Looking for a budget mobile workstation that won’t take more than $700 from your pocket? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we would provide you with a list of mobile workstations that are under $700 and still deliver promising performance.
1. HP ZBook G3 17
The HP ZBook Studio G3 is a fantastic workstation with plenty of power and a stylish design that won’t weigh you down. You won’t have to worry about this workstation’s performance because the manufacturer has placed a strong emphasis on performance rather than the thinnest possible build. The most powerful components are now available for the workstation devices to support this orientation.
However, because HP offers a wide range of components, the ZBook 17 G3 also impresses with custom setups. The ZBook 17 G3’s handling is incredibly responsive, and there are virtually no wait times, thanks to the speedy components.
As previously stated, the laptop can be configured -with up to four storage devices. For the most demanding users, this 15.6-inch, the 6-pound notebook has plenty of power and portability, but there are many who wish the display was brighter.
Unfortunately, the screen on the ZBook Studio G3 only produced 252 nits of brightness, which is lower than the ThinkPad P70 (277 nits), and Precision 5510 (322 nits), and MacBook Pro (303 nits), according to notebookcheck.net. The HP ZBook Studio G3 is one of the quickest laptops, with an Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.
You can comfortably switch between a race in Asphalt 8, a dozen Chrome tabs, and simultaneous audio and HD video streams, you won’t experience any lag. On 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, a synthetic graphics test, the ZBook Studio G3’s 4GB NVidia Quadro-M1000M GPU got a strong 117,745. That score is significantly higher than the average for the desktop replacement category. Although that much performance comes at a price, and that is the 5-hour battery life which would not compare with some of the likes of the ThinkPad P70, and Precision 5510.
2. Dell Latitude 7390
The Dell Latitude 7390’s matte touch-screen display, with its low bezels and vibrant colors, is the first thing you’ll notice. Its lengthy battery life and quick performance will also impress you. The computer’s keyboard and speakers are both subpar, the rest of the design is noticeably outdated, and the fans occasionally spin up for no apparent reason. You’ll be rewarded with a strong, long-lasting business laptop if you can accept these drawbacks. The Latitude’s 13.3-inch, 1080p touch screen is bright, but some others are brighter. It’s not as bright as other competitors at 286 nits. It is however above the average display brightness of 284 nits.
The Latitude is capable of multitasking because of its Intel Core i7-8650 processor, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, and 8GB of RAM. According to a stress test carried out by laptop mag, the latitude 7390 can hold 20 Google Chrome tabs, including one that was streaming a 1080p footage from Late Night with Conan O’Brien on YouTube.
In a performance test carried out by notebookcheck.net, Latitude received a score of 13,990 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, greatly exceeding the premium-laptop average (9,460). The battery life of the Latitude is one of its strongest features. On the Laptop Mag Battery Test 2.0, which repeats browsing locally hosted websites at 150 nits of brightness, it lasted 10 hours and 23 minutes.
3. HP ZBook G3 15
The ZBooks deviated from the preceding EliteBooks’ blocky design, and while it still seems robust and industrial, the top cover/screen is thinner without appearing weak, and the rounded lower gives it a sleeker appearance. The top cover has a smoother texture and a better feel than the G2 models’ rubbery top edge. Overall, it’s a far more convenient laptop for mobile users. The workstation laptop comes with either an Intel Core i7 or Xeon E3 (Skylake 14nm) processor.
Both processors have four cores and eight threads, however, the Xeon has a higher clock speed and cache size. The Corei7 has a clock speed of 2.60GHz with 6MB while the Xeon processor comes with a higher clock speed of 2.80GHz and an 8MB cache. On a benchmark test (via notebookcheck.net), the device consistently got 100 FPS (@800600) and 42 FPS (@19201080) with the Xeon with all cores pegged out.
Mobile Workstations have a reputation for having poor battery life, however, that has changed significantly. This is the only high-capacity laptop that one may not feel the need to use without plugging it in or having fast access to a power outlet. You’ve probably come across the HP ZBook range if you’re looking for a transportable workstation that doesn’t require overdeveloped lower back muscles to carry around.
