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Acer TravelMate P6 review: Business on a budget

Acer Travelmate heroImage: IDG / Chris Hoffman

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Long battery lifeLight and portableA good price for a business laptop

Cons

Keyboard is a t ad mushyNo NPU for future Windows AI featuresConsumer laptops deliver similar specs for a lower price

Our Verdict

The Acer TravelMate P6 offers excellent value for a business laptop, with long battery life, a surprisingly light weight, and more ports than a typical consumer laptop.

Best Prices Today: Acer TravelMate P6

RetailerPriceCDW$1158.99View DealAmazon$1168.63View DealAcer$1199.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

The Acer TravelMate P6 is a business laptop through and through. It’s packed with ports, delivers long battery life, is surprisingly lightweight, and has a nice matte screen designed to avoid glare in normally uncomfortable lighting conditions.

It’s a nice and supremely practical piece of hardware, and I’d be happy to get a machine like this from my job. Starting at a retail price of $1,329, it’s a bargain as far as business laptops go, especially if a workplace is getting a discount for buying a bunch at once! But if you’re just looking to buy a single laptop for your own personal use, a consumer laptop may be better bet.

Looking for more options? Check out PCWorld’s roundup of the best laptops.

Acer TravelMate P6: Specs

IDG / Chris Hoffman

The Acer TravelMate P6 comes with 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB of solid-state storage, and an Intel Core i5-1335U CPU. This is one of Intel’s 13th-generation Raptor Lake CPUs, released in 2023. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The latest Meteor Lake CPUs are more focused on power efficiency and AI performance.

The latest Meteor Lake CPUs aren’t necessarily faster, but you are missing out on the neural processing unit (NPU) found in the latest Meteor Lake CPUs. These will make it possible to run more AI features locally on your own PC hardware rather than relying on the far-off cloud servers that power features like Microsoft Copilot today. Rumor is that Windows will soon take much better advantage of NPUs to deliver all sorts of AI features. And there’s no NPU here.

CPU: Intel Core i5-1335UMemory: 16GB LPDDR5 RAMGraphics/GPU: Intel Iris XeDisplay: 14-inch 1920×1200 display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and 60Hz refresh rateStorage: 1TB PCIe NVMe SSDWebcam: 1080p webcam with privacy shutterConnectivity: 2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 40Gbps with DisplayPort over USB-C, Power Delivery), 1x USB Type-A (USB 3.2 Gen 1), HDMI 2.1, microSD card reader, headphone jack, Kensington lock slotNetworking: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3Biometrics: IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition, fingerprint readerBattery capacity: 65 Watt-hoursDimensions: 12.34 x 8.93 x 0.79 inchesWeight: 2.65 poundsMSRP: $1,329 as tested

Acer TravelMate P6: Design and build quality

IDG / Chris Hoffman

The Acer TravelMate 6’s design is pretty simple: Black with squared off edges and slightly rounded corners. Nothing too crazy or unusual, a workhorse of a laptop with nothing particularly unusual about it. It’s a workhorse. The name “Acer” appears in silver below the screen, and there’s also an “Acer” badge on the back of the laptop, but that’s extremely understated.

This laptop is quite light thanks to the magnesium-aluminum alloy that makes up its chassis. At just 2.65 pounds, it’s nice and easy to pick up and throw in a bag. (It’s only a tiny bit heavier than the famously lightweight and much more expensive Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which weighs 2.42 pounds.) There’s a little bit of flex to the screen and case, but nothing that seems bad. In fact, that flex may help the laptop stand up to life on the road.

Acer touts the TravelMate 6’s ruggedness — it’s MIL-STD 810H-tested and Acer says the ports are reinforced with additional metal brackets to hold up wear and tear. It also includes an “Acer Dust Defender” feature that will reverse the laptop’s fans every six hours of use to prevent dust buildup. (At peak performance, when the fans are needed, Dust Defender won’t interrupt anything, it’ll wait until later).

While this laptop may not look particularly exciting in a photo, it has a classic design that fades into the background, and that light weight is very nice.

The included promotional software is a little disappointing. Out of the box, for example, a Dropbox promotion is pinned to the taskbar. One of the benefits of business laptops is that they tend to provide a stripped-down selection of included promotional apps, and the included software is on the busy side for a business laptop. Of course, this is something you can uninstall very easily.

Acer TravelMate P6: Keyboard and trackpad

IDG / Chris Hoffman

The Acer TravelMate P6 is a business laptop, so it should be designed for some serious typing. On the one hand, this machine has a perfectly nice keyboard. I could type quickly and didn’t have any issues with accuracy. On the other hand, the key feel a little on the shallow side. That’s fairly common with laptops designed for portability, as there’s only so much room.

