Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G Review: Form A to Z

There are several ways one can replace a desktop PC with a more sophisticated contemporary option. Others could want a more permanent all-in-one PC like the Apple iMac or MSI Wind Top AE2220 Hi-Fi, while some people might prefer a semi-portable 15- or 16-inch laptop. One other choice is a hybrid of the two: a 17 or 18-inch laptop that’s so large as to be essentially non-portable, but can still be stowed away discreetly when the need arises or thrown in the back of a car when on the move. The Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G can suit you if you prefer the latter.

Key Specifications

The 8943G isn’t exactly a featherweight with an 18.4-inch screen and a scale-busting 4.6kg weight. As a result, even while you can at least move it, the Acer won’t be moving quickly. But there’s nothing inherently slow about the hardware. A quad-core Intel Core i7 processor is the star of the show, which starts at 1.6GHz but can be ‘turbo clocked’ to up to 2.8GHz depending on how the load is split. This particular variant also features 12GB of DDR3 RAM in case this wasn’t enough.

This partially explains why this model is being offered at £2,000, but there is more. Together with the 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850, you also get two 640GB hard drives (for a total of 1.28GB), all the Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth you could ever need, and two 640GB hard drives (for a total of 1.28GB). A TV tuner with a remote control and a Blu-ray player are also included. If this is all a bit rich for your blood then there’s a cheaper £1,200 version, which ejects a hard disk, downgrades the graphics and has a more practical 4GB of RAM.

The 8923G’s price isn’t simply due to the technology; Acer also spent money on the design and materials that go with it. The outcomes are a mix of opulent, elegant design and less honorable tactiness. We adore the brushed metal lid and body, which complements the dark-grey palm rest’s more straightforward design. Regrettably, there are one or two careless naffnesses that detract from the overall experience.

For instance, Acer has employed tacky-appearing faux-chrome in a number of locations, including the front edge of the volume dial, the middle click button on the touchpad, and the ends of the hinges. The speakers above the keyboard also appear to be too ornate. The piano-black touchpad, though, is the target of our particular wrath. It looks out of place in its subdued, elegant surroundings.

A set of lighted media controls in the touchpad are activated by pressing the middle button, making it an eyesore with a trick up its sleeve. This is undoubtedly the greatest of all the numerous inventive media controls that Acer has tried—and there have quite a few. Although the overly stylized icons may use some work, it is clean, inconspicuous, and functional.

Quality is still abounding elsewhere, with the keyboard serving as the best example despite one or two design flaws. The silver, isolated keys are not only highly stylish, but they also have excellent motions that are sharp, deep, and comforting. Excellent organization and a full-size number pad only make the situation worse. We hardly ever remember an Acer laptop being this pleasant to use!

The touchpad has previously been mentioned, and while it does have an odd appearance, there are other issues as well. It has a very sticky highly lacquered finish. Also, it attracts fingerprints, which isn’t a great attribute for something you use your finger to touch all the time. The two buttons do, however, offer reliable, uncomplicated functions, and once more, those clever multimedia controls more than make up for a lot.

Multimedia computers, especially ones the size of the Acer, must function well in terms of connectivity and audio-visual quality. The 8943G performs admirably in terms of connectivity, providing all the standard requirements (such as HDMI, VGA, and a memory card reader) while also including a generous five USB ports, one of which serves as an eSATA socket.

On the front edge, there is an IR receiver for the included remote, which works okay but looks quite utilitarian. There is also a TV tuner input for connecting an aerial feed. There is also a mini-FireWire port, but given the astronomical cost, Acer would have been better served by including USB 3.0. Also, since there isn’t an ExpressCard port, you can’t add a USB 3.0 converter or any other expansion card. For examples of such adapters, see USB 3.0: What Is It and Do You Want It?

The 18.4-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display appears impressive at first. In place of the typical one, it uses two CCFL backlights to provide a wonderful, powerful, even lighting across its expanse. The addition of a second lamp also performs a fantastic job of enhancing the output of the screen’s dynamic range and color richness. HD videos and photographs look excellent on the display because of its size and resolution, which also makes it highly sharp. The only drawback is the subpar viewing angles, which don’t affect typical watching but become immediately obvious to anyone sitting slightly off-center. It’s unfortunate because the screen displays Blu-ray content beautifully in all other respects.

Even more puzzling are the speakers, which are noticeably lacking despite the claimed “5.1 cinematic surround” and addition of a mid-range driver. They give reasonable clarity and response when the correct source is used, but anything even somewhat difficult quickly causes apparent distortion. When the built-in Dolby Home Theater processing is disabled, the issue becomes immediately clear: the speakers don’t sound good without it. High quality processing can boost speakers, but the 8943G is way too dependant on Dolby’s jiggery-pokery.

Given that the 8943G costs around £2,000, you would anticipate it to function flawlessly. It kind of does, but it’s not like you get much better performance for the money. For instance, the Toshiba Satellite L650-10G performs admirably in our system performance tests and is considerably less expensive.


The Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G is ultimately a bittersweet experience even if it has the functionality and plenty of design flare. In more affordable configurations, it might be more convincing, but there are still important problems to solve.

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