The Ferrari 1000 is the third generation of Acer’s Ferrari-sponsored notebooks which also includes a 15.4in model, the 5000. The 1000 is a 12.1in ultraportable and our first impressions were great. The glossy carbon fibre lid with red detailing and Ferrari badge looks superb. It’s also very solid and even detracts fingerprints. The 1280 x 800 LCD is very bright and the glossy coating enhances colours (albeit at the expense of reflectivity). Our HD movies looked good and there were very few lag problems. Horizontal viewing angles weren’t bad but vertical angles were poor – more than two people looking at the screen will struggle. Still, the speakers weren’t bad for a notebook this size – getting relatively loud albeit without much bass.
The keyboard is crisp and comfortable to use with only lesser-used keys being reduced in size. The trackpad is comfortable and looks smart with its metal Ferrari-stamped buttons. The whole laptop is very solidly constructed and generally looks great. But we struggled to find many positives after that.
Under the bonnet is an 2GHz AMD Turion X2 TL-60 processor, flanked by 2GB of RAM (256MB of which is stolen by the graphics card) plus a very generous 160GB hard disk. While an overall benchmark score of 0.78 is not to be sniffed for an ultraportable the Core 2-based Lenovo X60 is almost 20% faster without even trying to be a performance notebook. However, this is the first ultraportable we’ve seen which actually allows gaming. The Radeon Xpress 1150 graphics are far from powerful though, by reducing resolution and quality settings we were just able to play Far Cry and Call of Duty 2.
Unfortunately, battery life, a key part of any ultraportable, was very poor. Two batteries are included: the standard life battery performed our intensive test for a paltry 39mins before dying and survived our light use test for only 1hr 16mins. The Extended life battery (which raises weight from 1.6 to 1.8kg)fared not much better lasting only 57mins and 2hrs 58mins respectively. It’s a far cry from the 9hrs we see from the likes of Sony and Lenovo.
Other features include an 802.11n WLAN card – the first we’ve seen. It’s backwards compatible with 802.11b/g networks but won’t prove its worth until the standard is finally ratified (sometime in the next 12 months) where it will likely need a firmware update. Other connectivity includes three USB ports, a PC Card slot, full-sized FireWire (for the external DVD writer), memory card reader (supporting SD/MMC/MS/xD), three audio jacks, Gigabit Ethernet, BlueTooth 2 and a VGA connector – there’s no DVI or ExpressCard slots. But there is a rotating 1.3 megapixel webcam integrated into the lid and accessories include a leather carry case, BlueTooth VoIP phone and mouse.
It all amounts to a bit of a disappointing mishmash. It will suit those wanting a flashy ultraportable who would like to play the occasional game at very low resolutions, but that’s it. Most people who want ultraportability should look at the A-List and choose the cheaper and more powerful Dell D420 or the sublime, similarly-priced Sony VAIO VGN-G118GNB. The latter might not offer the grunt of the Acer, but it looks as good, has nine times more battery life, plus an integrated optical drive.