The best multimedia notebook is currently the Acer Aspire 5 . It convinces with current, powerful technology and is even suitable for gaming. It also scores with a high quality and compact design. The whole is available for a reasonable price of around 597.00 dollars.
A multimedia notebook is the right choice for you if you have different requirements for your notebook: play and edit multimedia content, use your office applications productively, surf the Internet quickly and smoothly, and even have gaming in considerable detail – all for one a reasonable price. Multimedia notebooks are therefore real all-rounders that remain priced within the frame.
We fought our way through the gigantic range of multimedia laptops and looked at the most interesting models for you.
Compared to more expensive top models but you can not expect that they do everything perfectly. Above all, those who prefer to be smaller, thinner and lighter must be prepared to spend more money on similar services. Our recommendations can be found in our report »The best laptop« . And for special applications like playing complex PC games there are special gaming notebooks for which we also have recommendations .
Short overview: Our recommendations
The Acer Aspire 5 meets all the requirements of a modern multimedia notebook. It delivers enough power for all common applications and is equally suitable as an office machine, creative workstation and gaming fun.
The viewing angle stable IPS display offers high brightness and good contrast values. In combination with the matte screen, you can also work well with the notebook outdoors or on the move. Apart from extremely demanding gaming, the performance of the all-rounder should easily be enough for the next few years, especially since the laptop can be easily upgraded, which in turn opens up room for additional power reserves.
Also from Acer comes a cheaper alternative. The Acer Swift 3 currently costs about 800 dollars significantly less than its big brother, but brings a cutting-edge APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) from AMD: The notebook is equipped with the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U, which is not only great at multitasking offers. Even the integrated graphics solution in the form of the Radeon RX Vega 8 is not bad. In direct comparison with our favorite, the graphics performance is a bit lower, but you also have to accept shorter battery life and a slightly too dark screen.
In the same price range lies the Asus Vivobook 15 . The built-in quad-core processor of Intel’s eighth core generation offers high performance, plus a dedicated graphics solution from Nvidia. For the productive everyday life, there are enough power reserves available, even if they are a little tighter than in the two previous models. And unfortunately, the Vivobook 15 offers only a relatively lame hard drive (HDD) as a system memory and the battery life is quite short.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7570 is not entirely unlike our favorite, and we’re not just talking about the price of just under 1,100 dollars: this device also offers an Intel Core CPU, a dedicated Nvidia graphics and an SSD and HDD – but the components are by one performance level lower than our favorite. Nevertheless, the Dell notebook can also assert itself well in everyday life. But above all, it is much thinner and lighter than our favorite and thus undoubtedly fancier. The spongy keys, the reflective display and the low battery runtime, however, slightly cloud the positive overall picture.
What does a multimedia notebook need?
A good multimedia notebook is a real all-rounder for us with good performance for most requirements – and should not cost more than 1,100 dollars at the same time.
In this price range, current Intel CPUs have provided enough computing power since the Skylake generation released in 2015 to handle all typical applications such as image editing, playing full HD videos, working in the office and surfing the Internet without any problem. Even many current games can put them in considerable (ie middle) details fluidly scene.
But we do not expect high-end gaming in this price range. If you want to play current games in the highest details, you still have to invest considerably more money.
At least 8 gigabytes of RAM are useful
But even with a good multimedia notebook, we attach great importance to a graphics card that copes easily with most independent titles and brings a number of top games smoothly on the screen. In addition, multimedia applications such as the popular photo editing software Adobe Photoshop or the video editor Magix Vegas benefit from the power of the graphics processors and can work faster. If you need even more power, you should look for a fully fledged gaming notebook .
For good multimedia performance should also be at least eight gigabytes of RAM as well as a sharp Full HD display on board. Except for our favorite, there are always 15.6-inch notebooks, as there is the widest range in this class.
