Acer Aspire Ethos 8951G review
An imposing 18.4in display combined with powerful hardware, but the removable touchpad sours the experience
Review Date: 23 Sep 2011
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £1,183 (£1,420 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
With everyone’s eyes on the imminent arrival of Intel’s svelte, go-anywhere Ultrabooks, Acer’s Aspire Ethos 8951G comes as a complete contrast. With an 18.4in display, a quad-core Core i7 processor and 1.5TB of hard disk storage, this bulky desktop replacement is destined to never stray far from a mains socket.
Make no mistake, this is a huge laptop. Weighing just over 4kg and measuring a considerable 440mm across, the Acer is about as sizeable as laptops come. Despite its considerable bulk, however, it isn’t a laptop that draws attention to itself. Almost entirely covered in black brushed metal, with the odd accent of gloss and matte plastic, the only exception is a single strip of silver above the keyboard.
Whatever you might think of its looks, the Aspire Ethos 8951G has some formidable specifications up its sleeve. With a quad-core 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM processor nudging up against 8GB of RAM, this machine is seriously quick for a laptop – its score of 0.83 in our Real World Benchmarks puts it among the fastest laptops we’ve seen, and it’s no slouch in the gaming department, either.
The Acer’s Nvidia GeForce GT555M romped through our Low and Medium quality Crysis tests; it was only once we upped detail to High and pushed the resolution to 1,920 x 1,080 that the average frame rate slowed to an unplayable 19fps.
You’d reasonably expect such powerful components to drain the battery dry in mere minutes, but somehow that’s not the case. In our light use battery test the Aspire Ethos 8951G clung on for 5hrs 48mins. With the quad-core processor working flat out, and the screen brightness pushed to its maximum, heavy usage sapped the eight-cell battery in 1hr 15mins. For a laptop of its size, the Acer has an unusual amount of stamina.
And whether it’s games, spreadsheets or the latest in high-definition movies, the Acer’s glossy 18.4in display is impossible to ignore. The sheer size of the panel means that menu items remain comfortably readable at the default dpi setting, despite the Full HD resolution. Image quality is good, too: the glossy finish gives images plenty of pop, and colour reproduction is reasonably natural by laptop standards. Combined with the surprisingly loud, punchy set of speakers, it’s enough to make games and movies positively enjoyable.
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