Notebookcheck

Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B Notebook Review

Sven Kloevekorn, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 07/18/2016

Interface initiative. A superb diversity of interfaces and ease of upgrading were apparently at the very top of Acer's development list for its latest 15-inch business laptop. The screen and security features are also compelling. But can the important input devices, ergonomics and engine also keep up?

For the original German review, see here.

Acer's TravelMate P658-M-537B is a 15-inch business laptop that sold for around 1200 Euros (~$1325) at the time of testing. An overview of the many models of the P648-M (G) (14 inches) and P658-M (G) (15.6 inches) can be found here. The laptop comes with security features such as a TPM chip, hard drive encryption, fingerprint sensor and preloaded security software, for professional use.

The frugal, Hyperthreading capable Intel Core i5-6200U dual-core is the engine, and is supported by 8 GB of RAM. The "MG" models are offered with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940M; others are equipped with Intel's HD 520 processor-integrated graphics without a dedicated memory. Like all the other versions, the review sample (NX.VD0EG.003) features an IPS-based screen with Full HD resolution. The storage device is a 256 GB SSD by Kingston. The superb interface configuration and decent expandability are special features.

While selecting equally-sized comparison laptops for this test, we searched among some very popular lineups of other manufacturers. Not only did we consider the devices that were designed for the same purpose as the review sample, but also that they are situated in a similar price range. The contestants are:

Update 09-16-2016: TravelMate P658-M with HD resolution and TN

The TravelMate P658 is a good notebook, but just under 1200 Euros are not to everybody's taste. As part of our review of the Acer Graphics Dock, we had a look at low-end variant TravelMate P658-M-59J7 (NX.VCYEG.005) and added relevant information to the display and battery life section. The variant costs about 800 Euros, but omits the SSD and Full HD IPS panel.

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Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B (TravelMate P658 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520, Core: 300 - 1050 MHz, shared memory, 20.19.15.4390
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR4, 2133 MHz, dual-channel, memory banks?
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, LG Philips LGD04D5 / LG Display LP156WF6-SPP1, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo audio in/out, 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: accelerometer
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.2, Huawei Mobile Connect Network Card, LTE
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22.4 x 381 x 254.5 ( = 0.88 x 15 x 10.02 in)
Battery
55 Wh, 4850 mAh Lithium-Polymer, 3 cells, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 8 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
2.09 kg ( = 73.72 oz / 4.61 pounds), Power Supply: 199 g ( = 7.02 oz / 0.44 pounds)
Price
1200 EUR
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

On its website Acer talks ambiguously of innovative materials in its TravelMate P6 laptop lineup. The maintenance or upgrade hatch seems to be aluminum, and thus we assume this is also true for the entire base and display's back, but we are not absolutely certain. Although the matte-black casing is rather susceptible to fingerprints, they are barely noticeable. In the tester's opinion, this is a pleasing design that is plain, rather angular and straight-lined. Acer's logo on the back and display bezel, as well as the silver hinges set some visual highlights. The latter prevents prolonged rocking after jerky movements, but they also make it almost impossible to open the device with one hand.

Regardless of whether the base is aluminum or not, it proves to be exceptionally robust. Even a lot of force could not twist the case and there were no creaking sounds - exemplary! This is also true of the impeccable build, which is  appropriate for the high price range, although there are some minor irregularities in the display unit. Acer's Dust Defender prevents dust from gathering inside.

Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658
Acer TravelMate P658

In the comparison field only the review sample and HP's EliteBook 850 G3, are among the lighter and slimmer laptops. The ThinkPad T560 is slightly heavier but not larger or taller. Schenker's Flex is the by far the heaviest and tallest device.

