Keyboard quality is also good – not the best I’ve tested, with the new standard for an ultra-portable set by the Lenovo I tested recently, but there were no issues, with all the keys where I expected them to be. The shortcut button at the top right of the keyboard provides a direct link to Acer’s own ePowerManagement tool, which pops up like a Mac OS style widget. This is pretty cool and provides a number of useful tools, including access to the Acer customised power settings.
As befits an extra special system, Acer has gone a bit further and provided some cool extras. Most functional of these is a Bluetooth VoIP phone, which slots into the PC card slot, when not in use. Also included is a small wireless laptop mouse, but of course is decked out in the Ferrari theme with a matt black main body with reds streaks and emblazoned with the distinctive yellow logo. Finally, there’s also a cool bag to carry it all round in.
There’s no denying then that the Acer Ferrari 1000 looks the part, but how does it perform? The Turion X2 ML-60 processor pushes the Ferrari 1000 past the Core Duo T2300 in the Q35 we reviewed in SYSmark 2002, while in PCMark 05 it’s the same story save for the graphics score. Of course that’s not a like for like comparison, since the Core Duo chip in the Samsung is the entry level model, but this is reflected in the Q35’s significantly lower price.
Inevitably, it’s in the battery life department that the Acer suffers, due to the extra power draw of that Turion X2. AMD can certainly do fast processors but when it comes to thermal efficiency it’s clearly got a lot to learn. Despite a larger battery sticking out at the rear, the 200 minutes battery life is a far cry from the 339 obtained from the Samsung Q35. And when it comes to thin and light notebooks, battery life is a paramount concern.
As well as the charge from the Samsung, the case for buying the Acer is made all the more difficult when you consider than the Dell D420 notebook (review coming soon) also doesn’t have an optical notebook drive but makes up for it by being smaller and lighter, features a Core Duo processor and also has a built-in 3G data card – that’s for real, and not just a misleadingly labelled button.
The Acer Ferrari 1000 is a very attractive package that manages to wear the Ferrari badge with pride due to the brute force approach of an AMD Turion X2 ML-60. The sleek style of the Ferrari 1000 certainly has a lot of appeal but you’ll have to put up with an external optical drive, which seems a step backwards when Intel based rivals can integrate one yet are even lighter. But while you might be able to cope with that, the lack of battery life in an ultra-portable is a flaw that could prove harder to ignore.