The Acer Predator Triton 500 Laptop Review: Going Thin with GeForce RTX 2080by Brett Howse on April 25, 2019 8:00 AM EST
When you think of gaming laptops, you generally think big and heavy, which makes sense due to the power requirements of top-end gaming components. A bigger laptop offers more thermal mass, and it also offers more room for cooling fans, both of which are a big help in terms of keeping a gaming laptop cool. That being said, the efficiency of modern CPUs and GPUs is at the point where you can now entertain a thin and light gaming laptop. Acer is certainly not the first to do this of course, but picking up the Predator Triton 500 for the first time drives home just how far GPUs have come, and with NVIDIA’s Max-Q program, they really can fit the top tier GPU in a thin and light chassis. At just 0.7-inches, or about 18mm thick, the Predator Triton 500 isn’t much thicker than an Ultrabook, and at 4.63 lbs, or 2.1 Kg, it is reasonably light as well.
The thin design and light weight start with the chassis, which Acer has crafted out of aluminum. On a premium laptop design, this is expected, and Acer’s execution is top-notch. The Predator logo is backlit in blue on the top of the system, but other than that the design is more muted than many gaming systems, which I think a lot of people will appreciate. Acer has also angled the top corners slightly, which is a nice touch. It’s a simple, but well-executed design.
Opening the laptop up, Acer has also jumped on another very welcome trend, offering minimal display bezels around the 15.6-inch display. There’s a bit of a chin on the bottom, which can’t be avoided if you want to fit all of the cooling and circuit boards inside. It’s true that a taller aspect ratio would solve this issue, but there is no way Acer could have found a 144 Hz IPS display panel in a 3:2 aspect, so keeping the three bezels to a minimum seems like the right solution. The angled corners at the top also allow Acer to fit the webcam in above the display.
The keyboard layout works well, offering six rows of keys. Some 15.6-inch laptops take the route of offering a number pad, which never really works well due to the narrow keyboard deck, and likely the thin bezel design wouldn’t even allow this on the Triton 500, but Acer has fit in a row of media keys, which also offers a Predator key to launch their PredatorSense software, as well as the power button. I generally frown on having the power button be a key on the keyboard, and would prefer a separate key to avoid accidentally hitting it, but since it’s slightly removed from the normal keyboard layout, this isn’t as big of a con.
The keys themselves offer backlighting, but unlike some of the competition which offers per-key RGB LEDs, Acer only allows you to customize them in three zones. Per-key RGB may seem like a gimmick, but it’s actually quite handy to color code one or two keys so you can easily find them. Acer does offer RGB backlighting though, which can be adjusted through their software, so you can pick your color, or choose one of the pre-selected layouts. One other small negative is that the backlighting isn’t activated when the trackpad is being used, so you have to be actually typing on the keyboard to activate the lighting, and keep it active. That’s not always ideal, and I prefer when backlighting is activated by both the keyboard and track pad.
Typing on the keyboard is surprisingly good. The keys are well-spaced and offer enough travel that it’s easy to get accustomed to typing on this laptop. The arrow keys are all full sized, although they do shrink the right shift key, that’s generally not an issue.
Acer’s track pad is also excellent. It is easy to be precise with it, and the trackpad is just the right size. The surface is very smooth, and I never had any issues using multi-touch gestures either. PCs have come a long way here, and it’s nice to see the adoption of the precision touchpad across so many laptops.
The left side of the laptop offers power, Ethernet, USB, HDMI, and the two audio jacks. The right side has two more USB ports, the USB Type-C port for Thunderbolt, and a mini DisplayPort output. There’s plenty of IO available, but if I was nit-picking, the layout of the cooling vents on the side block where the power cable would normally go, and considering this laptop is meant to be plugged in pretty much all of the time, having the power connector where it is makes for somewhat awkward cable management. Acer has tried to help out here by having a 90° connector, but it still isn’t ideal.
But other than that small complaint, Acer hits a lot of good notes on their design and execution of the Predator Triton 500. For a gaming laptop, it strikes a nice balance between usability, design, and functionality. The thin design and light weight make it exceptionally portable. Coupled to that is the modern thin-bezel look. Acer has designed a great looking laptop in the Predator Triton 500.
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Ethos Evoss - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - linkiT IS ABOUT FEATURES NIT JUST CLOCK....MAN
SUPPORT NEW FEATURES 4k or 8k in 60hz
3 4k support .. plenty memory new memory
DanNeely - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - linkWith all the power related limitations with mobile GPUs these days I'd love to see a nominal equivalent desktop system added to the tables as a reference baseline.
Oyeve - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - link3k laptop. I'll stick with my 17" Lenovo laptop from 3 years ago with a 980m that I got for 900. Plays everything I throw at it very well.
MrRuckus - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - linkYou can find diamonds in the rough. I bought a Alienware 17 R5 with a "1070 OC" they call it, and can get it within 10-15% of my friends Asus G703 with an overclocked 1080. That laptop was $3500, mine was $1500 base + 1TB NVMe Evo, and 1TB SSD Evo I added to it coming out around $1800. While I dont care too much for Alienware in general, I knew this chassis could take an i9/1080 combo,so I knew it would handle an i7/1070 easily, which it does with no throttling. With laptops, its all about finding a chassis that can handle the hardware without throttling.
Jedi2155 - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - linkDid you do an iUnlock and liquid metal the R5? I had to do it on my 17R4 but still working great after 2 years of ownership in my backpack.
WagonWheelsRX8 - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - linkPretty impressive amount of power for a portable device.
Would love to see a review or 2 sprinkled in of the more middle range laptop hardware, too.
Gunbuster - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - linkGood looking laptop until we get to the last page and there is that big old I'm a grown man in the basement messaging a 13 year old predator logo. :p Marketing Acer, Marketing. Research it.
MrRuckus - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - linkThis! I dont know why its so hard to find a aesthetically pleasing high end laptop! haha. The MSI GS75 Stealth is an amazing looking laptop, if only it wasn't a Max-Q design! I only wish the screen lid came on the MSI Raider with the full fledged 2080. But no, they want to stamp that with "Dragon scale" LED strips What?? Teenage looks with seriously adult prices.
patel21 - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - linkGigabyte Aero
MrRuckus - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - linkAhh, its nice, but would like a full 2080 non Max-Q and a 17inch display. 15inch is just too small for my liking. I have owned a lot of Asus ROG laptops (get a new one every 2 years through my work as my treat to myself). 15 inch laptops even some of the better ones, have issues with throttling. That extra 2 inches of space helps with cooling in the small form factor of a laptop. The GS75 Stealth is a nice looking laptop, but I just cant get over the 30% hit from Max-Q. I would look at another G703 from Asus, but that laptop is now pushing $4k with a 2080. I had the G703 w/1080 before I sold it to a friend due to needing some money due to some unfortunate events, It was a really nice solid laptop, but was really pushing it at $3500. I just cant justify spending over 3500, that was even a stretch.