Acer Ferrari 1100
- Dolby Surround Sound with SPDIF output, VoIP phone and Bluetooth mouse, solid build, Ferrari branding
- Poor performer, price
While Ferrari fans are going to want to splurge for the luxury of a true Ferrari sponsored notebook, unlike the cars we can't justify the cost for the performance. The feature-set isn't bad and will get you by if you've got to have the Ferrari name, but the rest of us have no sensible reason to buy this machine at this price.
Price$ 3,999.00 (AUD)
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Steering away from tradition, Acer's latest Ferrari, the limited edition (just 99 models in Australia) Ferrari 1100, doesn't sport the bulkier 15in screen and heavy chassis of the previous iterations. Instead it opts for portability in this new 12.1in ultraportable design.
No sports car-sponsored notebook review is complete without a few automobile quips and gags, so we'll start by saying that this 12.1in iteration of the Acer Ferrari is dangerously close to being an Acer 'Smart Car' with its petite frame. It has a very solid build that will suit those constantly on the road and looking for a reliable machine, but we're a little disappointed by the performance to cost ratio.
Once again the Ferrari is using an AMD Turion 64 X2 CPU. In this instance the TL-66 2.3GHz dual-core CPU. Unfortunately AMD's heyday is long since passed and is due for a revival, so the performance of this machine isn't quite up to scratch with comparably sized Intel-based notebooks, especially with the added cost that is part and parcel with all of the Ferrari paraphernalia. It also sports 2GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM, which puts it on par with most notebooks available today. Quite unlike its vehicular counterpart, the Ferrari 1100 actually has a fairly decent amount of storage space with a 250GB hard drive siphoned off into two separate 125GB drives.
In WorldBench 6 the Ferrari 1100 scored just 66, a fair step below Acer's own Aspire 2920G, which scored 79; a figure that is closer to what we'd expect for the price of the Ferrari 1100. Our MP3 encoding tests also saw below-average results. Using iTunes to convert 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps took 96sec, about 20sec longer than an equivalent Intel CPU. Using Cdex took 117sec in the same test.
Naturally the Ferrari 1100 has all the Ferrari-brand decorations you'll need to flaunt this status-symbol about, including a Ferrari badge and the extremely gimmicky power button that's designed to look like an ignition key-slot from a car. The notebook's speakers take on a slim and tapered shape that's generally associated with sports-car headlights, and the Ferrari 1100 boasts Dolby Virtual Surround Sound.
Calling the resulting audio output 'surround' would be sacrilege, but it does widen the sound-stage a little. However, there is an SPDIF output on the front of the machine for proper digital output to 5.1 surround sound speakers. The audio quality of the internal speakers is quite nice at the high end of the audio spectrum, but their small physical size and the absence of a subwoofer ultimately results in a hollow bass-less twang.
Also part of the package are Acer's Bluetooth mouse and wireless VoIP phone. But possibly the loveliest part of this machine is, believe it or not, the touchpad. Its checkered-texture finish is really pleasant to use and very accurate. It's a shame the associated mouse buttons are stiff (at least at this stage, while the product is new), despite looking quite fancy.
In our DVD rundown battery test we saw fairly normal results. The DVD rundown test involves looping a DVD with audio on. This is considered a worst-case scenario test as the optical drive and speakers are also put into play. In this test the Ferrari 1100 lasted 88min before shutting down; about the current standard.
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GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
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The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
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