Smaller and therefore more mobile devices often lack graphics performance. The same goes for 2-in-1 convertibles that combine laptops and tablets. The focus here is therefore on classic all-round notebooks with decent multimedia capabilities for a good price.
Our favorite: Acer Aspire 5 A517-51G-80L
Our current recommendation is the Acer Aspire 5 in the cryptic configuration A517-51G-80L. It offers very good system performance for multimedia and gaming applications, scores with impeccable workmanship, a large, color-intensive IPS display and practical battery life.
Acer Aspire 5
The 17.3-inch Full HD display brings games and movies to good effect and a fast Intel Core i7 CPU in conjunction with the eight-gigabyte DDR4 memory for consistently good multitasking performance. Thanks to the built-in Nvidia Geforce MX150, the Acer all-rounder can also be described as suitable for gaming.
Sure, with around 1100 dollars, the Acer Aspire 5 is not exactly a bargain. But also Windows 10 Home in 64-bit version is already installed on the rather large SSD. In addition, there is also a terabyte HDD ready to record larger data collections and programs.
Fast and gaming-capable
At the heart of the Acer Aspire 5 is the Intel Core i7-8550U, which is clocked at up to 4.0 gigahertz. The quad-core is based on Intel’s Kaby Lake architecture and offers more than adequate performance for everyday Windows use. Incidentally, the U in the product name distinguishes the CPU as being particularly energy-efficient.
Neither in office mode, nor while surfing or working in programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom, the performance of the Aspire 5 is noticeably on its knees. The RAM equipment with eight gigabytes of capacity for all common applications is absolutely sufficient.
Not suitable for games with high graphic requirements
If you want to pass the time occasionally with a good game, for the Acer Aspire 5 is also a good choice. The notebook offers in the form of an Nvidia Geforce MX150 a still veritable graphics card.
This is mainly due to the fact that Acer provides the graphics chip with a two-gigabyte GDDR5 memory. In practice, the Acer notebook brings many games from recent years smoothly with medium to high details in Full HD on the screen.
Only newer graphics freaks such as Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus or Assassin’s Creed Origins need some downsizing details to get a smooth frame rate. For this price, the gaming capabilities of the Acer notebook are absolutely competitive.
Thanks to fast Wi-Fi ac also high-resolution streams come smoothly on the Full HD display. Alternatively, it goes with the normal size LAN connection also wired to the Internet. In combination with the stereo speakers, the Acer notebook is therefore also usable as a Netflix machine. However, we still recommend the use of headphones, as the sound from the speakers is only mediocre. If you do not want to stream, you can of course also play movies from the integrated DVD burner.
Processing and equipment
Acer packs the 17.3-inch notebook into a clean-cut chassis. Although the manufacturer primarily uses plastic instead of high-grade aluminum, the device weighing around 2.8 kilograms still feels valuable. Above all, the stable, aluminum-reinforced keyboard plate pleases and lets hope for long-term reliability. It’s just a pity that fingerprints clearly appear on the surfaces of the notebook. A cleaning cloth should therefore ideally always with in the luggage.
The screen is one of the highlights of the Acer Aspire 5: not only is it larger than most other models, it also boasts an IPS panel with stable viewing angles, good color fidelity, and high contrast levels. In addition, the display surface is anti-reflective and, together with the high brightness, allows easy outdoor work.
The case houses an optical drive in the form of a DVD burner and a range of connectors, including a future-proof USB-C port. There is also an SD memory card reader, a 3.5-millimeter jack and HDMI. For the USB ports, the manufacturer only uses a regular (Type-A) USB 3.0 port, complemented by two outdated USB 2.0 ports. They serve their purpose, but sometimes transfer data slower than the newer standard.
In the model variant recommended by us, the A517-51G-80L, the notebook comes with a 256 GB M.2 SSD from Micron, to which the manufacturer has also installed the operating system. The flash memory allows fast work thanks to short loading times. In addition, the device is equipped with a terabyte-sized, classic hard drive (HDD). This provides decent, if not superior, read and write speeds in the range of almost 100 megabytes per second.
