Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G review

A feature-packed, high-end media centre but performance falls short of expectations

Acer Aspire Ethos 4983G
The Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G is one of the most feature-packed laptops you can buy

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With such an impressive specification, it would be easy to assume that the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G would be the most powerful laptop you can buy. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

While the quad-core Intel processor and 16GB of DDR3 memory certainly deliver a fantastic level of performance that's more than capable for multi-tasking with the latest software, the Acer is far from the market-leading powerhouse that we expected it to be.

The Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G fails to match far less well-equipped and, in some cases, far less expensive machines that we've seen in recent months.

Acer aspire ethos 8943g

GO LOUDER: A volume control at the front of the chassis makes it easy to control audio output

The Sony VAIO VPCZ11Z9E/B, for example, hugely outperforms the Acer, despite its use of a dual-core Intel Core i7 processor and far less RAM and the Samsung R590 also matches the Acer's power, despite using Intel's Core i5 processor technology and costing more than £1000 less than the Acer.

Nevertheless, the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G is a capable performer and more than up to the challenge of the most demanding home and office use. When multi-tasking Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator applications alongside Microsoft's Word, Outlook and Excel, the Acer flew along with impressive speed.

While we noted an inevitably minor degree of lag when running all five applications simultaneously, it wasn't enough to hinder performance.

With such powerful components in place, an adequate cooling system is essential and thankfully the Acer succeeds in this regard.

As mentioned before, the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G chassis is kept pleasingly cool at all times, although we did notice that the fan runs quite regularly to achieve this feat – even whirring away while the laptop is switched on but sitting idle. While this can be distracting, the fan thankfully remains suitably quiet.

Graphics are equally capable, with the AMD graphics card ably running the latest games with ease. Again, however, we would have expected far more powerful performance at this price.

While the DirectX 11 support is commendable and there is ample enough power for gaming, photo/video editing and enjoying HD video, laptops such as the Medion Akoya P6625 come close to matching the performance of the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G for a third of the price.

Where the Acer really excels is its HD entertainment potential. The glorious 18.4-inch screen is encased beneath a sheet of plastic that runs edge-to-edge, leaving no bezel on the Super-TFT panel.

Brightness, colour and contrast all impress, bringing photos and video to vivid life and, while the glossy screen coating is inevitably reflective, it suppresses reflections surprisingly well, meaning the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G can be easily viewed in comfort.

Adding to its HD usability is its 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, so high-definition 1080p video can be viewed in all its glory. Images are as sharp as we've seen and, when viewing movies via the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G's integrated Blu-ray drive, the screen is truly stunning.

Even when viewing standard-definition DVD's, the Acer's stunning panel bring cinematic quality to movies, making it a great choice for enjoying movies with the family.

Acer aspire ethos 8943g

EASY TV: Connect the Acer's TV antenna to your rooftop aerial for the best picture possible

Another nice touch is the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G's inclusion of an integrated DVB-T TV tuner. A compact portable aerial is included, but this is inevitably poor for picking up TV broadcasts.

Once connected to a home rooftop aerial, however, it's easy to get a good signal and enjoy your favourite TV shows on the Acer's huge screen. A full-size remote control is also included for use with the tuner, as well as the integrated Blu-ray drive, among others.

Acer aspire ethos 4983g

COUCH CONTROL: A full-size remote lets you easily control the Acer's TV tuner and Blu-ray drive

The Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G is also a great machine for working online and staying in touch with family and friends around the world. While its integrated camera – fitted above the screen – is not a unique feature, the sheer size of the Acer's 18.4-inch screen makes an ideal choice for using online video messaging software, with your contacts brought to vivid life onscreen.

As such, this is a great laptop for getting the family together to say hello to distant relatives.