Review

Acer TravelMate P6 review: Comet Lake performance in an ultra-light package

Acer's TravelMate P6 certainly seems to check all of the right boxes. With the unit that the firm sent me coming in at $1,049, it has Intel's Core i5-10210U, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 14-inch FHD display, and Thunderbolt 3.

But that's not all, because it weighs in at 2.57 pounds, thanks to its magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis. It has optional 4G LTE using an eSIM, and it's a solid build too, passing MIL-STD-810G and -810F certifications.

While it certainly packs a ton of value for its low price, it does seem to suffer from a lack of options. In fact, this is the only configuration that's listed on Acer's website. The only other ones shown use eight- and even seventh-gen processors. Of course, this is likely because TravelMate is a business brand, and companies tend to want to standardize on components.

Specs

CPU Intel Core i5-10210U
GPU Intel UHD Graphics
Display 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display with high-brightness Acer ComfyView
LED-Backlit TFT LCD
16:9 Aspect Ratio
Wide Viewing Angle up to 170 Degrees
NTSC 72%
IPS Panel
Body 12.8x9.06x0.65in, 2.57 pounds
RAM 8GB (8/8) DDR4 SDRAM, upgradeable up to 24GB DDR4
Storage 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Battery 60Wh 3920mAh 15.2 V 4-cell Li-Ion Battery Pack, 65W power adapter
Ports (1) Thunderbolt 3
(2) USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (one with power-off USB charging)
(1) HDMI 2.0
microSD
3.5mm combo audio
DC-in
Ethernet (RJ-45)
Smart Card reader
Optional nano-SIM slot
Audio Acer Purified.Voice Technology with Four
Built-In Microphones Built-In Discrete Amplifiers
Compatible With Cortana for Voice Up to 13 Feet
Acer True Harmony for Lower Distortion, Wider Frequency Range and Powerful Sound
Webcam 1280x720 Resolution
720p HD Audio/Video Recording
Super High Dynamic Range Imaging
Camera Shutter cover
Input Acer FineTip Keyboard With International Language Support
Multi-Gesture Touchpad
Security Discrete Platform Module (TPM) Solution
Firmware Trusted Platform (TPM) Solution
Acer Bio-Protection Fingerprint Solution Featuring Windows Hello Certification
BIOS User, Supervisor, HDD Passwords
Kensington Lock Slot
Material Magnesium-aluminum alloy
OS Windows 10 Home
Price $1,049


Day one

Design

As I've said a few times by now, the TravelMate P6 weighs in at 2.57 pounds, and this is really what makes it special. There are lighter business laptops, like Lenovo's 2.4-pound ThinkPad X1 Carbon, HP's 2.18-pound Elite Dragonfly convertible, and Dynabook's 1.92-pound Portégé X30L-G, but frankly, you can't get any of those for $1,049.

One thing that all of those PCs, including the TravelMate P6, have in common is that they use some sort of magnesium alloy. For the P6, it's magnesium-aluminum, which is nice because before I looked up the specs, it did feel more like metal than a regular magnesium laptop, which tends to feel like plastic. Magnesium is also tough though, allowing it to pass MIL-STD-810G certifications without having to make the product heavier.

Like the Swift 5 that I reviewed back in March, the TravelMate P6 has a somewhat unique design. It's another two-tone look with a black chassis and silver accents in the hinge and the Acer logo badge on the lid. You can see from the image above that the lid actually doesn't cover the speaker, which is above the keyboard deck, but the hinge is designed in such a way that the screen doesn't cover it when it's open either.

While most business laptops have a wide selection of ports, I have to commend Acer's selection on this PC. On the left side, there's a pin charging port, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, Thunderbolt 3, and a 3.5mm audio jack. First of all, HDMI 2.0 is still a rarity in laptops at this price point, something that really annoys me. HDMI 1.4 is all too common, but the good news is that with the TravelMate P6, you'll do fine with 4K 60Hz output.

It's also really nice that Acer included Thunderbolt 3, which supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 data transfer, DisplayPort, 5V/3A charging, and 45W input. I feel like most laptops at this price would only have USB 3.1 in the Type-C port. You can charge via the charging port or via USB Type-C, so if your business has some old Acer chargers lying around, they won't go to waste.

On the right side, there's a microSD card slot, another USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, and a full-size Ethernet port. The Ethernet port uses a drop-jaw hinge to fit in the 0.65-inch-thin chassis. Again, it really feels like Acer put a lot of thought into what to create here, which is really impressive at $1,049.

This side is also where you'd find the nano-SIM slot if you got the cellular model. Acer says that this exists, although it doesn't seem to be out yet since there are no other configurations.

Display and audio

The Acer TravelMate P6 features a 14-inch 1080p 16:9 display, which is pretty standard for a business laptop. It's pretty standard as far as specs go. There's no support for touch, it's anti-glare, and it absolutely gets the job done.

I tend to enjoy Acer's matte screens, which always seem to have more vibrant colors than the average anti-glare display. Take a look at the image above, which was taken in bright outdoor lighting. There's no clear glare, and the screen is clearly usable outdoors.

Acer promises a 170-degree viewing angle. That's more or less true, as you can absolutely view it from 85 degrees on any side, but you might see some color distortions.

The bezels aren't particularly narrow by 2020 standards. This leaves a larger than necessary footprint, because the lid is already small enough to not cover the speaker. The TravelMate P6 has a massive chin, medium side bezels, and a big top bezel.