Size Comparison

382 mm / 15 inch 259.5 mm / 10.2 inch 32.95 mm / 1.297 inch 2.7 kg5.9 lbs381 mm / 15 inch 254.5 mm / 10 inch 22.4 mm / 0.882 inch 2.1 kg4.61 lbs383.3 mm / 15.1 inch 257.7 mm / 10.1 inch 19.4 mm / 0.764 inch 1.9 kg4.14 lbs380 mm / 15 inch 252 mm / 9.92 inch 22.4 mm / 0.882 inch 2.3 kg4.97 lbs

Connectivity

In addition to three USB 3.0 ports, our TravelMate also features a port in the 3.1 standard that is implemented as USB Type-C. Thunderbolt and DisplayPort peripherals can be connected to it via (an again not included) adapter. Thus, it is possible, for example, to connect external 4K monitors at 60 Hz, which is not possible via the also present HDMI and VGA ports. The fold-out Gigabit Ethernet port could prove useful for stationary use.

Acer has placed two USB ports too far in the front on the right (right-handed users) that using an external mouse could interfere with inserted flash drives and cables. On the left, the ports are distributed around the center and the rear.

Left: (Fold-out) Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Type-C, audio in/out
Left: (Fold-out) Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Type-C, audio in/out
Right: 2x USB 3.0, Kensington, power
Right: 2x USB 3.0, Kensington, power

SD Card Reader

The memory card reader operates at an average speed. Transmitting JPG image files of approximately 5 MB each was performed at a speed of 67.2 MB/s. We tested the card reader with our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference card.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed - average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
 
68.1 MB/s ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
 
67.2 MB/s ∼99% -1%
Schenker F516 Flex
 
64.7 MB/s ∼95% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
 
51.2 MB/s ∼75% -25%

Communication

The tried Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (MIMO 2x2) normally ensures good reception qualities. As well as the conventional standards in the 2.4 GHz band and Bluetooth 4.2 (updating the driver might be required); it also supports the less heavily used 5 GHz band and the fast ac standard. Furthermore, a UMTS/LTE module by Huawei is installed, making it possible to stay online even when away from Wi-Fi.

Networking
WiFi Speed Client 1m
WiFi Speed Server 1m
WiFi Speed Client 1m 512KB
WiFi Speed Server 1m 512KB
WiFi Speed Client 1m 4M x10
WiFi Speed Server 1m 4M x10 (-R)
WiFi Speed Client 1m 4M x10 (-R) - RU
WiFi Speed Client 1m 4M x10 - RU
1280x800 Lightsmark - 1280x800
1280x800 Lightsmark - 1280x800
1280x720 3DMark 06 - Standard 1280x720
1280x768 3DMark 06 - Standard 1280x768
1366x768 3DMark 06 - Standard 1366x768
1600x900 Crysis CPU - 1600x900 High
1600x900 Crysis CPU - 1600x900 Med
1600x900 Crysis CPU - 1600x900 Low
1600x900 Crysis GPU - 1600x900 High
1600x900 Crysis GPU - 1600x900 Med
1600x900 Crysis GPU - 1600x900 Low

Security

Acer's TravelMate P658-M-537B features a TPM version 1.2 chip and a fingerprint scanner that is used via swiping. In addition, Acer's ProShield Security Manager is preloaded. The installed Pro versions of Windows 7 or Windows 10 offer software-based hard drive encryption, Bitlocker. Disc Anti Shock Protection, presumably via an accelerometer or a motion sensor, protects the hard drive when dropped.

Accessories

Once again, we can only list the compulsory power supply and the usual user, safety and warranty notes here. Since recovery media is not included, the recovery partition should not be touched. Docking stations by Acer are also available.

Maintenance

Although the battery cannot be removed from the outside, there is a maintenance hatch, which is secured by four screws. It conceals the RAM slots and the space for a 2.5-inch hard drive. Apparently the base plate can also be dismantled after releasing many more screws.

