Acer Ferrari 1000: The Unboxing

Bella woke me up this morning wanting to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). I’m on holidays so I thought why not, I climbed out of bed, grabbed a “blankie” and a pillow and zoned out on the couch while the movie rolled.

The Courier BoxBy about mid-way through the movie I was woken up by the door bell, since Nicola wasn’t up I figured I should shake off the snooze and answer it. At the door there was a courier standing there holding a medium sized box (I’m all about scientific measurements in the morning). Anyway – along the outside of the box the words “Acer” were printed – my dazed expression turned to a giddy smile.

Backstory: About mid-December I was contacted by Aaron Coldiron from the Windows Product Management Group and asked if I would like to try out an Acer Ferrari 1000 courtesy of the Windows Vista team and AMD (the Acer Ferrari has a Turion64 dual core processor and ATI graphics). I was interested in trying out the device mostly because I hadn’t used Vista on a 64-bit machine before and I hadn’t used an AMD processor in I don’t know how many years.

Anyway, I carried the box into the bedroom and woke up Nicola to show her the box (I know how to impress the girls). I then moved forward to the unboxing ceremony. The first step was to get rid of the courier box. Inside was a nice black box with Acer and Ferrari branding. I pulled it out and unwrapped it all.

The Real Ferrari 1000 Box

037

040039

Inside the box you get the following components:

  • Spare extended life battery; looking at the power consumption of this thing in full swing it’ll probably burn through the batteries pretty quick unless you fine tune the settings. My advice would be to kick it down to power saver when it is unplugged and turn the screen brightness down. Fortunately the keyboard has a quick access key for the Windows Vista power settings (Fn-F3). I ran the system off the batteries for about two hours until I found my US-to-Australian power converter.
  • Power supply; nothing to talk about here except that it was a US plug which had me on a downer until I realised that I had previously purchased a converter for another purpose – back in action!
  • Weird-VOIP PC card thingy; I haven’t tried this out yet, but it looks like a PC card that plugs into the laptop for the purpose of charging but allows you to take phone calls away from the device. I’ll probably do a blog post on this later to describe how it works and where I think it might actually be useful.
  • External DVD drive and cable; I hadn’t realised that this thing was missing an onboard DVD drive but after lifting the device up I am thinking that I could get used to the drive not being a regular component of the main machine (the laptop it self is very light). The drive connects via firewire which means that the remaining 3-USB ports are available for all the plug-in devices you might have.
  • Phone cable; does anyone use these anymore?
  • Anti-static screen cleaning cloth; I got one of these with my Tablet PC and I have to admit that they are quite useful with these high gloss screens (they tend to get finger marks).
  • Bluetooth mouse; most laptops don’t come with a mouse, well, not unless you pay extra for them. The nice thing about this Ferrari laptop is that it came with a decent mouse which was also Ferrari branded, so it looks the business. In fact the mouse wheel actually has a Ferrari tread on it (cute).
  • Pouches for everything; rather than a standard laptop bag the device came with a pouch which makes more sense for its smaller form factor. I can see this device fitting in my wife’s handbag with the pouch protecting the carbon fibre lid from scatches. One thing that probably needs a bit more thought is places to put the smaller internal pouches once the device is actually in it (this is actually a common design flaw with vendor supplied laptop bags).

So that is the unboxing. I’ve now tuned on the device and have started to get a feel for it but I will be following up with a more detailed post on how various parts of Vista work with the Ferrari but for now a few final physical observations.

  • The integrated camera is a 1.3 mega pixel which can actually rotate to point towards the user out out to the rest of the world.
  • I like the metal buttons on the trackpad, it actually looks like a razor edge.
  • When you turn the machine on a series of red veins on the top actually glow.
  • The texture of the plastic inside the device is a bit weird, it feels almost like it is velvet.
  • The screen does 1280×800 resolution which is pretty good for a consumer grade laptop of this size, and the image on the screen is bright and crisp, possibly due to the high gloss finish on the screen.

Well – thats it for now, you can check out the rest of the photos up on Flickr check back later on for a more detailed investigation of how well the device goes with Windows Vista and Office 2007. My wife is an expert Vista-novice so I will be enlisting her help to try out all the features.

P.S: From the desk of Loki . . .