With two maintenance covers, buyers of the Acer notebook can either swap the built-in, 2.5-inch HDD for an SSD of the same size or change the main memory. The latter is measured only on a single module, which is why the RAM runs in a slightly slower single-channel mode. It would have been better to obstruct four gigabytes twice, since the thus usable dual-channel mode doubles the data transmission per clock. In practice, however, this does not often have a negative impact.
In terms of battery life we can also issue the Acer Apsire 5 a good certificate. Although the advertised seven hours can only be achieved under optimal laboratory conditions, in office and weaving operations, working hours of a good six hours are possible depending on the brightness – a good value in this performance class.
For the necessary cooling of the hardware, a single fan is used, which is hardly heard at low load. Under load, it turns audible, but that’s the case with almost all notebooks with fans. Namely, more important is how effective the cooling works: The Aspire 5, the CPU and GPU heat up to 90 and 85 degrees Celsius, but there is still no Downclocking of the components instead (so-called thermal throttling). The performance of the notebook is thus stable at any time under load.
Thus, the multimedia notebook is well suited as a classic office machine, which is anything but a matter of course in the device class. The touchpad also convinces in the practical test. The mouse operation is good by the hand, under Windows 10, the new multi-touch gestures are also cleanly supported.
The Acer Aspire 5 is an almost all-round successful multimedia all-rounder, which hardly has to put up with criticism. But he still has some weaknesses. Thus, among other things, the pressure point of the full-size keyboard (including number pad) is quite spongy, on a backlight of the keys you have to do without.
We also lack a future-proof Thunderbolt 3 connection, which not only enables lightning fast data transmissions, but also could transmit video signals or take over the power supply or the battery charging. A separate power connection would not have been necessary and you would have had space to obstruct other interfaces, such as (mini) display port or more USB jacks.
As some disturbing some users are likely to feel the load quite loud fan; but at low load this is hardly heard. For gamers, however, the built-in graphics card could turn out to be a buying barrier: The gaming performance of the Geforce 150MX is, as already mentioned, neat and definitely sufficient for productive and creative everyday life. However, the Acer notebook does not offer too many reserves for future top games. Anyone planning to gamble on future games should look for a notebook with at least a Geforce GTX 1060 or higher.
Acer Aspire 5 A517-51G-80L in the test mirror
The notebook experts from Notebookcheck (10/2017) thoroughly tested the Acer Aspire 5 A517-51G-80L thoroughly. Tester Sebastian Bade is particularly impressed by the performance of the Acer notebook:
»The Acer Aspire 5 A517-51G is a multimedia notebook that is well-suited to everyday work. With the introduction of the 8th generation of the Intel Core series, the processor performance could be significantly increased. The Intel Core i7-8550U has enough power reserves to not belong to the old iron in the near future. […] In addition, the Acer Aspire 5 A517-51G with the Nvidia GeForce MX150 offers an entry-level graphics card that can play many games well. «
The remaining equipment is clearly highlighted. Here it says:
»The 8 GB DDR4 RAM is sufficient for most purposes, although upgrading to a maximum of 20 GB is no problem. The combination of SSD and HDD also ensures a fluid system. «
Praising words are also available for the screen:
»The IPS display rounds off the relatively good overall package and above all convinces with its high luminosity.«
However, the Aspire 5 must also be criticized. They are available for the input devices and the power supply:
»Somewhat under-dimensioned one could describe the achievement of the power supply, because a discharge of the accumulator with full load should not happen. Similarly, the input devices leave an ambiguous impression. The touchpad, on the other hand, does a good job, although the typing comfort of the keyboard suffers a bit. «
Notebookcheck rated the Acer Aspire 5 with a good overall rating of 85 percent.
