So, it’s not the thinnest or lightest notebook in its class but connectivity is good enough. Three USB ports is a decent number for a notebook of this size and though we’d sooner see D-SUB or S-Video replaced with HDMI, it’s not something we see too often in this form factor yet. Besides this you’ll find the usual array of connections, including Ethernet, modem, FireWire and a memory card reader.
Also, on the front, are dual-headphone outputs (one S/PDIF), a microphone line-in, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on/off switches and an infrared receiver. A short mention must also be made of the on-board audio, which benefits from Dolby Home Theatre audio processing and is better than most notebooks of this size.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Ferrari 1100’s performance. Our testing was somewhat curtailed due to the fact that our in-house benchmarks are not 64-bit compatible, but even with just PCMark Vantage and our previous experience to go on, it’s clear the Ferrari doesn’t perform to its price point. It proved slower overall than the relatively cheap Dell Inspiron 1525 that had only 2GB of RAM and used an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 2.0GHz, which isn’t even one of the faster mobile processors Intel produces.
Happily, battery performance is pretty solid and though it couldn’t quite reach the heights of the aforementioned Dell Inspiron 1525, which managed four hours and 10 minutes in the Productivity test, the Ferrari 1100 nonetheless did well. Using a six-cell, 5,800mAh battery and integrated ATI Radeon X1270 it managed a perfectly creditable three hours and 34 minutes in the Productivity test under the standard Balanced power profile. Likewise, a result of four hours and twelve minutes in the low intensity Reader test was excellent, though the high intensity (100 per cent display brightness) DVD playback test provided a more down to earth one hour and 55 minutes.
This decent effort in the battery tests does provide some cheer in an otherwise disappointing performance. But it’s hard to get away from the fact that you’re not really getting £1,400 worth of performance here and though 4GB RAM is always a useful thing to have, no amount of system memory can make up for the shortcomings of the CPU.
Indeed, neither, to our minds, can the prestige of the Ferrari name or the generous feature set. That it’s attractive and feature laiden is without doubt, but if you’re spending this much money on a notebook it needs to be very accomplished and this one isn’t. For its size it’s heavy and bulky and the keyboard is very disappointing compared to those found on competing machines. If you’re mad about Ferrari then it’s still a solid and dependable machine that captures something of the Ferrari design ethic, but at this price and with that name we’d expect a little more than that.
Though attractive on the outside, the Acer Ferrari is let down by the ultimate irony of sluggish performance, a bulky chassis and a poor keyboard. When you’re spending this amount of money, these are things you shouldn’t have to worry about. With plenty of attractive and portable laptops to choose from, you must really like Ferrari to invest.