Following the positive reception of its Ferrari-branded laptops, Acer has now extended its range to include Ferrari-branded LCD monitors. The F-17, the smallest in the lineup, is designed for a variety of uses including gaming and the playback of digital movies and analogue television.
The F-17 makes a striking impression straight out of the box. The front of the unit is home to a sleek, if somewhat chubby acrylic black bezel, and the familiar Ferrari logo takes pride of place on the speaker grille. To the rear, you'll find a plethora of input/output ports including Scart, component, S-Video, RF, DVI-I and D-Sub, so you should have no problem connecting it to your existing AV components.
With so many cables potentially littering the rear of the screen, Acer has opted to include a cable-tidy mechanism. This takes the form of a flap, which is reminiscent of a car spoiler. It's fairly basic, but it's easy to use and does the job.
The F-17's picture quality is commendable. It runs at a native resolution of 1,280x1,024 pixels, which is far higher than that of many LCD TVs. This means you'll be able to play games at resolutions above 640x480 or 800x600 pixels -- a huge boost for gamers.
Its picture quality is excellent. It's very bright but it still manages to display colours accurately across a range of intensities. It also accurately reproduced grey tones near peak white and peak black, which some low-end displays struggle with. The screen's Crystalbrite coating is a touch reflective, which could hinder its visibility when used in direct light, but this didn't prove a major problem during our tests.
The F-17's fast 8ms response time meant it coped very well during video playback, where it showed no real signs of ghosting. This was also true of the TV playback mode, which is easily controlled via the accompanying remote control.
The F-17's Ferrari-inspired styling might be its major selling point, but it's also its Achilles heel. Opinion was divided among passers-by as to how aesthetically pleasing it actually is, with the outlandish bright red finish at the rear and base sections causing the most controversy. We also didn't like the thickness of the outer bezel, or the faded finish of the speaker grill below the screen.
We had hoped the F-17 offered a quick and easy way to switch between input sources, as up to seven of these can be present at any one time. The physical process of changing sources is easy enough -- you just press the source button -- but it can take up to three seconds to switch to another source, and there's no on-screen feedback as to which source it'll go to next. As a result, it could take you anything up to twenty seconds of fiddling before you get to the right input.
Our only other gripe is that the F-17 isn't a widescreen display.
Larger displays are available for similar money, but if you're a petrol-head hankering for a high-resolution screen with a fast response time and plenty of input ports, the F-17 is a winner.