Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review (2023)

We’ve seen some stunning laptops from Acer in recent months. Portable workhorses like the Swift Go 14 and the Swift Go 16 both became our daily drivers. We declared the Swift Edge 16 to be one of the best laptops we’d ever used and the Predator Triton 17X was one of the best all-rounder gaming laptops we’d ever tested. All of these high performance laptops had a similar feel and vibe about them including a stylish, understated-cool, solid, metal chassis and great ergonomics. Now, here’s the Intel vPro-sporting, ultraportable Acer TravelMate P4 16 which looks and feels very similar but is designed for the demanding, business-oriented road warrior. Will our review declare it to be similarly superior?

Before we start, we’re going to start implementing some changes before our annual, testing overhaul. Our exhaustive laptop testing assigns Star Ratings to each test section on a sliding scale where 1 Star is the lowest we’ve tested and 5 Stars is the best we’ve tested. This range naturally shifts over time. We’re going to start publishing these component star ratings in this review for the first time.

Specs

Screen16-inch, matte, 60Hz, 1,920 x 1,200, IPS display
Processor3.7-5.0GHz Intel Core i7-1355U CPU
Memory16GB DDR4-3200 RAM
Graphics1.3GHz Intel Xe
Hard drive512GB
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.2
Gigabit Ethernet
2 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
3.5mm audio jack
HDMI 2.1
microSD card reader
SpeakersYes – Acer TrueHarmony
Microphone(s)Dual array
Extra SecurityWindows Hello (webcam & fingerprint)
TPM 2.0
WebcamFull HD
Battery56Wh
Dimensions358 x 251 x 19mm
Weight1.73KG
SKUTMP416-52
Full specs here.

Features, Ergonomics and Design

While the Acer TravelMate P4 16 might not be a head-turner, we’ve come to associate Acer laptops, with metal chassis, as being among the best in the business.

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review Oblique Square
The Acer TravelMate P4 16 is another smart, metal laptop that doesn’t attract undesired attention from dodgy types.

The P4 16’s ‘Slate Blue’ magnesium-alloy body is no different. It looks cool, understated and stylish but feels very high quality and robust. The corner mounted logo plaque is a nice, unusual design element, but it’s ultimately a laptop that you like looking at yourself but which won’t draw too much unwanted attention in a C-Suite boardroom or from ne’er-do-wells when out on the road.

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review Logo Detail
The shots in our Acer TravelMate P4 16 review illustrate that the laptop’s ‘dark blue’ livery lightens-up quickly under different lighting.

Opening it up reveals the 16-inch, matte, 16:10-screen-ratio, 1,920 x 1,200, IPS ‘Acer ComfyView’ display. To be frank, the first thing that we noted were the somewhat-muted colours on the nonetheless crisp-and-clear Windows Desktop. They’re not overly dull, but they’re far from vibrant. It’s not uncommon for business laptop screens to offer diminished graphics, though. The clever ones often have screen-related features to stave-off eye fatigue.

Acer TravelMate P4 R16 Review Front view
The Acer TravelMate P4 R16 has a crisp and clear Windows Desktop and has some decent multimedia prowess. But, the colours are muted.

In this instance, Acer’s ‘ComfyView’ technology is likely responsible as it’s there to banish glare, for eye care, which seems fair.

Naturally, the colour performance extends into multimedia, where videos looked OK but didn’t leap immersively from the screen as with so many recent, rival laptops. However, we were still impressed. Both monochromatic and colourful transitions were relatively smooth compared to most screens on the market. Contrast, too, was impressive with details showing up in bright areas and good levels of detail remaining visible in shadows.

While, it’s no gaming laptop, it’s still worth labouring the point that the bog-standard, 60Hz screen coupled with an ‘average’ pixel response time, renders fast-moving objects somewhat blurrily, to the point where shoot’em up game players would object.

Above the screen is an impressive, Full HD webcam which captures sharp images in low light. It’s got a bright-orange, hardware-based, privacy shutter-slide so that you know when it’s being used. Beside it, its partnering, IR cameras facilitate Windows Hello-based Windows log-on and inside, Acer’s ‘Sensing’ screen-lock technology automatically locks the laptop when you walk away.

