Acer Ferrari One-200 review

2 Oct 2009

A well-built and speedy netbook but battery life is below average

Price when reviewed: 
399(£399 inc VAT)
4

If you're searching for proof that the netbook has become a fashion accessory as well as a mere computer, you need look no further than the Acer Ferrari One. With a lid coated in crimson and bearing the familiar logo of the Italian sports car manufacturer, this is one product that seems to put image before all else.

Other visual cues are taken from the world of motorsports too. Most of the plastic wristrest is clad in a pattern designed to resemble carbon fibre - even if it's nothing of the sort - while a peek at the One's undercarriage reveals four rubber feet shaped just like tyres.

But it's not all style over substance. In fact, if you strip away the boy racer baubles, you'll find this is one of the most interesting netbooks of the past few months.

The processor is the focus of this innovation: it's an AMD Athlon X2 L310, the first chip we've seen from AMD's new Vision platform, and the very first dual-core netbook processor. So while its core clock speed of 1.2GHz doesn't look much, it ends up powering the Acer to the fastest benchmark score we've yet seen from a netbook.

Acer Ferrari One

The Ferrari One scored 0.48 in our benchmarks - that's 9% quicker than the Samsung NC10 (0.44), which was the fastest netbook we'd seen before the AMD-powered Acer arrived.

It's marginally quicker than its A List competition too, with the Samsung N110 scoring 0.41 and the 12in Samsung NC20 achieving 0.40. And if the margin of difference doesn't sound that impressive, the fact that it did so while running Windows 7 (slower in our benchmarks than XP) should make anyone sit up and take notice.

The inclusion of ATI's integrated Radeon HD 3200-series graphics chip is another novel addition, and it lends the Ferrari a modicum of gaming performance. It can't handle demanding titles such as Crysis - a frame rate of 14fps (with all the settings turned down and at 1,024 x 768) isn't quite playable - but it will manage less intensive games such as Trackmania Nations Forever much better than the less-powerful Intel GMA 500 or 950 chips you get in most other netbooks.

More important, perhaps, is that it's able to decode HD video without breaking much of a sweat: even 1080p video clips were handled smoothly when played in Media Player Classic's Home Cinema Edition - a media player that supports hardware acceleration. And although the Acer wasn't quite as proficient with streaming video - it couldn't handle the BBC iPlayer's high-definition programmes - it played back YouTube HD content without any fuss.

Details

Price ex VAT £347
Price inc VAT £399
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 4
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 285 x 205 x 24mm (WDH)
Weight 1.400kg
Travelling weight 1.5kg
Weight with extended battery N/A
Travelling weight with extended battery N/A

Processor and memory

Processor AMD Athlon X2 L310
Motherboard chipset AMD M780G
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 1
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD 3200
Graphics card RAM 256MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 250GB
Hard disk usable capacity 232GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support no
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support no
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Base
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 46min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 56min
Overall application benchmark score 0.48
Office application benchmark score 0.42
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.59
Encoding application benchmark score 0.49
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.44
3D performance (crysis) low settings 14fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7