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Acer TravelMate Spin P4 vs P4 Laptop: Which is Better

The newest edition of Acer TravelMate is equipped with Intel units from the Tiger Lake family. This is the 11th version of the “blue” mobile chips, the second one made in the 10 nm process. Intel announced and advertised its new processors for laptops with new integrated graphics cards, designed to offer power similar to the independent cards from NVIDIA or AMD, which can be found in notebook computers. So we will be able to check if Intel’s promises about the Intel Xe chip are not exaggerated.

TravelMate P4 and Spin P4 are the competitors of ThinkPad L and Dell Latitude 3000 and 5000 series. Laptops do not pretend to be something exclusive; they seem to reconcile usability, ergonomics, and equipment adequate for this segment with the performance of new processors and graphics cards Intel. Not only them, because TravelMate P4 has a representative of NVIDIA onboard – GeForce MX350.

Laptops came to us in very rich variants. It is enough to mention that Intel Core i7 1165G7 is installed in both machines, in addition to the mentioned GeForce MX350, 16 GB of TravelMate P4 RAM, 32 GB in its convertible version, and the rest of the configuration is closed by PCIe NVMe disks with a capacity of 512 GB and 1 TB.

General Info

TravelMate Spin P4TravelMate P4
$CHECK PRICECHECK PRICE
BrandAcerAcer
ModelSpin P4 P4 (TMP414-51)
Weight1.4 kg (3.09 lbs)1.41 kg (3.11 lbs)
OSWindows 10 Home Windows 10 Home
Display14 inches14 inches
Dimensions325 x 236 x 17.9 mm325 x 236 x 17.9 mm
TypeLaptopLaptop
FlipYesNo
ColorBlueBlue

TravelMate Spin P4 and TravelMate P4 are practically identical. Well, almost – the only slight difference is the slightly different structure of the hinges in the Spin P4 and the presence of a shiny, tactile matrix covered with a glass pane. But it’s understandable – Spin is a convertible notebook, so the hinges must allow it to transform into a tablet quickly. Besides, in all other respects, both computers look the same.

In terms of design and quality, there is nothing to complain about here. So objectively, because subjectively, that’s probably – someone may not like the color of the housing or the fact that the touchpad is in the same color and blends a bit with the palm rest. The corners of the case are pleasantly rounded, as is the trackpad, so everything is consistent, even when it comes to details. At the same time, the whole thing is uncomplicated, and it is simply good to look at in the world. The laptop will certainly not bring shame to the manufacturer, but somehow, it will not stand out from the competition in terms of design.

In terms of durability, both structures are also almost identical. The desktop is quite well supported, although it could be a bit stiffer with the touchpad. The casing fits very precisely, so nothing sounds and does not spoil the aesthetics with uninvited gaps. Where does this “almost” come from then? The Spin P4 screen features Corning Gorilla Glass, which naturally stiffens the lid, so the convertible Spin fares a bit better. But the classic P4 has no reason to be uncomfortable because the display is well protected. Even stronger pressure on the center of the cover does not cause any disturbances on the active matrix.

One should also mention the hinges of the converted Spin P4. These work with quite a pleasant resistance and allow you to quickly and smoothly transform your notebook into a tablet.

Display

Display TypeFull HD, IPSFull HD, IPS
Display Size14 inches 14 inches
Aspect Ratio16:916:9
Display Resolution1920 x 1080 pixels1920 x 1080 pixels
Touch ScreenYesNo
Refresh Rate60 Hz60 Hz
PPI157 PPI157 PPI

Both laptops are equipped with  IPS panels with Full HD resolution. In the case of TravelMate P4, it is a matte screen, and TravelMate Spin P4 has a touch screen protected by a glass pane. The quality of the screens is adequate to the segment of laptops in which they are installed, but they are not displays for people professionally dealing with graphics or simply in the world – who like rich, juicy colors. Backlight below 300 nits, the average for an IPS matrix, contrast, and color coverage below 60% of the sRGB gamut clearly emphasize this.

