Both Acer and AMD sponsor the Ferrari F1 team, so every now and again they buddy up to produce a Ferrari-themed laptop. This time, the duo have come up with a thin-and-light called the 1100 that will set you back around £1,400. It certainly has a supercar price tag, but does it have the style and performance to do the Italian marque proud?
The 1100's styling won't appeal to everyone, but there's no doubt that the design does try to convey some of the magic of Formula One. The lid is covered with a carbon fibre texture and there's a large prancing horse badge in the middle. Flip the laptop open and you'll find that the theme is continued inside. The trackpad boasts the same carbon fibre texture as the lid and there's another Ferrari logo to remind you just why you shelled out so much cash for the machine in the first place.
Other than that, you get a keyboard that's actually quite spacious and a row of touch buttons at the top right to give you quick access to applications like your email client and Web browser.
The laptop is only slightly taller and deeper than your average glossy magazine so it's no surprise that it has a petite 12.1-inch screen. This has a 1,280x800-pixel resolution and uses an CrystalBrite coating, which is reflective but produces beautiful looking colours.
The AMD sponsorship link means that the laptop is built around a Turion 64 X2 TL-66, running at 2.3GHz with a healthy 4GB helping of RAM for support. There's also a spacious 250GB hard drive and despite the laptop's small size, Acer has managed to squeeze in a slot-loading dual layer DVD writer. Considering that AMD's laptop processors are generally considered more power hungry than their Intel rivals, the 1100's battery run down test results weren't too bad. It managed to keep going for 1 hour 58 minutes.
It's no slouch in the connectivity department either. There are three USB ports, a mini FireWire socket as well as a S-Video and D-Sub connectors for outputting video. You also get Bluetooth support and a Wi-Fi chip that offers faster Draft-N wireless performance when used on compatible Draft-N networks.
Some of the other nice additions include a webcam integrated into the lid, a fingerprint scanner sited at the bottom right of the keyboard and a pair of surprisingly good quality speakers. In the box, Acer also supplies a Ferrari-branded mouse, Skype phone and carry slip case.
Given the Ferrari association, it's ironic that where the 1100 falls down is in terms of performance. Although the laptop failed to complete all our benchmarks and therefore didn't produce a final definitive score, it was clear from those tests that it did finish that it didn't offer the performance that we'd expect at this price point.
It also isn't up to much cop when it comes to gaming. Although it uses a dedicated ATI Radeon X1270 chip, it only managed to post a 3D Mark score of 415, which means you'll have to turn down all the detail if you want to play the latest games.
Another big issue with our review sample was reliability. The power supply failed and had to be replaced, but even after that, the power socket on the laptop itself didn't always work. There were also a few times when the screen went la-la, overlaying the usually Windows graphics with random junk. Of course, these could be problems just associated with our review sample, but nevertheless, they're still worrying.
Even though the style works on the lid, we flat-out hated the carbon fibre textured trackpad. It feels horrible under your finger and the sticky trackpad buttons don't help matters either.
If we were going to shell out £1,400 on an thin-and-light laptop we'd expect more than a few go faster stripes -- we'd want a killer engine under the bonnet too. Unfortunately, that's not the case with the 1100, as the AMD processor and puny graphics chip just don't have the grunt to deliver true supercar performance.
Edited by Shannon Doubleday