Acer has announced another member of its popular Aspire laptop range, named the Ethos, whose main attraction is a secondary touchscreen that can also be used as a touchpad to control a host of multimedia features including sound, shuffling between music tracks etc.
The company explained in a statement that "The media console is now combined with the touchpad, providing a set of commands all managed by a single key and a completely new approach to entertainment control".
Although it is not being marketed as a multimedia powerhouse, the Ethos will perform exceedingly well as one. It comes with the Core i5 or the Core i7 and packs up to 16GB DDR3 memory (yes 16GB).
The rest of the specification sheet is as impressive; you can have up to 1.28TB worth of hard disk space, an ATI 5850 or 5650 graphics module with 1GB GDDR5 memory, the choice of either a 15.6-inch or a 18.4-inch screen, both of them full HD with a very slim bezel and a Blu-ray combo drive.
The Taiwanese manufacturer also touts the full Dolby surround compatibility of the Ethos with the cheaper version relying on three speakers to perform the trick and the upmarket one adding another three to provide a true 5.1 model.
But they won't come cheap. The entry level model with a Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM and a 320GB hard disk drive will cost a whopping £1100 and the 16GB fully kitted model will likely cost around £4000 or more.
The Acer Aspire Ethos is one of the most promising pieces of laptop kit we've seen in a long time. It is one of the few laptops that reminds us of the Apple Macbook pro and has a price to match the latter. It might be a clear attempt by Acer to improve its overall image.