Acer TravelMate P645 Ultrabook
Acer's 14in TravelMate P645 is a business Ultrabook that's strong, attractive, and full of useful features
- Solid build quality
- Good keyboard
- Long battery life
- Storage space is tiny
- Touchpad driver is quirky
Acer's TravelMate P645 is among the company's best laptops. It's a 14in Ultrabook with good style, a solid build, long battery life, and plenty of features. It could use more storage capacity, and its touchpad driver is quirky, but overall it's a useful and affordable laptop (depending on the configuration you choose).
Price$ 1,399.00 (AUD)
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- SMC FA645 45-85mm F4.5 2311.00
The spill resistant keyboard features Chiclet keys that are a little to the left of a traditional typing position because of the column of keys that has been placed on the right side for page navigation. This means that it can take a little bit of time to adjust to it, especially since the Delete key is not directly above the Backspace key. The keys feel very shallow, but they are soft and responsive.
We like the feel of the keyboard a lot and think it's excellent for long typing sessions. Plus, the keys barely make any noise, which means you can use this notebook in a quiet place such as a library or during a meeting without really bothering anyone (unless you really pound down hard on the keys). It's a backlit keyboard that looks comfortable in dim lighting situations, and it can be toggled manually via an F-key combination.
The touchpad is a good size (98x54mm) and smooth overall, though we did notice some jumpiness at times while moving and stopping the pointer. It supports Windows 8 swipe-in gestures as well as multi-finger gestures such as two-finger scrolling, three-finger flicks, and two-finger taps for bringing up the right-click menu. We did notice one quirk, though: the touchpad is set to reverse two-finger scrolling by default and the Synaptics driver, by default, greys out the option for changing this.
The way around this is to disable the ZoomPerfect feature in the driver, which then enables the reverse scrolling option and allows you untick it. There are physical left- and right-click buttons, which are soft and silent to press, and a fingerprint reader is nestled in between them. The fingerprint reader works with the pre-installed Acer ProShield application to secure the computer.
Above the keyboard, there is a physical button for toggling the wireless radio, which we think is a very convenient feature. Next to it is a button that can launch a pre-selected application, file or even Web site, and there is also a button for toggling the built-in microphone, which can come in handy during online conferences.
Speakers are located on the underside of the laptop, and while they sound merely adequate when the laptop is used on a hard, flat surface, they will get muffled if you listen to them while using the TravelMate on your lap. There is a fan on the bottom that can be blocked if you use the TravelMate on your lap, too. The fan only spins when the CPU is under a load, such as when it’s playing YouTube videos. If the fan is blocked during this type of activity then the base will potentially get noticeably warm.
In our rundown test, in which we connect the laptop to Wi-Fi, use maximum screen brightness, switch to the performance power profile, and loop a video file, the TravelMate P645 lasted 8hr 18min. This is a very good result for this test, and you can get even more out of it if you reduce the screen brightness. How long it lasts during a typical work day will vary depending on how much of the CPU is being used for your tasks.
In the TravelMate P645, Acer has a 14in Ultrabook that is among the nicest we’ve seen, especially for an entry-level model. We like the overall build quality, which is solid, the clean looks (though we could do without the blue LEDs for the power and shortcut buttons), and it has a more than decent set of input devices. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re after a new business laptop that’s well featured but not bulky and heavy to carry on a daily basis.
A docking station (ProDock) is also available, and it provides DisplayPort and DVI in addition to VGA, HDMI, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.
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