Sexy, innovative chassis; Loud, clear audio; Bright, vivid display; Powerful overall and graphics performance;
Subpar battery life; Awkward touchpad placement;
The Acer Predator Triton 700 delivers the power of a full-on desktop replacement in the body of a stylish, portable mainstream laptop.
I've got to hand it to Acer for its willingness to push the envelope. The Predator Triton 700 (starting at $1,999; reviewed at $2,999) breaks with tried-and-true gaming laptop design conventions to create something that is truly exciting. And this slim siren -- just 0.7 inches thick -- is every bit the beast as some of its more buxom gaming rigs. Acer outfitted the Triton 700 with an Nvidia Max-Q GPU. Add in a pretty, Nvidia G-Sync display and great audio quality, and you've got yourself the makings of a winner. That is, until you factor in the 2 hours of battery life, high temperatures and weird touchpad placement that keep the system from being a true contender.
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Finally, a gaming laptop that isn't red and black. Drawing inspiration from its gargantuan cousin, the Acer Predator 21 X, the Triton 700 sports a large silver Predator logo lined in a brilliant blue in the center of its inky-black aluminum lid. I'm fond of the unexpected cut-off front corners, but it's the teal-tinted rear and side vents that make an otherwise ordinary-looking system stand out from the competition.
The design party really begins once you pop open the lid and boot up the system. The laptop roars to life with a bit of theme music as a turquoise light emanates from the center of the keyboard and out to the edges. Once the initial show has concluded, you get a gander at the gleaming panel of Corning Gorilla Glass at the top of the keyboard deck. A turquoise light on the left draws the eye to one of the AeroBlade fans. Seven diagonal slits to the right of the glass act as some rather edgy air intakes. You get even more of that light blue goodness from the actual keyboard, which is pushed down where the touchpad would normally be (more on that later).
For ports, you get a single USB 3.0 port on the right along with a Thunderbolt 3 port, Gigabit Ethernet and the power button. Along the left sits a pair of USB 3.0 ports with a USB 2.0 port hidden behind a removable cover, jacks for headphones and a microphone, and a Kensington lock slot. An HDMI 2.0 port, a full DisplayPort and a power port are on the rear.
At 5.4 pounds and 15.5 x 10.5 x 0.7 inches, the Triton 700 is pretty skinny, especially for a laptop with a GTX 1080 GPU on board. It's just as slim as the Asus ROG Zephyrus (5 pounds, 14.9 x 10.3 x 0.7 inches) but slightly heavier. Still, the system is much lighter than the 17-inchers that usually house such powerful specs. The 16.7 x 11 x 0.9-inch Razer Blade Pro weighs 7.8 pounds, while the 16.7 x 13.1 x 1.8-inch Alienware 17 R4 tips the scale at 9.6 pounds.
Acer is the latest gaming laptop manufacturer to embrace Nvidia's Max-Q design and the thin portability that it affords. So here's the skinny if you're unfamiliar with Max-Q. It's a term borrowed from aerospace engineering but, in this case, refers to laptops that are geared toward power efficiency and performance. This shift in focus means that the laptop should produce less heat, which allows for smaller fans and a svelter frame. Max-Q also has the bonus of WhisperMode, which Nvidia says uses a process called Intelligent Face Pacing to control how much energy is being consumed, making the fans less necessary and therefore quieter.
Vivid hues with bright, sharp detail await on the Tritron 700's 15.6-inch matte display. While watching the Acrimony trailer on the 1920 x 1080 panel, I was immediately taken with actress Taraji P. Henson's defined cheekbones as she slowly aimed the gun at the lover who spurned her. Her warm, sienna skin looked stunning against the stark white of her dress as the 9mm pistol glinted in the moonlight.
During Middle-earth: Shadow of War, details were clear enough to make out the many lines in Celebrimbor's wizened visage. Despite the swath of terror and destruction Sauron and his Orc army were leveling across Mordor, there were still pockets of forest, with lovely green plants and purple blossoms -- a reminder of how lovely the game world could be.
I literally gnashed my teeth when I discovered I forgot to pack a mouse during a business trip.
The Triton is plenty vivid, thanks to its ability to reproduce an outstanding 116 percent of the sRGB gamut, beating the 103-percent mainstream average as well as the Asus ROG Zephyrus (114 percent) and the Alienware 17 (113 percent). However, it was no match for the Razer Blade Pro and its insane 178 percent gamut.