The top bezel can be forgiven though. Not only does it include a webcam and a privacy guard, but it packs four microphones. I also want to give a shout-out to the design of the privacy guard, as it's actually really easy to handle. Some companies have these tiny switches that are more challenging to work than they should be.

Like I said, the Acer True Harmony speakers are at the top of the keyboard deck. They'll give you solid volume, especially since they fire right up at you. As for actual sound quality, it's pretty good for things like voice. For example, when you're on a conference call, it's going to do a good job. Unfortunately, if you're just listening to music at your desk, the sound isn't as full as a lot of other PCs I've used, such as those that are tuned for Dolby Atmos.

Keyboard and trackpad

The TravelMate P6 uses an Acer FineTip Keyboard, which is backlit. I find that it's accurate and comfortable to type on, which is the most important part. In fact, it's the most important part of the most important feature on a laptop, in my opinion. This is my primary input mechanism.

My only complaints about it, which aren't real complaints at all, is that I'd like for the keys to be just a bit less wobbly, and just a bit quieter. Like I said, these are minor issues that I only think about because I've used some truly amazing keyboards, such as the ones on the Elite Dragonfly and ThinkPad X1 Carbon that I mentioned earlier.

The keyboard is shallower than a ThinkPad though, which makes it feel more modern. Another thing that I like about it is that the backlight is bright and it stays on, making it easy to work on the dark. I know that sounds like such a small thing to praise, but I have to say, it's really annoying when the keyboard backlight goes out while idling when working in the dark.

The trackpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers, just as any modern laptop does, making it fast and responsive. It's medium-sized, and I'd have liked Acer to make use of all of the available real estate on the keyboard deck for this. Other than that, the trackpad is fine.

One other thing you'll find on the keyboard deck is the power button, which doubles as a fingerprint sensor. I mentioned earlier that there's no IR camera, but this awesome fingerprint reader makes up for it. That's because it scans your fingerprint when you press the button, automatically logging you in after it boots up. In other words, even if this had an IR camera, you'd only have to use it when waking from sleep.

A fingerprint sensor that doesn't ask you to scan your fingerprint after booting up is among my favorite things to find on a laptop. It's such a common sense thing to add, and I'm always glad to see it gaining popularity.

Performance, battery life, and bloatware

The Acer TravelMate P6 comes with an Intel Core i5-10210U CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD, which are just about the most mainstream specs you can find. The Core i5-10210U is a quad-core 15W chip with eight threads from the Comet Lake family.

Comet Lake is still built on a 14nm process, as opposed to the 10nm Ice Lake. This is true of all business laptops though, because Comet Lake is the only one that comes in a vPro variant. Comet Lake also offers a more powerful CPU, since Intel had to turn down the clock speed to get to 10nm.

The performance is fine, and that's it. It's very mainstream. If you want premium performance, look for the hexa-core Core i7-10710U, or if you want to be able to handle a million tabs in Chrome, get a machine with more RAM. The TravelMate P6 won't let you down, as long as your tasks center around general productivity.

Battery life is OK, depending on your power settings. With the power slider turned all the way up, brightness jacked up, and doing tasks that require a lot of power, I got four hours. Honestly, that's still pretty good. Because if you keep the screen brightness at 50% and keep the power slider somewhere in the middle, you'll find that you can easily get between six and eight hours.

Now, let's talk about bloatware, which is the one thing that Acer does on every single one of its PCs that's unforgivable. I will always call Acer our for this until it changes. Acer's PCs come with more bloatware (unnecessary third-party software) than I've seen from anyone else. Not only does it come with Norton antivirus, it includes things like Firefox, Evernote, various Solitaire games, and those are only the things that compete with the products that are built into Windows 10.

If you buy this PC, or any Acer PC, you've got to spend at least a half hour getting rid of all of this software. There are two ways to do that. One is that you can uninstall each app manually, or you can download a clean Windows 10 image from Microsoft, which is free. Note that if you choose the latter, you'll want to make sure that you download all of the drivers for this PC first.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8 and PCMark 10.

PCMark 8: Home PCMark 8: Creative

PCMark 8: Work PCMark 10


As I said earlier, the performance is mainstream, which is great.

Conclusion

At just over a thousand dollars, the Acer TravelMate P6 does seem to check all of the right boxes. In general, it's just an all-around solid PC. It has an ultra-light magnesium build while remaining stylish, a solid matte display, and a very good keyboard.

My biggest complaint is that at this time, there are no configuration options on Acer's website. The first thing I like to do on a review is see how far a device can scale up or down, and this one doesn't. My other big complaint, of course, is the bloatware, but that's honestly just an issue of having to remove it one time. I'd also have liked to have seen an IR camera, and even narrower side and bottom bezels, which would have allowed for a smaller footprint.

Of course, some of the other perks make up for that, such as the excellent port selection. In a thousand-dollar PC, you get Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, and full-size Ethernet, along with two USB Type-A ports. You get a fingerprint sensor that scans your fingerprint before the PC even boots, and of course, there's a 4G LTE option. Given the price, I really feel like this PC is a winner.

It seems that Acer's website takes you right over to Amazon to buy it, so if you want to check it out, you can find it here.

As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.

 

Report a problem with article
1592577229_product_39332_product_shots1
Next Article

Save up to 96% off (lifetime) subscription plans to OneLinkBio

1592749988_msw-20200621
Previous Article

Microsoft Weekly: Windows updates, Smart Delivery, and testing renamed

3 Comments - Add comment

Advertisement