Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (203,408)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 8
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 8
      • Usability
      • 8
      • Design
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 8
      • Features
      • 8
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 8
      • Total Score:
      • 8.00
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

by Aaron Shepard, Virginia USA

Overview/Specifications:

Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi (view larger image)

Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi Specs:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology ML-37(1MB L2 cache, 2.0GHz)
    Radeon Xpress 200M Chipset
  • 1GB (512MB installed in each of two memory slots) DDR333 SDRAM (upgradeable to 2 GB total)
  • 100GB Ultra ATA/100 hard drive (5400 rpm)
  • Integrated DVD-Super Multi double-layer drive
  • 5-in-1 card reader for optional MultiMediaCard , Secure Digital card, Memory Stick , Memory Stick PRO or xD-Picture Card
  • 15.4″ WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050) TFT LCD, up to 16.7 million colors
  • ATI MOBILITY RADEON X700 graphics, 128MB DDR memory
  • Dimensions & Weight: 14.3″ (363.0mm) W x 10.5″ (265.7mm) D x 1.2″ – 1.4″ (30.5mm – 34.3mm) H. 6.3 lb. (2.9kg)

Reasons for buying:

Well, asides from the obvious? To give some background quickly, the Acer Ferrari 4000 series consists of the Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi and the 4002WLMi. The 4002 is not widely available yet, but it will be slightly cheaper, less powerful, and have a glossy screen. I don’t like the glossy screens in general though, and the power drop to the 4002 is significant. Before hearing about the Ferrari, I was debating between the Dell Inspiron 6000, and the HP dv4000. I loved the dv4000’s media controls, but it had integrated graphics and low maximum ram (1 gb). The Dell was a great value, but the look left something to be desired in my opinion. Still, it was going to be my choice until I heard about the Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi. I had seen the previous Ferrari itterations (3000, 3200, 3400), and I loved the look; however they were a tad too flashy for me. I wanted something that could look respectable in a formal setting, but also would look and feel very nice in an informal one. I really dont think there is any question this is the best looking laptop ever made, with a possible exception of those Chameleon paint job Alienware’s a while back. Everyone will comment on how nice it looks, which can be a good or a bad thing. Still, its not as theft-prone as the Ferrari 3000 series, as it doesnt immediately stand out as much. However up close it looks much better in my opinion. Getting off of the physical aspects, I also wanted a laptop that could play games somewhat well, and would last a while. The x700 graphics card is somewhat overkill for me, but you will be able to play any game you want on the highest settings for a while. The 64 bit processor will also ensure that this will work with Longhorn when that comes out. I wanted a 15.4″ screen; weight wasnt a huge issue, but i didnt want something that was really bulky. Well as you can see in the specifications, this baby weighs a mere 6.3 lbs, and is both thin and light. About the Ferrari name, basically they license Acer to make a computer with their logo on it. Yah, you might pay a bit extra for it, but the computer is worth it without the logos and the look. With them, honestly it’s a good value.

Purchase details:

Purchased from ZipZoomFly, I got a great deal at $2,079. Price has since gone up to $2,149, but that does include free ground shipping. Took about a week, but was very easy and convenient, and it arrived in perfect condition.

Out of the box:

Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi box (view larger image)

Yah, even the box is beautiful. Comes with a ton of stuff too; mouse, a very good set of guides and easy manuals. Quick reference sheet, phone cable, LCD screen cloth, warranty information, and a several software disks for both drivers and a windows XP Pro disk.

Build & Design:

I had never heard of Acer until I saw the Ferrari; however they have a great reputation as a computer maker, and that prooved true to form with this computer. I dont want to go back into the design too much, but this looks sensational. The lid is made of a carbon fiber covered in a plastic resin, and it is very sturdy in addition to looking great. The screen and laptop as a whole are a bit bendy, but the screen doesnt ripple at all if pressure is applied to the lid. This is great since if you by accidentally drop something on the top, the screen is well protected. There is no wobble on the hinges, it feels very sturdy, and gives a decisive click when you close it. Again, it bends a VERY small amount, but nothing more than any other laptop I’d expect. It is a very wide screen, so that could be part of it. All the ports and slots are well placed, as there are USB ports on both sides of the computer. Headphone jack on front is nice. Design as a whole is very nice. It does get hot if you leave it on for a while, specifically the mouse pad and lft side under computer. However the rubber finish surrounding the keyboard insolates fairly well. Fans are positioned well on sides so as to not heat user. Kensington lock slot is always nice.

