – even the high-priced models – the number of available ports is shrinking, which we find very unfavorable. Devices with at least one USB-C and one or two USB-A ports and an HDMI slot for the monitor are recommended (guide) . However, there are now also screens with USB-C (guide) . If in doubt, you can use a USB hub. In the guide USB-C docks, eGPUs, monitors with hub: HDMI, USB & more for laptops & Macbooks we show you everything that is available here .
At least one of the ports should also have DisplayPort. This allows it to be used for an external monitor instead of an HDMI connection. Thunderbolt 4 slots are not yet standard, but recommended. These also work as classic USB-C slots, but offer additional benefits such as higher bandwidth and flexibility with a variety of adapters for monitors and more.
A long battery life is also an important criterion for a business laptop, especially if you don’t have access to a power outlet on the go. Smaller office notebooks up to 14 inches manage up to just under 12 hours here, such as the Honor Magicbook 14 (test report) or Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (test report) . Larger devices with a 16-inch display usually don’t last quite as long. Ideally, the battery life should be sufficient for a working day of around 8 hours.
Other features make life easier for the user, but are not essential. This includes a fingerprint reader to unlock the device. This is faster than using a PIN and also works on the train with a mask.
A touchscreen is not a must for a work notebook, but it does offer some advantages. This allows you to open a specific app faster than using the trackpad or work precisely on Excel spreadsheets or graphics with the pen. In principle, a passive pen works with any capacitive display. It also does not require its own power source. However, it is usually imprecise and therefore not recommended for drawings.
An active pen offers greater precision, but requires a battery that can be charged by cable or induction. Pens with Bluetooth offer further operating options, but these must be compatible with the respective PC model. We explain more on the subject in the guide Tablets with pen: Android, iPad, Windows and alternatives .
What is Intel Evo?
Intel has introduced a specification for powerful, but still as light and mobile laptops as possible. Manufacturers must have their devices certified for this. If the computers meet all the conditions, they can bear the “Intel Evo” label. In principle, this is a seal of quality for laptops and a successor to the “Ultrabook” designation.
The specifications include the categories: instant action, performance and responsiveness, intelligence, battery life, connectivity and form factor. For this purpose, an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 from the 11th generation with Intel X graphics must be used with at least 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD. The housing should also not be thicker than 1.5 cm.
The computer must wake up from sleep in less than 1 second. The battery life should be at least 9 hours with an active WLAN connection and an average screen brightness of 250 nits. Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 4 and Full HD are also mandatory, ideally even with touch. The battery also has to last about 4 hours after a charging time of only 30 minutes.
Business laptops with Windows 11 to 1000 euros
If the budget is rather limited, compromises have to be made. Inexpensive laptops for working start at 500 euros. The cheap models rely more on processors from AMD (guide) instead of Intel and are mostly made of cheap materials. The workmanship is also worse than with expensive models. A clear example of this is the HP 255 G8, which is available with AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD for 449 euros. The CPU is on par with Intel’s Core i5-1135G7 (11th generation). However, the 15.6-inch device is only made of plastic.
Other inexpensive office notebooks include the Dell Inspiron 15, HP 15s, Acer Aspire 5, Lenovo V15, Lenovo Ideapad 5 and Lenovo Thinkbook – located below the well-known Thinkpad. Models with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 are available from around 474 euros. Faster Ryzen 7 CPUs and the first OLED displays, for example in the Asus VivoBook 15, can be found above 500 euros. Metal is increasingly being used in the case.
We tested a few notebooks from 14 to 16 inches, which can be seen as devices for the business sector. Here is a selection from our tests:
Acer Swift 3
The Acer Swift 3 (test report) offers a strong price-performance ratio . We tested the compact 14-inch version, but there is also a larger 16-inch model. The equipment includes a fingerprint sensor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB NVMe SSD, 2x USB-A and 1x Thunderbolt 4 as well as HDMI. The battery life of just under 12 hours was also impressive. It’s pretty light at 1.2 kg. The notebook is available from 599 euros with a Core i5-1135G7. 829 euros are due for the Core i7.
Honor Magic Book 14
The Honor Magicbook 14 (test report) is comparable to the Swift 3 and similarly equipped . It also offers a 14-inch Full HD display, an Intel Core i5-1135G7, a fast 512 GB SSD, 1x USB-C and 2x USB-A, 1x HDMI and a battery life of over 11.5 hours. However, the main memory is only 8 GB of RAM. The Magicbook 14 currently costs 699 euros.
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7
One of the things we liked best was the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (test report) with 14 inches. The design is very chic and the device is well made. The battery lasts a good 12 hours. The variant with LCD-IPS and Core i5 costs 629 euros. There is also a 16-inch variant. The successor was only recently released and even relies on OLED – a test on this will follow soon.
Huawei Matebook 14s
If you need a touch display, you can use the Huawei Matebook 14s (test report) . The LCD has a resolution of 2560 × 1680 pixels and even flickers at 90 Hertz. The Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost technology provides enough power. The RAM is 16 GB. In the test, the battery lasted a good 10 hours. The Matebook 14s starts at 870 euros.