045OK – so this is the first time that someone has sent me a device to review, and even though I am a pretty active blogger I thought it was pretty weird. However, it now looks like I am a participant in a viral marketing campaign called the “Vanishing Point” game. Along with the laptop came a letter “From the desk of Loki” with the following text:

You are now a decoder. There are only a few like you, but thousands more are looking for you. Find the other decoders before Zero Hour. Go to: www.vanishingpointgame.com

A spectacular adventure is on the horizon…. can you find it before it disappears?

-L

P.S. I’ve hidden something in a puzzle box for you. Find the box, find the way to open it?

After reading the letter there was a knock at the door (spooky) and our neighbor delivered a box, presumably the courier must have thought it was for them (we live on a split block). Inside the cardboard box was a wooden trick box which took me a few moments to open up. Inside was another copy of the letter and a USB memory stick and on the stick were three files:

  • Cipher Key 4.jpg
  • from_Loki.txt
  • Loki.wmv

I have uploaded the video to Soapbox on MSN Video under the tag of “vanishing point”. I am uploading from an ISDN connection so progress is slow. Anyway – I am off to find fellow decoders and crack some of the puzzles!

Update: Folks have requested that I post up the cypher key image. As you can see the key is not a new one as I’ve seen it posted on the Internet is a few other locations – thanks to those who referred me to http://vanishingpointwiki.com.

 

 

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67 thoughts on “Acer Ferrari 1000: The Unboxing

  1. Pingback: Microsoft hands out Ferrari’s to bloggers at istartedsomething

  2. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for all the links guys – I’ve updated the post with the cypher key that I received.

  3. Mitch Denny

    Hi Mando,

    Not bad actually. I’ve already got a Tablet PC and a desktop replacement Dell D820 so this sits somewhere inbetween in terms of screen resolution. Performance wise it looks pretty powerful though, although it only scored 2.8 on the Windows Experience Index whereas my other machines sit around the 3.x mark.

    Having said that it runs aero and I really can’t identify any performance bottle necks, and for a machine its size it really packs a punch. It is actually smaller than my Tablet PC!! I’m handing it over to my wife tonight to do a more detailed review since she hasn’t really used Vista before.

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  9. a.hoc

    If you keep it you’ll never be viewed as someone who is capable of having a unbiased opinion. Count me in as one of many who won’t be returning to your blog. Unsubscribed.

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  11. allison

    Mitch,

    Have you figured out why you only got a 1000 and others got a 5000? There’s a new site, msgiftmaximizerlive.com (part of Windows Live). You upload your blog copy and it inserts the appropiate amounts of “supers” and auto-deletes any inadvertant “promised to be fixed by release date” comments. If you get with the program, you might get upgraded to a 5000, not to mention some super cool vista mugs and t-shirts.

  12. Callie

    This isn’t a laptop from Acer for review, dude, and considering that (as you say) you’ve never been given hardware to review before, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking this is the case.

    What it is, is a GIFT from Microsoft, purportedly so you can “review Vista on a machine that delivers an optimum experience etc etc”, but the entire blogosphere is aware of all the other bloggers who’ve received this same gift, and that’s what it is — aka, a bribe.

    Microsoft is free to send journalists, analysts, bloggers etc copies of Vista to review, that’s a given. It’s standard procedure for software reviews. And some companies send out hardware as ‘keepers’ to a select few journalists and bloggers, which Microsoft has done with Zune.

    But Microsoft doesn’t make laptops, so to send you a laptop for keeps is just crossing the ethical line into bribery.

  13. Pingback: » Some Windows Bloggers Get Free Ferrari Laptop »  InsideMicrosoft - part of the Blog News Channel

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  18. David

    By accepting a free laptop you have seriously compromised your editorial integrity and objectivity. I will never again consider you in the same way, but will instead wonder who just paid you off to exclaim about them on your blog.

    You are a complete sell-out.

    David
    Waco, TX

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  20. Chris Rohde

    I don’t really think these trials from MS are anything to compromise a blogger’s integrity… let’s look at it this way.

    The bloggers given free laptops are mostly, if not all, tech bloggers, right? Why else would MS send them for review? They surely wouldn’t send me one, I’ve never written about them.

