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Laptops Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Acer Aspire 8943G review

£976 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Acer

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Acer Aspire 8943G is a ridiculously big laptop that you'll either love or hate for its outlandishness - UPDATED 5 NOV 2010

The Acer Aspire 8943G is a ridiculously big laptop that you'll either love or hate for its outlandishness  - UPDATED 5 NOV 2010

Acer’s Aspire Ethos is an impressive beast. Not least because of its substantial size - it’s a hefty 18.4in model - but also because of its bold, minimalist design and superior build quality.

Peel off the stickers proclaiming the Core i5-450M processor, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 1GB graphics and Windows 7 operating system, and it could hide in plain sight nestled between the distinguished black and silver components of a Bang and Olufsen hi-fi system.

Sound is indeed one of the Acer Aspire Ethos AS8943G's strong points. It’s unique feature among those on test being the inclusion of what Acer calls a 5.1 Dolby Home Theater surround-sound system.

Unless you’re small enough to actually sit on the keyboard, you won’t be getting sounds coming from behind you, but the six-speaker system does add a noticeable 3D ambience to film soundtracks and there’s a good deal more bass available than from smaller laptops such as the Sony and Samsung models reviewed here.

For music both a Medion Akoya P8613 and Toshiba Satellite A660-15T produced a richer sound.

The screen of the Acer Aspire Ethos AS8943G isn’t just large, it’s also the only one of the group to support the full high-definition 1080p resolution, so it’s best able to fully exploit its built-in Blu-ray drive.

On inserting a disc, Acer’s Arcade deluxe software kicks in and starts playing the movie for you. It’s a highly immersive experience and the best on offer from this round-up. In our tests it produced the most vivid colour, the best contrast and the deepest blacks. It’s also evenly illuminated across the whole screen.

Video as well as music playback can be controlled via the Acer Aspire Ethos AS8943G's wireless remote, or by the Acer Aspire Ethos AS8943G's touchpad which magically transforms into an illuminated control panel at the push of a button.

When it comes to getting some work done, the Acer Aspire Ethos AS8943G's 2.4GHz CPU delivers reasonable performance although it’s still outpaced by the competition. Its WorldBench 6 score of 99 points sits at the bottom of this table. Gaming performance however is the fastest of the bunch, edging above 30fps in our basic Crysis test.

A capacious 87Wh battery enables MobileMark 2007 to run for almost 4.5 hours (264 minutes), which is jolly impressive for a laptop of this size and power.

NEXT PAGE: The review of the Acer Aspire Ethos AS8943G from PC World Australia

Acer Aspire 8943G Expert Verdict »

2.4GHz Intel Core i5-450M
18.4in 1920x1080 LED-backlit LCD
Rotational volume control, 5 speakers
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 with 1GB RAM, 4GB DDR3 RAM (as reviewed: 8GB and 16GB flavours are available)
Blu-ray (BD), CD, DVD
Rechargeable removable battery
Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 7 Home Premium
5400rpm SATA 640GB (up to 1500GB available)
3 x USB 3.0 ports
3.5mm headphone jack, Digital audio, Digital TV tuner, eSATA, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, Microphone, USB 2.0, VGA (D-sub)
Wi-Fi (wireless networking)
Bluetooth, Wireless 802.11b, Wireless 802.11g, Wireless 802.11n
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Around the edges of the Acer Aspire 8943G, you'll find the afore-mentioned Blu-ray drive, as well as four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, FireWire, eSATA/USB 2.0, an SD card slot and microphone and speaker audio connections. The unit also has a fingerprint reader and a webcam. We wish it had an ExpressCard slot, which could come in handy if you ever want to add USB 3.0, for example, but overall it's a great set of features. Combined with a zippy configuration and a huge screen, the Aspire 8943G makes for a great desktop replacement; that doesn't change the fact that it still looks ridiculously big.

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