Also the English magazine Laptopmedia (11/2017) had the Acer Aspire 5 in the same equipment in the test. The testers have clear words for the notebook:
»The best 17.3-inch multimedia laptop in its class. Point. There may be a few inconsistencies here and there-we’re talking about the too-flexible interior, the lid, and the hiccupy touchpad-but it does offer an exceptional multimedia experience and fairly powerful hardware at the price you ask.«
So the device can inspire not only with the performance, but also with the display:
»The Core i7-8550U (or the Core i5-8250U, if you choose the basic model), together with the Geforce MX150, form a good team for lightweight gaming, especially in competitive gaming. Do not expect high frame rates at higher resolutions. «
“Speaking of resolution: Let’s not forget to mention the surprisingly good screen of the Aspire 5 (17 inches). Laptops in the same segment tend to integrate either a TN panel or a budget IPS panel, but this time Acer used a high-end LG panel that is also used on the Lenovo Legion Y920, which costs twice as much . “
Overall, the Acer notebook gets a clear buy recommendation and the award “Editor’s Choice”.
The market for multimedia notebooks is quite large. We have picked four exciting alternatives to our favorite for you.
The Acer Swift 3 costs but with about 800 dollars much less than its big brother. Nevertheless, its features a small highlight, because as a processor, the Swift 3 has a brand new chip called AMD Ryzen 5 2500U. It is a so-called APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), which combines four CPU cores with eight high-performance graphics cores (Graphics Compute Units) of the type Radeon RX Vega 8 in one chip.
This allows high performance in multithreading, so when calculations are distributed to multiple CPU cores – even the CPU in our favorite, the Intel Core i7-8550U, has no chance. The powerful Radeon graphics leave just about all Intel Graphics HD models behind, even entry-level notebook graphics chips like the Nvidia Geforce 940MX have to be beaten. As good as a Nvidia Geforce MX150 is Vega 8 but not – for example, the former is in our favorites. Despite the good performance, the APU remains comparatively cool even under load.
Thanks to its metal casing and clean workmanship, the Acer Swift 3 is even more noble than our favorite. The ports are the same as the Acer Aspire 5, so Tunderbolt 3 is not on board. In addition, the manufacturer donated the Swift 3 but a keyboard illumination and a fingerprint sensor, which allows secure logins. The notebook can also be easily screwed on, but you can only retrofit another M.2 plug-in card or clean the interior. The RAM is fixed and does not allow any changes, but works in a brisker dual-channel mode.
Unfortunately, we find that the battery life is quite meager (a good five hours in Wi-Fi surfing) and that the IPS display is too dark and the color reproduction is only mediocre. In addition, the mirrored surface reflects bright light, which is why the Swift 3 isonly partially suitable for outdoor use. In addition, it is relatively heavy for a 15.6-inch notebook with 2.6 kilograms. Those who can get over these negative points and, for example, work a lot with external monitors, will receive a powerful notebook for a great price.
A likewise good cheaper variant is the Asus Vivobook 15 for currently around 862 dollars. Although the case is made entirely of plastic, but still looks quite noble. The screwing of the housing is not possible without loss of warranty – too bad! As a processor, the current quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U is used, which operates at clock rates of 1.6 to 3.4 gigahertz. The performance is potent enough for everyday life. At the side of the CPU is a single, eight-gigabyte DDR4 memory module, which works “only” in single-channel mode.
In the graphics Asus relies on the Nvidia Geforce 940MX, which may have its own, two gigabytes of GDDR5 memory. Current titles can only be played smoothly in low graphics settings, but older games can be played smoothly in high details. In multimedia processes, however, the graphics solution can be a good support if hardware acceleration is supported. The full HD display also has a viewing angle stable IPS panel, but it turns out to be a bit too dark. That’s why the Vivobook 15 is only partially suitable for use in sunny outdoor areas, despite the fact that it has an anti-reflective surface.
