Acer Travelmate 6291: A Bare-Bones Ultraportable

For frequent business travelers, the Acer TravelMate 6291 offers a borderline ultraportable that caters to business people who rarely stay in one place, yet it falls well within the budget constraints of most companies. Still, at this price, you’re not going to get the latest Intel components, more than 1GB of RAM (we recommend 2GB in order to handle Vista's more demanding features), or great battery life.

What the 6291’s plain magnesium-alloy chassis loses in style, it gains in durability, portability and cost-effectiveness. At 4.5 pounds, it’s on the heavy end for an ultraportable. The unit boasts a built-in optical drive, and its 12-inch widescreen allows for a full size keyboard, like that of the ThinkPad X60.

Acer does a good job of integrating features- the 6291 has three USB ports and a FireWire port, plus S-Video out and VGA-out (rare among ultraportables). One notable omission is integrated WAN, which is understandable given the price, but a cellular modem should at least be an option,

The 6291’s performance wouldn’t have been so disappointing if Acer hadn’t skimped on memory. The 1,6-GHz Intel Core 2 DuoT5500 processor isn’t the latest or greatest, but at least it can handle Vista, unlike the unit’s measly 1GB of RAM. That memory deficiency can be crippling for applicalions such as Adobe Photoshop or even a Web browser. Even worse, the system’s battery life is abysmal, lasting little more than an hour and a half on our DVD battery run-down test.

Despite its performance drawback, the Acer TravelMate 6291 is an attractive basic business laptop that gives you tremendous portability and an excellent pricer.

Price range
Acer Travelmate 6291: $1,100

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