Once upon a time, Acer gussied up some of its mid-range workhorse computers with hot-red paint jobs and affixed them with the vibrant equine sporting logo from Ferrari.
Now the name has been slapped on to a $600 notebook.
The Acer Ferrari One is essentially a tarted-up notbook*, an 11.6-inch model (with a 1366 x 768-pixel screen) that subs in a 1.2-GHz Athlon X2 for the usual Intel Atom and juices the specs with 4 gigs of RAM and a real (if low-end) video card (ATI’s Radeon 3200).
In a world of sub-$600 cookie-cutter notebooks, that’s all good news, to be sure. The Ferrari One runs rings around general-interest mini-notes, handily outclassing even perennial favorites such as the Samsung NC20 and the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2.
The Ferrari is just a touch heavier, at 3.2 pounds, than most other PCs in its size, but the difference is minuscule enough not to be noticeable. Screen brightness is average, as is battery life (about 3.5 hours).
The touchpad, flush with the palm rest, is curious. Its trapezoidal shape makes it a bit awkward in a world of rectangles, and it’s tricky to intuit where the pad ends and the palm rest begins — causing you to drag your fingertip off the edge a bit too often — but the multitouch implementation works well here. We wish we could say the same for the keyboard, which is a typically cheap affair (with Page Up/Down keys foolishly sandwiched in with the arrow buttons).
On the whole, it’s a nice little netbook — and certainly the most affordable way around to invest in a Ferrari.
* Any of the $400 to $600 laptops with screens larger than 10 inches and processors that are not Intel Atom. See Samsung NC20