Acer Ferrari 4005 right side (view larger image)

Acer Ferrari 4005 left side (view larger image)

Acer Ferrari 4005 back side (view larger image)

Acer Ferrari keyboard area (view larger image)

Free mouse included! (view larger image)

…and a free cloth (view larger image)

Screen:

Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi Screen (view larger image)

No dead pixels! Resolution is 1680×1050, which looks spectacular for games and movies. No leaks or any other issues, just a great screen. Some things people might not like though is that it is a very wide screen, which is great for excel stuff but not so good for web browsing. Turning up the text size on pages makes this a fairly small problem though, as does installing Microsoft Cleartype. Also, movies will have black borders around every side, as the screen is too big I think. I personally like the matte finish better than the reflective ones, as I will use this outside quite a bit. Finally, some icons might be a little blurry, as they are not made for the high resolution. Brightness can be turned down by simple function task.

Speakers/Sound:

Integrated microphone and two speakers. Microphone/line-in and stereo headphones/speakers/line-out with SPDIF support ports. Works great, as you will see when you first turn on the computer: a roaring ferrari sound greets you once you first log on (not sure what program they use for this but its very cool). Headphone volume is very weak though, and I would recommend getting the Turtle Beach USB Audio Advantage Micro. Sound is crisp though, works very well for movies as the surround sound gives a very cool feel. Speakers are set on front of computer as well, so it is very clear.

Processor and Performance:

Honestly, I have no complaints about speed on this laptop, as would be expected. From pressing the power button, it takes 20 seconds to get to the Windows log in screen, and after putting in password, a little under 5 seconds to hear the Ferrari roaring by, signaling your computer is ready to go. Hard drive is very snappy, and I havent encounted any speed issues. Might upgrade to 2 gb ram eventually, but for now everything I run is pretty instantaneous. Very nice to work with a computer with no lag. I know this isnt a lot about performance, but I really cant see how this would fall short of anyone’s expectations in this department. It would give a serious challenge to even the best of the big 17″ desktop replacement laptops, and blows away any of the 15″ ones. Decided not to undervolt, overclock, or partition it; dont want to risk anything happening, and it runs perfectly anyways.

The processor matches the performance of the logo (view larger image)

DVD Super Multi Drive:

First the stats.

  • Read — 24X CD-RW, 24X CD-ROM, 24X CD-R, 8X DVD+R, 8X DVD-R, 8X DVD-ROM, 4X DVD+RW, 4X DVD-RW, 3X DVD-RAM, 2.4X DVD+R (double-layer)
  • Write — 24X CD-R, 8X DVD+R, 8X DVD-R, 4X DVD+RW, 4X DVD-RW, 4X CD-RW, 2.4X DVD+R (double-layer), 2X DVD-RAM

Slot drive is a cool feature, if for nothing other than its novelty. Can’t play mini-cds which sucks a little, but if it ever became a huge deal I could replace this or get a USB one. Burns very quickly.

Benchmarks:

The popular Super Pi  benchmark for this site gives a rough approximation how the Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi stands up to other notebooks:

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi (AMD Turion 64 ML-37, 2.0GHz) 1m 50s
Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 53s
IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Alviso Pentium M)
1m 45s
Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 48s
Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 52s
Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 2m 10s
Sony VAIO S360 (1.7 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 1m 57s
Gateway 7510GX (AMD Mobile Athlon 64 3700+ Processor, 2.4 GHz) 1m 31s
Sony VAIO S380 (1.86 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 42s

3D Mark 2005 Score: 2356

Note: The games loaded VERY quickly, and watching some of them was like watching a movie.

Input devices:

