When it comes to selecting IT devices or services, options are always a good thing. Whether it’s deciding upon a brand, a particular product inside that brand, or simply a favorite color, the buyer is in control of the potential transaction.
Didn’t used to be that way. For years, Ford made black automobiles with standard engines. Beer was all the same until Miller came up with a “Lite” version (market-spin bad spelling) in 1975. Oreo cookies used to come in one style; now Nabisco has a dozen variations. And so on.
It’s up to the brands themselves to innovate plenty of options if they want to compete at full force. As the world becomes more and more splintered with commercial, societal and political choices, the business laptop business has diversified in the same fashion. With such high-level competition as Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, ASUS and others, other manufacturers have had to do so.
The newest choice in this category belongs to Acer, the Taipei-based international laptop, tablet and router maker that is growing at a steady rate and is launching a new TravelMate model later this year. By the way, this article is one of the first published about this remarkable little device that has most of what most business users require in a small laptop and none of what they don’t need.
Designed with business travelers in mind
The TravelMate Spin P6, sporting a 14-inch screen, is the model I tested, and the first thing that is apparent as it came out of the carton is how light and thin it is, and it’s not even an Apple device. The all-metal Spin P6 weighs in at a mere 2.2 lbs. and measures about a half-inch thick. It feels even lighter and thinner than that, and I can’t imagine how. The chassis consists of a magnesium-aluminum alloy, which is stronger and lighter than standard aluminum alloys of the same thickness.
Acer has all the important business ingredients in the Spin 6, except perhaps a top-flight camera. But cameras aren’t usually a pressing need for this market; you can conduct a standard videoconference or take a snapshot just fine with the Acer camera; you don’t need a work of art.
Some first-impression notes:
- You can power the Spin P6 up with any USB-C connector; no proprietary plug-in needed here.
- The battery lasted a full 12 hours for me, using only the browser and regular business apps. Of course, if you want to play video games, use 3D and other data-intensive apps, then you’ll need another device to operate them optimally.
- The keyboard action is solid and true, the keys themselves aren’t too small, and the board lights up when being used. Not every business laptop does that, and I find it a useful feature–especially when typing in low light. Thank goodness for simple pleasures.
- Touchscreen and touchpad action is fast and accurate; knowing how to use the touchscreen when navigating docs and websites can be a real time-saver.
- The TravelMate Spin P6 has an optional convertible version (there’s another choice) that comes with a stylus and a Corning Gorilla Glass touch display, which can be rotated 360 degrees into four modes.
- All TravelMate P6’s are updated with the latest 11th-Gen Intel Core vPro processors.
- They also feature a dockable Acer Active Stylus that works with Windows Ink for capturing notes and drawings.
Technical info: The new Spin 6 features an IPS monitor with 100% sRGB color gamut coverage that delivers accurate color at up to 170-degree viewing angles; additionally, viewing angles can be limited to 90 degrees by enabling the built-in Acer PrivacyPanel. IPS monitors, or “in-plane switching” monitors, use liquid crystals aligned in parallel to produce rich colors.
Full-sized and back-lit, the keyboard is designed to make typing comfortable, even in dimly-lit areas, such as aircraft coach seats. A scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad supports precise gesture control.
Audio features: All the new Spin 6’s have dual speakers for crystal-clear videoconferencing audio; a four-mic array picks up vocals from up to 6.5 feet away and enables accurate voice commands. A built-in smart amplifier provides distortion-free sound with deep bass, doubling as a safeguard that protects the speakers as volume is increased.
Camera: While Acer’s user-facing camera is perfectly competent for decent video imaging in conference calls and 1:1 video meetings, the camera is not the strongest component in the TravelMate offering. Images are somewhat softer than other cameras, yet they are “good enough” for general use.
Protection: Compliant with MIL-STD 810H U.S. military-grade standards, the TravelMate P6 can survive the bumps of airport security, accidental drops and other mishaps. The rigorous durability testing follows stringent procedures that gauge the notebook’s resistance to pressure, rain, humidity and extreme temperatures.
Security: The TravelMate P6 uses the security features of Windows 10 Pro, including a fingerprint reader and IR webcam for quick and safe logins via Windows Hello. A built-in Acer user sensor detects if someone is in front of the computer to either wake up or lock up the notebook, and Windows Hello can recognize whether that person is the owner. For privacy, the system’s webcam can be physically shuttered when not in use. An integrated Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 chip and Intel Active Management from the Intel vPro platform facilitate secure authentication and safeguard company data.
High-speed connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 and optional eSim/USim-enabled 5G connectivity support working and collaborating away from the office. In addition, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C Thunderbolt 4 delivers fast data transfers at speeds up to 40 Gbps to connected USB Type-C devices, plus enough power to support up to 8K displays. Other ports include MicroSD card and NFC (Near Field Communication) for sharing content or making mobile payments.
Overall evaluation: This is a very good traveling companion for a business person and is recommended–especially if your company is paying for it.
Key Specifications for Acer TravelMate Spin 6:
Device: Acer TravelMate P614RN-52
Processor: 11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-1165G7 @ 2.80GHz 2.80 GHz
Installed RAM: 8.00 GB (7.78 GB usable); optional: up to 32 GB DDR4x memory
Storage: 475 GB
System type: 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor
Connectivity: 5G and NFC wireless
Pen and touch: Pen and touch support with 10 touchpoints
Windows OS Specifications:
Edition: Windows 10 Pro
Availability and pricing:
The TravelMate Spin P6 will become available in North America in December, starting at $1,299.99.
Online support: https://www.acer.com/worldwide/support/