A well built, high-end Ultrabook at a mid-level price, the Acer TravelMate P645 is a top pick for the professional mobile user.
The Acer TravelMate P645 is a solid and responsive Ultrabook which was quite impressive during ongoing usage. Initially we were fairly unimpressed. However, the TravelMate P645 made us believers that it is a high-end, solid, lightweight, performance laptop with excellent battery life for less than $1,500. On par with many Ultrabooks, the Acer TravelMate P645 delivers a solid overall package.
Upon opening the box, we immediately noticed how light the unit is. Coming in at just over 3lb., the Travelmate P645 is a real contender for mobility. However, the initial look of the Ultrabook was greatly unimpressive. Matte black outer casing and silver hinges don’t offer an immediate love for the chassis. After further inspection, we found that it is a carbon fiber/magnesium-aluminum chassis which provided a unique feel and sense of reliability. Two issues many of us have with ultra-compact laptops are weak chassis and flexible hinges. This was not the case here. The chassis, though light and minimal in appearance, created a great sense of reliability and solid construction. We were beginning to see the true beauty of the TravelMate P645.
Beauty in the Beast
Now marveling over the solid feel of the Ultrabook, we began to wonder what we were in for as far as performance. Listed on the product technical specifications for the TravelMate P645 was an Intel Core i7-4500U processor which clocked at 1.8GHz (3.0GHz w/Turbo Boost). This was quite thrilling as we have always been fans of the Core i7 and the Turbo Boost you get with it (rather than the Core i3 with no Turbo Boost) and additional Smart Cache (8GB compared to 6GB in the Core i5). Smart Cache provides extra on-board memory to help complete repetitive tasks faster by storing data for retrieval during processing. The larger the cache, the faster the data can be utilized in new computations. This provides an almost instantaneous result in processing data.
Real-world tests proved that the Travelmate P645 provides a reliable, speedy, laptop for business and entertainment needs.
Once the TravelMate P645 was set up and powered, the Windows 7 interface immediately booted up and we were quickly brought into a new Windows session. Instantly we noticed the quality of the 14-inch LCD 1080p in-plane-switching screen at 1920x1080 which is an upgrade over the base model (1366x768) and also the AMD Radeon HD 8750M video card. The screen is a non-gloss, non-touch display which provides a crisp picture and uniform color spectrum. There are no noticeable contrast issues relating to dark wash, and because of the IPS LCD screen, colors are consistent from all viewing angles. Though this typically takes 15 percent more power than traditional twisted nematic displays, the battery life of this Ultrabook was impressive at almost 11 hours of use after the first day.
Travel Weight With Desktop Performance
The TravelMate P645 with the Intel Core i7-4500U processor earned a score of 38.5 GOPS on SiSoft’s Sandra Processor Arithmetic test. Though not fabulous, it still produced a solid performance as compared to other laptops that cost $500 more. A 3DMark Cloud Gate test showed a score of 5663 on the Cloud Gate test, as compared to a 4160 average score for ultralight notebooks and 7028 for gaming laptops.
Real-world tests proved that the Travelmate P645 provides a reliable, speedy, laptop for business and entertainment needs. While traveling, the TravelMate P645 shows its dominance in mobile computing by producing high quality video, fast performance, and long battery life; all while being easy to manage and store when not in use. The temperature never reached any worrisome level while watching a movie with the TravelMate P645 perched atop a table covered with a tablecloth. The fans were able to cool the system without being noticeably loud, we couldn't hear when they turned on or off (we actually had to pause the video and make sure they were cooling). Sound quality was also very impressive while giving a surprising full stereo sound experience. One issue from our tests with laptops is the lack of volume and quality of sound. Though the TravelMate P645 doesn't boast brand name speakers, the rich sound had us looking for a brand badge on the speaker.
The keyboard has had mixed reviews from professionals throughout Internet forums. The spill-proof keyboard hosts a nice looking layout by providing well-lit keys with a minimal keystroke. The edges of the keys are highlighted with a bright bluish-white glow which helps in low-light environments. Though the touch is light and comfortable, tactile feedback is difficult since the keys are flat and not rounded.
The TravelMate P645 scored a 4,911 on the PCMark 7 performance test. Other competing units included the higher-end ThinkPad T440s, which beat the TravelMate P645 with a score of 4,970, but our review unit ended up beating the Latitude 7440 at 4,544 and the Tecra Z40 with a score of 2,542. Though the graphics quality on laptops are typically modest at best, the dedicated AMD Radeon GPU video card puts this Ultrabook out in front of most of the higher-end notebooks. Windows Experience Index scores are impressive in the Processor (7.1), Memory (7.6) and Primary Hard Disk (7.9: highest possible) scores, though decent on Graphics (6.6) and Gaming Graphics (6.6). Smooth video, decent refresh rate at 60Hz, and exceptional clarity give this laptop a boost in usefulness which truly sets it apart from all others.
With a solid structure, low weight, excellent battery life and compact dimensions, the TravelMate P645 is an Ultrabook geared toward the traveling professional. Excellent video card graphics and screen quality, mixed with a rich sound provide a thrilling entertainment platform. The dual Core i7 processor in the TravelMate P645 with a large Smart Cache, an SSD, and dual core processing provides a high performance data crunching machine which will keep any professional on the leading edge of performance. With a dedicated AMD Radeon GPU video card and the Intel Core i7 processor on board, the TravelMate P645 is a high-end contender at a lower MSRP than its competitors. All of these qualities build what might be one of the finest Ultrabooks available on the market today.
$1,300 as configured and $950 for base model
CPU: Intel Core i7-4500U processor (1.8GHz/3.0GHz w/ Turbo Boost) dual core version
Memory: 8GB DDR3 SDRAM (12GB Maximum)
Drive: 256GB Serial ATA/300 Solid State Drive
14" Active Matrix TFT Color LCD (1920x1080)
AMD Radeon HD 8750M (Up to 2GB Dedicated)
Wireless LAN Standard IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Webcam, Microphone, Fingerprint Reader, HDMI Out, USB 3.0 (3)
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (available through downgrade rights from Windows 8 Pro)
3-cell Lithium Polymer 4850 mAh Battery (8hr. battery life; 11 hours as tested)
Maximum Power Supply Wattage 65-watt
Dimensions (HxWxD): 0.8" x 12.9" x 9.3" (2cm x 32.7cm x 23.9cm)
Weight (Approximate): 3.5lb. (1.6kg)
- Solid, lightweight chassis
- Dedicated GPU
- Battery life
- Fast Core i7 processor
- No removable battery
Brian Teal is a long-time computer builder/tester who enjoys the newest technology. He enjoys integrating technologies to meet real-world situations and has instructed various computer classes for Fortune 500 companies and their employees.