Acer’s opted to give the touchpad a glossy finish – this might make it look good, but I’m always in favour of a bit of texture on a touchpad. A rather curious circular button sits just between the touchpad buttons.
With the press of a button, the touchpad magically turns into a media control panel
Give this a prod and the touchpad transforms into a touch-sensitive media control panel. Another press returns it to standard touchpad duty – thankfully this button requires a deliberate push, so you won’t be activating the media control panel by accident. It’s an interesting idea, but not one that adds a great deal in terms of usability.
Two elongated speaker grilles dominate the section just above the keyboard, while another pair is found lurking underneath the front lip. Although reasonably loud and able to conjure up a decent surround sound effect, I was left somewhat underwhelmed by the tinny nature of the audio.
According to Acer, there’s also a rear-facing sub woofer. Sure enough, closer inspection revealed a tiny circular grille on the underside of the chassis. However, even with an ear pressed right up against it I couldn’t detect any sort of bass. Sub-standard woofer, more like.
Continuing the media theme, Acer’s seen fit to furnish the Ethos with its very own Blu-ray player. Given the style-led nature of this laptop I was expecting it to come with a fancy slot-loading optical drive, but the LG CT21N drive is of the standard pop-out tray variety. HD movies looked good, but the slightly lacklustre colours and tinny audio let them down.
No doubt this is where the softly spoken sub woofer resides
No less than five USB ports adorn the chassis; three on the right, two on the left. One of the USB ports also doubles-up as an eSATA port. Mini Firewire is also present, as are the obligatory HDMI and VGA outputs.
+ in the end it's just an Acer with their legendary support services.
What really stinks here is the "verdict" despite the shortcomings you mentioned:
"Acer’s done a good job with the Ethos"
wobbly keyboard, dull screen, tinny audio. And windoze. Is there any reason to lash out on this?
Re:How big?! #
the new 18.4in Aspire Ethos 8943G will appeal to those looking for a desktop replacement that doesn’t hold back on performance. Each of the four cores on the Core i7-720QM purr along at 1.6GHz, while ATI’s Mobility Radeon HD 5650 is on hand should you want to indulge in a bit of gaming.
Heres a reason...
I work in an industry where i move location every 6-12 months - usually to another country (im up to 8 countries in 5 years so far). A desktop is just not an option. And whilst lugging a large desktop replacement to another country is something of a pain for the short time your on the way/at the airport, it is actually achievable and having the power and speed make it worthwhile when you get to your destination.
Additionally, buying a top of the line desktop replacement means you can usually last a good 3-5 years before needing to replace the laptop. If i bought a regular laptop id be replacing it every 2 years or so...
The previous model...
had the media touchpad mounted separately to the left of the keyboard, which seemed to me to be a more sensible place.
One step along the way to LCARS, but instead of making the entire keyboard from a touchscreen, they've backed off to the Appletastic chicklets... not that it's a bad design, but just saying they could boldly go that bit further with their active media control panel idea for at least one of their models.