Notebookcheck

Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 Notebook Review

Sebastian Bade (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 05/06/2016

Speedy business notebook. The predecessor, the TravelMate P277-MG, left us with a very favorable impression overall. Now we are taking a look at the successor, the TravelMate P278-MG-76L2. A new ULV Skylake CPU provides the processing power, while a GeForce GPU with 2 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD round out the package.

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For the original German review, see here.

With the TravelMate P278-MG-76L2, Acer once again offers a great combination of performance and mobility. At first glance, the new notebook does not look very different: the chassis is more or less identical to the predecessor, although the integrated hardware has changed. The Intel Core i7-6500U with Hyperthreading offers plenty of performance and is augmented by 8 GB of RAM (2 modules running in dual-channel mode). A fast M.2 SATA SSD from Lite-On and a conventional 1 TB HDD offer plenty of storage. Also still on board is an optical drive. The dedicated GPU has not changed, as Acer uses the same Nvidia GeForce 940M with 2048 MB DDR3 VRAM.

The selection of worthy competitors is not an easy one: an office notebook has to offer a decent keyboard, touchpad, display, emissions as well as a long battery life. We chose the following competitors ranging from 899 - 1300 Euros (~$1030 - 1490):

Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce 940M - 2048 MB, Core: 1072 - 1176 MHz, Memory: 1001 MHz, DDR3, ForceWare 353.84, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, 2 slots, 2 occupied, DDR3L SDRAM HYNIX, 16 GB max
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 127 PPI, AUO B173HTN01.1 (AUO119D), TN LED, 262k colors, 6bit, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Lite-On CV1-8B256, 256 GB 
, M.2 SATA 2280: 80mm x 22mm x 3.65mm + 1TB WDC WD10JPVX-22JC3T0, 1.098 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio in/out combo-jack, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GUC0N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 27.5 x 423 x 282 ( = 1.08 x 16.65 x 11.1 in)
Battery
37 Wh, 2520 mAh Lithium-Ion, 4-cell
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1280 x 720
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard Light: no, Power adapter, Trial McAfee Internet Security, Acer: eRecovery, Updater, ePower Management Power Button, 24 Months Warranty, Quickstart guide, warranty card
Weight
3 kg ( = 105.82 oz / 6.61 pounds), Power Supply: 451 g ( = 15.91 oz / 0.99 pounds)
Price
1019 Euro

 

 

Display

Just like the predecessor Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474, the TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 utilizes the same TN panel from the Taiwanese manufacturer AU Optronics. Not surprisingly, the results of our measurements are also very similar. For details on the panel, please check our review of the Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474.

363
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
362
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
368
cd/m²
325
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 368 cd/m² Average: 344.4 cd/m² Minimum: 20 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 366 cd/m²
Contrast: 635:1 (Black: 0.57 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 9.54 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 10.39 | - Ø
90% sRGB (Argyll) 59% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.55
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Lite-On CV1-8B256
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
Radeon R5 M330, 6500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
Nexoc B519 N350DW
HD Graphics 530, 6600T, Samsung SM951 MZHPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
Response Times
-26%
-19%
16%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
41
27
34%
44.4
-8%
56
-37%
Response Time Black / White *
23
28
-22%
29.6
-29%
28
-22%
PWM Frequency
1000
100
-90%
2083
108%
Screen
6%
11%
24%
24%
28%
6%
-8%
Brightness
344
319
-7%
225
-35%
285
-17%
310
-10%
308
-10%
317
-8%
284
-17%
Brightness Distribution
84
84
0%
83
-1%
86
2%
87
4%
89
6%
92
10%
79
-6%
Black Level *
0.57
0.43
25%
0.24
58%
0.431
24%
0.33
42%
0.32
44%
0.59
-4%
0.45
21%
Contrast
635
781
23%
1021
61%
698
10%
1006
58%
1003
58%
559
-12%
540
-15%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
9.54
9.26
3%
6.89
28%
1.79
81%
4.65
51%
3.79
60%
7.19
25%
12.04
-26%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
10.39
10.09
3%
6.45
38%
2.19
79%
3.5
66%
4.75
54%
7.27
30%
13.25
-28%
Gamma
2.55 94%
2.57 93%
2.46 98%
2.29 105%
2.54 94%
2.37 101%
2.54 94%
2.6 92%
CCT
11093 59%
12421 52%
6857 95%
6724 97%
6461 101%
7130 91%
7962 82%
14950 43%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
59
60
2%
40.1
-32%
63.1
7%
54
-8%
62
5%
59
0%
60
2%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
90
92
2%
61.8
-31%
97.8
9%
83
-8%
97
8%
92
2%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-10% / -2%
-4% / 5%
24% / 24%
20% / 22%
28% / 28%
6% / 6%
-8% / -8%

