Every spring, around the same time as Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Acer holds its [email protected] global press conference where it unveils its latest products for PC gaming and content creation, as well as stuff for everyone else who uses a computer. This year's livestream took place Thursday, and the company served up the usual mix of a few notable products sprinkled among a sea of rote upgrades. In this case, that means buffing up laptops and desktops for 2021 with the latest 11th-gen CPUs from Intel or AMD, the latest Nvidia GeForce and A series (the line formerly known as Quadro) GPUs and the newest screens.
If you missed it, don't despair -- you can always watch the replay on YouTube or Acer's event site. But we're here to hit the highlights for you.
The two new Predator laptops -- the Triton 500 SE and Helios 500 -- are most notable for their pumped-up screens. The 16-inch Triton 500 SE looks like the smaller Triton 300 SE, which earned the title "Special Edition" from its incorporation of a rather ho-hum Intel Core i7-11375H low-power processor.
But in this case the specialness seems to be thanks to two of its screen choices, a 165Hz, 2,560x1,600 (16:10 aspect ratio) mini-LED backlit screen. It's capable of 1,152-zone local dimming and 1,250 nits peak brightness, sadly with only a 100% sRGB color gamut, which makes it only partly HDR. Or you can opt for a 240Hz screen of the same resolution but 100% P3 gamut coverage and InnoLux's PolarBlack technology for deeper blacks than you typically get from IPS. It also takes advantage of Nvidia's Advanced Optimus for better power management, and can come equipped with the 35-watt Core i7 or i9 11th-gen processors announced this month and up to a GeForce RTX 3080. It's shipping now starting at $1,750.
For fans of the bigger gaming laptops, the 17-inch Helios 500 breaks out an optional 120Hz 4K display with 512-zone mini-LED backlighting that peaks at 1,000 nits brightness, a 1080p, 60fps webcam and a 5G connectivity option, which is really an external dongle. It's slated to ship in August starting at $2,500.
The aforementioned Predator Connect D5 G5 Dongle is one of two gaming-targeted 5G devices Acer announced; the other is the Predator Connect X5 5G CPE, a tower combo 5G and Wi-Fi hotspot. Their special gaming sauce is Killer prioritization technologies for improving the latency of connections.
New monitors round out the most interesting of the gaming announcements. The 43-inch Predator CG437K S joins Asus' ROG Strix XG438Q and Gigabyte Aorus FV43U in the queue to connect to your Xbox Series X or PS5 thanks to their still novel HDMI 2.1 connectors and support for variable refresh rate. Other specs for the VA panel include 144Hz refresh, 1,000-nit HDR brightness (though only 90% P3 color gamut) and 10-watt stereo speakers. You won't see Acer's new Predator monitor until November and it will cost $1,800.
There's also a Predator X38 S, 38 inches of 144Hz, curved 2,840x1,600-pixel goodness with a 98% P3 gamut, 600-nit HDR brightness and stereo 7-watt speakers -- it's shipping in September for $2,000 -- and the Predator x28, a 165Hz (overclocked) HDR 400 G-Sync esports monitor, which Acer plans to charge $1,300 for when it ships in August. Yes, it features Acer's LightSense, ColorSense and ProxiSense VisionCare 3.0 technologies and accurate color (for an unidentified color space), but still -- a $1,300 1080p monitor.
Two low-end gaming desktops, the Predator Orion 3000 and the Nitro 50 get a gentle bump to 11th-gen Core i5 and i7 CPUs; the Nitro also has a Ryzen option.
Laptops and Chromebooks
A few of Acer's new general-use laptops and Chromebooks stand out from the pack. The company celebrates its joining the RE100 renewable-energy initiative and its own new "Earthion" platform for managing sustainability through the supply chain by launching the sustainably sourced Aspire Vero laptop. It's a 15-inch model made from postconsumer recycled plastic, predominantly recycled paper packaging, printing with soy ink and so on.