Warranty

By default, the TravelMate comes with a 3-year carry-in warranty that includes a 1 year International Travelers warranty. Some retailers offer warranty upgrades for an extra charge.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The flat, lightly rubber-coated and clearly lettered keys have a short drop, quite noticeable but not very crisp pressure point and lightly cushioned stroke. Although both the main keyboard and the number pad are slightly narrower than that of a standard desktop keyboard, its mostly standard layout, key size and the spacing should not cause problems for prolific writers. Acer's laptop is not really suitable for noise-sensitive environments due to its larger and not really quiet keys.

We cannot complain about the build of the solid-looking keyboard that does not yield. The somewhat weak, yet homogeneous backlight can of course be turned off, but it cannot be dimmed. Typists who like the keyboard's characteristics should be quite satisfied with it.

Touchpad

Most touchpads have an area at the outer edge that does not respond to touch. This is unusually wide in our TravelMate, so the available surface area for cursor control is smaller than it appears. The roughened surface provides feedback, but also some (too much?) resistance. Nevertheless, lightly moistened fingers were not stopped. Very fast movements were also detected; the precision was inconspicuous in the best sense of the word, and drag & drop via double tap always functioned impeccably. The manufacturer has incorporated the fingerprint scanner between the two mouse keys that have an extremely soft stroke and unusually long drop. That is of course possible, but the position is not very ergonomic. Gestures with up to three fingers can be configured in the Synaptic menu.

Display

Pixel grid
Pixel grid

Fortunately, Acer has opted for a matte, viewing angle stable IPS screen with 1920x1080 pixels. Although the pixel density of 141 PPI is not exactly generous for today's conditions, the tester feels that it fits perfectly with the laptop's intended purpose and price. Users with good eyesight might find the reproduction rather pixelated from a close distance, but the tester did not. Subjectively, the image sharpness looks ideal; the colors are bright, but not too vivid. We did not discover screen alternatives at the time of testing.

With its very good maximum brightness of 319 cd/m², Acer's TravelMate outshines the opponents in the test by as much as 31% (ThinkPad T560). The poor illumination of just 71% is the worst rate that we have measured in recent times. This makes it all the more amazing that we hardly noticed irregularities on a completely black screen with the naked eye. Clouding or backlight bleeding was also not visible.

Update 09-16-2016: 1.366 x 768 pixels in the AUO B156XTN07.1

The AUO panel of the HD variant P658-M-59J7 is an a-Si TFT TN-type. The manufacturer specifies a brightness of 220 cd/m² and we can confirm this low brightness (214 cd/m²). The contrast is specified with 400:1 and we measured 442:1. The display cannot convince us, since it is already not fun using it in daylight due to the low brightness. In addition, the viewing angles are - as usual for a TN-type - narrow (see images below). Further cons are a small color space and a very high DeltaE deviation (blue tint). The Full HD IPS display performs better in all these aspects apart from contrast. Those who want to work much with the TravelMate P658 should better buy the variant with IPS panel, which is available for 985 Euros with HDD.

