Acer TravelMate P645 (2015) review

Lots of battery, but little else

Acer TravelMate P645
A road warrior

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Here's how the Acer TravelMate P645 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 5,197; Sky Diver: 49,661; Fire Strike: 702
  • Cinebench CPU: 239 points; Graphics: 29 fps,
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,579 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 5 hours and 9 minutes

The P645 performed comparably to the year's best Ultrabooks in its benchmark tests. It ran much faster than the Asus Zenbook UX305 and the Dell XPS 13, scoring a 2,579 on the PCMark 8 Home test, compared with the Zenbook's 2,107 and the Dell's 2,104. As a comparison, top-of-the-line mobile workstations, such as the HP ZBook 17, generally score above 3,000 points. The ZBook, for example, scored a 4048.

The P645 scored a 702 on the 3DMark Fire Strike test, which measures graphics rendering. The XPS 13 scored a 739 and the ZenBook scored a 594. The ZBook blasted all of these devices out of the park with a score of 4,385.

For gamers and designers, the Cinebench graphics test proved that the P645 was capable of producing 29 frames per second, which is slightly better than consumer hybrids like the Surface Pro 3 (25 fps) and the Chi (25 fps), but nowhere near as powerful as the HP ZBook 17, which was able to crank out an insane 118 FPS.

Battery life

Here's where the P645 shines. Not only did this notebook score a 5 hour and 9 minute rating on the PCMark 8 battery test, which is one of the top 10 scores we've ever recorded, it also played video for a whopping 12 hours and four minutes with the volume and screen brightness set at 50%. Other than the Toshiba Kirabook, which scored an 11 hour and 15 minute rating on PCMark 8, the P645 can hang around almost as long as any device on the market.

Bundled software

The Acer TravelMate P645 is loaded with security software and hardware, which will entice IT decision-makers to purchase this device. However, these tools are likely to turn off the business user who shops for him or herself.

For example: Acer ProShield Manager is a suite of security and management tools that encrypt data. If your device is lost you can set this software up so that no one can access your information without a passcode or without swiping the fingerprint reader. I don't know about you all, but for my typical day-to-day computing needs, a start-up menu password is secure enough. With that being said, I'm sure Future US, the parent company of TechRadar, wouldn't mind if my data had a second level of protection.

We liked

For a laptop with so many ports and such an impressive battery, the P645 is relatively lightweight and slim. Although its screen isn't much to look at, the laptop itself, built with carbon fiber and magnesium alloy is pretty and inoffensive.

Battery life on this device is stellar. I've never achieved anything quite like the 12 hours of video streaming that I got on the P645. If all you need is something that can power through a workday, then this should be among your top considerations.

We disliked

The screen, keyboard and touchpad are just not up to snuff with other laptops in this realm. When you combine a jumpy touchpad with a low-quality non-touch HD screen, you're basically ruining any possibility for an enjoyable laptop experience. Sure, this won't serve as a bad backup laptop that you take on the road in a pinch, but it isn't enjoyable enough to use to make it your number one device.

Final verdict

If your main concern is battery life, then you should totally spend almost $1,000 on this laptop. However, I highly doubt anyone really needs an extra hour or two of juice that badly. The P645 performs adequately, it looks okay and it's sturdy enough to withstand the bumps and thuds of constant travel. It's got so many ports that you'll be able to park yourself almost anywhere and get to work immediately. Unfortunately, what you do on this device won't be so pleasant. A wack HD screen and an inaccurate touchpad make for a clumsy and frustrating experience.