Honor Magic Book 16
Let’s move on to the larger laptops. The Honor Magicbook 16 (test report) is the big brother of the Magicbook 14. Unusual: The 16-inch display with Full HD and 16:9 achieves up to 144 Hertz for smooth image display – which we otherwise only find in gaming monitors ( guide) know. However, the notebook is not suitable for gaming due to the lack of a decent GPU, which is why this feature will probably not be of much use in everyday use. An AMD Ryzen 5 5600 H is used as the drive. The battery lasts about 8 hours. With a price of 973 euros, the Magicbook is not a bargain.
Huawei Matebook 16
The Huawei Matebook 16 (test report) delivers significantly more image sharpness . The 16-inch screen in the 3:2 format, which is rather atypical for the size, has a resolution of 2520 × 1680 pixels and offers excellent image quality. There is also more vertical workspace available, which is an advantage when working with documents. The performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H is top, and the battery lasts around 11 hours. The processing of the metal housing is impeccable. The only catch: The webcam is located in the keyboard and films inconveniently from below into the user’s nose. Huawei is now deviating from this practice – but the device is still from 2021. The price of 800 euros seems fair to us for what is on offer.
Huawei Matebook D16 (2022)
The 2022 version of the Huawei Matebook D16 (test report) is brand new. The 16-incher in 16:10 format does many things better than the predecessor: A numeric keypad is finally used in the keyboard. The webcam is now in the thin frame above the display. The processing is as usual great, the display really great. However, the battery life is to be criticized, which unfortunately should not last a full working day. With a Core i5, the Matebook D16 (2022) costs 899 euros, with a Core i7 it is 1199 euros.
Business laptops with Windows 11 to 2000 euros
Beyond 1000 euros, buyers enter the world of upscale premium laptops. Some OLED displays can already be found in current models. For example with the new Asus Zenbook 14X OLED or the 2022 version of the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Pro. In addition to full HD, the screens in the price range under 2000 euros are increasingly offering resolutions of 2880 × 1800 pixels. The Lenovo ThinkPad P14s G2 even manages UHD. Most of the displays are brighter, making it easier to use on the go or outdoors. The proportion of touchscreens is also increasing.
Compact laptops with diagonals between 13.5 and 14.5 inches are particularly popular in the price range up to 2000 euros. Popular series for office laptops include Dell Latitude and HP Elitebook. 16-inch devices are increasingly displacing the otherwise common 15.6-inch models. Large 17-inch laptops are harder to find, with the exception of the LG Gram 17, which weighs just over 1.3 kg despite its size.
Processors like the Core i5 from Intel can only be found just above 1000 euros. Standard here are powerful CPUs such as the Intel Core i7 of the latest twelfth generation or AMD Ryzen 7. The first devices with the particularly powerful Core i9 or Ryzen 9 are also available from 1250 euros.
Apple Macbook as an alternative to Windows
The Macbook from Apple is becoming more and more popular as a notebook for working. It is not for nothing that the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro are at the top of the most popular notebooks in our price comparison. The good build quality, longevity and the good coordination of software and hardware speak for a laptop from Apple. In everyday life, you rarely have trouble with software problems or support.
A Macbook does not have to be expensive, you can get an Apple Macbook Air with an M1 chip from 2020 for less than 1000 euros. This model is ideal with its small 13.3-inch display and a weight of 1.3 kg, if you are looking for a compact and lightweight device. For the CPU, Apple now relies entirely on the ARM architecture, which is otherwise known from mobile chipsets such as smartphones from Qualcomm. Apple is thus replacing the Intel core chips in Macbooks. But a slightly older Apple Macbook Pro with a Core i5 and 13.3 inches is also available in the three-digit range.
You can get the new Macbook Air with the even more powerful M2 processor and a screen size of 13.6 inches from just under 1300 euros. The 2020 Macbook Pro with M1 and 13.3 inches is available from around 1200 euros. The 14.2-inch MacBook Pro from 2021 costs around 1800 euros. For a 16-inch version, you’re already scratching the 2000 euro mark.
In principle, a business laptop is an all-rounder for productive activities in the home office or office. Solid and robust workmanship, strong processors and a good battery life are important here. Graphics chips are rather negligible. You can get a good laptop for office and more with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 for just under 500 euros. However, if you prefer a slimmer and more elegant metal case, you have to spend at least 600 euros.
Beyond 1000 euros there are almost only Core i7 and Ryzen 7 and even the first 9 models of the respective chip series. The resolution also increases with the price, and OLED technology has been used since this year. Before you buy, you should clarify how often you use the device. Compact notebooks up to 14 inches are ideal for frequent travelers. However, models with 15.6 to 16 inches are more suitable for long periods of work without an external monitor or keyboard. However, these then also weigh around a third more and require larger laptop bags for transport.
Our insider tip for a compact work laptop is the Acer Swift 3 (review) . Among the larger models, we can recommend the Huawei Matebook 16 (test report) and the new Huawei Matebook D16 (test report) . We show other devices in the guides Light and yet strong: Compact laptops under 1000 euros and desktop replacements: What are large laptops up to 17 inches from 350 euros good for? If you like to gamble, you can use gaming laptops: gaming fun for at home and on the go from 666 euros .