As the 8943G costs nearly £2,000 you'd expect it to perform extremely well. It does, to an extent, but it's not as if you get significantly more performance for the money. For example, the Toshiba Satellite L650-10G isn't embarrassed in our system performance testing, and it costs a fraction of the price.
Of course, the Acer does have the advantage of a quad-core processor, and if you want to edit HD camcorder footage then this will come in handy. However, evidently the 12GB of RAM doesn't help system performance much and we find it hard to believe any home user would need so much memory. As the Asus G73Jh demonstrates a faster processor or better graphics would be more beneficial, and it's a good £300 cheaper too.
Unsurprisingly, Asus' gaming machine outperforms the Acer in the gaming tests, though the latter still performs reasonably well. TrackMania Nations didn't pose any problems, producing a silky smooth 90.6fps. We upped the resolution to 1,920 x 1,080 and set everything to high and we still got playable frame rates. Likewise in STALKER: Call of Pripyat, which ran at 50.9fps at medium detail, there's enough performance spare to improve graphical quality.
We routinely point out that battery life is fairly unimportant in machines this size, but the Acer still produces good results. In the productivity test it lasted nearly three and a half hours, a DVD at 100 per cent brightness ran for slightly less than two hours. Nonetheless, given the 8943G weighs 4.6kg, such battery life is unlikely to be needed unless there's a power cut!
And unfortunately this gets to the nub of the 8943G's problems. It has many good elements, but taken as a whole it fails to convince. Its unbalanced specification is largely at fault here, but there are several niggling faults that also undermine it. Given the choice we'd sooner recommend something like the Asus G73Jh, or an all-in-one PC that offers similar features at a more competitive price.
It has the features and no shortage of design flair, but the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G is ultimately a bittersweet affair. It might make a better case for itself in cheaper configurations, but there are still fundamental issues to iron out.