Above all, we have to complain about the strong heat development of the CPU, which also causes a thermal throttling and thus a loss of performance. In addition, the fans at full capacity strong and sometimes disturbing noise. We also miss the spongy pressure point of the keyboard and the low battery life of only four instead of the promised eight hours. Last but not least, the notebook offers a lot of space, but only in the form of a relatively lame HDD with a terabyte of memory – an SSD is not available, which is noticeable in daily operation.
However, if you provide good cooling, for example in the form of active cooling pads with fans and the notebook mainly uses a separate screen, you can make a good purchase with the Asus Vivobook 15 .
Dell Inspiron 15 7570
The Dell Inspiron 15 7570 is quite similar in terms of features to the Asus Vivobook 15: Again, the same, high-performance Core i5 CPU is used and the same graphics solution Nvidia Geforce 940MX. The latter, however, is available twice the amount of graphics memory, which allows a slightly higher gaming performance. It’s still not enough for high-end gaming with maximum details, but you’ll definitely survive the daily routine with the Dell notebook.
For the temperatures of the CPU, the Inspiron is better – at least for the first time. Because even though only 80 degrees Celsius are measured, the processor refuses to switch to higher boost clock rates. This is a manufacturer’s precaution to not only extend the life of the chip, but also to prevent further temperature rise. The fans turn up clearly audible.
The Full HD display works again with an IPS panel, which scores above all with high viewing angle stability. But the brightness is quite high and the contrast levels are strong. Unfortunately, the screen is mirrored and so there may be reflections that may affect the use. The pressure points of the keyboard are again quite spongy and the one or the other user should be here a little crisp feedback. The switchable backlighting of the buttons also allows typing in low light conditions.
The division of the memory is exemplary: on the 128 gigabyte SSD Windows 10 is installed, the hard disk with a terabyte of memory serves as a data grave. The case also deserves recognition: It is made entirely of aluminum and therefore looks high-quality and robust. In addition, the Dell Inspiron 15 7570 with a thickness of only 1.5 centimeters is very thin. Criticism, however, is mainly for the low battery life: After just over three hours of Wi-Fi surfing is already over with the trip to the World Wide Web.
Nevertheless, the Dell Inspiron 15 7570 offers great performance and can score with a fairly high-quality feel and a slim format. Only inclined buyers should take a not-too-durable battery in purchase, which is however difficult to be tolerated in such a mobile device.
What else is there?
The HP Pavilion 15 is similar to our favorite, but if you take a closer look, you’ll notice the differences. It comes, for example, the same, powerful Core i7 CPU from Intel used, only performs in terms of graphics calculation, the weaker Nvidia Geforce 940MX their services. Furthermore, you can fall back on only 256 GB of storage, which is after all a fleet SSD. Probably the biggest weakness of this device is the viewing angle unstable, pale and a bit too dark screen with TN panel.
The Acer Aspire F15 F5 573g 53v1 was our favorite at the time – but technical progress banishes this device to the rear. So we are already a whopping two generations with the processor, which is why this model offers less power, but consumes more power. Even the graphics card in the form of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M with four gigabytes of VRAM is no longer the newest but with the entry-level solutions, they can barely keep up. Overall, the performance is still sufficient for everyday life. But even then we criticized the somewhat too dark display with TN panel and the fact that the device is equipped only with an HDD and on top of that is still delivered without an operating system. A real alternative to our new recommendations is the Acer Aspire F15 not.
Lenovo ThinkPad E570
Compared to the Acer Aspire F15, the Lenovo ThinkPad E570 scores above all with a factory-installed SSD and the slightly newer CPU generation Intel Core i5 7200U – that’s why the low price, since we are already in the eighth core generation. Like the Acer Aspire F15 Lenovo also uses a GeForce GTX 950M. However, the ThinkPad has to be content with half the graphics memory compared to the Acer. This leads to an even worse game performance. But the device is well-made, offers a relatively long battery life and still good everyday performance. But it is above all the low price of just under 805 dollars that makes the Lenovo notebook attractive.