Acer Ferrari One hands-on photos: Netbooks just got interesting

Acer has launched a Ferrari-branded netbook. It had to happen sooner or later, really-- when it comes to laptops, the Ferrari brand has already been there, done that and been emblazoned across the proverbial t-shirt

Rory Reid
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Acer unveiled its latest Ferrari-branded laptop on Thursday, but, unlike the sleek, powerful laptops we've come to expect from Italy's finest, this one's a lowly netbook.

Actually, it's not lowly at all. The Ferrari One is billed as the most exclusive and exquisitely designed netbook on the planet, and, following our hands-on session with it at Ferrari's Monza F1 circuit, we're inclined to agree. It's arguably the most attractive device of its type, sporting a 'racing red' lid, contrasting black chassis and numerous other design details, including four tiny rubber tyres moulded to the underside, that set it apart from the competition.

Refreshingly, the Ferrari One has a core specification that's nothing like the majority of its rivals. It uses a large, 11.6-inch, 1,366x768-pixel display and trades the commonplace Intel Atom CPU for a dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 L310 CPU, as well as 2GB of DDR2 800MHz RAM (upgradeable to 4GB). Graphics come courtesy of a DirectX 10-capable ATI Radeon HD 3200 adaptor, so gaming and high-definition video playback are a distinct possibility.

Storage is provided by a 250GB hard drive, but Acer tells us it may ship versions of the Ferrari One with drives as large as 320GB.  Further storage can be added via a memory-card reader, which supports the SD, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and xD-Picture Card formats. Connectivity is sorted, too, thanks to 802.11b/g and draft-n Wi-Fi and an optional surf-anywhere 3G module.

The keyboard, normally a netbook bugbear of ours, is surprisingly good. The Ferrari One has a relatively wide 285 by 24 by 204mm chassis, so the chiclet-style keys are large, and provide good travel and feedback. The mouse trackpad, meanwhile, is sensitive to multi-touch gestures and reacts to the same stroking, pinching, stretching and swiping movements popularised on Apple laptops.

The Ferrari One will ship with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit, or Windows 7 Home Basic, and a six-cell battery that promises up to 5 hours of battery life. It'll go on sale on 22 October for a starting price of around €450 (£395).

While you wait, go check out the pictures in our photo gallery.

Update: Our full review of the Acer Ferrari One is now live.

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It may be relatively large, but, at 1.5kg, the Ferrari One is still extremely portable.
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On the left, Acer has thrown in a D-Sub VGA and USB port. That large, elongated, HDMI-looking thing is actually an ATI XGP connector, which can feed video and sound output to up to four external displays -- including to HDMI if you have an appropriate adaptor.
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The right side houses a memory-card reader, a headphone, speaker and line-out jack with S/PDIF support, microphone in, Ethernet and DC-in.
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The underside isn't as attractive as the lid, but it does have four F1-style tyres that act as rubber stands.
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Here's a closer look at one of the aforementioned tyres.
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We're not sure the colour of the Ferrari One matches that of a real Ferrari (or this model) but it's pretty close.
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This gentleman seems very impressed by the keyboard...
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...and for good reason. We couldn't find many flaws with the keys, which are large, well-spaced-out and easy to type on. The mouse trackpad is a good shape, and supports multi-touch inputs.
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The F10 button doubles as a shortcut to ferrari.com. We're not exactly sure why.
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This man might know. He's Ferrari F1 team principal Stefano Domenicali. He's very important, and seems to like the Acer people a lot.
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That's probably because they supply most of the laptops that Ferrari uses in its pit garages. This one looks like an original Acer Ferrari 3000.
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This guy is pretty important, too. After us humble tech journos were ejected from the hospitality area, driver Giancarlo Fisichella made his way inside for some lunch.
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There are almost certainly more laptops being stashed in these F1 transport vehicles.
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A Ferrari engineer guards some tyres...
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...while others beaver away on Kimi Raikkonen's car prior to the race ahead.

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