* ... smaller is better

AdobeRGB coverage: 59%
AdobeRGB coverage: 59%
sRGB coverage: 90%
sRGB coverage: 90%

As shipped, the DeltaE color deviation is 9.54, which is significantly higher than the goal value of DeltaE <3. The display exhibits a color shift towards blue, which is noticeable even with the naked eye. The professional color spaces sRGB and AdobeRGB are covered at 90 and 59%, respectively, which is quite decent for a business notebook.

Graylevels
Graylevels
ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Saturation
Saturation

The matte display surface has definite advantages when the notebook is used outdoors, as reflections are much less of an issue. The panel which Acer uses for the TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 clearly shows how much the technology has improved over the last few years. Even at more shallow angles, the display still looks very good considering it is based on TN technology. Tilting the display backwards affects the picture the most, but it takes very shallow angles before there are any real issues with the picture quality. During normal use there are no constraints or caveats whatsoever.

Outdoor use in the sun
Outdoor use in the sun
Outdoor use - direct sunlight
Outdoor use - direct sunlight
Viewing angles Acer P278-MG-76L2
Viewing angles Acer P278-MG-76L2

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
23 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 6 ms rise
↘ 17 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 20 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (27.2 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
41 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 21 ms rise
↘ 20 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 44 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (44 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 1000 Hz90 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 1000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 1000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 59 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 2255 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

The efficient dual-core Intel Core i7-6500U has access to 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. This combination has no issues handling the various tasks a business notebook might encounter during use. The configuration with the Intel Core i5-6200U is more affordable and should be able to handle business applications almost as well with a performance difference noticeable only during continuously high load levels. The dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940M GPU perfectly complements the dual-core (4 threads) CPU. Positive as well is the combination of the SSD for the OS and frequently used applications and the HDD for documents, music, videos and similar. The notebook has a DVD optical drive on board as well. The SD card reader is hampered by slow speeds: during our JPEG copy test with a Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference SD card, the transfer rate reached only 14 MB/s.

Processor

Intel Core i7-6500U
Intel Core i7-6500U

The Intel Core i7-6500U is a Skylake-generation CPU that happens to be quite frugal (TDP 15 watts). Its clock speed is 100 MHz higher than that of the i7-5500U, which means that the CPU now operates between 2.5-3.1 GHz for a single core and a maximum of 3.0 GHz for both cores. The integrated HD Graphics 520 has been optimized slightly as well and offers adequate 2D performance without having to utilize the dedicated GPU. 

The performance difference between the predecessor’s CPU (Broadwell), found in the Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474, and CPUs based on the newer Skylake architecture is between 5-8%. The reason for the better performance is the higher clock speed. The Intel Core i7-6500U can't be compared to a true quad-core processor like the Intel Core i7-4710HQ in the Acer Aspire V17 Nitro, although the performance increase is only really apparent with applications designed for multi-core use. The single-core performance of the Intel Core i7-6500U overall is very decent.

