There are cars, and then there are Ferraris. No one questions the distinction between those two groups. The same is true for ultra-portables and the Acer Ferrari One. The former are laptops, and the latter is, well, Ferrari. The distinctive design of the Ferrari One is what first grabs the attention, but with a little more investigation it becomes apparent how much laptop is crammed into the thin, small case. Sometimes you have to settle for form over function, but in the case of the Acer Ferrari One you get both in one small package.
The Ferrari One is an ultra-portable notebook with an 11.6-inch display that clocks in at an impressive 1366×768. It is a bright display that is customized with Ferrari wallpaper that displays a calendar. The race car noise heard when the notebook fires up is impressive the first time, not so much on subsequent boots. The sleek red lid is rounded with distinct edges, and other touches include the power button that lights in red, and the touchpad that is integrated into the palm rest.
The evaluation unit supplied by AMD is configured as follows:
- CPU: AMD Athlon X2 L310, 1.2 GHz
- Memory: 3 GB
- Storage: 250 GB
- Display: 11.6-inch, 1366×768 resolution
- Camera: Acer Crystal Eye, Acer PrimaLite technology
- Graphics: ATI Radeon HD3200 integrated, 2 GB Video Memory
- Battery: 6-cell
- Communications: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi; Ethernet
- Ports: 3-USB 2.0 (one powered), VGA out, LAN, Multi-format card reader slot, audio in, audio out, ATI XGP video
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.0 x 1.2 inch; 3.2 lbs.
The AMD processor gives decent performance for such a small laptop. These processors usually have a dual hit — battery life and heat. I am seeing about 4.5 hours on the 6-cell battery, and while the bottom of the Ferrari One does get warm it’s not alarmingly so.
The graphics performance of the ATI Radeon is as good as I have seen on an ultra-portable. It is possible to watch high quality Hulu videos in full-screen; it is not quite fluid but easily tolerable. Video playback on YouTube is equally acceptable.
I am a keyboard snob when it comes to notebooks, and find the Ferrari One keyboard to be quite good. It provides a comfortable typing experience that lets me type as fast as I can. The key layout is standard and while the key tops are fairly flat, the feel is good and key travel is decent.
The trackpad is integrated into the palm rest, not usually one of my favorite features. This one is clearly delineated so it is easy to see where the trackpad ends and the palm rest begins. I am finding it easy to use, and suspect in a short time I will find it fine for constant use. Acer went with one button on the trackpad, a rocker switch that serves as both the left and right click. I don’t like these at all, although this one has a distinct feel to the click and not the worst one I’ve tried. Two buttons would have been much better.
I will be giving the Ferrari One a good look for a while, and I have to admit the sexiness of it has impressed me so far. The size is as small as can be, yet it has good performance.