Acer TravelMate 6292 (302G16N)
- Performance results, Battery life, New Centrino Duo platform
- Viewing angle is not ideal
For such a small notebook it packs a lot of punch. Business users on the go will enjoy its light weight and portable design, not to mention its reliable battery. There's little to complain about when it comes to performance either.
Price$ 2,299.00 (AUD)
Well designed and oozing with more power than you would imagine from a 12.1in business notebook, the Acer TravelMate 6292 (302G16N) is another fine example of how Intel's latest Centrino platform can perform.
As part of the new Centrino platform, codenamed Santa Rosa, the Acer TravelMate 6292 includes one of the new Core 2 Duo-based CPUs, the T7300 2.0GHz chip. Aside from its increased efficiency, it also packs an 800MHz front side bus (FSB), giving the CPU more bandwidth to push data to and from the memory.
The TravelMate 6292 also includes a healthy 2GB of DDR2 RAM, which is rapidly becoming the standard on high end machines, rather than the 1GB we've been used to for some time. The 12.1in screen has a native resolution of 1280 x 800 and is quite bright, but offers a fairly average viewing angle. However, it does the job and the smaller sized screen accounts for the meagre 2.1kg weight of this unit.
Also featured in this notebook is support for the new 802.11 Draft-N wireless standard. Draft-N pledges theoretical speeds of up to 300mbps, though tests currently show considerably slower results. Still there are definite improvements over the current standards and we have noticed an increase in range with a stronger signal from the improved antenna setup.
It's no surprise that, as a business notebook, the TravelMate runs on Windows Vista business edition and uses the GMA X3100, rather than one of NVIDIA or ATI's new mobile graphics chips. The GMA X3100 is hardly a graphics solution for gaming, but it is still a better chip than was used by the previous Centrino platform and handles most business applications with relative ease. The TravelMate also has a biometric fingerprint reader for a more secure login process; a useful feature for business notebooks.
In all of our benchmarks the TravelMate 6292 scored well, from performance to battery-life. In WorldBench 6, our primary Vista benchmark software, the TravelMate 6292 scored a total of 75, which is an excellent score for a business notebook. WorldBench 6 gauges the ability of the notebook to run a suite of popular and commonly used applications, such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office among others.
In our Cdex encoding test, where we encode 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files, the TravelMate 6292 also performed well, taking just 131 seconds; a speedy result. This test puts the CPU in the spotlight and the result is indicative (though a second or two better than average) of the T7300 2.0GHz chip with its 800MHz FSB.
When put through our worst-case scenario battery test, a DVD rundown, the TravelMate 6292 lasted 131 minutes before the battery completely drained. The test is considered a worst case because it uses the optical drive and the speakers as well as the core components such as the LCD and the CPU. Under a normal system load this notebook will run for longer.
With a 160GB worth of hard drive space at your disposal there's little chance you'll run out of room too quickly. Still, a DVD re-writer with dual layer support is installed as an alternative storage solution. The drive can also be removed and replaced with a weight saver. It requires a single screw to be undone and does not appear to be a hot-plug solution, so we suggest you turn the system off before doing this.
The keyboard is fairly comfortable to type on, though some of the keys have been shrunk to fit, most notably the function keys. In a line next to the keyboard on the right of the unit is a set of shortcuts, including a Wi-Fi on/off button, Bluetooth on/off, each of which has indicator lights to show if they are on. There's also a hotkey for mail, one for the Web, and one programmable shortcut key.
Above the keyboard is another hotkey for Acer's empowering technology software; a collection of tools including Acer's eRecovery Management for system backup and system restore, and ePresentation Management, which controls video output modes to external LCDs or projectors, among other features. The TravelMate 6292 employs a touchpad, rather than a track-point which, like the keyboard, we found to be responsive and comfortable to use.
Apart from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/Daft-N the unit has a gigabit Ethernet port and a 56k modem. It also has three USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port installed, as well as a VGA and an S-video port. There's a PC Card slot (types I/II) but no Express Card slot. It also sports a media card reader with support for SD, MMC, MS, MS-Pro and xD cards.
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