Acer Aspire 8943G review: Acer Aspire 8943G

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The Good Excellent screen; good keyboard; built-in TV tuner; handy media controls on trackpad; fast performance.

The Bad No ExpressCard slot; poor speakers; pricey.

The Bottom Line The 18.4-inch Acer Aspire 8943G multimedia laptop is expensive, but its stunning range of features and impressive performance largely justify the hefty outlay.

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8.8 Overall

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The Acer Aspire 8943G laptop is built to satisfy all your multimedia desires. With its huge, 18.4-inch, 1080p screen, Blu-ray drive, fast graphics chip and beefy processor, it's more than capable of rivalling most desktop PCs when it comes to watching movies and gaming. But, at around £1,200 from SaveOnLaptops and other vendors, these high-end features don't come cheap, so is our configuration of the machine worth the hefty outlay?

It's a whopper

As the laptop packs a huge, 18.4-inch screen, you wouldn't expect it to be very portable. In fact, it's only really portable in the sense that you can carry it from room to room. Weighing in at 4.8kg, and measuring 440 by 44 by 295mm, you certainly won't be packing it in your suitcase to take it on holiday.

Despite its large size, it still manages to look classy. For example, the screen bezel sits flush with the display, giving the effect of there being a single sheet of glass. Liberal use has also been made of a sexy metallic finish on the lid and keyboard surround. The machine feels remarkably solid too. There's very little flex in the chassis when you pick it up.

Stunning screen

Open the lid and the first thing you notice is the sheer beauty of the screen. It has a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, so text and graphics look absolutely pin-sharp. The LED backlight also helps it to produce remarkably bright and punchy pictures, with the glossy coating making colours look exceptionally vivid. Watching high-definition movies via the built-in Blu-ray combo drive is a real treat.

The sheer size of the chassis means there's plenty of room for a spacious keyboard too. Like many of today's higher-end laptops, the keyboard on this model has isolated keys. The space between the keys, combined with their smooth travel, makes it easy to get up a decent speed when you're touch typing. The layout is also excellent, and there's a full number pad to the right of the main keyboard, which will come in handy if you're a spreadsheet wizard.

The illuminated media-playback controls on the trackpad will come in handy while watching Blu-ray movies with the lights off.

The 8943G's large trackpad doubles up as a media-playback controller. If you press a button at the bottom of the trackpad, it lights up to show playback controls that you can use to skip between music tracks or videos in a playlist. This not only looks cool, but also comes in quite handy.

The 8943G certainly isn't lacking ports. Along with five USB ports (one of which doubles as an eSata port), there's also a mini FireWire socket, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a VGA socket for hooking the laptop up to an external monitor or projector. There's also an HDMI socket that makes it easy to connect the 8943G to an HD Ready TV.

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