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(Pocket-lint) - Acer hasn't been too shy about its sponsorship of the Ferrari racing team and the deal hasn't been all one-sided, as the Ferrari notebooks are one of Acer's top-selling mobile lines. The Ferrari 4000 is the fourth re-invention of the line and by far the most radical. Gone is the solid red colouring in favour of a more downbeat and far more classy chassis that is predominantly black with touches of red. Branding is kept to a minimum, with only the Ferrari logo appearing in the right-hand corner.

It isn't only the look of the casing that has changed. With an overall weight of 3.1kg, this is a far more portable notebook that can be carried around with ease. Such a weight is appealing considering it comes with a 14.4-inch widescreen panel. Coming with Acer's CrystalView technology, images are stunning and sharp, ideal for watching DVDs or editing digital images.

Acer is claiming this is the world's first carbon fibre notebook and in some respects it is, but don't go thinking that the whole of the casing is made of carbon fibre, as the bulk of it is the same plastic you'll find on any run of the mill machine. However, the lid of the notebook, which protects the screen and also adds flexibility to the casing is carbon fibre. Once this is apparent the Ferrari loses a degree of its WOW factor but it sports a solid and reliable build quality that is more than capable of handling daily knocks.

If you're into nice little flourishes, the rubberised surface around the keyboard will be more to your liking. Not only does it give the notebook a matt black finish and a hint of cool, it also helps to keep the chassis cool to the touch. This quickly became apparent when you touch the touchpad, as this grew warm to the touch, making a marked difference.

Acer has made something of a key feature of fitting its notebooks with a curved keyboard. The five-degree curve isn't merely for decoration, as it's believed the more natural placing of the keys helps reduce RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) from too much typing. The keys have a small action but we found it comfortable to use.

In terms of specification, Acer has gone out to produce a machine that is powerful on the inside as it looks on the outside. Based around the AMD 2GHz Turion 64 ML-37 processor and supported by 1024MB DDR SDRAM, there is little to complain about in terms of performance. In use, we found that it could readily handle anything we threw at it, from editing video, to running the latest games.

When it comes to games, the use of an ATI Mobility Radeon X700 is more than up to the task, being ATI's second fastest mobile GPU. Connectivity around the sides of the unit are well covered, with USB 2.0 ports located on either side. The addition of a DVI port on the rear of the unit means you can hook the Ferrari up to an external monitor, projector or even home entertainment system and use a straight digital source for improved image quality.

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While previous Ferrari models have sold well, I was never truly impressed with their look or performance. There are no such problems with the Ferrari 4000 - this is as good a notebook as you’ll find, with or without a sponsorship deal to bolster its profile.

Writing by Mike Browne. Originally published on 25 July 2005.