Also of note is the new Chromebook 317, which Acer claims is the first 17-inch Chromebook -- just beating the rumored Asus model to the starting line. Aside from its bigness, it's a pretty standard Chromebook based on Pentium and Celeron CPUs, and weighing in at a somewhat hefty 5.2 pounds. It ships in June starting at $380.
Then there's the Chromebook Spin 713 with its Chrome OS for Enterprise twin, the first Chromebook to ship meeting Intel's Evo certification. That means thin, light, battery-optimized and responsive, although at 3 pounds for a 13-incher that seems on the heavy side. It's available now starting at $700.
Read more:Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review: Next step in the evolution of Chromebooks
A new 14-inch thin-and-light Swift X Windows laptop joins Acer's parade of similarly sized models, incorporating the latest AMD Ryzen CPUs and the recently launched GeForce RTX 3050 Ti. Once again, 3 pounds for a 14-inch model doesn't strike me as a huge weight loss, but with a starting price of $900 and a claimed 17-hour battery life, it certainly sounds attractive on those counts.
5G hotspots aren't just for Acer's gamers, either. Its new Connect M5 5G Mobile Wi-Fi supports 5G NR and LTE and can host up to 32 devices.
The Chromebook line, Spin 5, Aspire 7 and TravelMate Spin P6 all get performance upgrades as well.
On the creative front, Acer boosts its Concept D laptops with 11th-gen Intel CPU and, the latest Nvidia GPUs, including the pro Nvidia A5000 and A3000 and Intel Xeon W-11955M, and refreshed designs based on the gaming laptops they spin off from. Plus, they follow the trend of bumping from 15-inch displays to 16 inches, some with 16:10 aspect ratios. The Concept D3 models won't ship until December and start at $1,600, the Concept D5 line will be available in August starting at $2,000, and the Concept D7 models will start at $2,500 whenever they ship.
Along with the Concept D updates, the company also rolled out a SpatialLabs Developer Program for Unreal Engine developers interested in working on projects with Acer's new SpatialLabs' glasses-free stereoscopic 3D technology for live interaction. Program participants will receive a Concept D SpatialLabs prototype notebook. W00t!
Stay current on the latest Microsoft news, plus reviews and advice on Windows PCs.
Acer Predator Triton 900 review: weird flex
The inarguable highlight of Acer’s new Predator Triton 900 gaming laptop is its gorgeous 17.3-inch 4K IPS LCD display that floats above the chassis. Okay, it’s not exactly floating. The sturdy arms attached to the screen’s sides play a central role in the effect, giving it a huge range of movement, more so than almost any other laptop made for gaming or not. It’s like if the articulating screen from the Microsoft Surface Studio all-in-one desktop came to a laptop, along with a similarly high price.
The entry-level configuration that I’m reviewing costs $3,799, and despite the similarities it has with Microsoft’s artist-friendly desktop, Acer’s screen doesn’t support active styluses, like Surface products or many other laptops do. I don’t think that most gamers will care about this omission, but it’s nonsense that a laptop this expensive with a design that mirrors a drawing surface doesn’t actually work as one.
As for what the screen can do, you can move back and forth without altering the viewing angle. And if you need to rotate it, the hinge allows for a 180-degree flip. Is this mostly a gimmick? Yes. How essential is a moveable screen during gaming? Not very, at least for me, though it comes in handy if you’re dealing with errant glare. (It’s going to happen with a display this glossy.) The main reason that I don’t find myself adjusting the screen during gameplay is that it’s so darn sharp that even the smallest details pop no matter how far away I have it situated.
A lot of my enjoyment of the moveable display came when I wasn’t gaming. Its 17.3-inch screen is a huge canvas where having a multiwindow arrangement running all day long feels pretty comfortable. I find that a clear picture angled parallel to my eyes helps me concentrate better, and the Triton 900 is always at the ready to accommodate in that regard, whether I’m sitting or standing up at work. That’s not something that a standard clamshell laptop can provide, at least without frequently adjusting my chair, desk, or physically moving myself around.
