As a professional on the move, it’s crucial to have a reliable business laptop that can keep up with your hectic schedule. The Acer TravelMate P648-M-14 aims to be that companion, offering a sturdy build, solid performance, and essential features for the modern business user.
However, as with any device, it has its strengths and weaknesses. In this comprehensive review, we will explore the Acer TravelMate P648-M-14 in-depth, examining its design, display, performance, battery life, and more, to help you determine if it’s the right choice for your needs.
The Acer TravelMate P648-M-14 is available in various configurations to suit different budgets and requirements. We reviewed the $1,164 model, which features a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics with 2GB of VRAM, and a 1080p display.
The base model retails for $976 and includes an Intel Core i5-6200U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, no discrete graphics, and a 1366 x 768 display. Upgrading to a Core i5-6300 CPU costs $1,040, while opting for a Core i7-6500U CPU will set you back $1,122. For a 1080p display, you’ll need to choose the top-tier configuration we reviewed.
Please keep in mind that this information is based on the specifications you provided. It’s always a good idea to double-check with the manufacturer or retailer for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the available configurations and prices.
|Base Model||Intel Core i5-6200U||8GB||256GB SSD||Integrated Graphics||1366 x 768||$976|
|Core i5-6300U||Intel Core i5-6300U||8GB||256GB SSD||Integrated Graphics||1366 x 768||$1,040|
|Core i7-6500U||Intel Core i7-6500U||8GB||256GB SSD||Integrated Graphics||1366 x 768||$1,122|
|Reviewed Model||Intel Core i7-6500U||8GB||256GB SSD||Nvidia GeForce 940M||1920 x 1080 (Full HD)||$1,164|
Note: The prices mentioned above are approximate and may vary depending on the retailer and location.
The Acer TravelMate P648-M-14 sports a minimalist aesthetic typical of many business laptops. Its glass-and-carbon-fiber lid is predominantly black, with a silver Acer logo in the top-right corner and “Carbon Fiber Chassis” printed in gray on the top-left corner. This combination of materials results in a durable and robust structure, capable of withstanding everyday wear and tear.
When you open the laptop, you’ll find a 14-inch, 1080p display with slim bezels on the sides, a backlit, island-style keyboard, and a black magnesium deck. The TravelMate P648-M-14’s dimensions of 12.9 x 9.3 x 0.8 inches and a weight of 3.6 pounds make it compact and relatively lightweight, enabling you to carry it around easily.
Durability and Security
Acer designed the TravelMate P648-M-14 with durability in mind, as evidenced by its MIL-STD-810G certification. This means it has undergone testing for vibrations, shocks, and extreme temperatures, ensuring it can survive the rigors of travel, such as being stored in an airplane’s overhead compartment. Additionally, the laptop features a spill-resistant keyboard, providing an extra layer of protection against accidents.
On the security front, the TravelMate P648-M-14 comes equipped with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to safeguard biometric and sensitive data. It also has a fingerprint reader that supports Windows Hello for secure and convenient login. Acer’s Office Manager app allows IT departments to deploy antivirus software and security policies, while ProShield enables users to manage security features such as TPM and drive encryption.
Ports and Connectivity
The TravelMate P648-M-14 offers a wide range of ports to accommodate both new and legacy peripherals and monitors. On the left side of the laptop, you’ll find an Ethernet jack, a VGA port, an HDMI output, a USB 3.0 port, a Thunderbolt 3 port, and a headphone jack. The right side houses two additional USB 3.0 ports, a lock slot, and the power jack. An SD card slot is located at the front of the deck, just below the palm rest.
This laptop stands out as the first device we’ve tested to support 802.11ad Wi-Fi, which allows for wireless speeds up to 4.6 Gbps over a 60-GHz band. While routers supporting this standard are few and far between at the moment, the TravelMate P648-M-14 is future-proofed for when this technology becomes more widespread.
The 14-inch, 1080p display on the Acer TravelMate P648-M-14 can be somewhat underwhelming, with muted colors and a lack of vibrancy even at maximum brightness. This is particularly noticeable when watching videos or viewing images, where colors fail to truly pop.
When it comes to color reproduction, the TravelMate P648-M-14’s display covers only 61% of the sRGB color gamut, falling short of the thin-and-light-notebook category average of 79%. In terms of color accuracy, it fares better with a Delta-E score of 1.2 (where lower scores are better) but still falls short of some competitors with more accurate displays.
