I don’t normally review gaming laptops as ultra-mobiles and two in one tablets are more my thing but I couldn’t resist Acer’s offer to review the Predator 15. The Acer Predator 15 comes in around £1400 (on Amazon) depending on the spec and is a serious gaming machine.
It’s a chunky and heavy (3.7KG) beast and boasts great specs. There is an Intel i5 or i7 processor option (my unit was an i5). It has 16GB of RAM, 128GB SSD drive along with 1TB spinning drive, and for gaming there is an Nvidia GTX1060 graphics processor. They are packed into a chunky case with large fans on the back and big speakers. The back of the lid has a glowing Predator logo looking menacingly at you on, this along with the glowing keyboard make it look great in the dark. The case is made out of soft rubberised plastic which feels great in the hand, it’s certainly now something I would like to carry around with my all day but it is a pleasure to use.
There are no shortage of ports on the Predator, there are four USB 3 ports, USBC C port, HDMI, Mini DisplayPot, network port, full sized SD card reader, headphone and microphone port. There is a DVD built in which you can remove and replace with an additional cooling fan.
The keyboard is the typical chicklet style of most laptops but very high quality, the keys are responsive and would equally be home writing long documents as it would be for gaming. The AWSD keys are highlighted as are the arrow keys. There is a dedicated number pad and four customisable colour zones on the backlit keyboard. There are 6 additional buttons which are customisable, you could set them to switch the fans on, control overclock settings or switch on game mode. There is precision trackpad which support multi-touch gestures with a dedicated button to turn it off and on when required.
Another great aspect of the laptop is the sound. It has two speakers with large grills at the front and a subwoofer which means it’s loud, very loud! The bass is a little on the light side but there is a lot of power. It’s clear and doesn’t distort even at the top end of the volume range. It is great for games and for watching movies.
The 15.6 inch screen is 1920 x 1080 which is probably not as high as I expected being used to very high res screens like on my Surface Pro 4. Having said that it’s very clear with great colour reproduction and isn’t glossy or reflective. It’s great for games and for watching videos.
When it comes to battery life I found I got between 3 or 4 hours when watching videos and playing games.
I am not much of a PC gamer, I prefer the convenience of an Xbox so I enlisted my son to try out some games. He tried FIFA 2017 and Simraceway, both worked flawlessly out of the box. FIFA looked just like the Xbox version and Simraceway had no issues even when I added 33 AI drivers into the mix. There were no slowdowns and the framerate stayed consistent (see the video for an example).
Just for reference I tired 3DMark, which I found loaded up each scene very quickly. The final score on 3D mark was 3522. All these tests were done at the standard clock rate but you can over clock the laptop from the Acer control centre app, 2.6Ghz up to 3.5Ghz.
A great gaming laptop and really well designed, I love the way it lights up and it has a great keyboard. The combination of the SSD drive, processor, GTX1060 and 16GB make it a very capable machine. Windows performs really well on it, it’s fast to start up and very snappy switching between apps. This is one device I will be sad to see go back to Acer.