302
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
319
cd/m²
368
cd/m²
308
cd/m²
396
cd/m²
281
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
290
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
LG Philips LGD04D5 / LG Display LP156WF6-SPP1
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 396 cd/m² Average: 319.4 cd/m² Minimum: 20.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 71 %
Center on Battery: 313 cd/m²
Contrast: 505:1 (Black: 0.61 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.51 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 2.91 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
86% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 56% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.4
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
LG Philips LGD04D5 / LG Display LP156WF6-SPP1, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Acer TravelMate P658-M-59J7 Graphics Dock
AUO B156XTN07.1, , 1366x768, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
LTN156HL09901, , 1920x1080, 15.6
HP EliteBook 850 G3
AU Optronics, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Schenker F516 Flex
LP156WF6, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Response Times
-12%
-49%
-16%
-23%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
38 (14, 24)
41 (22, 19)
-8%
58 (23, 35)
-53%
46.4 (22.4, 24)
-22%
48 (18, 30)
-26%
Response Time Black / White *
25 (6, 19)
29 (11, 18)
-16%
36 (11, 25)
-44%
27.2 (9.2, 18)
-9%
30 (7, 23)
-20%
PWM Frequency
220 (50)
200 (50)
Screen
-70%
-23%
-42%
14%
Brightness middle
308
212
-31%
243
-21%
290
-6%
324
5%
Brightness
319
214
-33%
220
-31%
287
-10%
285
-11%
Brightness Distribution
71
87
23%
84
18%
85
20%
77
8%
Black Level *
0.61
0.48
21%
0.27
56%
0.54
11%
0.34
44%
Contrast
505
442
-12%
900
78%
537
6%
953
89%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.51
11.91
-164%
7.49
-66%
9.7
-115%
4.89
-8%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
10.19
19.77
-94%
15.13
-48%
14.39
-41%
8.13
20%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.91
12.91
-344%
7.5
-158%
10.83
-272%
3.91
-34%
Gamma
2.4 92%
2.74 80%
2.35 94%
2.91 76%
3.3 67%
CCT
6740 96%
15182 43%
6115 106%
12761 51%
6354 102%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
56
36
-36%
38.9
-31%
51.15
-9%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
86
57
-34%
60.9
-29%
78.96
-8%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-41% / -61%
-36% / -27%
-29% / -38%
-5% / 7%

* ... smaller is better

The screen ruins any brightness-related hopes of a particularly high contrast with its too high black level of 0.61 cd/m². It achieves an only useful, but not good 505:1. The significantly darker Lenovo does a better job where its low black level of 0.27 cd/m² makes very decent 900:1 possible. However subjectively, we do not have any reason to complain about the quite dark-looking black.

The screen convinces with good color accuracy already in the state of delivery. It is almost sufficient for ambitious hobby image editing. Unfortunately, this is not true for color space coverage for IPS conditions with only a poor 56% of the AdobeRGB color space, which is actually only important for professionals, and 86% of the smaller "standard" sRGB color space.

CalMAN Grayscale P658-M-573B IPS FHD
CalMAN Grayscale P658-M-573B IPS FHD
CalMAN ColorChecker P658-M-573B IPS FHD
CalMAN ColorChecker P658-M-573B IPS FHD
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps P658-M-573B IPS FHD
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps P658-M-573B IPS FHD
CalMAN Grayscale P658-M-59J7 TN HD
CalMAN Grayscale P658-M-59J7 TN HD
CalMAN ColorChecker P658-M-59J7 TN HD
CalMAN ColorChecker P658-M-59J7 TN HD
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps P658-M-59J7 TN HD
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps P658-M-59J7 TN HD
Acer TravelMate P658-M-573B vs. sRGB
Acer TravelMate P658-M-573B vs. sRGB
Acer TravelMate P658-M-573B vs. AdobeRGB
Acer TravelMate P658-M-573B vs. AdobeRGB

Thanks to screen's very good brightness and matte surface, it should always be possible to find an ergonomic workplace outdoors. This should be even easier in overcast conditions, but the screen should not directly face, for example, bright skies. Our photos illustrate that they were taken in an as unfavorable position as possible, as well as an almost ideal position in bright sunlight.

IPS Full HD 319 cd/m²
IPS Full HD 319 cd/m²
IPS Full HD 319 cd/m²
IPS Full HD 319 cd/m²
TN HD 214 cd/m²
TN HD 214 cd/m²
TN HD 214 cd/m²
TN HD 214 cd/m²
TN HD 214 cd/m²
TN HD 214 cd/m²
TN HD viewing angles
TN HD viewing angles

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
25 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 6 ms rise
↘ 19 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 41 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 14 ms rise
↘ 24 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. » 37 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.6 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 not detected

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9279 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

There are viewing angle differences even among the generally superior IPS panels. We are dealing with a model that does a superb job here. The colors remain largely stable even in strongly shifted viewing angles horizontally and vertically. The not quite preventable brightness and contrast loss is also hardly worth mentioning. The corner photos in our viewing angle collage represent viewing angles shifted simultaneously on both levels, which are unlikely to be the case in everyday use. However, the image quality is affected slightly more obviously then.

