Acer Aspire Ethos 8951G review
It isn’t perfect, however. Putting the display’s colour reproduction to the test with our X-Rite colorimeter saw the Acer manage an average Delta E of 7 – again, fine by laptop standards – but it falls down badly when it comes to brightness and contrast. The maximum brightness of 194cd/m[sup]2[/sup] is decidedly dim, and the contrast ratio of 303:1 is much lower than we’d expect at this price.
The Acer’s most novel feature is its touchpad. Swipe the latch on the Acer’s front edge and the touchpad actually pops out of its moorings, ready to wirelessly control the cursor from across the room. Dabbing the button on the touchpad’s top right illuminates a set of touch-sensitive buttons which fire up Acer’s clear.fi media playback software, adjust volume and control media playback.
It’s a nice idea, in theory, but cursor control feels horribly inconsistent: there’s a constant lag to every stroke of the finger, and the slightly sticky surface makes it feel like you’re physically dragging the cursor from one side of the screen to the other.
Wireless control occasionally went haywire, the cursor refusing to move left and right, only up and down, and it required us to dock the touchpad to get it working again. Then there’s the lack of a scroll area or multitouch capability – it’s enough to leave anyone reaching for the USB mouse.
The backlit keyboard and numeric keypad are, thankfully, much better. Given the sheer amount of space on offer we don’t understand why the cursor keys are so small, but otherwise there’s little to complain about. The Scrabble-tile keys fall nicely under the finger, have a crisp, light action, and there’s acres of wristrest to play with.
Finally, the Aspire Ethos 8951G remains about as well-connected as any of its rivals. There’s one USB 3 port, a further three USB 2 ports, one eSATA/USB 2 combo, mini-FireWire and a card reader. The optical S/PDIF output is welcome too.
In fact, Acer’s Aspire Ethos 8951G does most of the things you’d expect of a top-flight desktop replacement. It’s very powerful, has a large, high-resolution display, and is packed with features, from the Blu-ray player to its 1.5TB of hard disk space. The problem with this laptop is that it would have to be a whole lot better to justify the £1,420 price tag – including a better quality screen, and a touchpad that worked properly.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||440 x 295 x 40mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2630QM|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel HM55|
|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 GT 555M|
|Graphics card RAM||2.00GB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||698GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Seagate ST9750423AS|
|Optical disc technology||Blu-ray reader|
|Optical drive||Slimtype BD E DS4E1S|
|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||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial 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|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad (removable)|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard, base|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||5hr 48min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.83|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|