Acer Travelmate 6292-6700
GCN Lab Reviewer's Choice selection
THE ACER Travelmate might be a little heavy for the ultraportable category at 4 pounds, 13 ounces, but the layout of its ports ' including microphone and FireWire right in front ' is well done. And the extra weight seems a small price for the longest battery life and best benchmark performance by a wide margin, two qualities we didn't expect to find in the review's least-expensive laptop PC.
It achieved an overall score of 497 on the PassMark Performance Test, besting all the other systems in processor performance, memory speed, and 2-D and 3-D graphics, making the TravelMate a true business-class system in an ultraportable package.
MAIN STORY: Portability meets performance
In our battery test scenario, it outlived all its competitors, lasting 4 hours, 36 minutes, long enough for most domestic flights. This was almost an hour longer than the next system and more than two hours longer than most of the others. If battery life is important to you, the TravelMate won't disappoint.
Its three USB ports are distributed with two on the right side and one on the left, which is a plus for both number and location. It also has a FireWire, or i.Link, port and microphone and headphone jacks. The ports are grouped at the front of the laptop, which is the logical place, though it was one of only two laptops to place audio jacks there and the only one with FireWire upfront. Coupled with an integrated webcam, this makes the TravelMate 6292- 6700 perfect for videoconferencing on the road.
But perhaps the best feature is its price. At just $1,049, its retail price is less than even the government discount price for other systems reviewed here.
The TravelMate upholds its name. Although a bit heavy, it still slides in under our 5-pound limit. And almost nobody would argue about a little more weight if it means top performance and astounding battery life, even under demanding conditions. Unless you need an ultra lightweight system, there is no reason not to go with the TravelMate 6292-6700. It earns the Reviewer's Choice designation for combining great performance, features and value.Acer America, (408) 533-7700, www.us.acer.com
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.
Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.