Performance

Processor

More information about the very frugal, basic Intel Core i5-6200U CPU (2 x 2.3 to 2.8 GHz, Hyperthreading, TDP: 15 W) from the latest Skylake generation found in countless laptops can be found by following the link. Common office software is managed just as easily as more demanding programs such as Adobe Photoshop and (not exaggerated) multitasking. However, when heavily parallelized software is used, the Hyperthreading dual-core finds its limits due to the lack of physical or multiple cores. This is true for many games, for example.

Unfortunately, we were confronted with erratic, much too low and significantly varying scores in Cinebench R15 just like in Toshiba's Tecra Z40-C-106 based on the same processor. However, the CPU-based Physics scores of the 3DMark benchmarks again presented the expected CPU performance. We have not found the reason for this, and refer to the corresponding paragraph in the Tecra review. More Cinebench-based analyses would be senseless here.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
HP EliteBook 850 G3
Intel Core i7-6500U
130 Points ∼60% +67%
Schenker F516 Flex
Intel Core i5-6400T
119 Points ∼55% +53%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
113 Points ∼52% +45%
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
Intel Core i5-6200U
78 Points ∼36%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Schenker F516 Flex
Intel Core i5-6400T
420 Points ∼10% +92%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
Intel Core i7-6500U
322 Points ∼7% +47%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
290 Points ∼7% +32%
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
Intel Core i5-6200U
219 Points ∼5%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance Physics
Schenker F516 Flex
Intel Core i5-6400T
5475 Points ∼28% +41%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
Intel Core i7-6500U
4231 Points ∼22% +9%
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
Intel Core i5-6200U
3878 Points ∼20%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
3541 Points ∼18% -9%
3DMark - 1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics
Schenker F516 Flex
Intel Core i5-6400T
42400 Points ∼27% +22%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
Intel Core i7-6500U
37024 Points ∼24% +7%
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
Intel Core i5-6200U
34714 Points ∼22%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
29299 Points ∼19% -16%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
78 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
219 Points
Help

System Performance

Thanks to the effective Hyperthreading dual-core, sufficient more than adequate storage configuratioofficialall office purposes, and above all the SSD, the user can enjoy a subjectively impeccable performance with fast OS and program starts. Only occasionally did excessive multitasking in Chrome cause unreliably reproducible, short lags.

In a direct comparison, the review sample can outperform our HP EliteBook 850 G3 equipped with a Core i7 by 9% in PCMark 8, which is irrelevant in practice. This is probably not as much due to the roughly equally strong SSD, but rather due to the only half as large working memory of 4 GB and only single-channel mode operating in HP's device. Ultimately, the ThinkPad T560 cannot quite keep up with the SSD laptops due to its unequally slower hybrid hard drive. Among all i5-6200U and SSD based laptops tested until now, Acer's secures itself one of the top performance placings.

Update 09-16-2016: The PCMark 8 scores of the entry-level model with HDD remains the same or fall only marginally behind: It achieves a Home score of 3521 points (vs. 3475 points) and a Work score of 4250 (vs. 4467 points). The Work score profits from the fast SSD in the more expensive TravelMate.

PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
3475 Points ∼57%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
3202 Points ∼53% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2928 Points ∼48% -16%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3475 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4467 points
Help

Storage Device

Acer relies on a 256 GB SSD by Kingston connected via SATA 3. The sequential transfer rates range around the interface-related limit of good 500 MB/s according to AS SSD, and a bit below that according to CrystalDiskMark 3.0. The performance of reading small random blocks (4K Read) is good but not very good. 30 MB/s would be a good rate here, which Kingston's SSD either surpasses marginally or falls short of depending on the benchmark. Overall, the SSD's performance can be called a good average.