Cinebench R10
Cinebench R10
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI PX60 QD-034US
144 Points ∼100% +11%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
135 Points ∼94% +4%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
130 Points ∼90%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
127 Points ∼88% -2%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
126 Points ∼88% -3%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
123 Points ∼85% -5%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
122 Points ∼85% -6%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
121 Points ∼84% -7%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI PX60 QD-034US
723 Points ∼100% +120%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
660 Points ∼91% +101%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
418 Points ∼58% +27%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
329 Points ∼46%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
303 Points ∼42% -8%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
302 Points ∼42% -8%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
293 Points ∼41% -11%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
290 Points ∼40% -12%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI PX60 QD-034US
1.67 Points ∼100% +13%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
1.5 Points ∼90% +1%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
1.48 Points ∼89%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
1.41 Points ∼84% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
1.41 Points ∼84% -5%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
1.38 Points ∼83% -7%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
1.37 Points ∼82% -7%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
1.29 Points ∼77% -13%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI PX60 QD-034US
7.86 Points ∼100% +119%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
7.13 Points ∼91% +99%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
5.28 Points ∼67% +47%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
3.59 Points ∼46%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
3.4 Points ∼43% -5%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
3.29 Points ∼42% -8%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
3.23 Points ∼41% -10%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
3.18 Points ∼40% -11%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
MSI PX60 QD-034US
7155 Points ∼100% +11%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
6771 Points ∼95% +5%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
6602 Points ∼92% +3%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
6439 Points ∼90%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
6086 Points ∼85% -5%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
MSI PX60 QD-034US
27838 Points ∼100% +94%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
24955 Points ∼90% +74%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
20716 Points ∼74% +44%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
14377 Points ∼52%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
12863 Points ∼46% -11%

Legend

 
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 Intel Core i7-6500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Lite-On CV1-8B256
 
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474 Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
 
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400 Intel Core i7-6500U, AMD Radeon R5 M330, Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
 
MSI PX60 QD-034US Intel Core i7-5700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
 
Nexoc B519 N350DW Intel Core i5-6600T, Intel HD Graphics 530, Samsung SM951 MZHPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
 
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
 
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
 
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
11140
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4896
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
14377 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
6439 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.48 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.59 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
130 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
329 Points
Help

System Performance

We did not find any reasons to complain about the performance of the predecessor and the current version is fortunately no different. The SSD does its job well and guarantees smooth operation. The TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 can handle multitasking with multiple tabs open in Internet Explorer 11 with other programs running in the background without any issues whatsoever. As expected, the PCMark 8 benchmark test shows an increase in performance of 8-13% compared to the predecessor. Our review notebook handles the PCMark 8 test pretty well. The MSI PX60 was quite a bit faster when we conducted the Cinebench R15 Multi CPU test. The Acer trails the MSI PX60 Notebook by only 5% when running the PCMark 8 Home benchmark.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
MSI PX60 QD-034US
4669 Points ∼100% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4591 Points ∼98% +3%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
4466 Points ∼96%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
4444 Points ∼95% 0%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
4374 Points ∼94% -2%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
4296 Points ∼92% -4%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
4251 Points ∼91% -5%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
4368 Points ∼100% +6%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
4138 Points ∼95%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
4009 Points ∼92% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
3738 Points ∼86% -10%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Nexoc B519 N350DW
3824 Points ∼100% +9%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
3691 Points ∼97% +5%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
3620 Points ∼95% +3%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
3502 Points ∼92%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
3429 Points ∼90% -2%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
3359 Points ∼88% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
3092 Points ∼81% -12%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
3053 Points ∼80% -13%
PCMark 7
System Storage
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
5402 Points ∼100% +1%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
5349 Points ∼99%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
5209 Points ∼96% -3%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
5154 Points ∼95% -4%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
3260 Points ∼60% -39%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
1940 Points ∼36% -64%
Entertainment
Nexoc B519 N350DW
4752 Points ∼100% +20%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
4375 Points ∼92% +11%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
3951 Points ∼83%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
3870 Points ∼81% -2%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
3837 Points ∼81% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
3447 Points ∼73% -13%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
3217 Points ∼68% -19%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
2678 Points ∼56% -32%
Productivity
Nexoc B519 N350DW
5379 Points ∼100% +20%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
5122 Points ∼95% +14%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
4479 Points ∼83%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
4319 Points ∼80% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4271 Points ∼79% -5%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
3853 Points ∼72% -14%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
2398 Points ∼45% -46%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
2082 Points ∼39% -54%
Score
Nexoc B519 N350DW
6333 Points ∼100% +17%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
5808 Points ∼92% +8%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
5401 Points ∼85%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
5254 Points ∼83% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4911 Points ∼78% -9%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
4394 Points ∼69% -19%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
4012 Points ∼63% -26%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
3104 Points ∼49% -43%

