Acer and Ferrari have been in partnership for close to 4 years now and in that time the Ferrari-branded notebook has gone from a novelty, to a mainstay of the Acer line-up. It’s under gone a number of changes but the core essentials have always stayed the same – this is a high-spec AMD-based system designed to give the Ferrari fan as powerful an experience as possible.
That may sound like marketing speak, but this isn’t a cheap notebook with a basic specification. For your £1699 (inc. VAT) you get AMD’s top-of-the-line dualcore processor, the Turion 64 X2 TL-60, which is as powerful as you’ll find at the moment and it’s paired with 2048MB of DDR2 memory, we found this machine simply ran applications without trouble. There is a 160GB hard drive in place, so you can store as much media as you’re likely to ever need. This is about as impressive a list as you’re likely to find at the moment.
Keeping the look of the previous model, we have a sleek black with hint of red chassis that uses a carbon-fibre lid to keep the weight down but add plenty of protection. Branding is kept to a subtle minimum but when you switch the notebook on you’ll get the sound of a sports car screaming past. So, anyone who didn’t notice the branding will get the idea when you start to use it.
As with many Acer laptops, usability is excellent. The keyboard curves upwards at each end for a more natural typing position and all keys are responsive and comfortable. The right-side of the chassis tends to get warm quickly, but not enough to hinder laptop use.
Weighing in at 3.1kg, this is fairly lightweight for a desktop replacement, largely due to the use of a 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen. Graphics are handled by the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600, which is a great card for the casual gamer, as it will play most games without being too resource greedy.
If you want to use it out and about, you certainly can, as we managed to get well over 3 hours from the battery. A 1.3-megapixel camera sits above the screen for messaging and conference use. Moveable through 180 degrees, a first-person perspective can be gained when needed. Pre-installed Acer OrbiCam software makes it easy to film video and take snapshots. Connectivity is strong for home and mobile use. Gigabit Ethernet provides high-speed fixed networks while 802.11g Wi-Fi does the same for wireless access.
This is a great notebook that handles applications as well as it looks. Gone is the gawdy bright red of earlier models, to be replaced with something we feel is sophisticated. However, while the price may be high, you’re not paying too much of a premium as the specification is top-notch.