Acer Ferrari One-200 review
A well-built and speedy netbook but battery life is below average
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.
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.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||285 x 205 x 24mm (WDH)|
|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|
|SODIMM sockets free||1|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|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|
|Hard disk usable capacity||232GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA|
|Optical disc technology||N/A|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial 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|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
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|