Surprisingly, the premium on its moveable screen isn’t egregious. It’ll cost you roughly the same (plus or minus a few hundred dollars, depending on the brand) as any other gaming laptop with a six-core 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 4K IPS LCD display. If you were already planning on spending the big bucks on a hulking gaming laptop that’s not very portable (instead of saving thousands on a DIY desktop build with similar specs), this currently seems to be one of the more interesting choices.
The Triton 900 physically dominates my shared desk at home. It’s almost 17-inches wide, plus an extra half an inch on each side for the screen’s hinges. It weighs nine pounds, which makes carrying it around a literal pain. It’s tough to find a bag that can accommodate a 17-inch laptop these days. Even if you do find one, it doesn’t change that this laptop just isn’t any fun to haul around, especially since it can’t last for long without its 330W power adapter, piling on another two pounds.
The bottom chassis that the screen is tethered to is much like what you’d find on other gaming laptops. Its machined aluminum is angularly styled at nearly every corner, which will certainly elicit some sort of reaction out of bystanders. It’s wide enough to fit two top-firing speakers, an 82-key (80 percent) backlit low-profile mechanical keyboard, and a trackpad side to side, though not without a few compromises.
Its speakers are powerful enough to make my glass table vibrate, but they don’t sound great. They’re fine in a pinch, like for video conference call, but they lack the punch that would make me want to use them instead of a set of headphones. The mechanical keys have a satisfying click to them, and they’re more enjoyable to use than ones found on a MacBook, though the key travel distance is still shallow. The trackpad is located to the right of the keyboard (to the benefit of right-handed people only), and using it is actually a good experience, thanks to its Windows Precision trackpad drivers.
I have a few quibbles, however. The keyboard is near the front of the chassis, leaving nowhere to rest your palms and wrists while you type. This is more of a constraint than a misguided design decision since Acer had to make room for powerful hardware and enough fans to keep it all cool. If you don’t use a wrist rest already, you’ll probably need to buy one. But if you plan to game on your lap, the keyboard will be even more uncomfortable to use.
The question mark key and right Shift key on the right side are squished together in such a way that errors are almost guaranteed while typing quickly. The trackpad is responsive to touch and multifinger gestures, though its tall orientation feels cramped. It’s definitely not suited for fast-paced games. If you decide not to use the trackpad, it can be turned into a number pad by tapping its corner twice. These virtual numkeys aren’t tactile and sometimes don’t respond to quick taps, so it won’t be a good replacement for an external number pad, though it can work in a pinch.
The keyboard also includes macro keys, user-programmable shortcuts, above the function keys. A key labeled “P” (for Predator, presumably) switches between up to three macro groups, giving you nine configurable keys that you can assign a function to. You can assign a button to do things like launch an installed app, increase the fan speed, disable the Windows key, and more. All of this is really useful if you find yourself wanting to tweak lots of settings on the fly, something that gamers usually do.
This is all configurable in Acer’s PredatorSense suite, a utility where you can also do things like tweak the backlight pattern of the keyboard and the light that shines on the glass-covered fan near it, overclock the machine’s graphics card, and monitor its running temperature.
There are vents all around the Triton 900, a few for taking in air and some for blowing it out. A system this powerful gets hot, up to 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) while running Battlefield V at 4K resolution with ray tracing and Nvidia’s DLSS (deep learning supersampling) feature switched on. With the fans roaring loudly, I was a little frightened to put it on my lap, but it was surprisingly tolerable (though much too warm for the summer months). The laptop blows a majority of the hot air out of the back, a place with which my fingers and legs don’t really come into contact. There’s an air intake on the top of the chassis next to the Gorilla Glass-covered heatsink and fan that takes up the rear half of the computer. Acer’s decision to push the keyboard so close to the front ensures that the CPU and GPU can stay cool, and it works at the expense of an ergonomic keyboard and mouse setup.
