The TravelMate 6592 (831G08Mn) is Acer's latest business-focussed notebooks. Although inferior in several ways when compared to its 2007-released predecessor (the TravelMate 6592G (601G16N)), this new notebook is $700 cheaper than last year's model and it still packs some serious processing power.
Inside the unit is an Intel's Core 2 Duo T8300, which runs at 2.4GHz, has an 800MHz front side bus speed and a 3MB L2 cache. Based on the Penryn 45nm core, this CPU produces less heat when compared with its larger, 65nm predecessors. This was clearly demonstrated by the notebook staying cool despite several hours of data crunching. In our iTunes test, where we convert 53min worth of .WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s in order to test the CPU's processing power, the TravelMate 6592 completed the task in a respectable 76sec.
Also installed in the TravelMate 6592 is 1GB of DDR2 RAM, as well as an 80GB SATA hard drive, which spins at 5400rpm. Although the relatively small hard drive is a disappointment considering the processor's strength, as well as the larger hard drives consistently found in other units in this price range, it must be remembered that, should you need more space, you can always plug in an external hard drive or upgrade the existing one.
The 15.4in, 1280x800 LCD screen is impressive, producing vivid colours and few artefacts when watching movies or viewing images. The notebook weighs 3kg without its power supply (it weighs 3.3kg with it), and because it's large, it's somewhat difficult to use while resting it in your lap. Instead, this unit could be considered as a portable desktop replacement, rather than a mobile notebook that can be used while on the move.
In saying that, its battery life is excellent. In our DVD rundown test, where we loop a DVD until the notebook is exhausted, the notebook's eight-cell lithium ion battery lasted for 2hrs 53min. This means that you can watch pretty much any film while away from an outlet. Furthermore, if you employ a power-saving scheme while using productivity applications, you should get even more life out of the battery.
When it comes to usability, the TravelMate is mostly decent. The touchpad, with left- and right-click buttons, is supplemented by a track-point with its own buttons. The ergonomic keyboard, however, takes some getting used to. Designed to emulate a more natural position of the wrists when typing and reduce stress, the keyboard curves in the middle. This could make typing mistakes common until you get used to the position of all the keys.
In terms of connectivity, the TravelMate 6592 is excellent. It has three USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, one FireWire port, a built-in modem, wireless 802.11 a/g/n connectivity, a D-Sub port, S-Video out, and headphone and microphone jacks.
Impressively, it has both an ExpressCard/54 slot and a PC Card slot, which allows older and newer types of expansion cards to be used (such as digital TV tuners, e-SATA cards and 3G cards, for example). For quickly accessing photos, there is a five-in-one card reader, which supports MS, MSPro, xD, SD and MMC formats. Add a double-layer DVD burner to this mix, as well as a facility for a docking station, and you have a machine that's got everything a business user should need. A fingerprint scanner is also a welcome addition for security-conscious users.