Some of this extra bulk may be attributed to a more pointed emphasis on durability. Parts of the outer casing are magnesium plated, adding to the weight but providing a highly durable and scratch proof surface. The addition of hard drive shock proofing is further evidence of this, though all this hardly ranks in ToughBook territory. Still, overall the 6292 feels well made and could probably deal with bumps and scrapes well enough.
This can only be a good thing, though whether the extra weight justifies this rather depends on your point of view. To my mind you either buy a rugged notebook or you don’t, and though this is well made there’s no real guarantee how it will react to any problems. Therefore, if portability and proven strength are your requirements then the like of Panasonic’s admittedly expensive ToughBook CF-Y5 is a far better investment.
Overall the design is as functional as you’d expect from an executive style notebook. It is based, so says Acer, on its new ‘ProFile’ design – the updated basic appearance for the entire TravelMate range. What this is meant to represent isn’t entirely clear, though that’s hardly a great issue. This is after all a businessman’s notebook and the various shades of dark grey and black are nothing more than the norm.
Indeed, ‘the norm’ sums up this design rather well. Though these kinds of notebooks are never things of great beauty, that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for neat touches and inspired design, however there’s nothing of great note here. That isn’t to say it’s bad: it’s tidy enough, but nothing immediately jumps out at you and says “I’m clever”. A fingerprint reader, shortcut buttons and a 0.3 Megapixel camera are all useful additions, but none are that noteworthy and are just likely to be found on any other notebook.
Another aspect that’s a tad disappointing is the keyboard. Our sample came with an American layout, which is never ideal, but even taking this into consideration there are aspects that could certainly do with changing. For example, the Page Up and Down keys are situated around the cursor keys, but they aren’t offset as on many notebooks and as such their locality to the right Shift key makes them prime targets for accidental presses. Similarly, the half sized comma key isn’t ideal and as a whole this isn’t the best layout.
In a more general sense though, the keyboard isn’t that pleasant to use. Keys are ever so slightly leaden, and don’t have that crisp response that’s so desirable on a notebook keyboard – or on any keyboard for that matter.