By Andrew Liszewski
If you’ve ever had to troubleshoot a friend’s laptop, there’s a good chance it was probably a budget Acer model. To say I’m not impressed with their lower-end models is an understatement, and I hope the build quality is vastly improved with their premium models, because the latest versions of their Aspire Ethos laptops look rather slick. Available in a 15.6-inch (5951G) and an 18.4-inch (8951G) model the laptops sport 1366×768 or 1920×1080 resolution screens respectively, and their frameless displays are protected by a panel of Tonka-tough Corning Gorilla Glass.
They also each feature 2nd gen Intel Core i processors, 750GB hard drives, support for up to 16GB of ram, USB 3.0 ports, optional Blu-ray drive and a new battery that promises to retain 80% of its capacity for over 1,000 charge cycles. But what really sets the new Aspire Ethos models apart is the trackpad which features an LCD display underneath for custom functionality. It can also be detached from the laptop and used as a multimedia remote, in portrait or landscape modes which switch automatically thanks to a built in orientation sensor. And I suspect that travelers will particularly like the fact that both laptops can be used to charge another device over USB without having to power up the laptop. To ensure it doesn’t completely kill your battery, the USB charging option is disabled when your battery level drops below a user-defined level. Available mid-June starting at ~$1,600+ (£999).