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Acer Ferrari 5005WLHi review

Can this Acer earn its racing stripes?

Our Verdict

A good all-rounder, and surprisingly affordable, but let down slightly by multimedia features and performance


  • HD DVD drive

    Good hard disk space

    Reasonably portable


  • WSXGA resolution

    No dedicated multimedia buttons

    No TV tuner

Acer's top-of-the-range Ferrari 5005WLHi (£1515 inc. VAT) has the performance to back up the brightly coloured styling and Ferrari branding.

Build quality is excellent - the sturdy chassis is finished in carbon fibre, taking design cues from its Ferrari namesake. Unlike most rival machines, however, there are no dedicated multimedia buttons on the chassis. The keyboard features a five-degree curve, which means your hands face inwards when typing. Although it's ergonomic, it takes a while to adjust to, and those with smaller hands may struggle.

The Ferrari features a dual-core AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 processor. While It failed to overly impress in our benchmark tests, we found the Ferrari to be a rapid machine in day-to-day use. This was helped by 2048MB of memory, which is more than enough to run even the hardiest of tasks. A 160GB hard drive also provides plenty of space for your files.

The 15.4-inch screen is bright and vibrant, but features a resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels (WSXGA), which means icons and text appear larger, and there's not as much space onscreen. However, images are sharp, and there's not much reflection from the Super-TFT screen. This makes it great for watching movies, although the lower resolution means it isn't as ideal for editing images as it could be.

An ATi Mobility Radeon X1600 GPU gives the Acer more than enough performance for everyday tasks, and you'll even be able to play the latest games. However, as a mid-range graphics card, we occasionally had to turn down the resolution or detail levels to get some games to run smoothly.

Sharp looker

An HD DVD optical drive lets you play high-definition content, and movies look sharper and more lifelike than with regular DVDs. An HDMI port also lets you watch your HD DVDs on an external screen. HD DVD is currently read-only, so you won't be able to use it for backing up your files. Unfortunately, there's no TV tuner, letting this machine down as a multimedia machine.

Weighing 3.1kg, the Ferrari is reasonably portable, and we felt fairly comfortable working in cramped conditions. A compact footprint means you can carry it in a regular laptop bag, and the battery life of 217 minutes is impressive.

The Acer Ferrari 5005WLHi is a good laptop. Build quality is impressive, and it's also a lot cheaper than many of its rival machines. However, for multimedia use, it's just not as versatile as it could be. Philip Barker