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We recently reviewed Acer's creator-focused Swift X laptop, which combined strong performance and an attractive, lightweight design at a competitive price. The company's updated TravelMate Spin P4 (TMP414RN), examined here, is more of an everyday workhorse, whose lightweight and sturdy convertible design makes it a good choice for a variety of mobile use cases.
Rather than the conventional clamshell form factor of the Swift X, the TravelMate Spin P4 has a more versatile convertible design that allows the 14-inch touch screen to be reversed for presentations, or simply folded right back to function in tablet mode when you don't need -- or have room for -- the keyboard.
The 14-inch IPS display may only provide FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels, 157.3ppi), but it's sharp and colourful, with good viewing angles. The glossy screen coating is highly reflective, which can be a little annoying at times -- when you're working outdoors, for example.
It's unclear from Acer's published specs what colour standards are supported by the display, but the TravelMate is clearly designed for general business use, rather than high-quality graphics or design work, so that's unlikely to worry potential buyers too much.
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More important is the fact that the TravelMate is aptly named, with an attractively svelte design for a 14-inch laptop. It measures just 17.9mm thick, 325mm wide and 236mm deep, and weighs 1.5kg. That is, admittedly, a little heavy for a laptop with 'ultraportable' aspirations, but that's due to the convertible design and the fact that the slimline chassis also meets the military-grade MIL-STD 810H standard for impact resistance (although 'sand and dust testing' is based on the older 810F standard).
The backlit keyboard feels firm and responsive, and is also spill-resistant, making the TravelMate a good option for those who need a sturdy laptop that can cope with a variety of locations and conditions. If there's a weak spot here it's the power connector, which -- as with the Swift X -- juts out from the side of the laptop at a right-angle and looks a lot less sturdy than the laptop itself.
Connectivity is another strong point, with HDMI for an external display, plus a Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) port that also supports DisplayPort for video output. There are two additional USB-A (3.2) ports, a MicroSD card reader and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The TravelMate supports Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), and also includes an RJ-45 Ethernet port for wired office networks. The only real disappointment is the less than flattering image quality delivered by the 720p webcam.
Not for the first time, we found the information on Acer's website to be vague to the point of being downright misleading. Acer's UK and US websites state quite clearly that the TravelMate offers "remarkable graphical performance from the Nvidia MX350", yet the datasheet provided by Acer and the various configurations listed on the websites all show that the only GPU option is the Iris Xe Graphics module that's integrated with the TravelMate Spin P4's 11th-generation Intel Core processor. Optional LTE broadband is mentioned too, but equally absent from any currently available models.
Our Acer-provided review unit costs £842.97 (inc. VAT) from Currys Business and other third-party retailers in the UK. That price includes Windows 10 Pro with a quad-core Core i5-1135G7 processor running at 2.4GHz (up to 4.2GHz with TurboBoost), along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid-state storage. In the US, this configuration costs $999.99.
Acer's UK website offers a Core i5 model with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for £999.99 (inc. VAT), while US customers can opt for a $1,199.99 Core i7-1165G7 model with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
The Core i5 processor in our review unit obviously isn't aimed at power users, but it still turned in Geekbench 5 CPU scores of 1,345 (single-core) and 3,940 (multi-core). Those scores are only slightly lower than ultraportables such as HP's (much more expensive) Elite Dragonfly G2, which scores 1,565 and 4,330 respectively with a slightly more expensive Core i7 processor. The TravelMate Spin P4 will be perfectly adequate for handling day-to-day business software, email and web browsing.
Graphics performance isn't going to win any awards either as -- without that claimed Nvidia GPU -- the TravelMate's integrated graphics could only manage a modest 63fps when running the Cinebench R15 OpenGL tests, and just 5.2fps for the demanding 3D graphics of Unigine Valley. Even so, that'll still be adequate for some simple photo- or video-editing workloads.
Battery life is quite reasonable too, the 56Wh Li-ion unit lasting for 7.5 hours when streaming full-screen video via Wi-Fi. This means you shouldn't have any trouble getting a full day's work out of the TravelMate when you're away from the office. And, with its convertible design, you'll be able to kick back and relax with some music or videos at the end of the day too.
The accuracy of the information on Acer's website is disappointing, and the limited range of TravelMate Spin P4 models may deter business users who prefer to configure their laptops in detail. Nonetheless, the Spin P4 is an attractive and affordable workhorse laptop, with a robust convertible design that equips it well for life on the road.
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