Acer Aspire 8930G review

This laptop is terrific value, squeezing in a lot of features for the money, but quality does suffer in places.

Mike Jennings
10 Jun 2009
4
Price when reviewed 
1,199
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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.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions441 x 302 x 50mm (WDH)
Weight4.000kg
Travelling weight4.6kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Quad Q9000
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM45 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size18.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce 9600M GT
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1

Drives

Capacity500GB
Hard disk usable capacity465GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSeagate Momentus 5400.3
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical drivePioneer BDR-TD01RS
Battery capacity4,800mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchno
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
TPMno
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use200
Battery life, heavy use89
Overall application benchmark score1.11
Office application benchmark score0.94
2D graphics application benchmark score1.15
Encoding application benchmark score0.85
Multitasking application benchmark score1.23
3D performance (crysis) low settings15fps
3D performance settingMedium

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedMicrosoft Works 8.5

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