A variety of CPU options are available with Congo laptops, but Acer has opted to put its new Athlon X2 L310 chip into the Ferrari One. This has a relatively modest clock speed of 1.2GHz but, as it's a dual-core offering, it promises better performance -- particularly in multitasking scenarios -- than we've seen from equivalent Intel solutions. The Ferrari One also supports up to 4GB of RAM, 320GB of storage via 2.5-inch hard drives, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Gigabit Ethernet, all of which is considerably better than the netbook -- and, in many cases, laptop -- norm.
As seen on screen
The Ferrari One's 11.6-inch display is one of its most striking assets. Not only is it larger than the 10-inch screens you get on the majority of its rivals, but it also has a higher-than-standard resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. The additional screen real estate is a blessing, since the extra multitasking power offered by the CPU allows users to work with a higher number of application windows open. The screen's glossy finish limits the possibility of using the Ferrari One outside, but the display is noticeably brighter than that of most laptops, which helps its cause in environments where lighting isn't perfectly diffuse. The only drawback is that increasing the brightness puts extra strain on the 4,400mAh battery.
Acer has taken great pains to highlight the Ferrari One's audio-playback credentials. It ships with a pair of integrated stereo speakers, which sound pretty decent for a netbook, and its sound card can handle Dolby Home Theater v3, which features Dolby Digital Live, Dolby Pro Logic IIx and, more usefully for a netbook, Dolby Headphone. The latter produces a fairly realistic 5.1-channel surround-sound effect in any set of cans.
Acer supplies the Ferrari One with a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium, along with Microsoft Works 7, Norton Online Backup, WinDVD, a variety of Acer utilities, and a collection of Ferrari-themed wallpapers and screensavers.
The Ferrari One failed to return a result in our synthetic benchmark applications, but we don't need PCMark05 or 3DMark06 to tell you it's quick. During anecdotal tests, it felt faster and more responsive than any netbook we've previously encountered. Running multiple applications simultaneously isn't a big deal for the Ferrari One, as its plentiful RAM and dual-core CPU cope admirably with just about any sort of desktop application.
Even 3D gaming is a possibility. We threw the graphically intensive Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare at the Ferrari One and, after some admittedly dramatic reduction of graphical niceties, the game ran relatively smoothly. The same can be said for high-definition video. Frame rates judder annoyingly if your media is transcoded at too high a bit rate, as they would on almost any machine not built for viewing HD material, but the majority of our 720p movie files played immaculately. Again, it's a shame the laptop doesn't have an HDMI output port.
Acer says the Ferrari One's battery will last up to 5 hours away from the mains. We're currently in the middle of completing our independent battery test, and will update this review as soon as we get a conclusive figure.
The Acer Ferrari One is a fabulous netbook. Its bold appearance may not be to everyone's taste, but there's no denying that it's easy to use, fast and versatile. It is arguably the best netbook we've ever tested.
Edited by Charles Kloet