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Acer TravelMate Spin P4 hands-on review

Acer goes after the ThinkPad X1 Yoga with this 2-in-1 business laptop

(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Our Verdict

Acer's TravelMate Spin P4 is a practical business laptop with a flexible chassis and tons of ports, but the design and display don't inspire.

For

  • Flexible 2-in-1 design
  • Ports for every accessory
  • Intel 11th Gen CPUs
  • Clicky keyboard

Against

  • Thick display bezels
  • Unwieldy as a tablet
  • Display looks a bit dim

I never thought I'd say this but the business laptop category is heating up. Forget the thick boxy laptops of old, new enterprise notebooks are sleek and stylish. We've seen MSI, Asus and others enter the game recently, and now Acer wants to interrupt the space with the TravelMate Spin P4, a 2-in-1 laptop with a 14-inch display.

I got to spend a week with the pre-production unit of the TravelMate Spin P4, and while I'm not yet convinced it will dethrone the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, there is a lot to like about Acer's latest entry.

I haven't run benchmarks on the system, but the Spin P4, armed with Intel 11th Gen chips, performed flawlessly when I subjected it to my demanding workload. The laptop also has tons of ports, some useful security features, and a flexible 2-in-1 chassis with a stylus garage on the side.

We will publish a full review in the coming weeks. For now, here are our hands-on impressions of the new TravelMate Spin P4.

Acer TravelMate Spin P4 specs

Price: $999 (starting)
CPU:
Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 32GB
Storage: 1TB
Display: 14-inch, 1080p touchscreen
Battery: 14 hours (estimated)
Size: 12.7 x 9.2 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.3 pounds

TravelMate Spin P4 price and release date 

The TravelMate Spin P4 will be available in the United States in December starting at $999. A clamshell model, the TravelMate P4, will launch for $899 in December. 

TravelMate Spin P4 design

The rectangular Acer logo on the lid gives the laptop an antiquated look but I don't mind the retro label as much as others might.

What I can't get over are the massive bezels surrounding the display of this $999 business hybrid. It's one thing for the chin, or bottom bezel, to be several inches thick, but the top bezel on the Spin P4 needs to go to the barber for a trim.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Making up for the chunky frames is a stylish blue finish on the lid and deck. Opening the laptop, the first thing I noticed was the large vent above the keyboard. This is the top-firing speaker, which produces crisp and loud sound. 

As a 2-in-1, the TravelMate Spin 4 can convert from a laptop to a tablet when you flip the screen backward. As a tablet, though, the Spin P4 is downright unwieldy. What it does have going for it, however, is the garaged pen slot on the right side. Almost identical to the one on the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, this slot houses an AES stylus for charging and safekeeping when you're finished drawing or hand-writing. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

At 12.7 x 9.2 x 0.7 inches and 3.3 pounds, the TravelMate Spin P4 is a bit thicker and heavier than the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (0.6 inches, 3 pounds) and the Dell Latitude 9410 2-in-1 (0.6 inches, 3 pounds). 

TravelMate Spin P4 durability and security

Tested to MIL-STD-810G standards, the TravelMate Spin P4 can withstand extreme conditions, including high altitudes and repeated drops. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

On the security front, the TravelMate Spin P4 has a webcam cover you can slide closed for peace of mind that nobody is snooping on you. You have plenty of login options that are more secure than typing a password. I prefer using the IR camera for facial recognition sign-in via Windows Hello. There's also a fingerprint scanner on the right side but it's not very convenient to use because of the location. 

TravelMate Spin P4 ports

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

This thing is loaded with ports. On the left side of the TravelMate Spin P4 are a Thunderbolt 4 port, two USB 3.0 Type-A inputs, an HDMI, and an Ethernet jack. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

On the right side of the laptop is a MicroSD card slot, a headphone/mic jack, a SIM slot (for 4G LTE) and a Kensington lock.

TravelMate Spin P4 display

The 14-inch, 1080p touchscreen on the TravelMate Spin P4 looks decent. The panel isn't the brightest or the most colorful but I've definitely seen worse on other business laptops.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

My only complaint so far is that I couldn't see the screen very well outside on a bright day, telling me the glossy display probably doesn't get very bright. We'll need to put our colorimeter to the glass to find out for sure, but I'd be surprised to see much higher than 300 nits of peak brightness.

TravelMate Spin P4 keyboard and touchpad

My fingers immediately felt comfortable the moment I placed them on the Spin P4's backlit keyboard. There are no surprises with the spacing or format and the keys have a decent clickiness to them. The keyboard is nothing special — and can't compete with those on Lenovo's ThinkPads — but it's pretty solid nonetheless. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

I typed at 124 words per minute with a 98% accuracy on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is faster and more accurate than my normal 109-wpm average. 

I didn't have any trouble with the touchpad. It's on the small side but the smooth surface quickly responded to my swipes and gestures.

TravelMate Spin P4 audio

The top-firing dual speakers sound crisp and clear but lack a low end. When I listened to The Killers' "Runaways," I was impressed to hear the subtle twang in Brandon Flower's voice, and each of the electric instruments was balanced and well-separated. The speakers were even loud enough to fill my entire apartment with distortion-free sound. 

TravelMate Spin P4 performance

Powered by up to a new 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 and 32GB of RAM, the Spin P4 should compare well against the latest premium notebooks. There weren't any slowdowns when I loaded 20 Google Chrome tabs, four of which played 1080p YouTube videos. I played a few Twitch streams and flipped through my favorite websites without any noticeable lag. 

Along with the CPU and RAM, the TravelMate Spin P4 can be upgraded with up to a 1TB PCIe Gen 3 SSD.

It might not have a discrete GPU but the TravelMate Spin P4 uses the new Intel Iris Xe graphics that promise to play AAA games at high frame rates. If you do need a bit more oomph, Acer sells a variant with an Nvidia GeForce MX350 GPU. 

TravelMate P4 Spin battery life 

Acer rates the Spin P4's battery life at 14 hours, which would be a great result if get similar runtimes on our own battery test. 

Outlook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

There is a lot to like about the TravelMate Spin P4 but I find myself hesitant to recommend it over the competition. Acer went with a brawn over beauty approach with the Spin P4, and I wish it had added some of the modern design elements found on the ThinkPad X1 Yoga or HP Elite DragonFly, like thin display bezels. 

Looking past the design, the Spin P4 offers business users a plethora of ports, a flexible 2-in-1 chassis with a large 14-inch display and a comfy, clicky keyboard. If the TravelMate Spin P4 lasts 14 hours on a charge like Acer says, then it could be a contender at around the $1,000 price point.