It’s been a while since Acer refreshed its popular TravelMate lineup and now the laptop is slowly crawling into the market since its first appearance during CES 2016. The TravelMate P658 is aimed to please the frequent business traveler, who values reliability, sturdiness and mobility above anything else. Also, the laptop offers some unique, yet simple features that might come in handy when carrying it around and the presence of a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 940M GPU is rarely seen in this class. Some customers will find the extra GPU power in handy for sure. And besides, the TravelMate P658 is probably one of the few to offer discrete GPU in the high-end business segment.
The expected release of the notebook was sometime during April, but it appears that the shipment is off schedule for now. Here’s a link where you can check when it comes out: http://amzn.to/1qfKnWa
The new TravelMate P658 doesn’t depart from its roots keeping the clean, strict and simplistic design language while adding an interesting pattern on the lid. According to Acer, it’s made of carbon with glass fiber but on the surface feels something like plastic and metal at the same time. Also, hinges are perfectly adjusted and opening the laptop with one hand is possible.
The base, or where palms rest, features aluminum-magnesium alloy and looks very rigid as well. Judging by the construction, it shouldn’t weigh a lot but unfortunately, the laptop rests a bit hefty in hand. The scale stopped at 2.140 kg while the 14-inch model is believed to be 1.70 kg, although this is not fully confirmed. With these numbers, it’s hard to go against convertibles with the likes of Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga or the X1 Carbon, which, by the way, have nearly identical price tags. Just for the record, the 15-inch model actually weighs just as much as Acer’s own V15 Nitro Black Edition gaming laptop. So, on contrary to the OEM’s press release, portability in this model isn’t the order of the day.
And finally, our attention shifts to the input devices, which should be spotless considering the nature of the notebook, but the keyboard sends some kind of mixed feelings. It’s comfortable with well-spaced big keys, yet they feel a bit shallow. Acer says the travel distance is 1.4 mm but it feels less. On the contrary, the touchpad design is just flawless. It consists of a fairly big trackpad surface and two mouse keys with a fingerprint sensor between them. They provide excellent feedback with just the right amount of travel distance.
The laptop comes in fairly modest options for upgrade – both variants, the 15-inch and 14-inch, feature Intel’s 6th generation processors – Core i5-6200U and Core i7-6500U, at least 8GB of DDR4-2133 RAM and Intel HD Graphics 520. The latter, however, can be swapped with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 940M GPU for the premium version but the screen option is the same for all – Full HD with IPS matte panel, except for the 14-incher, which can be paired with 768p screen. On the storage front, though, the notebook blows every other competitor out of the water by offering RAID 0 configurations using two M.2 SSD sticks, yet 2.5-inch HDD option isn’t excluded.
The battery running the show is rated at 55Wh and we think it will do just fine in our tests but we don’t expect any mind-blowing results either. The larger 15.6-inch diagonal is believed to consume slightly more energy than the 14-inch screen and also the discrete GPU will probably have a negative effect on battery life in some cases. So keep that in mind when considering which configuration you are going to buy. On top of everything else, the laptop also provides super-fast Wi-Fi speeds using a 802.11ad module and 4G LTE connectivity for on-the-go work as well.
Reportedly, the P658, or the 15-icnh variant, will start at €999 with the expected release… last month, yet it can’t be found on most markets.
The specs sheet may vary depending on your region.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-6200U (2.30 – 2.80 GHz, 3MB cache) / Intel Core i7-6500U (2.50 – 3.10 GHz, 4MB cache)|
|RAM||up to 16GB (2x 8192MB) DDR4-2133|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 520 / NVIDIA GeForce 940M (2GB DDR3)|
|HDD/SSD||2.5-inch HDD slot or two M.2 SSD slots in RAID 0 array (optional)|
|Display||15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel, matte / 14-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel, matte / 14-inch Full HD (1366×768) panel, matte|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad, Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE|
|Thickness||20 mm (0.79″)|
|Weight||2.140 kg (4.72 lbs)|