Acer Ferrari 3000LMi review: Acer Ferrari 3000LMi

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The Good Stylish, Ferrari-red case; comfortable to use; integrated DVD-rewritable drive; ample ports and slots.

The Bad Mediocre battery life and performance; runs hot.

The Bottom Line If looks could kill, the Acer Ferrari 3000LMi would be wanted for murder. But unless you're a fashionista first and foremost, look elsewhere for a better-performing thin-and-light laptop.

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7.8 Overall

You have to love Acer's chutzpah in building a bright-red laptop that sports an official Ferrari emblem. And the cheeky move nearly pays off, as the thin-and-light Acer Ferrari 3000LMi makes every other laptop in CNET Labs seem drab by comparison. But ultimately, this $1,839 head-turner comes up short in a few areas, most notably its mediocre, 132-minute battery life. Add to that merely average mobile performance scores and the fact that it runs rather hot to the touch in a couple of areas, and you have a great-looking laptop that can't quite match the best in its class, such as the IBM ThinkPad T41 or the Sony VAIO Z1 series.

As much as we like the red exterior, you might get tired of that hue if the entire notebook were red. Thus we're thankful that the 8-pound (6.76 pounds sans AC adapter), 13-by-10.7-by-1.2-inch Ferrari has a keyboard deck and a screen bezel that are a less-distracting silver. The keyboard has the familiar Acer touch: it curves slightly into a smile, an ergonomic design that Acer uses on several of its laptops. The keyboard feels solid and crisp, but it annoyingly forces you to use the Fn key to access Home or End editing functions, a one-touch procedure on most other keyboards. The touchpad has a silky response, and its two mouse buttons aren't overly stiff like the laptop's cousin's, the Acer Aspire 2000. (However, we prefer the Aspire 2000 and rate it higher than the Ferrari 3000LMi.)

The Acer Ferrari 3000LMi ships with a bright, 15-inch, 1,400x1,050 display and a DVD-rewritable drive, which together with some decent-sounding speakers on the front edge, make for a pleasant movie experience. The laptop is also extremely well connected, with USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, v.92, 10/100 Ethernet, VGA, S-Video, audio, infrared, and parallel ports. It also has a four-in-one, flash memory-card reader and a PC Card slot.

We expected better mobile performance and longer battery life out of the Acer Ferrari 3000LMi. It comes well equipped, sporting an AMD Athlon 2500+ processor, 512MB of DDR333 SDRAM, a 60GB hard drive, and a 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 graphics chip. But it's important to keep in mind that our benchmark, the industry-standard MobileMark 2002, hasn't been kind to laptops running AMD's Athlon processors. Many of the applications simulated in MobileMark 2002 use Intel processor-specific optimizations. This means that Athlon systems are at a disadvantage when running MobileMark 2002.

Acer provides a one-year warranty on the Ferrari 3000LMi with 24/7 toll-free support for the life of the warranty, a standard offering. However, two extra years of coverage and support are available at a reasonable $99 per annum. The Ferrari's user guide is well written, and Acer's Web site offers a wealth of support and technical information, including a downloadable PDF file of the user guide, diverse drivers, technical articles, and e-mail to tech support.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
IBM ThinkPad T41
Acer Ferrari 3000LMi
eMachines M6807

Battery Life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery-life minutes  
IBM ThinkPad T41
eMachines M6807
Acer Ferrari 3000LMi

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