Aggressive, sharp-cornered gaming laptops are back in style.
While most PC makers have been content with chasing Apple with sleek laptops that sport unibody builds, soft corners, and minimalist designs, PC maker Acer is going in the opposite direction.
The sixth largest PC maker in the world is still selling traditional laptops like the Swift 1 and Swift 3 with more subdued designs, but it’s making a bigger push with its Predator-branded gaming laptops.
At its annual global press conference Thursday, Acer global CEO Jason Chen said the company’s Predator 21 X behemoth — a laptop with a 21-inch curved screen, mechanical keyboard, eye-tracking sensors, dual Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs, and more — has been the most talked-about laptop in the last sixth months, despite its unconventional design.
That’s not surprising. The Predator 21 X is seriously bonkers, and the fact that it starts at $9,000 and comes in a massive Pelican case only makes it more so.
But not everyone can afford the $9K Predator 21 X. Nor does everyone need a machine that might as well be called Laptop Overkill.
Acer’s new Predator Triton 700 is a more affordable option that borrows much of the Predator 21 X’s zaniness, without taking things too overboard.
Let’s start with the design. It’s cut out of aluminum, and it measures 0.75 inches thick — just a hair thicker than the 14-inch Razer Blade. It might not be as thin as the new MacBook Pros (0.61 inch), but it’s thin by gaming-laptop standards. Its 5.7-pound weight is also a little on the heavy side if you’re used to sub-3-pound Ultrabooks, but this ain’t no laptop for weaklings.
The 15.6-inch full HD resolution IPS matte screen is lovely and supports Nvidia G-Sync for connecting to an external gaming monitor.
I can confirm the mechanical keyboard is very clicky and satisfying; gamers definitely love the keyboard, despite its island-style keys. Plus, the cool ice-blue backlighting system is just hot.
The strangest thing about the Triton 700 is the location of its trackpad: above the keyboard. And because it’s covered with Gorilla Glass, you can’t actually click on the trackpad. It’s a very odd thing to not have a place to rest your palms on a gaming laptop, and the weirdly integrated trackpad, while a good conversation starter, might not be very practical for any gaming.
As for performance, the Triton 700 has plenty of it. It’s powered by the latest seventh-gen Intel Core processors, Nvidia GeForce 10-Series graphics, two NVMe PCIe SSDs, and up to 32GB of DDR4 2,400MHz RAM. To boost performance and keep the machine from frying itself, Acer’s incorporated its AeroBlade 3D fan.
The gaming laptop’s also tricked out with all the ports you’d ever need, unlike other laptops. You get two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one HDMI 2.0 port, one DisplayPort, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and “Killer DoubleShot Pro” networking which intelligently prioritizes the fastest connection (either Wi-Fi or Ethernet) and sends all traffic over the fastest option.
A good gaming laptop leaves a lasting first impression and the Triton 700 absolutely does in every way, from design to performance. It’s beautiful a very different kind of way. If a MacBook Pro is a Porsche, then the Triton 700 is a Lambo. Its gamer looks won’t be for everyone, but that’s OK because Acer doesn’t care about winning casual coffee shop hipsters.
Best of all, the Triton 700 costs a fraction of the Predator 21 X: It starts at $2,999 when it comes out in North America in August.