    Now don’t you think it would take a little more than just a free laptop to sway the opinion of someone who knows even a little bit about computers? I personally was just giggling over the idea of wiping the system and installing ubuntu on a clean machine rather than the dual boot XP/ubuntu box I have going now.

    What I mean though is, these guys have their own opinions, will form their own future opinions, and maybe MS is just hoping for a little word of mouth, good or bad. You know, all publicity is good publicity.

    Keep it up, Mitch.

  21. Pingback: Ugo Da Prato » Blog Archive » Microsoft regala notebook ai bloggers per testare Vista!!!

  22. Mark

    As long as you continue to give good constructive reviews I’ll keep reading your blog. Screw all the folks with their holier than thou attitude. I don’t see any problems as long as you give an honest review.

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  24. bureaucratgirl

    Funny, in the world of fashion and magazine publishing, free “samples” are not looked at badly. It’s more like a “job perk”. Critics screen movies for free all the time, and if they like the movie, it doesn’t make them biased. I say enjoy the free laptop! As long as you disclose that you got it, I don’t see why it should be a problem. We can all think for ourselves (or we should, anyway) – nobody should take anybody’s word for anything until they try something out themselves.

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  26. Pooran

    There is a saying, ‘It does not matter how thinner u spread the batter, u will still have 2 sides’.

    Mitch… You cannot convince everyone… just go ahead and use the laptop, and give ur honest opinion as u have been giving.

    Keep up the good work

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  29. Omar

    Hello Mitch,

    Wow, you’ve changed your wordpress theme. Good job! Looks much better than last time.

    I hope you/your wife is enjoying the new laptop. Looking forward to hearing about your reviews on it.

    Would appreciate it if you could support my blog below: http://vistaferrari.blogspot.com

    Thanks!

  30. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi Omar,

    I am probably going to review the Start Menu first, might even splice in some of the conversations that were had on the Readify Tech list :)

    P.S. I believe that MS is giving away some laptops on the Office 2007 site if you enter a competition (and win).

  31. Pingback: Rob Farley : Ok, who didn't get an Acer laptop?

  32. Pingback: » Ironic: Free Vista PC Arrives Broken; Plus, The Last Word »  InsideMicrosoft - part of the Blog News Channel

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  35. penman1

    Congratulations on your Acer Ferrari. Sounds like it’ll be an interesting learning process for you. Good luck.

  36. Pingback: Sekoyen’s » Archive » Microsoft hands out Acer’s Ferrari to me for free?

  37. True American

    Wow. Has any one noticed how everything is such a big deal these days? People are such A*ss holes. I don’t care what they do. If some one gives me a laptop.. um I’ll take it. It would be different if they gave them the laptop and told them they had to do a positive review. You know that’s what they were hoping for. But heck even if it was a bribe who gives a sh*t. Blogging is a joke any ways. People like to think it is all to important. Get a life.

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  43. didik

    I am a socio-economics researcher and i am moveble and
    i need a laptop for help my studies.
    My adress is
    jl. surokarsan Mg2/459
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    Thanks,God Bless You!!1

  44. Irfan

    Hi,

    I have got Acer Ferrari 1000. Few days back it’s external dvd burner stoped working. When I connect it… it sounds like working but it’s not detected by laptop. I’m looking for a new one or a repair. If anyone know about it then please help me out. I would really appreciate. Thanks

    Irfan

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  49. ruben

    Hola, trabajo en un servicio tecnico de COMPUTERMACHINE.cl y me trajieron un notebook Acer Ferrari 1100 para formatearlo, pero el dueño habia borrado por equivocacion la particion de RECOVERY, buscamos todo lo referente (drivers, y apps) en las paginas de Acer, pero no dimos con los sonidos de auto (ferrari) que lleva al encenderlo y apagarlo, ni tampoco con la portada de Windows de Ferrari mas el calendario de la F1 con que venia originalmente. Este notebook es del hijo del gerente de la empresa en esta que estoy (Computermachine) y si no lo arreglo, para dentro de poco tiempo, estare cesante.

    Imploro ayuda, y quien la tenga, enviela a mi correo.

    rveloso@computermachine.cl

    De antemano, muchas gracias.

  50. Pingback: Vanishing Point Game | Francis Shanahan[.com]

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