The ZBook 17 G3 is a powerful machine that straddles the line in terms of mobility, but its 15 G3 younger brother makes up for it with a lighter weight and all the capabilities professionals require. The layout is fantastic. The Zbook 15 G3 is equipped with the latest CPU and GPU, as well as lots of memory expansion space and the new Thunderbolt connector, making it ready for the long haul and the next generation of high-speed storage devices.
4. Dell Precision 3530
The Dell Precision 3530 is a mobile workstation that comes in a variety of configurations to fit any budget. At the time of its release, the device’s cost ranged from as low as $950 to as much as $6,100. There is a computer processing unit for almost any need, ranging from a Core i5 quad-core 2.5GHz to the Intel Xeon 6-cores 2.7GHz.
That means if you want the best performance, you’d get the Intel Xeon 2.7GHz 6 core CPU, NVidia Quadro P600 graphics card, and 32 gigabytes of RAM. When you add in the M.2 512GB PCIe NVMe Class 50 Solid State Drive, you get lightning-fast performance without the hefty price tag. Dell bundled enough power into the device -even at the median price, you would be able to edit a 4K video on the fly while avoiding high-priced choices like a 4K panel and a pricey GPU.
The 3530 isn’t a tiny computer, but it’s also not a colossal one. It’s 1.23 pounds heavier than the Apple MacBook Pro, but the MacBook Pro is the gold standard for tiny and powerful devices, and its pricing reflects that. The Dell is roughly twice as thick as the MacBook Pro, and despite the fact that the screens are the same size, the Dell has a wider bezel, making it larger overall.
5. Dell Latitude 5480
The 14-inch Latitude 5480, like many business laptops, starts off inexpensively ($769) with extremely basic and low-end hardware, such as a Core i3-7100U dual-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB spinning hard disk drive (HDD). Up to a quad-core Core i7-7820HQ CPU, 16GB DDR4 2400 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 930MX, PCIe NVMe SSD, Full HD touch display, and an LTE modem are available, with prices starting at more than $2,200(during its time of release).
While there are many features to choose from, the options are designed to meet the needs and budgets of corporate IT departments purchasing the Latitude 5480 in bulk. The Dell Latitude 5480 is reminiscent of a time when laptops were thicker and more durable.
The matte in-plane switching (IPS) 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) display is quite impressive. The writing is clear and simple to read, especially at this screen size, thanks to the anti-glare design. The brightness is around 300 nits, which is plenty bright enough for indoor use. However, it will struggle in the open air. Nonetheless, when to compared to glossy screens, the matte display helps a little. The Latitude 5480 is available with a variety of battery types and capacities (all non-removable), including 42 WHr, 51 WHr, and 68 WHr.
Even with its quad-core i7 processor, the Latitude 5480 has great battery life. The device features a 7th generation quad-core Intel i7 processor. It sits on the “Kaby Lake” architecture- 7820HQ which signifies that the computer was built for performance. With a Clock speed of 2.96GHz, it can be turbo-boosted to 3.9GHz, making the device one of the fastest amongst its competitors.
6. Dell Precision M6600
The Precision M6600 is one very heavy device and one that wasn’t built with beauty in mind. The device like many other workstations are offer many options for customization or configurations. The device’s components sit inside a magnesium chassis casing which has a slate-grey fill to it. The screen is 17.3 inches and features a LED-backlit Ultra sharp display with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080pixels. The display also has the anti-glare feature which aids the display visibility under light conditions and enhances viewing angles.
I have already mentioned that the configuration of the system is highly configurable. The starter version of the system comes with a quad-core Intel Core i7-2929XM, which can take up to 32GB of RAM (comes with 2x 4GB RAM), and runs at a clock speed of 2.5GHz. The Graphics processor is also very good, that is, the NVidia’s Quadro 4000M with 2GB of dedicated memory(VRAM) alongside Intel’s HD Graphics 3000. The precision M6600 was considered the best during its time and is still a high-end workstation.
Storage is also not a problem, and nothing is unique about this particular device, it can use an SSD or an HDD or even both provided the SATA PCIe connection is up and running. You’d have to sacrifice the optical disk drive though.