You can usually count on a healthy amount of ports on a gaming laptop, and the Triton 900 isn’t a letdown. There are two USB 3.1 (Type-A) ports, headphone and microphone jacks, a Thunderbolt 3 port, and, somewhat bafflingly, a fold-out USB 2.0 port to the left of the keyboard. Acer calls it an “Xbox controller port,” so the idea is that you’ll plug in an Xbox wireless adapter, fold it shut, then forget about it. Though, I found that the port had enough clearance once folded in to fit a small flash drive or a USB receiver for my Logitech mouse. The last few remaining ports include Ethernet, HDMI, and DisplayPort.
This laptop is no slouch when it comes to performance. Outside of gaming, it showed no signs of slowing down under what I’d consider to be a moderate load: 20 Google Chrome tabs open, along with Affinity Photo for editing photos, and a few other apps. You’d hope for as much from a $3,799 laptop, right?
Battery life is another story, though. This is a big weak point for gaming laptops, in general, but this one’s lifespan under that same load came in at about an hour, which is disturbingly short. It has a 72Wh battery inside, which is less than smaller, thinner devices, like the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Turning on Apex Legends shortened the runtime to around 45 minutes. This computer burns through its battery quickly.
Another common issue for high-end gaming laptops built with 1440p or 4K displays is that they usually can’t run every game smoothly at native resolution. For example, the Triton 900 runs Battlefield V and Apex Legends at sub-30 frames per second when set to 4K resolution, with all of the graphical settings switched to maximum. Overclocking (easily switched on via Acer’s preinstalled software suite) improve things quite a bit, though I still wasn’t getting a super smooth 60 frames per second in either game.
There were plenty of games that I tested, like Astroneer and Forza Horizon 4, that run beautifully at native 4K resolution. However, Cyberpunk 2077, and other graphically intensive games will arrive as we near the verge of a new console generation. This machine will be ready for them, but you can expect some of the latest games to be too punishing for its overclocking ability to keep up.
The fact that the 4K screen supports G-Sync might be a selling point for some. For background, G-Sync is Nvidia’s technology that precisely syncs up a screen’s variable refresh rate to what the graphics card is outputting. G-Sync, compared to V-Sync used in a traditional display, minimizes screen tearing and other graphical hitches without increasing input lag. So, ideally, you get better performance out of your hardware without costing you precious milliseconds, which is the kind of precision that competitive gamers want. Unfortunately, this screen is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, so the fastest frame rates you’ll see are capped at 60 frames per second. It looks great, though you can better see this tech in action on high refresh rate monitors that allow 144 frames per second (or more) to be displayed.
Talking about a device’s limitations is important, especially when it costs nearly $4,000. Gaming laptops strive to pack in the most performance hardware, so you’ve got to hand it to manufacturers when they figure it out, especially when they also implement a fun, moveable screen. But the compromises here, which are mostly inherent in all gaming laptops, lay on thick.
Acer’s Predator Triton 900 is powerful enough for a gamer to enjoy, but its 60Hz refresh rate display is a disappointment. This amount of money should get you a screen with a faster refresh rate, and as a gamer, I’d look elsewhere if that’s important to you. And if you’re an artist who’s intrigued by the Surface Studio-inspired display, its lack of active stylus support is a huge oversight on Acer’s part.
What good is a laptop that’s so big that you can’t reasonably tote it around without some serious effort? What good is a 4K display if the machine can’t run many popular games at that resolution? It’s not great.
I applaud Acer for attempting to broaden the appeal of its gaming laptop by appealing to artists or really anyone who has loads of cash and wants a laptop with an interesting design. But, in doing so, the Predator Triton 900 is left halfway between meeting what die-hard gamers and artists want in a machine. It’s capable of a lot, but the caveats, small as they seem, are deal-breakers.
