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Acer Ferrari One-200 review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 2 Oct 2009

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £347 (£399 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

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.

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User comments

Still its a nice AMD moment that we should all enjoy and hope it will last long and improve over time.

By nicomo on 2 Oct 2009

I was hoping for a better review than this... I got all excited over this netbook but now feel a bit flat.
Are there any other netbooks coming out before the end of the year that you think might make the A-list?

By Mattallyc on 7 Oct 2009

It has a much better spec & software than the Samsung N510 and yet has a poorer rating. Have I missed something?

By Pebus on 31 Oct 2009

Battery life is 1hr 44mins worse than N510 this takes a massive chunk off the overall rating. It's nice to see AMD making such a great debut in to luxury/lifestlye end of the netbook market.

By CyberpowersystemUK on 11 Nov 2009

"This leaves one main reason to buy the Ferrari, and that's its styling" NO! what are you talking about? It has a dual core faster processor and a ATI Radeon HD 3200, 56% more HDD capacity, double the RAM at 2GB and Windows 7 not the ancient XP. I smell the stench of impartiality!!!

By peterbradley4 on 29 Nov 2009

Argh, no HDMI out? Why pack it with HD punch then fail to include an HDMI port? If this netbook had an HDMI output, I would buy it without hesitation.

By tHe_jAcKaL on 9 Dec 2009

crissgoodlookingguy

The battery life is not as poor as you make out..

I've had it running on just the battery for 6 hours runing multiple apps with no problems.

There is a Balanced (more draining)

and

Power Saver battery mode on Windows 7.

The latter can give you upto 6 hours of use on a single charge.

A brilliant brilliant machine no problems running CS4, Office 2007, IE8, iTunes (w/HD movies) in the background with Splinter Cell Double Agent foreground all at the same time with zero performance issues...

Chris

By crissgoodlookingguy on 13 Jan 2010

crissgoodlookingguy

RE: No HDMI

I was thinking the same thing before purchasing, but working in IT myself I did some investigation and Acer have gone one better!

The Ferrari One-200 comes with a built-in ATi XGP port

http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/ati-xg
p/Pages/ati-xgp.aspx

Which will allow you to drive upto 4 HDMI 1080p TVs as monitors with the help of the Acer DynaVivid Graphics box (£150)

which is not such a big price tag for being able to output HD 3D to multiple HD displays...

http://experts.thelink.co.uk/2009/09/30/acer-ferra
ri-one-dynavivid-graphics-dock-detailed/

The built-in Radeon HD3200 (of the AMD Spider family) is more than powerful enough for many current DirectX11 games.

By crissgoodlookingguy on 13 Jan 2010

crissgoodlookingguy

Don't know why my comments in defence of the battery life and the XGP HD 1080p output were deleted??

By crissgoodlookingguy on 13 Jan 2010

RE: No HDMI

The Acer DynaVivid Graphics Dock is all very well, but can you point me to where you can purchase it in the UK?

By tHe_jAcKaL on 15 Feb 2010

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