Also in this area resides the microphone array and, we’ve got to say, it’s one of the best we’ve ever used. Captured audio is almost studio-grade in its quality and Acer’s Purified Voice Console app provides additional adjustments to further enhance output in different conference-call settings. Also note that there’s a mic-mute button which has a light to show when it’s disabled.

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review Purified Voice App
Acer’s Purified Voice app can further enhance the already-excellent audio-capture quality.

Beneath the screen, there’s an impressive, Scrabble-tile keyboard that’s comfortable and accurate to type upon for much of the day. It’s got two-stage, white backlighting and has a reduced-width number pad to the right. Our only (very minor) gripe was the squished up-and-down arrow keys. The power button doubles as a fingerprint reader and it, too, is Windows Hello compatible.

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review Keyboard
The Acer TravelMate P4 16’s keyboard and trackpad are impressive. It’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet, mind.

Below it is a large, smooth-and-accurate, Corning Gorilla Glass-coated trackpad which is comfortable and accurate to use. The buttons had pleasing, well-weighted click-actuation points too.

The only disappointment with the Acer TravelMate P4 16 is the ‘TrueHarmony’ speaker technology. So many laptops, of all shapes and sizes – no matter how small – have been impressing the pants off us with their booming, well-rounded, punchy speakers lately, but the P4 16 kept making us think there was something wrong. They’re not very loud and rather tinny. We even struggled to hear people we were voice-conferencing in a quiet room… it was downright difficult in noisier environments.

Still, aside from the speakers the Acer TravelMate P4 16 is a joy to use and interact with. It also has innovative dust-expelling technology to keep it from getting clogged-up (the fans go through a special routine with special vents every six hours) and Intel vPro technologies are integrated for remote management and security.

Features, Ergonomics and Design Rating: 4.2/5 Stars

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review: Photo Flourish

The pictures in our Acer TravelMate P4 16 review feature Lego Ron Wesley. Like that wasn’t obvious.


Performance

Inside the Acer TravelMate P4 16 is Intel’s two-Performance-core and eight-Efficiency-core-wielding 13th-Gen, Core i7-1355U processor which operates from 3.7GHz to 5GHz across 12 threads. It’s partnered by 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM and a fast, 512GB, NVMe hard drive.

2D

In the general-computing, PCMark 10 test, the Acer TravelMate P4 16 scored a decent 5,636 which might be just below average in the whole, wide world of laptops (including gaming behemoths) but is impressive for a thin-and-light, business ultraportable. Rating: 2.2/5 Stars

In the Cinebench processor-based rendering tests, the Acer TravelMate P4 16 scored 1,560 in the drag-race-like R15 test and 8,598 in the longer R23 test. These are somewhat below average, but there’s only so much grunt work that two Performance cores can do in this area. It will do rendering, but you’ll have to wait a while longer for it to complete. Rendering Rating: 1.8/5 Stars

2D Performance Rating: 1.9/5 Stars

Cat Interjection

gyhhgyjnj

3D

The Acer TravelMate P4 16’s 3D performance comes via the Intel processor’s integrated Xe GPU which runs at 1.3GHz… so, we didn’t expect much.

It wouldn’t run the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests, Port Royal and Speed Way so don’t expect it to play the best eye-candy-rich games.

In the AAA-gaming-title-a-like tests, 3DMark Time Spy and Port Royal, the Acer TravelMate P4 16 scored 1,290 and 1,325 respectively. These reflect lowly, respective framerates of just 7fps and 6fps. As such, you’ll need to massively drop detail and resolution settings to get any joy with these types of games. Rating: 1.2/5 Stars

However, in the much-easier 3DMark Night Raid test which apes casual and competitive games, the Acer TravelMate P4 16 scored 12,308. That’s an average of 65fps and illustrates that it’s not entirely fun free. Rating: 1.6/5 Stars

3D Performance Rating: 1.2/5 Stars

Cooling

Acer’s fans keep the laptop cool and very quiet most of the time. There’s only really a very minor whoosh when it’s under load. It never got uncomfortably warm.