88-key Acer FineTouch keyboard with five-degree curve, inverted T cursor layout, 2.5mm minimum key travel, international language support. Web browser, e-mail, user-programmable easy-launch buttons; Empowering Key; front-access wireless LED and Bluetooth buttons. Touchpad with four-way integrated scroll button. Gloss-black optical mouse. Keyboard is very well built, although the curved layout takes a bit to get used to. Not sure if I like it more than a regular one, but it isnt horrible. Touchpad is very nice, although it gets hot, but its large to accomidate widescreen. The function buttons are good, and volume/brightness are especially easy to change. Screen doesnt flex at all. Programable buttons at top are nice; you can change all of them to do whatever you want very easilly through launch manager; however initially they are set for Outlook (email button), Internet Explorer (world button), Acer Emanager (e button), and Launch Manager (P button). The latter lets you change the buttons, but I like to use it for Microsoft Word. Very nice feature. Bluetooth and Lan buttons are nice, but not sure why they are on front. Still they glow nicely when on. Definately could use some media controls, thats a fairly large negative imo, as only thing you can control is the volume. The mouse has gotten some flack for being fluky, but I had no issues with it. It is very easy to connect, and recharges via USB (although you can still use it when its plugged in). Looks nice, and has a good feel. Not a great mouse per say, but it looks good and is functional. On a quirky sidenote, has a Euro key and Dollar key right next to the arrows. Not sure this is really necessary, but not a negative.The touchpad comes with a very cool software, Synaptics touchpad 5.9. Basically it lets you customize the touchpad completely, including sensitivity, layout, and a really cool button feature. Basically, you can set the four corners of the touchpad to do different functions when tapped. For example, I have the upper left set as “Back”, the upper right as “Forward”, the bottom left as “Goto start menu” and the bottom right as “Refresh”. The buttons give a good click, and the four way scroll is a very cool feature. If you want the four buttons here are also reprogramable, a general theme of this notebook.

Input and Output Ports:

VGA, DVI-D (digital visual interface-digital) and S-video TV-out ports.  Support for simultaneous display on notebook LCD and external monitor. Intel AC97 compliant, Interface Ports, DC-in, RJ-11 modem, RJ-45 LAN, VGA, DVI-D (digital visual interface-digital), S-video TV-out, Microphone/line-in, Stereo headphones/speakers/line-out with SPDIF support, FireWire (IEEE 1394), FIR (fast infrared), Four USB 2.0, Connector for optional ezDock docking station. Type II PC Card slot, 32-bit PC CardBus architecture, Zoomed Video support. Easilly accessible USB and ethernet ones. 5-in-1 is in front and easy to use.

Wireless:

Acer InviLink 802.11b/g wireless LAN, Acer SignalUp technology for enhanced antenna efficiency, WI-FI CERTIFIED . Bluetooth wireless PAN. Acer SignalUp is great, and bluetooth is very good. Controls are accessible as previously mentioned, but a little annoying as you can accidentally turn them off depending on how you type. No complaints.

Battery/AC Adapter:

90-watt AC adapter, which is actually not too big. Eight-cell lithium ion battery; up to 3.0 hours life depending on configuration and usage; 2.5 hours recharge time with system off, 3.5 hours with system in use. Very easy to put in, as it just fits in the back. Doesn’t stick out, but if you dont have it in there is a gaping hole that you can see

Operating System and Software:

Installed software: Acer eManager, Acer GridVista Acer Launch Manager, Adobe Acrobat Reader, CyberLink PowerDVD *, Norton AntiVirus *, NTI CD-Maker *, on CD shipped with system: Acer System Recovery. All very easy to use, and convenient. I reinstalled drivers upon getting it, figured why not. Software is very nice though, especially the Launch manager. Nothing amazing, but a nice touch. Comes with XP Pro, with SP2 already installed. User and administrator BIOS passwords are easilly set up through EManager.

Customer Support/Warranty:

Haven’t talked to anyone at Acer, because honestly I dont really need to. It was simple to set up, and registration consisted of me looking at the bottom of my computer and typing in numbers. After that, the warranty was set; however I bought a 3 year total protection plan for $280, as it seems worth it for a computer this beautiful.

Pros (will try to limit to 5, although I think its fairly obvious I could go on for a while!):

  • Ferrari (it’s so pretty…..)
  • Performance (works perfectly and is insanely fast)
  • Easilly customizable
  • 64 bit procesor (ensures future viability)
  • Included extras are a very nice touch

Cons (seriously, this is all of them, not including that EVERYONE will notice your laptop):

  • Bluetooth/wireless controls on front (vs being near keyboard)
  • Lack of media controls
  • Keyboard/mousepad heat
  • Headphone volume
  • Screen/carbon fiber top tend to smudge, although the cleaning cloth gets rid of those quickly

Conclusion:

Great laptop, which will last you a while. Definately get the USB sound drive and the total protection warranty extension. At around $2,200 from most retailers, it is a tad pricey; however it really is worth it if you want a great performing laptop. The sensational design is the icing on the cake.


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