The keyboard also has convenient white backlighting built in, an important feature when typing in low-light environments.

The touchpad feels great. It’s made of Corning Gorilla Glass, and it’s very responsive and smooth. It’s nice and large, too, taking up a good amount of room below the keyboard. The click feels good and solid, too.

Acer TravelMate P6: Display and speakers

IDG / Chris Hoffman

The Acer TravelMate P6 has a 14-inch 1920×1200 display. That’s a 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives you more vertical space to get work done than you’ll get on a standard 16:9 screen, for example, a “1080p” or 1920×1080 resolution screen. Still, it’s not as much vertical screen real estate as you’ll get on a screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio.

This is an IPS display that Acer calls a “ComfyView” display, as Acer puts it, it’s an “anti-glare matte display.” It will do much better in bright sunlight than “glossy” displays, which tend to have a lot of glare.

With a refresh rate of just 60Hz, this isn’t the fanciest display out there. Still, it’s perfectly serviceable and it looks good in day-to-day use. In fact, I suspect that this display may be one of the secret ingredients that gives this laptop the long-lasting battery life its competitors with fancier displays often can’t match.

The upward-firing speakers aren’t bad. As usual for laptop speakers, they don’t deliver a lot of bass — that’s normal. But they sound clear and have plenty of volume. They’ll do well for a video meeting or watching some videos, but you’ll want to connect some headphones or external speakers to properly experience anything bassy.

Acer TravelMate P6: Webcam, microphone, biometrics

The Acer TravelMate P6 has a 1080p webcam. This is a pretty standard 1080p webcam, and it’s perfectly serviceable as far as 1080p webcams go. It will be fine in business meetings. I’ve seen high-level executives use much, much worse. The webcam has a convenient privacy shutter, so you can quickly block it, if you like.

Strangely enough, Windows offers Studio Effects for this webcam, features like Eye Contact to make you look like you’re always making eye contact with the camera and Background Blur to blur your background. According to Microsoft, this requires a neural processing unit (NPU), but this Acer laptop doesn’t have an NPU. The effects seem to be using the integrated GPU for their processing power. While the effects are available, which is nice, this implementation will likely drain more battery power than running these effects on a lower-powered NPU in a modern PC.

The microphone sounds nice and clear, picking up speech well, which is critical feature for audio calls, so it’s good to see Acer got it right. Acer says this laptop has “Acer PurifiedVoice’s AI-powered noise reduction.”

The TravelMate has both facial recognition and fingerprint recognition for Windows Hello. The IR camera for facial recognition worked well, as they generally do, signing me when I opened the laptop in a variety of lighting scenarios. The fingerprint scanner is located in the power button at the top-right corner of the keyboard, and it also worked well for authentication.

Acer TravelMate P6: Connectivity

IDG / Chris Hoffman

The port selection on the Acer TravelMate P6 is quite good for a modern laptop. On the left side, you’ll find two USB Type-C ports (Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 40Gbps) along with an HDMI 2.1 port. You’ll plug the laptop’s power adapter into one of the USB-C ports to charge it.

On the right side, you’ve got a USB Type-A port, a combo headphone jack, a microSD card reader, and a Kensington lock slot for physically securing the laptop.

Acer also says models of this laptop are available with an optional nano SIM slot for cellular connectivity, but our review unit didn’t have that feature.

It’s a good selection of ports, and it should save you from having to use a dongle most of the time.

Still, if you want to charge and use more than one USB Type-C device — or if you ever want to plug in more than one USB Type-A device — you’ll need a dongle. You’ll have to plug in a dongle to use a wired Ethernet network connection, too.

For the wireless radios, you’ve got Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 support. That’s a standard, modern setup. Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4 would certainly be nice to have to make this laptop more future proof, but they’re not standard on new laptops yet.

Acer TravelMate P6: Performance

The Acer TravelMate P6 delivered solid performance in day-to-day use. That’s no surprise thanks to its 13th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB solid-state drive.

As always, we ran the TravelMate through our standard benchmarks to see how it performs.

IDG / Chris Hoffman

First, we run PCMark 10 to get an idea of overall system performance. PCMark 10 is designed to as an overall benchmark to get an idea of overall system performance, but the CPU is as big factor in the results.

The Acer TravelMate P6 delivered the kind of performance we’d expect to see with a 13th-generation Intel Core i5 laptop CPU. The results were competitive with the HP Pavilion Plus, a heavier laptop with a Core i7 CPU. It’s still outcompeted by the significantly more expensive Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which retails for $2,703, double the price of this system.