7. Dell Precision M2800
The Precision M2800 is another impressive mobile workstation although would soon become an old legend. It is a younger sibling of the M6600 and is much older than the M6600, meaning there is a wide gap between the performance spec of both. The Precision M2800 isn’t your move-around laptop like the name implies. This is because the system is a heavy one, and most people wouldn’t feel comfortable moving it around. It weighs around 2.56kg and features a screen of 15.6-inch screen which supports Full- HD resolution of 1,920 by 1080 pixels.
The display could also be configured to the 1, 366 by 768 HD option which is cheaper. The processor configuration also features different quality processors, for example, the device at the time of production featured the Intel quad-core Core i7 4810MQ processor. It can also feature the Core i5 processor if you don’t need that much power. The Core i7 processor could feature take as much as 32Gigs of RAM but comes with 8GB installed. For the Core i7-4810MQ, the speed could go from 2.8(base frequency) to 3.8(turbo boost).
8. HP EliteBook 8570w
The HP EliteBook 8570w is another workstation that seats on the heavy and visibly large side of mobile workstations. The screen features a 17.3-inch display, You’d find that the age of the device correlates with the quality of the display so you shouldn’t be expecting to have the best displays on the market.
Now let’s see what this beast is made of. On the performance side, the EliteBook features an Intel Core i7- 3840QM which is still on the low-grade side in terms of generation. Don’t underestimate this beast though. The processor runs at 2.6GHz at base clock speed but can be turbo boosted to go up to 3.6GHz when on the quad-core processor or 3.4 on the dual-core processor. Speaking of dual-core processors, you can also install a Corei5 processor should you still want to cut your budget. One drawback of the system though is the incapable cooling system; the Fan cannot handle the amount of heat generated by the beast.
Like other workstations that feature the Corei7 laptop processor, the Elitebook 8570w can be equipped with RAM of up to 32GB. The mSATA bay Is also available should you want to add an additional SSD to compensate for the 750GB HDD that comes with the system. The mSATA bay is however an old model so you won’t get much expansion.
On the Graphic display side, the device is usually powered by an AMD FirePro M4000 which comes with 1GB of VRAM. This configuration is equivalent to the Radeon HD 7750 desktop graphic processor. However, if the performance isn’t enough for you then you could upgrade. That’s what makes this such a lovely system.
9. Dell Latitude 3340
The Latitude 3340 is best suited for folks who really want to cut down their budgets. The laptop is located within Dell’s Business area, and because of its on-site service and operating system options, the Latitude 3340 may appeal to some business users looking for a low-cost laptop for office work. It’s hardly the most stylish laptop we’ve seen. The bulky plastic bezel that wraps around the 13.3-inch screen, as well as the dark-grey plastic casing, look dated. The laptop is also 34 mm thick along the back edge, so it’s no Ultrabook, albeit, at 1.8 kg, it’s light enough to take around in a backpack. Because the keys feature a strong, robust spring action, the Latitude 3340 should be able to withstand heavy strokes.
The screen of the Latitude 3340 is fine for personal usage, but it’s not ideal for showing off work to co-workers or classmates. At this price, the low 1366 x 768 resolution and absence of a touch-sensitive display are tolerable, and the image is bright and colourful enough for web browsing and video streaming. In other areas, the Latitude excels. The base model of the machine cost £590(at release but goes for way less today) and came with Windows 8.1 Pro, a 1.6 GHz Haswell-generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor, and 4 GB of RAM.
The Core i5-4200U processor is commonly found in budget laptops, but Dell sensibly backs it up with a hybrid storage solution that combines a 500 GB hard drive and 8 GB of solid-state storage. The hybrid combination immensely improves the overall performance of the machine. However, you’re not going to be getting as much performance as you’d from other machines listed here.
Mobile Workstations were built with one thing in mind- performance. Budget Workstations are easy to find as the older they get the cheaper they become. However, the same cannot be said about their performance. Older mobile workstations that were produced about 4-5 years ago are under the $700 mark. The most interesting fact about the workstations is that they are upgradeable, meaning that they could be upgraded to obtain remarkable performance. If you’re a gamer, then they can be a cheaper alternative to gaming laptops because of their high-performing laptop processors.