Acer decided to use aluminum painted in a matte gray-blue color (Slate Blue). Most of the housing is made of it. The bottom is made of plastic, although it imitates metal, when it turned out that it was not an aluminum panel. Both laptops are unlikely to become the kings of the “Thinnest and lightest 14-inch laptop” category, as they are up to 18 mm thick and weigh around 1.4 kg. There are thinner and lighter as well as broader and heavier devices on the market. The screen frames can also be found narrower. The side panels look decent, but the upper and lower ones are reminiscent of notebooks from 4-5 years ago.

Performance

Processor NameIntel Core i7 1165G7Intel Core i7 1165G7
Base frequency1.2-2.8 GHz1.2-2.8 GHz
Graphics CardIntel Iris Xe Graphics G7 (96EU)Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 (96EU)
RAM32 GB16 GB
Storage1 TB, M.2 SSD, PCIe NVMe x4512 GB, M.2 PCIe NVMe x4 SSD

The naming of processors can rightly be associated with the 10th generation chips made in the 10 nm microarchitecture – Ice Lake. In this case, the first two digits indicate the CPU generation, and the next two digits are the unit ID. The designation “G7” means the performance of the integrated GPU.

Intel’s 11th generation mobile CPU takes them entirely into the world of 10nm lithography. It’s about time because the competition in AMD has been based on the 7 nm process for two years and the previous family. However, it was undoubtedly a big step in Intel’s history, was not as popular as the Comet Lake units introduced in the same year – made on based on yet another improved Skylake architecture (14nm). 

Intel Core i7 1165G7 is a 4-core and 8-thread unit. Virtually all diagnostic programs indicate a TDP of 28 W. This is not entirely true, however, because the CPU works in the TDP range from 12 to 28 W. 

The hardware manufacturers ultimately determine what efficiency the processor will work with, which is why many processors of this generation do not have a predetermined TDP in the official Intel specification. 

Intel has adopted the “tiger” processors to work with ultra-mobile devices, where the most extended battery life is essential, even at the expense of performance, and to “combines,” which nevertheless focuses on high performance. The processor’s base clock is, in theory, 2.8 GHz (but again – not in every case!), And the maximum clock speed for all cores is up to 4.1 GHz. Added to this is a 12 MB cache.

Intel announced that the Xe is to bring performance higher than the Radeons Vega integrated with Ryzen, and even the low-bay GPU from NVIDIA can be found in laptops. And it is great that we can verify these promises quite easily. We recently had the opportunity to test the Radeon Vega 7 integrated with the Ryzen 7 4700U with the Acer Swift 3, and the GeForce MX350 is in the TravelMate P4 we’ve just tried.

However, before we move on to the “dry” numbers, let’s take a look at what the graphic layouts of both test heroes offer on paper. Intel Xe is based on the scalable Xe-LP core, which will be found in Intel’s announced independent graphics cards. Integrated with the Core i7 1165G7, the system offers 96 shading units, 8 rendering units, and twice as many texturing units. The system works with a base frequency of 400 MHz to increase the clock speed to 1300 MHz in the Boost mode. Memory is shared.

 Based on the GP107 core, the GeForce MX350 looks much better in terms of specifications. 640 shaders, 16 rendering, and 40 texturing units are supported by 2 GB of own memory (GDDR5) and clocking in the 1354 – 1468 MHz fork. What can I say – if these values ​​directly impacted the results in games and benchmarks, Intel Xe would have to recognize a decisive advantage of dGPU from NVIDIA.

But it’s not like that! It turned out that this time Intel’s assurances about the amazingness of their graphics chip were not completely exaggerated and in some tasks, the representative of the “blue” was doing better or at least similar to the MX350 and Radeon Vega 7. The numbers do not lie.

Multimedia

Web-camAbove the displayAbove the display
Resolution1280 x 7201280 x 720
Speakers2.02.0
Ports2x USB 3.2 gen 1 (3.0)
1x Thunderbolt 3
HDMI
audio in / out
RJ-45
2x USB 3.2 gen 1 (3.0)
1x Thunderbolt 3
HDMI
audio in / out
RJ-45
WIFI6 AX201 160MHz6 AX201 160MHz
HDMI1x HDMI 2.01x HDMI 2.0
Bluetooth5.05.0
EthernetYesYes
Memory SlotsmicroSD card readermicroSD card reader

In both cases, TravelMates P4 offers a complete package for Internet connectivity. Acer has equipped its “business bags” with a wired network card (Realtek RTL8168 / 8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Adapter) and a WLAN card supporting Wi-Fi in the AX standard (so-called Wi-Fi 6 ) and Bluetooth 5.1. Added to this is an optional WWAN modem (Quectel EM06-E). To be completely happy, some may lack only NFC.