Only Samsung's SSD in Schenker's laptop can distance itself decisively. It achieves a top score, especially in the 4K Read test, and is also convincing in every aspect otherwise. Our Lenovo ThinkPad T560 with a hybrid hard drive does not have the slightest chance against the SSD laptops. The varying measured rates among SSDs are at most noticed marginally in practice.

Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
HP EliteBook 850 G3
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Schenker F516 Flex
Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 250 GB
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-88%
6%
41%
Write 4k QD32
211.4
0.64
-100%
162.1
-23%
321.9
52%
Read 4k QD32
226.2
0.807
-100%
326.1
44%
388.6
72%
Write 4k
64.67
5.223
-92%
80.11
24%
108.7
68%
Read 4k
25.66
0.36
-99%
30.42
19%
46.37
81%
Write 512
320.5
60.81
-81%
282.1
-12%
382.3
19%
Read 512
418
33.82
-92%
295.3
-29%
418.6
0%
Write Seq
333.1
113.2
-66%
426.1
28%
452.4
36%
Read Seq
479.1
108.6
-77%
466.3
-3%
489.1
2%
Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
Sequential Read: 479.1 MB/s
Sequential Write: 333.1 MB/s
512K Read: 418 MB/s
512K Write: 320.5 MB/s
4K Read: 25.66 MB/s
4K Write: 64.67 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 226.2 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 211.4 MB/s

Graphics Card

The CPU-integrated Intel HD 520 GPU without dedicated memory is found in Skylake ULV processors with a nominal TDP of 15 watts, and it clocks at a maximum of 1050 MHz (Turbo). Skylake can cope with a DDR4 memory for the first time, and it also clearly benefits from that in graphic issues. The fact that the GPU can utilize dual-channel RAM makes the relatively high performance for 520 conditions possible. Thus, the fastest 520 units in i7 CPUs can sometimes achieve the (also low) level of a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 820M.

In the overall comparison of all Intel HD 520s tested to date, the one in the review sample is one of the faster units, just 11% behind the leader and with a lead of 21% on the taillight. Normally, the GPU only has to deal with 2D tasks in a business laptop, and they are managed without any problems here. We will look closer at the weak gaming performance in the next paragraph. The total score of 3DMark 11 does not decrease in battery mode.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
1347 Points ∼3%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
1327 Points ∼3% -1%
Schenker F516 Flex
Intel HD Graphics 530, Intel Core i5-6400T
1231 Points ∼2% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
1111 Points ∼2% -18%
3DMark 11 Performance
1504 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
54107 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5503 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Users who want to enjoy demanding and/or up-to-date 3D games without risking eyesore will be unhappy with our Acer. These games usually run smoothly only when restricted to the often unsightly minimum settings. As the abridged chart illustrates, this is even true for moderately demanding games such as "Battlefield 4" while graphic mammoths such as "Witcher 3" should not be considered at all. Then again, isometric games, such as "Star Craft II" (the latest "Legacy of the Void") often also run smoothly in respectable presets. Details of these  games can be found on our GPU page.

low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 51.5 26.6 22.2 6.5 fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 30.4 22.9 16.1 fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 12.8 fps

Emissions

Loudness
Loudness

System Noise

The fan is either inactive or increases its speed only slightly in idle mode and during light load, which can be heard only quietly when placing an ear on the laptop. Younger users hear higher frequencies better, and might find the coil whining more distracting than the tester. The noise level increases gradually when starting the Prime95 and FurMark stress test, but the noise is actually harmless and can still be discerned from ambient noises at a distance of perhaps 1.5 meters (~5 ft) from a turned on PC. Apart from the mentioned restrictions, the P658-M-537B is a pleasantly quiet companion. This whining could also be limited to individual cases.

Noise Level

Idle
32.5 / 32.5 / 35 dB(A)
Load
42 / 37.5 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
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

As the screenshot below illustrates, the user does not have to worry about surface temperatures during maximum permanent load. Acer's laptop never exceeds a pleasant 38 °C (~100 °F) anywhere at any time.

