This review appears in the April issue of PC Advisor, on sale now.

Acer's partnership with Ferrari has produced some quality laptops over the past few years. Now the firms are adding a little glamour to the world of flat-panels.

The Ferrari F-20 is the flagship model in the series and has been designed to feature everything you could possibly want from a flat-panel. This isn't merely a display, it's a way of life; only highly driven execs whose pockets brim with cash need apply. Be warned, however, that the ostentatious livery isn't for everyone.

Sensibly realising that an all-red model would be too much, Acer has gone for a shiny black surround with a highly reflective 20in display in the middle. This glossy coating aids colour vibrancy, but if you don't like staring at your reflection it can be offputting. We're sure this won't be a problem for most Formula One drivers.

The F-20 is a showpiece for media connectivity. Round the back a rubber flap lifts to reveal Scart and DVI connections, while the left side has audio/video, S-Video and the tuner antenna. Underneath the stand at the back is an audio-in, the adapter port and VGA. The channel and power buttons are at the front, and the righthand side houses the menu navigation keys.

While the menu itself is fully featured and easy to navigate, the red hardware push buttons felt a bit cheap, lacking the attention to detail paid to nearly every other aspect of this pretty flat-panel. Minus points also for offering only a minimal tilt for positioning, although the basic speakers are good additions.

Fortunately, picture quality hasn't been neglected. The 1,680x1,050 is a good resolution on a 20in widescreen, but it's the contrast ratio, response time and brightness that give the F-20 its superior quality. Detail was pin-sharp and colours looked vivacious even in bright natural light.

Acer F-20: Specs

  • 20in widescreen flat-panel
  • max res 1,680x1,050
  • dot pitch 0.294mm
  • contrast ratio 800:1
  • response rate 8ms
  • VGA and DVI ports
  • S-Video
  • AV composite
  • Scart
  • TV support
  • 160-degree viewing angle
  • 300cd/m2
  • 2x 5W speakers
  • 32bit colour
  • 3-year return-to-base warranty
  • 510x206x444mm
  • 6.8kg
  • 20in widescreen flat-panel
  • max res 1,680x1,050
  • dot pitch 0.294mm
  • contrast ratio 800:1
  • response rate 8ms
  • VGA and DVI ports
  • S-Video
  • AV composite
  • Scart
  • TV support
  • 160-degree viewing angle
  • 300cd/m2
  • 2x 5W speakers
  • 32bit colour
  • 3-year return-to-base warranty
  • 510x206x444mm
  • 6.8kg

OUR VERDICT

We thought the F-20 would be a high-concept case of style over substance, but we were pleased to be proved wrong. Obviously it's not to everyone's taste, and it does carry a big price tag, but this is a quality purchase that won't disappoint.

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