Brightness is another area where the TravelMate P648-M-14’s display disappoints, with an average brightness of 230 nits. This falls below the category average of 246 nits, making the screen difficult to view in bright environments or under direct sunlight.
Keyboard and Touchpad
One of the most critical aspects of a business laptop is its usability, and unfortunately, the Acer TravelMate P648-M-14’s keyboard leaves something to be desired. With a shallow key travel of 1.2 millimeters (ideally, we prefer 1.5 to 2 mm), the keys feel unsatisfying and prone to bottoming out quickly under the 61 grams of force required to press them.
While typing speeds may not be significantly impacted, the typing experience is less comfortable and can lead to more errors. On the plus side, the keyboard exhibits no flex, and the 3.8 x 2.1-inch Synaptics touchpad is spacious and comfortable to use. However, the touchpad does not support all of Windows 10’s gestures, limiting its functionality to some extent.
The speakers on the TravelMate P648-M-14 deliver audio that is loud enough to fill a medium-sized meeting room, but the sound quality is unbalanced. In our testing, we found that vocals, guitar, and percussion were clear, but bass-heavy elements, such as in the song “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen, were subdued and lacked depth.
Our review unit of the Acer TravelMate P648-M-14 featured a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics with 2GB of VRAM. This configuration allowed for smooth multitasking, with no noticeable lag even when running multiple browser tabs and streaming 1080p video.
In terms of overall performance, the TravelMate P648-M-14 scored 7,014 on the Geekbench 3 benchmark, exceeding the thin-and-light-notebook category average of 6,644. Its SSD also performed well, transferring 4.97GB of mixed media files in 29 seconds, for a transfer rate of 175.5 megabytes per second. This beats the category average of 138.6 MBps.
When running productivity tasks, such as pairing 20,000 names and addresses in our OpenOffice spreadsheet macro test, the TravelMate P648-M-14 completed the task in 4 minutes and 5 seconds. This is faster than the category average of 5:34 and outpaces some competing laptops.
The Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics in the TravelMate P648-M-14 aren’t suitable for heavy gaming but may be sufficient for lighter games and speeding up photo and video editing tasks. On the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark, the laptop scored 87,876, significantly higher than the category average of 58,330 and competitors with integrated Intel HD Graphics 520.
For a business laptop, battery life is of paramount importance, and the Acer TravelMate P648-M-14’s endurance is somewhat disappointing. In our Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web browsing over 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the device lasted for just 7 hours and 7 minutes. This falls short of the thin-and-light category average of 8:10, and other competing laptops offer longer battery life.
The 720p webcam on the TravelMate P648-M-14 captures grainy and pixelated images. In our testing, photos taken with the camera exhibited inaccurate colors, blurry details, and an overall lack of sharpness.
Despite its shortcomings, the TravelMate P648-M-14 manages to stay cool under pressure. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video from Hulu, the laptop’s bottom reached 92.5 degrees Fahrenheit, the center of the keyboard reached 93 degrees, and the touchpad measured 80.5 degrees. All of these temperatures fall below our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Software and Warranty
The Acer TravelMate P648-M-14 comes preloaded with a mix of useful and unwanted software. On the bloatware side, you’ll find apps like Firefox, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Flipboard, Twitter, and trials of Avast SecureLine (90 days) and Foxit PhantomPDF (30 days).
Acer’s proprietary software is more helpful, with utilities like ControlCenter for monitoring your laptop’s health and hardware configuration, DustDefender for cleaning the vents, and Portal for cloud storage. There’s also Power Management for monitoring battery consumption and Recovery Management for creating and restoring backups. Acer’s Explorer app, however, is less useful, merely providing a portal for downloading software, games, and antivirus solutions from its partners.
The Acer TravelMate P648-M-14 exhibits the hallmarks of a capable business laptop, with a robust design and decent performance. However, its lackluster display and shallow keyboard undermine its appeal as a productivity tool, and its battery life may not last a full workday or a long flight.
As an alternative, consider the Lenovo ThinkPad T460 (starting at $674), our top pick for a business laptop. It offers a powerful and durable design, an excellent keyboard, and up to 17 hours of battery life with an extended battery. For a superior display, take a look at the Dell Latitude E7470 (starting at $1,079).