Acer Aspire Ethos 8951G review

£1420
Price when reviewed

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.

Acer Aspire Ethos 8951G

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.

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions440 x 295 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight4.000kg
Travelling weight4.5kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i7-2630QM
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55
RAM capacity8.00GB
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 GT 555M
Graphics card RAM2.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity750GB
Hard disk usable capacity698GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSeagate ST9750423AS
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical driveSlimtype BD E DS4E1S

Networking

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

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad (removable)
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard, base
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use5hr 48min
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.83
Responsiveness score0.85
Media score0.85
Multitasking score0.78

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedN/A

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