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Acer Ferrari One review

Barry de la Rosa
18 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
399
inc VAT

A bright screen and better performance than most netbooks, but the Ferrari styling won't suit everyone.

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Specifications

11.6 in 1,366x768 display, 1.5kg, 1.2GHz AMD Athlon X2 L310, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Acer's Ferrari One is a thin netbook with stylish cut-off edges and a bright red lid with the famous prancing horse logo emblazoned on it.

Opening it up reveals a carbon-fibre wrist rest, and the racing car theme even extends to the rubber feet underneath, which are moulded in the shape of wheels. As an homage to Ferrari it certainly works; it's the most eye-catching netbook we've seen.

Under the hood, the dual-core 1.2GHz AMD Athlon X2 L310 processor powers the Ferrari One to an overall score of 26. That's about 50 per cent faster than an average single-core Atom-powered netbook, though it's helped along by the 2GB of RAM. There's also a large 250GB hard disk, compared to the 160GB disk found in most netbooks, and it comes with Windows 7 Home Premium rather than Windows XP.

The ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics chipset enables the Ferrari One to play back 1080p HD video, but it's not suitable for games as it managed only a measly 2.6fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. This is the first computer we've seen with ATI's eXternal Graphics Platform (XGP) port, which lets you attach a standalone graphics adaptor. Disappointingly, no external adaptors were available for testing. A plug-in graphics card is a neat idea, but without near universal support from manufacturers we can't see it catching on.

We were impressed by the 11.6in LED-backlit screen, which was bright and colourful. It has a glossy finish, which means that colours are more saturated but bright overhead lights can cause nasty reflections. It has a higher resolution than most netbooks, with 1,366x768 pixels, giving you a far bigger desktop. The speakers, backed up by Dolby Home Theater technology, were clear and loud. There's no HDMI port, though, so you can't output HD video to a larger screen, but the headphone socket doubles as an S/PDIF audio output.

Acer has used the full width of the case for the keyboard, so there are few compromises on key size or layout. However, the flat keys are hard to distinguish by touch and the action is too light, with hardly any feedback. In an effort at styling, the touchpad is tapered toward the edge of the case; this means it lacks a straight vertical edge on which to place a scroll area, and the buttons are too small, although they are easy to locate with your thumbs.

This may be the first time we've seen ATI's XGP technology, but it's the Ferrari styling that's the real star here. If you like the look, the great display and impressive Windows performance add substance to style. It's more capable than Samsung's N510, and doesn't cost much more, but the lack of an HDMI output is a shame.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD Athlon X2 L310
Processor clock speed1.2GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free1
Maximum memory4GB
Size24x285x204mm
Weight1.5kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle19W
Power consumption active30W

Display

Viewable size11.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorATI Radeon HD 3200
Graphics/video portsVGA, XGP
Graphics Memory256MB

Storage

Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive modelN/A
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedWinDVD

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£399
Detailswww.acer.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.microanvika.com

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