Acer Travelmate P6 review
The Travelmate series has always been Acer’s laptop of choice for the business-oriented, and this latest P6 is no different. It’s a 15in general-purpose machine with some corporate tweaks that office workers should find useful, but it has other features that may interest home users too.
Powered by a 3rd Generation Core i5-3210M processor running at 2.5GHz, the Travelmate P6 should be more than powerful enough for general office work. It supports Turbo Boost, reaching 3.1GHz when thermal limits allow, and Hyper-Threading which effectively doubles the number of processor cores visible within Windows. It’s paired with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk, although there’s no SSD cache to speed up boot times. Even so, it achieved a respectable 59 in our multimedia benchmarks.
Battery life was also respectable. The P6 lasted seven and a half hours away from the mains, so as long as you stick to light tasks you won’t need to hunt around for a power point when on the move.
The Intel processor also provides the graphics, courtesy of its integrated HD 4000 GPU. It shares system memory with Windows and is able to play high-definition video and some older games, but it’s not particularly well-suited to newer titles. Our Dirt 3 benchmark produced a choppy 17.4fps, suggesting you might see playable frame rates if you drop the resolution and detail settings.
The laptop itself is fairly plain, as you’d expect from a business-oriented machine. The brushed metal-effect lid looks quite sleek, but the black plastic construction underneath isn’t quite so attractive. It’s reasonably thin for a general-purpose laptop too, reaching 31mm at its thickest point but leaving plenty of room for a huge range of connectivity. As well as three USB3 ports, you also get an internal DVD re-writer, multiformat memory card reader, ExpressCard/34 and /54 slots, HDMI and VGA video outputs, 3.5mm audio input and output and a combined eSATA/USB port. That’s on top of Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Intel’s Wi-Di wireless display, so you’re unlikely to run out of ways to connect your peripherals.
The Travelmate P6 held up well in general use, thanks to its comfortable keyboard. It uses a traditional layout comprised of flat keys spaced in close proximity to one another, but we didn’t encounter any typing issues as each key is full size and very springy. There’s just the right amount of travel and ample tactile feedback. In spite of the full-size keys, there’s still room for a numeric keypad, and Acer has also installed some small, unobtrusive multimedia shortcuts above the keyboard tray for launching applications and muting the built-in microphone.
We had no problems using the huge touchpad, which is smooth and friction-free thanks to its matt plastic construction. It was easily sensitive enough to cover the entire desktop without multiple swipes and also supports multitouch gestures, although there’s no two-finger scroll. Instead, you have to use the scrollbar on the far right-hand side of its surface. The touchpad buttons were a good size with a firm clicking action, although we’d have preferred it if Acer had moved the centrally located fingerprint reader to one side as it limits the size of each button.
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