Thunderbolt 4 has arrived with new Intel CPUs. It is true that the maximum speed has not increased compared to the previous generation and is still a maximum of 40 GB / s. Still, it is possible to use longer cables (up to 2 meters) without loss, and the port itself will now be able to handle two external screens with a resolution of 4K or one with 8K resolution.

On the right side, there is a headphone-microphone socket, a microSD card reader, a slot for a SIM card, and in the case of Spin P4 – a socket for an active pen. The classic TravelMate P4 has only a cover here.

Acer has equipped them with everything that they should find in a business device of this class. The fingerprint reader, integrated with the power button in both cases, is located on the right edge. Smart Card? There is, but only in the P4 version. Spin P4 doesn’t have it. A webcam with a mechanical shutter and an IR sensor for facial recognition? Is. On top of that, of course, there is the TPM 2.0 encryption module. 

The speakers are placed above the keyboard, under a fine mesh that decorates the desktop. Such a location ensures that they are not silenced in any way when, for example, someone uses a computer holding it on their lap, as is sometimes the case in laptops with speakers placed underneath.

The TravelMate’s is loud and, unfortunately, the sign of being too loud has not been avoided – above 90% of the volume, the dominant high tones start to pierce the ears unpleasantly, so when watching a movie or listening to music, it is worth not to exceed this threshold. Below that value, it is much better, and the reproduced sound is as audible as possible. But it doesn’t stand out with anything special either.

Keyboard

The keyboards in Acer business laptops are pretty pleasant and comfortable, but it will be much better to use them for people who like a very short essential travel. The keyboard profile in both of the heroes of the review is relatively flat, but fortunately, the mechanisms are springy enough so that you do not feel like tapping your fingers on a plastic board.

The entire keyboard area is orderly, the gaps between the keys are sufficient, and the “tiles” of the buttons are sufficiently large, so everything is conducive to intuitive touch typing. The only slight disadvantage is the crampedness of the directional keys.

The surface of the touchpads in both laptops is sufficient for comfortable work, although the trackpad is neither very wide nor long. It is just right. The plastic plate is also slippery, so moving your finger over its surface is not difficult and is comfortable enough. The touchpad buttons are integrated into the board. Their stroke is a bit plastic, but at the same time, it is properly felt and springy. Nothing to complain about.

Battery

Battery TypeLi-IonLi-Ion
Battery Capacity43 Wh43 Wh
ReplaceableNoNo
Power65 W65 W

Acer opted for batteries with a capacity similar to business notebooks usually offer in this segment – 43 Wh. Both laptops performed exceptionally well in battery life, especially the Spin 4, which can work up to 12 hours without interruption.

The fact that the TravelMate Spin P4 fared better is no surprise. The independent GeForce MX350 in the second tested laptop meant that the working time, depending on the activity, was shorter by half an hour to even four hours. Therefore, it turned out that the Core i7 1165G7 and Intel Xe doublet is not only efficient but can also take care of energy efficiency.

Conclusion!

Both laptops managed very well in terms of performance. They may not be the lightest and smallest among 14-inch business laptops, but they are hard to fault with anything. Although not – you can: about those thick upper and lower bezels of the screen. Plus, everything is there, including the selection and placement of available ports, slots, and readers.

The Tiger Lake generation is satisfying. The “Tiger” in the Core i7 1165G7 with the integrated Intel Xe presented itself very well, although the low-voltage Ryzenes can still fare better. Radeon Vega is different – here it may turn out that Intel has created a more efficient iGPU than the “reds,” and you can see the first symptoms of this state of affairs in this review.

Acer TravelMate P4 and TravelMate Spin P4, however, are not entirely without flaws. And probably the biggest is the average quality matrices that have no alternative.

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