Legend

 
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 Intel Core i7-6500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Lite-On CV1-8B256
 
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474 Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
 
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400 Intel Core i7-6500U, AMD Radeon R5 M330, Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
 
MSI PX60 QD-034US Intel Core i7-5700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
 
Nexoc B519 N350DW Intel Core i5-6600T, Intel HD Graphics 530, Samsung SM951 MZHPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
 
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
 
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
 
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
PCMark 7 Score
5401 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3502 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4138 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4466 points
Help
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 7
PCMark 7

Storage Devices

The TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 is equipped with both an SSD as well as an HDD. The SSD - model CV1-8B256 - is from Lite-On and uses an M.2 (type 2280) interface. Lite-On states that the drive is capable of read and write rates of 520 MB/s and 360 MB/s. respectively. The tool AS SSD reported 480 MB/s (reads) and 340 MB/s (writes), which is actually still quite close to what the manufacturer promises.

The additional 1 TB HDD from Western Digital offers enough space for documents, videos, or music. HD Tune attests the drive an average transfer rate of 88.5 MB/s. These results are as expected for a 5400-RPM drive.

AS SSD
AS SSD
Crystal Disk Mark
Crystal Disk Mark
HD TUNE
HD TUNE
Lite-On CV1-8B256
Sequential Read: 473 MB/s
Sequential Write: 366.3 MB/s
512K Read: 329.4 MB/s
512K Write: 357.3 MB/s
4K Read: 30.83 MB/s
4K Write: 74.8 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 245.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 217.3 MB/s

GPU Performance

Nvidia GeForce 940M
Nvidia GeForce 940M

The new notebook utilizes the same GeForce 940M GPU as the predecessor. This GPU was introduced as the successor to the GeForce 840M. Both graphics cards are based on the GM108 chip (Maxwell) with 384 shaders and a 64-bit interface to the DDR3 RAM. Compared to the GeForce 940M, the clock speed of the older GeForce 840M was only minimally lower, which results in near-identical performance of the two GPUs.

The GeForce 940M runs at 1072 MHz (the Turbo can overclock to 1176 MHz) with the 2048 MB of DDR3 VRAM running at 2002 MHz. Acer implementation once again complies with Nvidia's specifications for this particular graphics card.

The CPU-integrated HD Graphics 520 handles 2D graphics tasks. The switch to the dedicated GPU happens transparently in the background. The user will not notice, but is able to manually intervene if so desired.

