Acer Aspire 8942G review

21 Apr 2010

Huge and over the top, but the Aspire offers tremendous power at a surprisingly sensible price

Price when reviewed 
1,280
5

The Acer Aspire 8942G is a desktop replacement in an almost literal sense - you'll barely be able to see any desk behind it. A gigantic 18.4in display means the chassis measures 440mm across and weighs more than 4kg, so it's good for the occasional trip up and down the stairs at home but not much else.

Once in place, though, the Aspire rewards you with power. Despite the dual-core Core i5-520M inside, it scored 1.74 in our benchmarks, helped by 6GB of DDR3 and a 64-bit OS. It's a fast consumer laptop, and should only fall behind quad-core systems in heavily multithreaded tasks such as 3D rendering.

Acer Aspire 8942G

Acer has also included a powerful graphics chip, with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 averaging 49fps in our Medium Crysis test, and a creditable 20fps at High settings. With a few detail settings lowered, you may even get close to the display's Full HD resolution in some less demanding games.

There's the obligatory Blu-ray drive for entertainment, while the screen is superb, with a bright and even LED backlight, vibrant colours and a coating that's glossy without being overly reflective. The 5.1 speaker set produces fine audio, rich and full at both ends of the scale and with impressive volume, all controlled by a sleek rotary dial and separate backlit playback panel.

The whole design seems to follow those touches: the power button is a brushed-metal disc with blue trim that lights up when on; a pair of tiny blue speaker grilles look like exhaust vents beneath the screen; and the rounded edges of the front of the chassis look almost like the front of a car. It's all a tad over the top in true boy-racer style, but it somehow works on such a massive laptop.

It's unlikely you'll move from the mains for long, but battery life is better than you'd expect: we measured just more than four hours of light use, and almost an hour-and-a-half at full pelt. All of which combines to make the Acer a very tempting desktop replacement.

The styling won't suit all tastes, but the 8942G costs little more than a grand, yet offers more power and entertainment features than you'd usually expect from a desktop PC.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,089
Price inc VAT £1,280
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 440 x 303 x 43mm (WDH)
Weight 4.200kg
Travelling weight 5.0kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-520M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55 Express
RAM capacity 6.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 18.4in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Graphics chipset ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 640GB
Hard disk usable capacity 580GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Western Digital Scorpio Blue
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Optical drive HL-DT-ST BDDVDRW CT21N
Battery capacity 4,800mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 1
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 5
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 3
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Multitouch touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge, base
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.9mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 6min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 28min
Overall application benchmark score 1.74
Office application benchmark score 1.71
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.76
Encoding application benchmark score 1.53
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.98
3D performance (crysis) low settings 93fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery disc
Software supplied None