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© 2021 NVIDIA, the NVIDIA logo, and Advanced Optimus, Ampere Architecture, Battery Boost, DLSS, GeForce RTX, G-SYNC, and Max-Q Technologies are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.
1 Specifications may vary depending on model and/or region. All models subject to availability.
2 Includes the effect of Intel® Thermal Velocity Boost (Intel® TVB), a feature that opportunistically and automatically increases clock frequency above single-core and multi-core Intel® Turbo Boost Technology frequencies based on how much the processor is operating below its maximum temperature and whether turbo power budget is available. The frequency gain and duration is dependent on the workload, capabilities of the processor and the processor cooling solution.
3 Non-native response time. Achieved via LCD Overdrive.
4 Metal ID definition varies by model with the following: (1) top, base and bottom cover are metallic with ABS plastic frame or (2) may include a metallic top and base with ABS plastic frame and bottom of laptop. For more details, please contact your local Acer Representative.
5 This product is not designed for cryptocurrency mining uses. Damages to your product arising from cryptocurrency mining or related activities are excluded from your product’s warranty.
Acer Predator Helios 300 - 15.6" - Intel Core i7-10750H - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU - 16 GB DDR4 - 512 GB SSD - Windows 10 Home - Gaming Laptop (PH315-53-78XB)
Pros: -Amazing packaging out of the box! -Easy setup and not a ton of bloatware -Great specs and features! -Good for gaming and great for streaming (using OBS at 60fps, best at 30fps)
Cons: -Heats up pretty quickly: fan is pretty loud even with a laptop cooler under it -Nearly impossible to upgrade hardware: the bezel is harder than ever to perform upgrades on and you WILL damage the side covers trying to slide them off. I wanted to add an additional 1TB M.2 SSD plus up the RAM to 32GB, but could not.
Overall Review: Prior to this I owned an ASUS gaming laptop that had an 11th gen i7 but only at 4 cores. It was not enough to stream and play games let alone browse at the same time without the entire unit freezing up. On this ACER Predator Helios 300, with 6 cores on a 10th gen i7, not only can you comfortably stream while playing games but you can also simultaneously browse on an additional monitor without issue (unless you're sensitive to noise). The fans will begin kicking in shortly after starting up any game and will stay that way even with a laptop cooling pad. There's not much material available online or youtube in regards to servicing this laptop. I had issues attempting to upgrade the hardware specs and stopped when I was unable to pry apart the bottom cover and side bezels. Overall I'm happy with the performance as I usually bring my laptop with me on the road for work.
Gaming predator laptop
Best Acer gaming laptop deals
Acer gaming laptop deals aren't all that easy to come by right now. Whether the GPU shortage is starting to bite into Acer's stocks for Amazon and Newegg, or it's just that we're about to hit a new cycle of Acer gaming laptops, pickings are light. What we do know is that, right now, prices are too high for the sorts of Acer notebooks we'd recommend you buy.
That's why we've got our bots searching for the best Acer offers our AIs can find, to make sure we always have the most up-to-date deals possible.
Leading the charge for Acer on the gaming laptop front is its Predator line. For years now, the Helios and Triton sub-brands have been gradually improving their design. Finally, this year, Acer has removed the word 'Predator' from the laptop's lid, a win for anyone who wanted to use this laptop in public and not get weird looks from non-gamers.
Acer also has an extensive list of more affordable notebooks in its catalog. Because of the sheer breadth of specs, styles, and price points in its portfolio, finding the specs to match your needs isn't as effortless as it could be. With more and more laptops with brand new GPUs like the Nvidia RTX 30-series hitting the market, the choices and options can be overwhelming. Sometimes an expert must intervene. And that's exactly where we come in.
