Acer Ferrari 1000 review

It's a good-looking PC but is there more than just style?

he decision to move on from the garish and glossy red finish was a good one

TechRadar Verdict

Buyt if for the badge, not the performance, otherwise you'll be disappointed


  • +

    2GB DDR2 667MHz RAM

    160GB SATA hard drive


  • -

    AMD Turion 64 X2 ML-60

    12.1in widescreen panel

    Radion Xpress 1150

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We would be very interested to see how many Ferrari car owners actually own a Ferrari-branded PC. We would be willing to bet that it wouldn't be that many.

Acer's Ferrari 1000 must then be aimed at professionals with some money, but not the necessary cash to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a sports car. In that way it feels almost as desperate as a baseball cap with the familiar prancing pony motif emblazoned on it.

Either way, the Ferrari laptops have always been excellent examples of portable computing power, with the sort of strength you can't argue with no matter how you might feel about the ostentatious styling. It's a little disappointing, then, that Acer has opted to fill its ultra-light 12.1in Ferrari 1000 with a 2GHz AMD Turion 64 x2 ML-60 CPU when Intel's dual core chips are universally ruling the roost these days.

Unfortunately, AMD is now finding itself second best and the car company can't be feeling good about being left behind in any sphere. The SYSmark 2004 score of 203, though, proves that as a productivity machine on the go it can still hold its head up high. The impressive 2GB of DDR2 667MHz memory goes some way to helping out with this.

The 160GB hard drive means you can store all the media required for a long journey, but with an operating life of only one hour 54 minutes you're not going to be productive for very long. The Ferrari 1000 does come with a smaller spare battery, which makes it good for another hour, but the dual core AMD is a power-hungry beast and is the main culprit for chewing up battery life.

Poor display

The second placed processor isn't the only disappointment however, because the 12.1in widescreen panel is also a big let down. For the screen of a Ferrari to be unable to handle the corporate red of the pre-installed wallpaper and screensaver without breaking out in floating artefacts is totally unconscionable.

Watching DVDs on the machine is thoroughly unsatisfying too, as the same artefacting appears on areas with the same colours. The endless vista stretching ahead of the Outlaw Josey Wales really shouldn't have dark green isobars scratching around the view. The choice of an external DVD drive is also disappointing because Acer has obviously found it difficult to fit the necessary cooling for the dual core AMD as well as a slimline player inside the tiny chassis.

When you've got beautiful machines like the lightweight Sony Vaio around that can fit the drive inside, again the Ferrari feels like it's being left behind. You're not going to be burning around the beautiful landscapes of GTR2 in an equally gorgeous Ferrari with this laptop either. Despite the 512MB of video memory the Radion Xpress 1150 is only an integrated graphics board, giving it a paltry 3DMark 06 score of 181.

Despite all that though, the Ferrari is a very attractive laptop. The decision to move on from the garish and glossy red finish makes for a more subtle and stylish machine. The build quality is excellent, the keyboard is responsive and the chassis feels solid enough to survive being lugged around without any trouble at all.

At only 1.7kg it's not going to be much of a hassle carrying it about either. The trackpad is responsive, although the mouse buttons feel a little dead and awkward to operate because of the indentation to protect the 1.3 megapixel webcam in the top of the screen casing when it's folded shut.

As ever with the Ferrari branding, you're going to be paying a premium for the prancing pony, and in the world of mobile computing do people really care about the label on their machine if it doesn't deliver the performance they demand of it? You can pick up equivalent Core Duo machines for the same price as this offering and they're likely to still be going when your Ferrari's run out of gas and shut itself down for the rest of the journey.

It's a shame though, as we like the look if not the performance - it's almost as if a Mondeo engine's been dumped inside an Enzo. Buy it for the badge and not the processor and you'll be happy. Otherwise, leave it alone. David James