Acer Aspire 8943G (ZYA) notebook
Acer Aspire 8943G (ZYA) review: A huge desktop replacement laptop that can be used as a media centre
- Good performance, useful as a media centre and desktop replacement, good battery life, two hard drive bays
- Ridiculously big, no expansion slot, reflective screen
The Acer Aspire 8943G is a huge, 18.4in desktop replacement notebook; people will stare and point because it's so ridiculously large. However, it has very good specifications and is useful for just about any home computing task, including gaming.
Price$ 2,999.00 (AUD)
The Acer Aspire 8943G (ZYA) is a ridiculously big notebook that you'll either love or hate for its outlandishness. It has a massive 18.4in Full HD screen and plenty of horsepower under the hood. It's designed to be a comprehensive desktop replacement or media centre, but one thing's for sure: you'll need a huge desk to accommodate it and it's too big to ever be used on your lap.
Note: the $2999 price is for the version of the Aspire 8943G that has an Intel Core i7-740QM CPU, 8GB RAM and two 750GB hard drives. A price for our review configuration was not available.
Acer Aspire 8943G: Specifications and performance
The Acer Aspire 8943G (ZYA) has been designed to perform almost any home computing task you can think of, including playing games. With a 3GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 graphics adapter and an Intel Core i7-720QM CPU, the Aspire can run most games on the market without any problems. However, you won't be able to run many graphics-intensive games at the native 1920x1080 resolution of the screen without noticing some stuttering in the frame rate. This will apply mostly to 3D shooters; role-playing games, sports games and car racing games all ran quite well when we pushed them to the limit.
In 3Dmark06, the Aspire 8943G recorded a score of 8521, which isn't quite as fast as the latest Dell XPS 17 (1710X) (it scored of 10,940). Unlike the Dell XPS 17, though, the Aspire doesn't get too warm while it's processing 3D graphics, so you can continue to use its keyboard. Nevertheless, the keyboard isn't great for gaming (its chiclet-style and the huge palm rest are fine for typing though), so you'll still want to plug in an external one or use a controller.
The performance of the Aspire 8943G in our media encoding tests was as good as we were expecting. In the Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, the Aspire 8943G recorded times of 47sec and 1min 10sec, which are almost exactly the same as the Dell XPS 17 (1710X) despite the Dell having the slightly zippier CPU. The Aspire's Core i7-720Qm runs at 1.6GHz, while the Dell's Core i7-740QM runs at 1.73GHz. The Aspire also has 6GB of DDR3 SDRAM — the same as the Dell — and there are four SO-DIMM slots.
The Aspire's four memory slots and Wi-Fi adapter.
In our hard drive transfer tests, the Aspire recorded an average transfer rate of 33.35 megabytes per second. This is a fast time; it's just under 2MBps slower than what the Dell notebook achieved (the Dell uses a faster, 7200rpm hard drive). The Aspire uses a 640GB Western Digital drive (WD6400BEVT-22A0RT0) with a 5400rpm spin speed. Like the Dell XPS 17, the Aspire has enough space in its base for two hard drives — a second 2.5in SATA drive can easily be installed once you remove the access panel for the second drive bay.
The Aspire's two hard drive bays.
Acer Aspire 8943G: Media centre features
A second hard drive will come in handy if you want to use the Aspire 8943G as a personal video recorder (PVR). It has a built-in digital TV tuner (it ships with an adapter so you can plug in a regular-size antenna connection) and it ships with a Windows Media Center remote control and a built-in infrared receiver, so there aren't any messy extra wires to plug in.
The base has five speakers built into it — two front, two rear and one sub-woofer, which are adequate for when you want to watch TV and movies on the notebook itself. They are not of very high quality though and you will have to put up with a tinny sound that lacks warm low frequencies. In saying that, with the surround speakers, the big 18.4in screen, the Blu-ray player, digital TV tuner and remote control, the Aspire is its own self-contained entertainment unit. It's perfect if you want all this functionality for a bedroom or small rec room. The glossy screen is prone to reflecting lights though, and its vertical angles are as shallow as every other notebook we've seen, but its overall quality is fine watching videos and viewing photos.
Acer Aspire 8943G: Battery life
Despite its behemoth size, the Aspire ships with a big battery that gives it a respectable life away from a power outlet. In our battery rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise the screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video, the Aspire lasted exactly two hours. This is better than many 15.6in notebooks we've tested recently, such as the Samsung R590-JS02AU and the MSI FX600.
Around the edges of the Aspire, you'll find the afore-mentioned Blu-ray drive, as well as four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, FireWire, eSATA/USB 2.0, an SD card slot and microphone and speaker audio connections. The unit also has a fingerprint reader and a webcam. We wish it had an ExpressCard slot, which could come in handy if you ever want to add USB 3.0, for example, but overall it's a great set of features. Combined with a zippy configuration and a huge screen, the Aspire 8943G makes for a great desktop replacement; that doesn't change the fact that it still looks ridiculously big.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- Sony's virtual reality suit is why people go to SXSW
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTPMO ManagerNSW
- FTMicrosoft Designer / ArchitectVIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCApplication Architect - CloudVIC
- CCProject ManagerACT
- CCSharePoint Service ManagerNSW
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- TPGIS Resource Data & TestingQLD
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- FTHelpdesk TechnicianVIC
- FTNetwork Services ManagerQLD
- CCProduct Design AnalystNSW
- TPTechnical ArchitectVIC
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- TPGIS Officer | Map InfoQLD
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- TPSAP BA - Source to PayQLD
- CCFull-stack Software EngineerNSW
- CCAutomation Developer - LinuxNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst (Security) - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTIncident and Problem ManagerVIC
- CCSenior Network Designer - CiscoVIC
- TPSenior Project ManagerVIC