The specified Turbo speed of 2.7 GHz was maintained for several minutes when both CPU and GPU were loaded via Prime95 and FurMark. The Core temperatures did not exceed 72 °C (~162 °F). This is what perfect Turbo utilization looks like, even in unrealistic extreme conditions.

Max. Load
 34.5 °C
94 F
33.9 °C
93 F
30 °C
86 F
 
 32.2 °C
90 F
35.2 °C
95 F
27.4 °C
81 F
 
 26.5 °C
80 F
27 °C
81 F
26.8 °C
80 F
 
Maximum: 35.2 °C = 95 F
Average: 30.4 °C = 87 F
30.4 °C
87 F
38 °C
100 F
33.4 °C
92 F
29.2 °C
85 F
35.7 °C
96 F
34.1 °C
93 F
27.2 °C
81 F
29.9 °C
86 F
28.9 °C
84 F
Maximum: 38 °C = 100 F
Average: 31.9 °C = 89 F
Power Supply (max.)  41.6 °C = 107 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 30.4 °C / 87 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.2 °C / 95 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 38 °C / 100 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.2 °C / 81 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 27 °C / 80.6 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.1 °C / 82.6 F (+1.1 °C / 2 F).

Speakers

Multimedia fans will not be happy with the sound system. Playing music in factory settings sounds flat, mid-heavy, and presents almost no dynamics or surround. Of course, real bass is completely absent. The maximum volume is at most enough to fill small rooms with sound and it occasionally causes volume fluctuations. The differentiation of instrument suffers greatly in rock music with several guitars, bass and drums. Voice sounds fairly natural and is quite intelligible so that the sound system might still be acceptable for an office device.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.335.12532.931.83131.8324036.535.15032.428.9633328.98036.328.810048.32712561.52716052.924.820060.92425062.822.731563.32240069.521.250067.82163074.82080075.919.4100072.718.912507117.7160070.117.820006917.6250071.817.6315068.117.6400071.417.6500073.717.6630070.417.5800071.617.61000071.617.61250069.617.41600059.717.5SPL83.630.6N62.51.5median 69.6median 17.8Delta4.62.445.635.736.945.643.135.635.343.143.441.140.543.442.141.139.142.138.236.435.638.232.93230.432.92827.328.42827.827.927.427.828.428.330.828.427.63135.227.629.134.43829.140.946.150.340.944.550.554.644.547.453.557.647.448.454.558.648.454.260.864.554.26267.871.76258.563.968.258.550.256.160.250.252.858.562.552.855.761.565.555.752.258.16252.255.761.565.255.755.961.865.555.947.453.25747.452.258.462.952.254.760.66554.755.962.166.255.955.661.665.155.652.558.36152.567.373.177.167.321.831.440.121.8median 52.2median 58.3median 62median 52.27.17.887.1hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseApple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzSchenker F516 Flex

Frequency diagram in comparison (check boxes above can be turned on/off!)
Rate 1: Pink Noise 100 % volume; Rate 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

When comparing all 15-inch laptops based on the i5-6200U with and without a dedicated graphics tested until now, the review sample's consumption rates are all slightly below the average. The 65-watt power supply does not have any problems with the maximum consumption of 35 watts.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 6.6 / 10.4 / 12.7 Watt
Load midlight 36 / 35 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
6200U, HD Graphics 520, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
6200U, HD Graphics 520, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive, IPS-Panel, 1920x1080, 15.6
HP EliteBook 850 G3
6500U, HD Graphics 520, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006, TN LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Schenker F516 Flex
6400T, HD Graphics 530, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 250 GB, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
28%
16%
-36%
Idle Minimum *
6.6
4.3
35%
5
24%
9.7
-47%
Idle Average *
10.4
7.3
30%
7.8
25%
13.4
-29%
Idle Maximum *
12.7
7.8
39%
8.4
34%
15.7
-24%
Load Average *
36
26.3
27%
28.8
20%
42
-17%
Load Maximum *
35
32
9%
43
-23%
56.8
-62%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The runtimes of the laptops in the test cannot be compared directly due to their completely different battery capacities. Nevertheless, it can be said that the almost eight and a half hours achieved in the practical Wi-Fi browsing test are a very good outcome, and that most users will easily get through a day. The ThinkPad T560 (67 Wh) naturally lasts quite a bit longer thanks to its 12 Wh higher nominal output. The marginally faster EliteBook 850 G3 (i7) seems to be a bit more frugal than the TravelMate P658. The 850 G3 lasts slightly longer in the idle and load test despite its relatively weak 46 Wh battery, and lags behind by 17% only in the Wi-Fi test.

