Acer does many things right with its latest business laptop.
The TravelMate P645 has a slim chassis made of carbon fibre and magnesium alloy, long battery life and business-friendly features.
Handsome in black with a dash of silver in the hinges and the discreet Acer logo on the lid, this 14-inch laptop weighs just over 1.5kg, which qualifies it as an ultrabook.
Its screen resolution (1,366 x 768 pixels) is modest but standard for a business notebook. Another typical feature: The screen has a matte finish which reduces glare and reflection. Viewing angles are decent, although inferior to ones found on in-plane switching displays.
The backlit keyboard is where the TravelMate falls short. Key travel is limited, although, to be fair, it is not as shallow nor as stiff as those in Acer's consumer ultrabooks. However, Lenovo's business laptops offer a better typing experience.
Business laptops are not known for their graphics performance. They tend to use integrated solutions which are not capable of anything more taxing than editing office documents.
This makes Acer's decision to equip the TravelMate with a dedicated AMD graphics chip surprising. As a result, this laptop can run image-editing software with hardware-accelerated effects. It can also run older games, such as Bioshock Infinite, at Medium setting.
It helps that its screen resolution is not as taxing on the graphics chip as a full high-definition display.
However, gaming ability is not the main appeal of a business machine.
Features, such as a fingerprint reader, TPM security module, support for an optional docking station and anti-shock protection for the hard drive, are more important and, fortunately, the TravelMate has all these covered.
To keep your data safe, Acer has this special bumper at the bottom of the laptop, right below where the hard drive is located. The company says this helps to cushion the hard drive if you drop the laptop.
It used to be that having a dedicated graphics chip would reduce the battery life of a laptop.
However, modern graphics chips from AMD and Nvidia can now switch automatically to the less-powerful integrated graphics on Intel's Core processor for tasks such as video playback and Web browsing. Hence, the laptop lasted an impressive 7hr 43min in Digital Life's video-playback test. However, performing more intensive tasks, such as image editing, will reduce this uptime.
The laptop is not perfect. It could do with a solid-state drive or a newer 802.11ac Wi-Fi adaptor, but at a relatively affordable price of $1,698, the TravelMate provides excellent value compared with other business laptops.
Long battery life and a sleek, clean design are reasons to buy this affordable business laptop.
BACKGROUND STORY TECH SPECS
Processor: Intel Core i7-4500U (1.8GHz)
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 8750M 2GB DDR3<
Screen size: 14 inches, 1,366 x 768 pixels
Connectivity: 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, SD card reader, Ethernet, microphone and headphone jacks
Battery: 54 watt-hour
Value for money: 5/5
Battery life: 4/5
This article was first published on July 16, 2014.
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