capsule review

Acer Ferrari 5005WLMi

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Acer Ferrari 5005WLMi Notebook

    PCWorld Rating

    This upgrade to Acer's racing-themed notebook line has an HDMI port and an unusual, curved keyboard.

Notebook shoppers, start your engines. The latest Acer Ferrari laptop is a good choice if you're looking for something a little different--but not too offbeat--in a home portable. The $2399 (as of 2/6/07) Ferrari 5005WLMi offers better design and battery life than earlier Acer Ferrari models did, and it has some new features and an unusual keyboard.

Acer is the official supplier to the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One racing team, and the 5005WLMi has the candy-apple-red trim of older Ferrari laptops but a comparatively sedate black lid instead of a checkered one. Maintaining the line's relatively svelte design, the 5005WLMi weighs 6.8 pounds without the power adapter and measures about 1.5 inches thick. The 5005WLMi also has a 15.4-inch WSXGA screen and a cool, slot-fed dual-layer DVD burner.

Other new features--which help justify the price--include an HDMI (high-definition) video connection, a 160GB hard drive, and the new ExpressCard/34 slot that supplements a PC Card reader. The built-in 1.3-megapixel Webcam is one of the better ones included with a notebook: Since it can rotate 225 degrees, you can record in front of or behind the lid, and the Acer Orbicam software provides one-click videos and snapshots.

Equipped with a high-end 2-GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 processor and 2GB of DDR2-667 SDRAM, our test unit earned a WorldBench 5 score of 98. Though we have no similarly equipped notebooks in our current all-purpose test pool, we can say that this score basically comes within range of the marks earned by other notebooks with 2-GHz Core Duo and Core 2 Duo processors. The notebook's nine-cell battery lasted 3 hours, 43 minutes, more than 25 percent longer than previous Ferraris we've tested.

A tad easier to upgrade than older Ferrari models, the 5005WLMi has memory slots that are located together in one bottom compartment instead of under the keyboard. Other features--including the five-in-one flash memory-card slot with attached cover, the audio ports, and a FireWire port--are conveniently positioned on the front of the notebook. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless communications have their own separate, front-mounted on and off switches, a very nice touch.

The keyboard layout includes a four-way scrolling button to save time negotiating documents and Web pages, plus four user-programmable quick-launch buttons. The slight 5-degree, U-shaped curve of the keyboard, however, takes some getting used to, as the design makes you hold out your elbows a bit.

The 5005WLMi's gaming-friendly 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 video card helped the notebook rank second in our graphics tests among currently tested all-purpose models. Other notebooks, though, are better equipped for pure entertainment, as the Ferrari lacks one-touch DVD and CD access and a subwoofer. Even productivity applications cost extra. But if solid performance, the latest features, and race-car colors rev your engine, take a look.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This upgrade to Acer's racing-themed notebook line has an HDMI port and an unusual, curved keyboard.

    Pros

    • Slot-fed DVD burner
    • HDMI connection

    Cons

    • Unusual keyboard
    • Weak speakers
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