Acer Aspire 8930G review
This laptop is terrific value, squeezing in a lot of features for the money, but quality does suffer in places.
Acer's Aspire 8930G may be one of the cheaper laptops on test this month, with a price of a mere £1,043 exc VAT, but that doesn't mean it's lacking in specification or features.
The processor, for instance, is Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9000, which achieved a respectable 2D benchmark result of 1.11 and scored highly in the multitasking component of the test - just like the gargantuan Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds, which has the same CPU and excelled in the same area.
Nvidia's GeForce 9600M GT is a popular part, appearing in four other machines this month, and its score of 15fps in our medium-quality Crysis benchmark means that the Aspire has some gaming ability, although it will struggle with the most demanding titles.
Unlike the Toshiba Qosmio G50, the low price of which limits its specification, the Acer includes plenty of flashy components. As well as 4GB of DDR3 RAM, there's a Blu-ray reader, 500GB of hard disk space, draft-n wireless and even a hybrid analogue/DVB-T TV tuner.
Battery life is reasonable despite this specification, with the 4,800mAh unit lasting for more than three hours in our light-use test and around half that time in the more demanding heavy-use benchmark. So there's some scope for using the Aspire 8930G away from home if you can find a bag to accommodate its 4kg weight and 50mm-thick frame.
Unfortunately, the Acer's budget price is reflected in the chassis. The keyboard and trackpad are hardly outstanding; the glossy finish looks and feels cheap, with the creaky lid and wristrest doing little to improve matters.
The screen and speakers can't match rivals, either: the TFT may have a decent resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, but it's pale and lifeless, and the speakers are muddy and weak compared with those used by Toshiba, HP and Dell.
This laptop still has plenty going for it. Alongside a capable processor, there's a decent set of features: many laptops would struggle to include Blu-ray, a half-terabyte of storage and a TV tuner for this sort of money. But in squeezing in all these features, the quality suffers and so scuppers the Acer's chance of an award.
|Price ex VAT||£1,043|
|Price inc VAT||£1,199|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||6|
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||441 x 302 x 50mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel PM45 Express|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||465GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Seagate Momentus 5400.3|
|Optical disc technology||Blu-ray reader|
|Optical drive||Pioneer BDR-TD01RS|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||3|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||200|
|Battery life, heavy use||89|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.11|
|Office application benchmark score||0.94|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.15|
|Encoding application benchmark score||0.85|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.23|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||15fps|
|3D performance setting||Medium|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|
|Software supplied||Microsoft Works 8.5|