3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance GPU
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
4915 Points ∼100% +107%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
4205 Points ∼86% +77%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
2566 Points ∼52% +8%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
2427 Points ∼49% +2%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
2376 Points ∼48%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
2366 Points ∼48% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
1736 Points ∼35% -27%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
1549 Points ∼32% -35%
1280x720 Performance
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
5178 Points ∼100% +108%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
4575 Points ∼88% +84%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
2609 Points ∼50% +5%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
2501 Points ∼48% 0%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
2490 Points ∼48%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
2438 Points ∼47% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
1869 Points ∼36% -25%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
1761 Points ∼34% -29%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
3633 Points ∼100% +148%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
3342 Points ∼92% +128%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
1466 Points ∼40%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
1460 Points ∼40% 0%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
1427 Points ∼39% -3%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
1333 Points ∼37% -9%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
988 Points ∼27% -33%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
898 Points ∼25% -39%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
16299 Points ∼100% +146%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
16086 Points ∼99% +142%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
7652 Points ∼47% +15%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
6636 Points ∼41%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
6577 Points ∼40% -1%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
6531 Points ∼40% -2%
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
6526 Points ∼40% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
4630 Points ∼28% -30%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score
MSI PX60 QD-034US
85899 Points ∼100% +92%
Nexoc B519 N350DW
77528 Points ∼90% +73%
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
44853 Points ∼52%
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
43873 Points ∼51% -2%
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
36334 Points ∼42% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
29533 Points ∼34% -34%

Legend

 
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 Intel Core i7-6500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Lite-On CV1-8B256
 
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474 Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
 
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400 Intel Core i7-6500U, AMD Radeon R5 M330, Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
 
MSI PX60 QD-034US Intel Core i7-5700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
 
Nexoc B519 N350DW Intel Core i5-6600T, Intel HD Graphics 530, Samsung SM951 MZHPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
 
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
 
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
 
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
3DMark 11 Performance
2490 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
44853 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
6636 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1466 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
737 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Users interested in 3D gaming should keep in mind that the performance of the GeForce 940M is somewhat limited in this area. Older games do run stutter-free at the HD resolution of 1366x768 pixels and medium details. Current titles like Rise of the Tomb Raider on the other hand do not really achieve playable frame rates even at minimum settings. Acer also offers notebooks in the series that only come with the processor-integrated HD Graphics 520. If the price premium for the GeForce GPU is justified or not depends on the user - for basic office use, the GeForce 940M is overkill. 

low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 89.950.8941.414.36fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 63.5619.3318.7411.58fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 27.4517.5910.436.56fps

Emissions

System Noise

System noise level
System noise level

Compared to the Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474, our measurements show slight improvements as far as the system noise is concerned. The fan is always on - even during idle - but barely audible in normal environments. After launching Prime95 it does not take very long before the fan speed increases. At a normal distance from the notebook, we can now hear a faint whooshing sound. Adding FurMark to the mix increases the fan speed yet again and the notebook is now very audible. Still, compared to the competitors, the Acer does quite well. The notebooks from MSINexoc and HP are all louder under maximum load. The TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 behaves very well even when stressed and never gets annoying. When the load decreases, the fan speed rapidly decreases as well. Our comparison table below shows that only Lenovo's ThinkPad L460 manages to be substantially less noisy. 

Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Lite-On CV1-8B256
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
Radeon R5 M330, 6500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
Nexoc B519 N350DW
HD Graphics 530, 6600T, Samsung SM951 MZHPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
Noise
-2%
13%
-9%
-4%
-6%
5%
2%
off / environment *
31.2
29.2
6%
31.3
-0%
Idle Minimum *
31.2
33.5
-7%
29.2
6%
34.8
-12%
32.7
-5%
32.7
-5%
29.9
4%
32
-3%
Idle Average *
33.3
33.5
-1%
29.2
12%
37.2
-12%
33.7
-1%
33.3
-0%
30.7
8%
32.3
3%
Idle Maximum *
34.2
33.6
2%
29.2
15%
37.4
-9%
33.7
1%
34
1%
32.1
6%
32.6
5%
Load Average *
42.8
43.3
-1%
32.5
24%
41.8
2%
44.9
-5%
45.6
-7%
38.1
11%
41.2
4%
Load Maximum *
42.8
43.6
-2%
37.2
13%
49.4
-15%
48.9
-14%
50.6
-18%
43.6
-2%
41.6
3%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
31.2 / 33.3 / 34.2 dB(A)
HDD
33.7 dB(A)
DVD
36.6 / dB(A)
Load
42.8 / 42.8 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 31.2 dB(A)

