At first glance the Acer TravelMate 6595 is identifiable as a corporate machine; fingerprint reader, 34mm ExpressCard reader, SmartCard slot. Then there’s a ’3G’ sticker advertising the 6595′s internal 3G/UMTS module, which is tucked away in the battery compartment.
The appearance of the TravelMate 6595 is sombre black and gray, and the brushed aluminum of the lid helps add to the elegant, purposeful look. Workmanship is impeccable – nothing wobbles, no jagged edges. The hinges are stiff enough to prevent lid teeter, and a latch gives closing the notebook a sense of decisiveness, a useful feature not found on many modern laptops. Four thick rubber feet on the bottom hold the TravelMate 6595 firmly in place during heavyweight typing sessions, and increase clearance for the vents so the laptop can continue to function at full speed.
The mechanical latch on the DVD drive enables users to insert/remove media even when the TravelMate 6595 is off. And befitting a machine aimed at the corporate user, the Acer TravelMate 6595 is well-equipped port-wise, with USB-3 functionality. There are a couple of USB-2 ports, VGA and HDMI interfaces, an eSATA/USB-2 combo, 34mm ExpressCard slot, SmartCard reader, and audio jacks. The 1.3MP webcam above the display is fine for Skyping, although an LED indicating whether the camera is on or off would have been appreciated.
Underneath the Acer TravelMate 6595 is a docking port, concealed behind a rubber cover, meaning the 6595 can connect with the Acer ProDock, adding another six USB-2 ports and DVI interface, as well as a few other goodies. The docking station costs around 170 euros.
The OS is Windows 7 Professional, complete with Microsoft Office Starter 2010.
That 3G/UMTS slot is a great feature for a notebook’s mobility credentials, avoiding the need for USB flash sticks or smartphones tethering. WiFi-n and Bluetooth 2.1 are also included.
The fingerprint scanner can secure the Windows log-in, and Acer has installed its ‘ProShield’ software, requiring pre-boot authentication and password confirmation before anyone can get at your data.
Acer supplies the TravelMate 6595 notebook with its standard TravelMate warranty of two years. Extendable to 3 or 4 years for a surcharge.
The matte 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display makes outdoor working problem-free, although weak brightness of 155 nits and sub-par contrast ratio of 142:1 mean it won’t be an astoundingly vibrant outdoor experience. Yet the only people who will really notice are professional artists or graphic designers, and they should really be looking for a notebook with a dedicated graphics card…nevertheless, a 900-euro machine ought to offer a better screen. Period.
The keyboard includes a dedicated numberpad with dedicated euro and dollar signs, boosting appeal for business users. Wide keys with good travel and feedback allow for fast, accurate typing, and a couple of keys are programmable for quick launch of your most-used programs. The generous-sized touchpad (104 x 62mm) offers good glide and multi-touch gestures – configurable via the Synaptics-tray icon – respond well.
Everything runs on an Intel i5-2520M CPU, backed by a business-friendly 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive. The i5-2520M is an upper-midrange chip – its two hyperthreaded cores run at 2.5GHz, boostable to 3GHz across both cores via Turbo Boost.
For graphical power the Acer TravelMate 6595 relies on Intel’s integrated HD3000 solution, which should be sufficient for pretty much anything running in an office environment. Of course that integrated graphics processor – roughly equivalent performance-wise to a discrete entry-level GeForce 310M card – isn’t suitable for anything more than casual gaming at reduced settings, but in general performance benchmarks the Acer TravelMate 6595 keeps ahead of other machines in its price bracket. The 5400rpm hard drive yields average data transfer rates of 65MB/s – average, but probably fine for the vast majority of business users.
Audio is lacking in bass notes and a bit limited in volume – external speakers recommended for audio pleasure.
The 6-cell 66Wh battery offers 5 hours of medium use – WiFi-surfing, medium brightness, etc. For anyone looking for the occasional spot of gaming to boost their office productivty, the Acer TravelMate 5760G costs less and packs a dedicated GeForce 540M card, though loses out on connectivity, not least the SIM slot. Battery life would be a lot weaker too. But for a well-speces business model, heavy 3D applications aside, the Acer TravelMate 6595 offers an excellent feature set and commendable performance for 900 euros.
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