Earlier this year, Acer announced a new line-up of laptops to coincide with Intel's Centrino Pro/Duo platform -- the business-focused TravelMate range. The TravelMate 6592 is the range's desktop replacement model.
The TravelMate 6592 is nominally a 'thin-and-light' laptop, but its relative bulk means it's functionally a desktop replacement. At 2.9kg you're unlikely to want to carry it very far or very often, and if you do make it a travel companion you'll need a pretty capacious bag. It plants a footprint 360mm wide by 275mm deep. At its maximum, the TM 6592 is 37mm thick.
This laptop's colour scheme is no great surprise: it has a slate-grey lid section, and black innards with grey highlights that are slightly lifted from the humdrum by a few emerald-green accents.
A solid dual-action clasp keeps the lid and keyboard sections together when the laptop is not in use, and build quality is generally very good. The lid section, in particular, feels reassuringly solid. All this bodes well if you do choose to carry this laptop around.
The 15.4-inch matt-finish TFT display on our review sample had a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels, which is on the low side. Compare, for example, the HP Compaq 6715b, whose 15-inch screen has a native resolution of 1,680x1,050 pixels. If you need the higher-resolution screen, this is available in a different configuration of the TravelMate 6592.
The keyboard is distinctive because of the five-degree curve on which the keys rest. This places the outer keys nearer the screen than the inner ones, encouraging you to hold your wrists at a slightly wider angle than usual. Acer says this helps with user ergonomics, and we can confirm that this design does indeed feel more comfortable for touch typing than standard laptop keyboards.
The spread of keys is wide, with a row of two-thirds-height function keys sitting atop a row of full-sized number keys. When it comes to cursor movement, Acer offers two options. The touchpad has two enormous mouse buttons beneath it, with a central navigation pad for vertical and horizontal scrolling. Alternatively, there's an emerald-green mini joystick nestling between the G, H and B keys. A second pair of mouse buttons, with emerald green accents, sits above the touchpad for use with the pointing stick. The fingerprint sensor sits between this second pair of mouse buttons.
Above the keyboard there's space for four shortcut buttons. Two are preconfigured to launch Outlook Express for email and Internet Explorer for Web browsing. You can change these settings and also program a third personalised launcher button. The fourth button opens Acer's Empowering Technology utilities, a set of tools for managing things such as presentation mode settings, backup, security and password management.
For processing power, our TravelMate 6592 review sample had a 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100, backup by 1GB of RAM (expandable to 4GB). Windows XP Professional was preinstalled on our review sample, although Vista Business and Vista Home Premium are also available.
Wi-Fi (802.11a, b, g and n), Bluetooth (2.0+EDR), infrared, Gigabit Ethernet and a 56Kbps V.92 modem are all built in.
Graphics were handled by a discrete ATI Mobility Radeon X2300-HD module in our review sample, although other configurations are available. The hard drive, a 160GB unit spinning at 5,400rpm, can be downgraded to 80GB or 120GB if necessary. The optical drive sits in a modular bay that can also accommodate a second battery or a second hard drive.