The best Acer gaming laptop deals today
The best Acer laptops for gaming in 2021
1. Acer Predator Triton 500
The best Acer laptop for gaming 2021
CPU: Intel Core i7 10750H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060–2080 Super Max-Q
RAM: 16–32 GB
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920x1080) IPS 144 Hz
Storage: 512 GB–1 TB SSD
Battery: 84 Wh
Dimensions: 10 x 14.1 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 4.41 lbs
Reasons to buy
+Appetizing range of prices+Top of the line performance+Thin profile
Reasons to avoid
Once you get past the initial dread of its god-awful startup sound, the Acer Predator Triton 500 is hands down one of the best gaming laptops I've ever used. Small enough to fit in a backpack and light enough to not be a burden, it stuffs a 15-inch screen into a 14-inch frame for an RTX gaming experience that is, against all odds, both portable and potent. It doesn't have the strongest battery life, having conked out at less than three hours in our in-house battery test, but you can't expect to play intensive triple-A games unplugged for long anyway.
What you can expect from the Acer Predator Triton 500 is a blissful, quiet, high-performance gaming laptop capable of outpacing the latest consoles. You can get it in RTX 2060 and 2080 flavors, and while the latter can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, I recommend the middle of the road option for the best value: Intel Core i7 processor, RTX 2080 graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of NVMe PCIe SSD storage. If it weren't for a few glaring design oversights and a notable lack of screen resolution choices above 1080p, the Triton 500 would be a perfect machine. Still, it's a relatively inexpensive gateway to ray-traced graphics rendered in real-time, deserving of its place on the best Acer laptop for gaming throne.
Read the fullAcer Predator Triton 500 review.
2. Acer Predator Helios 300
The best Acer laptop for mainstream gaming
CPU: Intel Core i7 10750H–i7 10870H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070–RTX 3080
RAM: 8–32 GB
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920x1080) IPS 240 Hz
Storage: 1 TB SSD
Battery: 48 Wh
Dimensions: 10.5 x 15.4 x 1.1 inches
Weight: 5.95 lbs
Reasons to buy
+Good performance for the price+Respectable build quality+Room for three storage drives
Reasons to avoid
-Average CPU performance
Though it comes in 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch flavors, we prefer the 15-inch Acer Predator Helios 300, a budget-minded clamshell made for gaming in each of its many forms. Despite being available in ten different configurations, they are all almost good choices.
The Predator Helios 300 is one of the better-performing mid-range gaming laptops, packing in plenty of power for under $2,000, which is not an easy task. The vast number of configurations even let you find a way to drive the price even lower by skimping on inconsequential components (for gaming, at least), like RAM or a screen with a lower refresh rate, you can save yourself a hefty chunk of change. Especially if it's meant to complement your existing desktop rig, the Helios 300 is a solid, lower-cost alternative to the Triton 500.
3. Acer Nitro 5
Best Acer laptop for gamers on a budget
CPU: Intel Core i5 9300H or AMD Ryzen 5 5600H–Ryzen 9 5900HX
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti–RTX 3080
RAM: 8–16 GB
Storage: 256 GB–1 TB SSD
Screen: 15.6 inches (1920 x 1080)
Weight: 5.7 lbs
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky-Bad touch pad
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you have to miss out on playing some killer games on the go. The Acer Nitro 5 offers plenty of AMD configurations in addition to Intel ones for not much cash and you can still enjoy 1080p gameplay at modest frame rates. You're generally in the realms of the GTX 1660 Ti here, but that's a fine GPU for 1080p.
If you're a student, the Nitro 5 has plenty of ports for all your accessories like portable hard drives, gaming mice, and other goodies without breaking the bank. Acer's NitroSense fan-control app makes sure that your laptop always remains cool during heavy usage. This means you can work on your lap without frying said lap. The touchpad can be a bit temperamental; we recommend picking up a gaming mouse to complement this laptop.
Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware from headsets to game pads. He's been covering games and tech for nearly ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, and Tom's Guide.
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