Connectivity and Ports

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review Left Side Ports
On the left of the Acer TravelMate P4 16 are two Thunderbolt 4 ports (one is used by the power supply), HDMI 2.1, plus a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port.
Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review Right Side Ports
On the right is a 3.5mm audio jack, another USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a Gigabit Ethernet port.
Acer TravelMate P4 R16 Review Front Port
At the front is a microSD card reader.

Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. It’s an impressively thorough complement of connectivity.

Portability and Battery Life

The Acer TravelMate P4 16 feels incredibly well built and we expect that its Magnesium-alloy chassis will easily survive life on the road. The hinge feels very solid and robust and the laptop is military-spec, MIL-STD-810H certified for durability.

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review flat
The TravelMate P4 16’s hinge is impressively strong and fully folds flat.

While we were a little concerned about the relatively small 56Wh battery, it ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office test for an excellent 17 hours and 57 minutes. That’s more than two days out of the office(!) We were impressed.

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Review Underside
The Acer TravelMate P4 16’s power brick is very small and light. But, the battery is so good that you won’t need it very often.

Meanwhile, the Acer TravelMate P4 16 weighs just 1.73KG which is impressive for a 16-inch laptop. The power supply and cables only add another 310g to the mix.

Portability Rating: 4/5 Stars


Price, Availability and Value

As with several, recent Acer laptops, availability is a bit of an issue. Right now, the best option to buy it is actually via Amazon (US) where it costs US$1,193 with a hefty US$280 shipping(!) However, this translates to a total, local, Aussie price of $2,130 which actually represents very good value. Businesses, will likely be able to source these laptops from their Managed Service Providers at quasi-negotiable prices anyway. We’ll keep an eye on it, though, as this has the potential to rocket up the ranks when price and availability settle down.

Value Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

7 Alternatives to the Acer TravelMate P4 16

Acer Swift Go 16 The consumer version of the P4 16 eschews the business features and credentials of the P4 while saving money in the process.

Acer Swift Edge 16 – One of the best laptops we’ve ever reviewed. It’s a very-well featured, very-powerful ultraportable. But, it’s a bit more expensive and also hard to find.

HP Elite Dragonfly G4 It’s smaller but packed with business-friendly features. It’s more expensive but MSP’s will make the price negotiable.

Lenovo Yoga 7i It’s a bit dearer but adds a touchscreen to the mix. It can’t match the security features, though.

Asus Expertbook B5 Asus’ consumer-oriented, super-light, 16-incher has an OLED screen and is a bit cheaper. It’s got a few niggling issues, though.

MSI Stealth 16 Studio MSI’s creator laptop is more powerful, has designer-friendly features and is a capable gaming machine. However, it’s much more expensive.

Asus Vivobook Pro 16X OLED Asus’ creator laptop is incredibly powerful and has an OLED screen. It, too, is capable of gaming but it’s also chunkier and more expensive.

Conclusion: Should You Buy the Acer TravelMate P4 16?

The Acer TravelMate P4 16 is an excellent, ultraportable, business laptop that’s great for consumers who want more security features (and much-better battery life) than a regular, consumer notebook. We also like its green credentials which Acer describes thusly, “Designed partially using PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled) plastic, this business laptop is EPEAT registered, uses 100% recycled packaging materials and select configurations in some countries come TCO Certified.”

At the end of the day, the speakers are the only weak point. Hopefully, availability will improve sooner rather than later as this is a seriously attractive, ultraportable, business laptop that will suit many travelling workers of any pay grade.

Awards

Pros

Very well built
Great to interact with
Green and robustness credentials

Cons

Weak speakers
Availability issues

Results

Acer TravelMate P4 16 Scores
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Features, Ergonomics & Design
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
4.1

Summary

The 2023 Acer TravelMate P4 16 is an incredibly impressive, ultraportable, business laptop that’s a joy to use, away from power, for extended periods.

Leave a Reply