Temperature

Stresstest Prime + Furmark
Stresstest Prime + FurMark

The stress test with Prime95 and FurMark running in parallel for at least one hour takes a heavy toll on any notebook. With the Acer plugged in, the CPU runs at 3.0 GHz and tops out at 85 degrees Celsius (185 Fahrenheit), so throttling is not an issue at all. The GPU runs at a stable speed of 1162 MHz at a temperature of 79 degrees Celsius (174.2 Fahrenheit). Things change significantly with the notebook running on battery only with the CPU and GPU now fluctuating between 0.4-2.5 GHz and 290-1162 MHz, respectively. We ran the 3DMark 11 benchmark immediately after the stress test and saw no difference in the result.

The internal temperatures are no reason for concern as they remain reasonable at all times. Under load, we only measured above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in two areas. In some sections, the temperatures remain under 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), which is very good indeed.

Max. Load
 32.6 °C27.8 °C25.6 °C 
 25.3 °C38.9 °C26.6 °C 
 31.4 °C32 °C26.6 °C 
Maximum: 38.9 °C
Average: 29.6 °C
24.2 °C33.1 °C30.3 °C
25.2 °C44.6 °C42.9 °C
24.7 °C32.8 °C30 °C
Maximum: 44.6 °C
Average: 32 °C
Power Supply (max.)  49.7 °C | Room Temperature 21.4 °C | FIRT 550-Pocket

Speakers

The TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 is equipped with the same speaker system as the predecessor. For details, please check our review of the Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474.

We need to address one of our findings at this point: when we took the notebook apart to take photos of the hardware, we noticed that the right speaker was not seated properly in the corresponding rubber-mounting bracket. Although this is a rather small flaw in the workmanship, it could potentially lead to the speaker completely falling out of the bracket during transport.

Faulty workmanship: the speaker
Faulty workmanship: the speaker
Speaker response
Speaker response

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption is very decent for a 17-inch business notebook and slightly improved compared to the predecessor. The Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 requires a minimum of 5.8 watts; at maximum load we recorded a power draw of 69 watts. The power adapter can supply up to 90 watts and is thus more than adequate for this application. The Lenovo ThinkPad L460 and the HP Pavilion 17-g013ng both consume significantly less. The results of the Lenovo ThinkPad L460 have to be taken with a grain of salt as this is a much smaller 14-inch notebook. The display of the HP on the other hand is also 17 inches and as such shows that there is room for improvement for Acer's notebook. The Acer Aspire V17 Nitro consumes up to 127.6 watts, which is significantly higher than the other notebooks in the comparison. The culprit here is the much more powerful quad-core Intel Core i7-4710HQ.

Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
37 Wh
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
37 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
48 Wh
Nexoc B519 N350DW
62 Wh
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
41 Wh
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
52 Wh
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
37 Wh
Power Consumption
-1%
39%
-38%
11%
-37%
-6%
Idle Minimum *
5.8
5.4
7%
3.1
47%
11.9
-105%
5.3
9%
5.4
7%
6
-3%
Idle Average *
11.6
12.6
-9%
6.3
46%
15.8
-36%
10
14%
12.6
-9%
12.2
-5%
Idle Maximum *
13.6
14.3
-5%
7.9
42%
18
-32%
10.8
21%
18.3
-35%
14.5
-7%
Load Average *
51
52.1
-2%
29.5
42%
57.6
-13%
51.7
-1%
84.2
-65%
54
-6%
Load Maximum *
69
67.5
2%
57.3
17%
70.7
-2%
61.6
11%
127.6
-85%
73.7
-7%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.44 / 0.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5.8 / 11.6 / 13.6 Watt
Load midlight 51 / 69 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Life

37 Wh capacity
37 Wh capacity

The Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 also leaves us with a favorable impression as far as its battery life is concerned. The capacity of the battery is still 37 Wh, so it has not changed from the predecessor. The notebook nonetheless managed a run time of 4 hours and 57 minutes during the WLAN test despite the smallish battery. For this test, we select the balanced profile, set the display to approximately 150 cd/m² (three levels below maximum) and use a script to load various websites in a thirty-second interval. With the display at maximum brightness, we were able to play 3D games for only about 1 hour and 44 minutes before we had to plug the notebook back in. The performance is also reduced when the notebook is running on battery.