IDG / Chris Hoffman

Next, we run Cinebench R20. This benchmark is heavily multithreaded and focuses on overall CPU performance. It’s a quick benchmark, so cooling under extended workloads isn’t a factor. But, since it’s heavily multithreaded, CPUs with more cores have a huge advantage and will get higher scores.

The Acer TravelMate P6 puts out decent performance, with more powerful Intel Core i7-powered systems pulling ahead of its Intel Core i5 CPU.

IDG / Chris Hoffman

We also run an encode with Handbrake. This is another heavily multithreaded benchmark, but it runs over an extended period of time. This demands the laptop’s cooling kick in, and many laptops will throttle and slow down under load.

The Acer TravelMate P6 delivered took 1,847 seconds to complete the encode on average. That’s just over 30 minutes. It’s competitive with other ultraportable-style machines, and only beat by the larger and heavier HP Pavilion Plus, which can likely deliver better cooling for extended workloads due to its size.

IDG / Chris Hoffman

Next, we run a graphical benchmark. This isn’t a gaming laptop, but it’s still good to check how the GPU performs. We run 3Dmark Time Spy, a graphical benchmark that focuses on GPU performance.

Graphical performance wasn’t great, which isn’t a surprise. Intel has improved integrated GPU performance dramatically over the last generation. A system with the latest Meteor Lake hardware — not the 13th-generation Raptor Lake hardware here — delivers much better graphical performance.

Overall, performance is where it should be for an ultraportable with this hardware. Intel’s latest Core Ultra chips, the Meteor Lake CPUs, don’t necessarily deliver a huge performance upgrade in normal use. Meteor Lake’s big advantages are in improved integrated GPU performance and that neural processing unit (NPU) isn’t present on systems like this one.

Acer TravelMate P6: Battery life

The Acer TravelMate P6 includes a 65 Watt-hour battery. In day-to-day use — web browsers, office apps, and all the usual applications — battery life was excellent.

IDG / Chris Hoffman

To benchmark the battery life, we play a 4K copy of Tears of Steel on repeat in the Movies & TV app on Windows 11 with airplane mode enabled until the laptop suspends itself. This is a best-case scenario for any laptop since local video playback is so efficient, and real battery life in day-to-day use is always going to be less than this. We set the screen to 250 nits of brightness for our battery benchmark.

The Acer TravelMate P6 delivered a great result here, running for an average of 771 minutes, which is nearly 13 hours. That result puts it ahead of all the other laptops we’ve been comparing it to.

The display probably gives the Acer TravelMate P6 a leg up. This isn’t an extremely high-resolution display. There’s also no touch screen. Many people will appreciate having the all-day battery life this system should deliver instead of a fancier display that needs more frequent charging.

Acer TravelMate P6: Conclusion

The Acer TravelMate P6 is a good laptop. It’s half the price of a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and nearly as light. The screen isn’t the highest-resolution display you’ll find, but that’s likely one of the secret ingredients that helps it deliver much longer battery life.

For a business laptop, a starting price of $1,329 for this hardware is very reasonable. On the other hand, if you’re just buying a single laptop and are open to consumer hardware, the price gives me pause.

Take a look at the HP Pavilion Plus, for example. It’s not an ultraportable, as it’s about a half pound heavier. But you can get a configuration with the same Intel Core i5-1335U CPU and a 1920×1200 resolution display, the same resolution as the Acer TravelMate P6 here, for just $828. That’s $500 cheaper than the TravelMate here. Yes, the TravelMate is lighter and gets longer battery life, but is it really $500 better?

Meanwhile, that $1,329 price point is close to the price of many consumer ultrabooks like the HP Spectre x360 14 with higher-resolution displays and other features like touch screens. They may not have the battery life a system like the TravelMate delivers and won’t have as many ports as this laptop, but many people will prefer those features.

Still, if you want a business laptop, the TravelMate P6 is a great choice. It’s a great value in the business laptop segment, even if it isn’t the best laptop for everyone.

Best Prices Today: Acer TravelMate P6

RetailerPriceCDW$1158.99View DealAmazon$1168.63View DealAcer$1199.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Chris Hoffman is the author of Windows Intelligence, a free email newsletter that brings the latest Windows PC news, trips, and tricks to inboxes each week. He’s also the former editor-in-chief of How-To Geek and a veteran tech journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, PCMag, Reader’s Digest, and other publications.

Recent stories by Chris Hoffman:

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review: Dual monitors on the goGood news! A gaming laptop can finally be your only laptopHP Omen Transcend 14 review: Power and beauty in a compact package

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