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Acer unveils Aspire Ethos laptops built to please eyes and ears in the US and Canada

We got acquainted with Acer's new Aspire Ethos 8951G and 5951G laptops a week ago, and told you all about its hot hardware and its £999 price in the UK. Well, now these marvelous multimedia machines have journeyed across the Atlantic and brought their nifty detachable touchpads, which double as multimedia remotes, with them. The North American versions (named AS8951G and AS5951G) also pack the same 18.4-inch and 15.6-inch HD displays and USB 3.0 ports as their British counterparts. There's Core i5 and Core i7 Sandy Bridge silicon and GeForce GT 555M graphics to give you plenty gaming grunt, and to ensure that the sounds match the visuals, both models pump out 5.1 channel surround sound. Low end audio in the AS5951G comes courtesy of a bass booster, while its big brother has a small subwoofer stuffed in its underside. So, what's the damage to your wallet for these two black beauties? The AS5951G and AS8951G run $1,400 and $1,600, respectively, here in the States, while prices start at $1,200 and $1,500 CAD for our friends in the Great White North. Interested parties can find the full nitty gritty in the PR after the break.

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New Acer Aspire Ethos Notebook PCs Put Entertainment in the Palm of Your Hand with Removable Touchpad that Doubles as a Remote Control

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 16, 2011 – Acer America, part of the world's second largest manufacturer of notebook PCs (1), today announced two new top-of-the-line multimedia notebook PC lines for the U.S. and Canada. The new Acer® Aspire Ethos AS8951G and AS5951G are designed to deliver an unparalleled high-definition personal theatre experience for a wide range of activities, including graphic-intensive gaming, video streaming and enjoying high-definition DVDs, photography or videos.

The ultimate in portable personal entertainment, the new Ethos notebooks feature edge-to-edge frameless displays available in two sizes. The Acer Aspire Ethos AS8951G includes an 18.4-inch full HD widescreen (1920 x 1080) display, while the AS5951G includes a 15.6-inch HD widescreen (1366 x 768) display. Models are equipped with either a Blu-ray™ drive or a DVD optical drive for enjoying movies on the widescreen scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® glass display. The experience can be extended to a big screen TV via an HDMI port for the ultimate cinematic experience.

The Ethos 8951G comes with Acer CineSurround with five Dolby®-tuned built-in speakers and Acer Tuba CineBass subwoofer supporting low-frequency effects and vibrant audio for the ultimate movie and music enjoyment. The Aspire Ethos 5951G packs True 5.1-channel surround sound output, two built in stereo speakers and the Acer Tuba CineBass booster, supporting low frequency effects for a totally engaging experience.

Further underscoring its usefulness as a personal theatre center, the new Ethos line features a large detachable touchpad that can be removed and used as a remote control. Consumers can control their music, movies, or a slide show from across the room. It includes LED buttons that launch music and videos, and can be used vertically or horizontally. In addition, the backlit chiclet style keyboard makes it easy to navigate in low light conditions.

With the InstantOn Arcade key, the Aspire Ethos can be fast-booted, allowing consumers to watch movies, play music and view photos at the touch of a button, without waiting for the entire PC to start up.

"The Acer Aspire Ethos line is the notebook of choice for gaming and media enthusiasts," said Steve Smith, Acer's senior business manager, notebooks. "It combines leading technology with a great set of high-end features that make these notebooks more useful and enjoyable for everyday activities. With the remote touchpad, you can change a song or pause a movie from across the room, and InstantOn gives you immediate access to your favorite media."

Depending on configuration, consumers will find either a 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Quad-Core or a 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 Dual-Core processor, up to 16GB of memory, and NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 555M graphics with 2GB of dedicated DDR3 VRAM. All this power delivers phenomenal performance and intense video computing power for maximum enjoyment while gaming and watching HD movies.

Designed for grandiose entertainment, the Ethos notebooks are dressed to impress with a svelte "Black Tuxedo Design," which portrays sophistication with an all-black look. The brushed aluminum magnesium alloy cover includes a sophisticated hairline finish, while contrasting glossy and matte surfaces ooze style from every angle.

The integrated PowerSmart long life battery(2) ensures prolonged battery performance over a longer period of time. With conventional batteries, power capacity starts to fade after 300 charge cycles. The new battery with the long cycle life formula can retain 80 percent capacity for over 1,000 charge cycles (about four years of charges), about three times more than when compared to traditional notebook batteries.

Featuring a USB 3.0 port, which works up to 10 times faster than the standard USB 2.0, a 25GB HD movie can be downloaded in just over a minute. The USB 3.0 port will even charge USB devices when asleep, in hibernation mode, or when turned off completely. With the notebook acting as a charging station, consumers can leave behind a plethora of consumer electronic power adapters, such as those used to charge phones, MP3 players and digital cameras.

With hard drive sizes ranging from 500GB(3) to 1.5TB(3), the notebooks provide ample room for storing a massive multimedia library and action-packed games. The Ethos 8951G provides even greater storage capacity with support for dual hard drives. A firewire port moves videos quickly from a digital camcorder, and a combo USB/eSATA port enables fast data transfer.

Pre-loaded with Acer™, a cross-platform solution for media enjoyment and sharing with DLNA-compliant devices, customers can easily access, store and enjoy digital media from almost anywhere in an office, home or from the cloud.

An advanced 1.3 megapixel HD webcam provides high pixel density for amazing video image quality at 24 frames per second. Consumers can video chat with friends and family enjoying a superior crystal clear image, or grab superb still pictures in HD.

Lastly, a bio-protection fingerprint reader prevents unauthorized use of the PC.

Configurations, Pricing and Availability

The Acer Aspire Ethos AS5951G has a U.S. MSRP of $1,399.99; in Canada, MSRPs start at $1,199 CAD depending on configuration. In the U.S., the Acer Aspire Ethos AS8951G has an MSRP of $1,599.99, Canadian MSRPs start at $1,499 CAD depending on configuration. All models will be available this week at leading retailers.