Update 09-16-2016: The battery capacity remains unchanged with 55 Wh. The WiFi battery life of the HD/TN variant is slightly shorter than the top model's with SSD.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
14h 00min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
8h 32min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 03min
Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B
6200U, HD Graphics 520, 55 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
6200U, HD Graphics 520, 67 Wh
HP EliteBook 850 G3
6500U, HD Graphics 520, 46 Wh
Schenker F516 Flex
6400T, HD Graphics 530, 62 Wh
Battery Runtime
47%
2%
-41%
Reader / Idle
840
1085
29%
915
9%
WiFi v1.3
512
661
29%
417
-19%
302
-41%
Load
123
226
84%
142
15%
H.264
571
430

Pros

+ diverse models
+ relatively light and slim
+ very rigid, stylish and well-built casing
+ Dust Defender
+ superb port configuration
+ Thunderbolt and DisplayPort via USB Type-C
+ UMTS/LTE on board
+ security features
+ good expandability
+ 3 year warranty
+ bright, subjectively appealing IPS panel with very good viewing angle stability
+ quiet and cool
+ frugal, long battery life

Cons

- laptop only difficult to open with one hand
- battery cannot be removed from the outside
- low measured illumination
- too low color gamut for IPS
- high-frequency coil whining
- disappointing sound system

Verdict

In review: Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B. Test model provided by Cyberport.de
In review: Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B. Test model provided by Cyberport.de

With the TravelMate P658-M-537B, Acer presents an overall successful business laptop without significant shortcomings for its intended purpose. In our opinion, it is worth the asking price of currently around 1200 Euros (~$1325).

We only had to give the weak sound system a bad sub-rating. Despite the measured (!) problems in brightness distribution and too high black level, the bright and very viewing angle stable screen is very good. Although the input devices are not quite ThinkPad standard (but which other manufacturer can claim this?), it is possible to work very pleasantly and ergonomically on the review sample. Disregarding the erratic Cinebench scores, we did not have any issues with the technologies. Turbo utilization is first rate, and the laptop also stays cool and quiet during load. The coil whining might be a drawback; here it would be advisable for the buyer to look at (or listen to) the laptop personally.

Considering the good total rating, we can give a clear purchase recommendation for Acer's laptop as we have already done for both rivals from HP and Lenovo. This does not apply to Schenker's device that falls behind with "only" 80% in this category.

Update 09-16-2016: A worse display and slightly shorter battery life - the low-end variant TravelMate P658-M-59J7 could not convince us and it already costs 800 Euros. We recommend spending 150 more on a variant with Full HD IPS display.

Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B - 07/14/2016 v5.1(old)
Sven Kloevekorn

Chassis
86 / 98 → 88%
Keyboard
83%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
68 / 80 → 84%
Weight
62 / 20-67 → 89%
Battery
91%
Display
86%
Games Performance
55 / 68 → 81%
Application Performance
84 / 92 → 91%
Temperature
94%
Noise
80%
Audio
50%
Camera
63 / 85 → 74%
Average
76%
85%
Office - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Acer TravelMate P658-M-537B Notebook Review
Sven Kloevekorn, 2016-07-18 (Update: 2018-05-15)