I AM NOT SOMEONE who reads the last page of a book before I decide to read the rest. I like to see characters develop, a story unfold, and a suspenseful climax that leads to either a happy or bitter end. In this review, I’m bucking tradition and giving the last page first. Acer’s P416-41 notebook doesn’t ride off into the sunset or get the girl, but instead finds itself forever stuck in an alternate universe called the “Budgetyness Realm.” Now, even though you know how the story ends, I bet you’ll want to start from the beginning to see how it got there.
The P4 Line
According to Acer, the P4 line of notebooks is designed for mobile professionals in SMB and hybrid work scenarios. There are several configurations, the notable differences being display size (either 14- or 16-inch, both 16:10 with a 1920 x 1200 screen resolution), processor (12th-Gen Core i5/i7 or Ryzen 5/7), storage (256GB or 512GB NVMe SSD), and memory (8GB or 16GB). Interestingly, the price differential for these options spans just $300, starting at $899 (14-inch Core i5-1135G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) and capping at $1,149 for a fully loaded 14-inch ($1,199 for a 16-inch) with either a Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U or Core i7-1260P processor.
For this review I was sent the P416-41-R4YO, a 16-inch model with Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U, integrated Radeon graphics, 16GB DDR5 RAM, 512GB SSD, Windows 11 Pro, and Wi-Fi 6E at an $1,199 MSRP. According to Acer, all P4 models ship with 100% recycled packaging materials.
Body and Connections
The P4’s body is made of aluminum-magnesium and sports a slate blue color that adds a slight blue sheen in the right lighting. It measures 14.1 x 9.9 x .78 inches at the back (.73 inches at the front), weighs 3 lbs., 12oz., and is composed of 37.7% post-consumer recycled plastic. Combined with its power cord, the total bag weight is 4 lbs., 6oz. The P4 feels mostly solid all around, with minimal flexing at the screen and bottom. According to Acer, it passes MIL-STD-810 tests, which addresses a broad range of environmental conditions it may face while in service, such as exposure to high and low temperatures, humidity, sand and dust, shock, vibration, etc.
There’s a good selection of connections so most mobile professionals will enjoy an adapter-free experience while on the go. On the left side is a barrel power connector, gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI, and two USB Type-C connectors that support USB4 40 Gbps, DisplayPort over USB-C, and charging (Intel models get Thunderbolt 4 ports). On the right side are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a combined headphone/mic jack, and a Kensington lock port. On the very front toward the left side is a microSD connection.
The model I received came with a USB-C power cord. Like I’ve said in other reviews, I’m all for the transition to USB-C as a universal power connector, but if they’re going to build a proprietary barrel connector into the notebook, they may as well ship it with the proprietary power cord and free up a USB-C port for the user.
What You Touch
Open the lid and the P416’s gigantic scratch-resistant touchpad with Corning Gorilla Glass will catch your eye first. Really, it’s huge at 6 x 3.5 inches. It works well overall; tracking was on point and felt smooth. Clicking the pad takes a modest amount of force, but not enough so that it felt odd or uncomfortable. I can’t say the extra size makes up for the fact it’s still a touchpad and not a mouse.
The backlit keyboard is a bit of a mixed bag. Everyone has their own tastes on keyboards, but I found the keys enjoyably springy, with a slightly deeper key travel. After a quick adjustment period, I was typing faster and with better precision than my day-to-day ThinkBook. Key presses were quiet, except the spacebar, which was louder and sounded noticeably different than the rest.
On the downside, the up and down arrow keys are half-height and difficult to use. It’s great Acer tried to include a number pad given the width, but the keys are narrower, making it more difficult to use. It’s also unusual that the 7, 1, 9, and 3 keys on the number pad double as the Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys, requiring a lot more use of the number lock to toggle back and forth. Probably not a big deal for most, but heavy Excel users may find it cumbersome.