We're huge fans of Acer's Aspire Ethos entertainment laptops, which boast incredible amounts of power and some excellent features, but it does have a steep price tag.
The Aspire Ethos 5943G-5464G50Bnss aims to bring the range to the masses with a cost under a £1000 and, despite some sacrifices, we're still highly impressed.
While the previous Ethos model we reviewed had an Intel Core i7 processor and a staggering 16,384MB of memory, this model opts for a Core i5 CPU and 4096MB of memory. Despite this, our benchmarking tests came out with a near identical score. We found we could run several resource-intensive applications at once with no visible slowing at all.
Graphical performance is also impressive, with the dedicated ATi Radeon HD 5650 graphics card capable of most multimedia tasks. Video editing is a breeze, while gamers can run the latest titles smoothly.
Battery life: 381 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 257
3D Mark 2003: 21,171
Acer has also included a Blu-ray drive for watching both Blu-ray discs and DVDs, and the built-in speakers do a commendable job, although we would still recommend a separate pair.
Unfortunately, one of the sacrifices made to reduce costs is a lower display resolution. Previous models wowed us with HD images, but this model only manages a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, so those Blu-ray films don't appear as sharp as they could. Thankfully, you can connect an external display via the VGA or HDMI ports.
The Ethos is a sturdy beast and our only issue is a little flex in the centre of the lid. The strong build quality makes for impressive usability, with a firm isolation style keyboard proving a delight to type on.
We also enjoyed the smooth and generously sized touchpad, which rather slickly converts to a media control panel at the touch of a button, for playing, pausing and skipping through your music and video.
At almost 3kg, this is definitely a desktop replacement machine and not a laptop for taking on the road often. However, 381 minutes of battery life defied our expectations and provides extra freedom when needed.
A fingerprint scanner is built into the palmrest, giving you an extra layer of security and eliminating the need to remember login passwords. You also get a 5-in-1 memory card reader, an eSATA port for attaching an external hard drive, and even a mini FireWire port.
Although Acer has cut back the specification of the Aspire Ethos 5943G-5464G50Bnss to trim the price, we were still highly impressed. Performance hasn't suffered at all and build quality is just as strong, although we were disappointed by the sharpness of the screen.
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