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Acer TravelMate 6292 (602G16Mn) review: Acer TravelMate 6292 (602G16Mn)

The Acer TravelMate 6292 passes muster, and comes in at a great price. We just wish it looked a little nicer.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
3 min read

Ah, business laptops. The general look espouses reliability, ruggedness and above all functionality, but does little for the imagination, and seems to have avoided the "personalisation" phase the consumer market is going through -- there's little to surprise here. The TravelMate 6292 is yet another of these trustworthy lugs, managing to fit a good whack of features into a 2kg frame.


Acer TravelMate 6292 (602G16Mn)

The Good

Rugged. Good battery life. Value for money.

The Bad

Old school design feels like new technology shoe-horned into an old chassis. Air vent on the side.

The Bottom Line

The Acer TravelMate 6292 passes muster, but there are better alternatives out there.

Once again the air vent is on the left hand side, meaning left handed users employing an external mouse will get hot air blown at their mitt -- this would surely be more sensibly moved to the rear of the laptop.

The chassis around the screen is quite strong as is most of the construction, and there's a good chance the thing would survive a one metre drop -- although we're not going to try in a hurry! A Webcam sits at the top of the screen as does two stereo microphones -- useful for video conferencing, assuming the bandwidth exists wherever you're travelling.

Indicators near the lip show when the laptop is plugged into power, and when it is in standby mode or on. Other indicators at the top left show disk access, caps lock and numlock, while to the right a Wi-Fi detector flashes orange on the Wi-Fi activation button itself, the wireless supporting all the 802.11s right up to draft n. Beneath this is the Bluetooth activation button, Web browser, e-mail and launch manager buttons, the latter of which allows customisation of the above two, as well as Acer's "Empowering Technology" button, which gives access to what we still consider to be one of the better vendor supplied configuration tools on the market.

The always business-savvy fingerprint scanner is also included, nestled between the left and right mouse buttons. Scarily, you can't remove all the fingerprints entered into Acer's program, with the program demanding at least one remain -- unless you delete the user account altogether.

The cover for the docking port on the bottom is rubber, but not attached to the chassis permanently -- meaning that if you take it out while docking, there's a good chance you'll lose the thing.

On to the port circus! Down the left is a gigabit Ethernet, USB and PC card Type II port, the right side offering a modem port, two USB ports, SD/MS/xD card reader and DVD+-RW drive. The front gets the now commonplace headphone/microphone/external speaker combo, although Acer offers firewire and infrared here as well.

The rear is reserved purely for video out, this time covered by VGA and S-video, although the lack of digital video out hurts. The power socket sits next to the video ports, handily out of the way of everything else.

Acer has chosen to preload the 6292 with Windows XP, and at first loading a popup appears asking you to backup your system -- a nice way around OEMs not including Windows discs by default. The usual Norton AntiVirus set-up screens and Yahoo toolbar also plague the installation, but it looks like they're not going to disappear any time soon.

Of course, the Core 2 Duo T7500, Intel GMA X3100 powered laptop was always going to be good on the business side, and bad on the games side, so the score of 363 in 3DMark06 is expected, while the moderate showing of 3703 in PCMark05 is surprising, making both scores lower than the nearly identically specced Fujitsu S6510, the only notable difference being that the Fujitsu is running Vista.

Expanding the results showed the Acer lagged in the transparent windows test, which is unsurprising considering Vista's Aero advantage, although curiously a low multithreaded virus scan score was posted as well.

Even the previous 6292 outperforms it, but despite our best efforts we couldn't find what was slowing it down.

In terms of battery life, we turned off all the power saving features and set the screen to maximum brightness, and the TravelMate 6292 lasted a very respectable two hours, 17 minutes.

The Acer TravelMate 6292 passes muster, and comes in at a great price. We just wish it looked a little nicer.