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Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G - Inputs, Outputs and Audio-Visual

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell


Our Score


User Score

Review Price £999.99

Despite one or two niggles in the design, quality is still abundant elsewhere and the best example of this is the keyboard. Not only do the silver, isolated keys look very cool, they sport outstanding actions that are crisp, deep and reassuring. An excellent layout, which includes a full-size number pad, only help matters further. We can scarcely remember an Acer laptop that was this nice to work on!

We've already highlighted the touchpad and its somewhat discordant appearance, but it's not just the appearance that's lacking. It's highly lacquered finish is rather too sticky. It's also a fingerprint magnet, which isn't a great quality in something you touch with your finger all the time. On the plus side the two buttons have solid, unfussy actions and again those neat multimedia controls make up for a lot.

Where multimedia machines, particularly ones the size of the Acer, must excel is connectivity and their audio-visual performance. On the connectivity front the 8943G doesn't disappoint, offering up all the usual necessities (e.g. HDMI, VGA, and a memory card reader) but adding a plentiful five USB ports - one of which doubles up as an eSATA socket.

There's an IR receiver on the front edge for the provided remote, which is a useable - if rather functional looking - effort, and a TV tuner input for hooking up an aerial feed. A mini-FireWire port is also included; though considering the massive price Acer would have been well-advised to add USB 3.0. Moreover, there's no ExpressCard slot, so you can't add a USB 3.0 adapter (or any other expansion card) - see: USB 3.0: What Is It and Do You Want It? for examples of such adapters.

Initially, the 18.4in, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display looks promising. It uses two CCFL backlights, as opposed to the usual one, to give a nice strong even lighting to its vastness. The addition of a second lamp also does an excellent job of adding richness to colours and dynamic range to the screen's output. Thanks to the size and resolution of the display, it's also extremely sharp and consequently HD videos and photos look very good. Things are only tarnished by the mediocre viewing angles, which don’t impact normal viewing but are quickly evident for anyone sitting a little off-centre. It's a shame as otherwise the screen does a fine job of showing off Blu-ray content.

More perplexing are the speakers, which despite the touted "5.1 cinematic surround" and addition of a mid-range driver are distinctly underwhelming. Given the right source they produce reasonable clarity and response, but anything remotely challenging quickly generates obvious distortion. Turn off the included Dolby Home Theatre processing and the cause is quickly evident: without it the speakers sound rubbish. Good quality processing can enhance speakers, but the 8943G is far too reliant on Dolby's jiggery-pokery.

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July 15, 2010, 1:14 pm

So you're ripping it on value because it has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in as standard? That seems a little bit mean considering that you would've ever have to bother upgrading it. It's not a machine I'd buy, but judging by the features, it's not really bad value for money.

john g

July 15, 2010, 2:57 pm

I've been thinking about large laptops recently, wondering whether this is the way to go when my existing 15.4" laptop expires. I suspect the combination of a smartphone, netbook and large laptop would have all eventualities covered. Certainly a desktop machine feels too tethering, and a netbook would be great for those out-and-about times, but wouldn't be of much use for some work, such as photo editing. But I'm still waiting for more portable machines to arrive which have wide-gamut screens but are still affordable. It sounds like they're coming, but are still maybe a year or two away.


July 15, 2010, 5:35 pm

I agree that it's a shame that it doesnt have USB 3 but I squarely believe that it's intels fault for taking so long to add it to their motherboard reference designs

Paul Blakeman

July 15, 2010, 5:36 pm

For two grand this should have an ATI 5870 and the 1.7 GHZ core i7 or maybe even the extreme edition version, The RAM is the largest I have seen for a while but I feel is overkill really.

Chris Hamer

July 17, 2010, 6:42 pm

"1.28GB" i think you will find, you meant to put TB (: good review though (: i think its not the thing i'd buy because you can get so much more power out of a custom built desktop PC and this is virtually non movable anyway.


July 17, 2010, 8:56 pm

"i think its not the thing i'd buy because you can get so much more power out of a custom built desktop PC and this is virtually non movable anyway."

The differnece is, this has a keyboard/mouse and monitor built in. And it folds for transport to protect both.

I'd pick up a DTR over a desktop tower with a monitor and keyboard/mouse any day of the week.


July 22, 2010, 4:38 pm

People seem to have written off the ExpressCard slot but the option to add USB3 connectivity, when it's still not widespread is seeing it make a little bit of a comeback which is nice. It's a very useful, flexible port and it's annoying that peripherals for it often exiled to the nether regions of online stores.

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