It has been a while since I’ve owned a gaming laptop. Imagine my excitement then as an Acer Predator 17 landed on my desk.
I dare say that things have moved on since my gaming laptop was put in to retirement.
Let’s face it, 2008 is ancient history in tech terms.
The Predator 17 looks really impressive on the spec sheet.
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Processor||Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ processor 2.60 GHz|
|Screen||17.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9|
|Graphics||NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 with 8 GB Dedicated Memory|
|Memory||16 GB, DDR4 SDRAM|
|Storage||1 TB HDD, 256 GB SS|
Is this Acer gamer all show and no go though?
Acer Predator 17 design
There is no mistaking that the Predator 17 is a gaming laptop. All the clues are there.
Acer actually says that the Predator is “inspired by intergalactic battlecruisers”. Hmmmmkay…
Having not been up close and personal with any of said modes of transport, I will take their word for it.
The Predator weighs in at over 4kg and measures 40mm thick. An Ultrabook it is not.
There is a tiny bit of give in the wrist-wrest, and similar flex in the base. The screen also flexes a little, but none of this is horrific.
Acer Predator 17 performance
The Predator has the name and design to stand out, but we all know it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Here we have an i7-6700HQ processor running at 2.60 GHz and an Nvidia GTX 1070 with 8GB for good measure. Additionally, you get 16GB of RAM and G-Sync baked-in.
This all pushes things along at a pace. There is plenty enough to keep the 1080p Full HD screen filled with eye-pleasing vistas of exploding aliens and high-speed shenanigans.
The 1920 x 1080 display is pretty good. Brightness and contrast are what you would hope from a laptop in this price and performance bracket.
Brightness and contrast are what you would hope from a laptop in this price and performance bracket.
The panel is nice and bright and suffers minimally from glare.
Movies and games, this is an entertainment lappy after all, are presented well.
Colour accuracy, however, is not neccessarily the Predator’s strongest card. It’s good enough for some casual photo or video editing, but pros will probably better looking elsewhere.
I was, however, impressed by the uniformity of colour and brightness across the panel.
The speakers are impressive. Something that isn’t usually said about laptop audio. For a start, the Predator 17 is loud.
Right from the ominous boot-up jingle, in-game action, and through to playing choice tracks from Tidal.
OK, so it’s not the most refined reproduction, especially if you favour acoustic, Jazz or orchestral pieces. But, should your tastes be biased towards more Drum and Bass or Industrial flavours, this will do the trick.
The mid-range is meaty and forward. This works well for movie dialogue and game cut-away scenes. It gets a little harsh the high mids but still impressive nonetheless.
The higher frequencies occassionally get lost and the Predator appears to rely on those high-mids to cut through.
I realise that this isn’t sold as an audiophile device, and the audio is great for action films and games, but I can’t help but feel a little more attention to tweeters would add the cherry on top.
The Predator’s controls are well equipped, to say the least.
Over on the left-hand side you get five macro keys and a profile button. This enables you to have three banks of fice pre-programmed macros. Very handy if you’re into MMORPGs or similarly macro-intensive games.
The main QWERTY is a multi-coloured backlit beauty. Naturally, the WASD and cursor clusters are emphasised in deep red.alongside sensible layout choices: the Windows key on the right-hand side, for instance, and a double-height Return key.
Furthermore, the entire layout appears to have been carefully considered. For example, the Windows key on the right-hand side, and the double-height Return key.
You also get a full-sized numberpad. No shortcuts or space-saving here. Everything feels just as comfortable as using my desktop battlestation.
Additionally, the whole board can be illuminated in four zones.
Reaction times are fast and everything feels solid.
It’s equally comfortable for general typing.
The pad itself is good, but not a game changer, for want of a better phrase. I do like that you can deactivate it if you’re using a mouse. Very handy to avoid accidental nudges or clicks.
A gaming laptop is never going to give you all-day cordless power but I would hope to get an hour-or-so’s worth of gaming.
Acer says to expect a maximum of three hours of life and, writing reviews with some light music streaming, yeah. I can see that.
However, get to gaming and, as you would expect, battery life quickly heads south. Spinning up the new-and-improved Doom and ramping up the brightness, et al, 60 minutes is a generous guesstimate.
That said, who ever buys a gaming laptop for battery life? Most will be dragging them to LAN parties or on holiday for out-of-town gaming. At least you know that you could have a quick match on the train to somewhere.
Fan noise isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, when they kick in, there is a slight whine but once those speakers are up all is well
The Predator 17 didn’t run as hot as other portable gamers I’ve used. Don’t forget that additional CoolerMaster fan.
That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t helping though.
Acer Predator 17 review conclusion
The Predator 17 is a beast. That is not open for debate.
It packs a full HD display, a GTX 1070 8GB graphics card as well as 16GB RAM. That is enough to play all titles available right now.
The Predator will also drive virtual reality headsets too
Build quality is impressive too, as is its connectivity options.
More importantly, it’s fast.
If you’re in the market for a 17-inch gaming laptop, you should really ought to take the Acer Predator 17 for a spin. You won’t be disappointed.
Acer Predator 17 price and availability
You can add a Predator 17 to your arsenal right now from the Acer UK webstore. Prices start at £1,599.99 and if you want the same spec as reviewed, it will cost £2,099.99.