Maximum battery life
Maximum battery life
WLAN battery life
WLAN battery life
H.264 battery life
H.264 battery life
Minimum battery life
Minimum battery life
Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2
37 Wh
Acer TravelMate P277-MG-7474
37 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad L460-20FVS01400
48 Wh
HP Pavilion 17-g013ng
41 Wh
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
52 Wh
Acer Aspire E5-772G-70VP
37 Wh
Battery Runtime
-25%
45%
-8%
-3%
-23%
Reader / Idle
601
482
-20%
1153
92%
615
2%
522
-13%
454
-24%
Load
104
64
-38%
97
-7%
76
-27%
111
7%
72
-31%
WiFi v1.3
297
247
-17%
425
43%
261
-12%
259
-13%
H.264
288
431
50%
301
5%
WiFi
220
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
10h 01min
WiFi Surfing v1.3 (EDGE 25.10586.0.0)
4h 57min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
4h 48min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 44min

Pros

+ good, matte display
+ good keyboard
+ ac WLAN
+ SSD + HDD
+ full utilization of the Turbo
+ good battery life

Cons

- touchpad takes getting used to
- keyboard has no backlight
- no maintenance cover
- battery is not easy to replace

Verdict

In review: : Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2. Test model courtesy of Acer Germany.
In review: : Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2. Test model courtesy of Acer Germany.

The Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 is the direct successor to the TravelMate P277-MG-7474. The changes are in the details and only affect the performance. Visually, the two notebooks look identical. The new Intel Core i7-6500U outperforms the older generation only by about 10%, so the question if the owner of a P277 should consider the P278 is a moot one, as the minimal performance difference simply does not seem worth it. Users who are looking for a new large-format business notebook should definitely short-list the Acer P278. The performance is more than adequate for daily business use. The combination of the 256 GB SSD and the 1 TB HHD makes sense and the battery life is very good for a 17-inch notebook. The FHD display is quite decent as well, even though it is based on TN technology.

Acer takes no real chances with their new TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 and only subjects it to a minor facelift.

There are still areas of concern: we wish Acer had a more stringent quality control to avoid issues like the one we encountered with the speaker, which was not mounted correctly. A maintenance cover also would make it much easier to access and upgrade the RAM, SSD or the HDD.

If the added performance of the GeForce 940M makes sense is for the prospective buyer to decide. Users who do not plan to run 3D applications might want to look at the configuration without the dedicated GPU and save some money in the process. If gaming is a concern, it might be better to consider notebooks equipped with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M

Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 - 04/28/2016 v5.1
Sebastian Bade

Chassis
76 / 98 → 78%
Keyboard
79%
Pointing Device
47%
Connectivity
47 / 80 → 59%
Weight
57 / 67 → 79%
Battery
80%
Display
80%
Games Performance
62 / 68 → 90%
Application Performance
86 / 92 → 93%
Temperature
93%
Noise
80%
Audio
66%
Camera
48 / 85 → 56%
Average
69%
75%
Office - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Acer TravelMate P278-MG-76L2 Notebook Review
Sebastian Bade, 2016-05- 6 (Update: 2016-05- 9)
Bernhard Pechlaner
Bernhard Pechlaner - Review Editor
Ended up in the IT sector in the 90s more or less accidentally and have remained in the industry (as a sysadmin) ever since. Always been interested in laptops - first purchase was - if memory serves correctly - a Toshiba Satellite T2115CS with DX4-75 processor, 4 MB of RAM and 350 MB hard disk drive (and Windows 3.1). To this day, laptops appeal to me - much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t seem understand why we need 5-10 of them at any given time ;-).