When we measured for brightness, the Triton notched 269 nits, which is better than the 259-nit average and the Zephyrus' 253 nits. The Blade Pro and the Alienware 17 were far more luminous, at 320 and 340 nits, respectively.
The Triton 700 is also outfitted with Nvidia's G-Sync technology, which, when enabled, syncs up the laptop's display rate with the graphics card. In other words, the system places a frame cap that matches the panel limit, which allows for instant rendering in both full-screen and windowed modes, thus eliminating any tears, and leaving smooth images and happy gamers.
Audio: Surprisingly Loud
Like its namesake, the Triton can blow a mean horn. Despite its slim dimensions, the laptop pumps out audio that is both clear and loud. My bedroom was instantly filled with the synthesized keyboard and electric wind instrument from SZA's ode to being the other woman, "Weekend." Thanks to the system's top-mounted speakers and Dolby Atmos software, the artist's resigned alto seemed to float over the snappy percussion and other musical accompaniment. Switching over to Kendrick Lamar's "Loyalty," I discovered the notebook had a fair amount of bass -- not anything earth shaking, mind you -- but just enough to let you know that it's there.
As I played Shadow of War, I enjoyed hearing the clash of metal against the epic trumpets and drums of war. Drawing back the bow for a charged attack accurately delivered the sound of the bowstring tightening as I marked which Orc to shoot down.
I'm not sure what to make of the Triton's island-style mechanical keyboard.
On one hand, the low-profile switches deliver a nice clicky sound that resonates in the deepest parts of my soul. However, with a key travel measuring 1.3 millimeters (we prefer a minimum of 1.5 mm) and 80 grams of actuation force, the keys were a little too stiff for my liking. But I eventually got used to the feel of the keys and hit my usual 65 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test.
The New, Improved PredatorSense
My favorite part of the keyboard, hands down, is the customizable backlighting. Each of the keys can be programmed to flash one of the available 16.7 million colors in the PredatorSense software's palette. And if that's not enough flash for you, there are 11 available effects with adjustable speeds.
Acer has updated its PredatorSense software to accommodate all of the Triton 700's shiny new features. Aside from the lighting software, there are tabs to control and monitor clock speed, CPU and GPU temperature. And if you need an extra boost of power, you can overclock the graphics card with the flip of a button.
Touchpad: Fun to Look at, Not to Use
Hypothesizing that most gamers will be relying on a mouse to shoot baddies and collect power-ups, Acer placed the touchpad at the top of the keyboard. It's an interesting decision, but not ergonomically friendly. Made of durable Corning Gorilla Glass, the clear plate is definitely a conversation starter. I enjoyed peering through the glass to stare at one of the illuminated fans whirring away in an effort to keep the laptop cool.
The glass plating works well as an actual touchpad, letting me summon Cortana and Action Center as well as perform pinch-zoom and two-finger scroll with ease. I couldn't, however, figure out how to perform a drag-and-drop, which was annoying. But even more irritating is the touchpad placement, which forced me to reach over the keyboard when I needed to highlight something or change tabs. I literally gnashed my teeth when I discovered I forgot to pack a mouse during a business trip. Without the peripheral, I clumsily made my way through the vast world of Middle-earth: Shadow of War and met my death way more than I should have.
Gaming, Graphics and VR
Acer outfitted the Triton 700 with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM. Thanks to precision throttling, this GPU sits somewhere between the GTX 1070 and the 1080 in terms of power. As I leapt down into a gaggle of Orcs, I dodged and landed blows like a dervish at 1920 x 1080 on Ultra at a frame rate of 32 fps. When I lowered the settings to Very High, the frame rate rose to 45 fps, and when set to High, it ran at 59 fps.
The Triton 700 notched 61 fps on the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Very High, 1080p) for an easy win over the 35-fps mainstream average, the Alienware 17's (GTX 1080) 50 fps and the Asus ROG Zephyrus' (GTX 1080 Max-Q) 58 fps. It was no match however, for the Razer Blade Pro and its GTX 1080 GPU, which notched 73 fps.
During the Hitman test, the Triton 700 reached 83 fps, thoroughly routing the 59-fps average and the Zephyrus (68 fps). The Alienware 17 edged out the Triton 700 with 89 fps, while the Blade Pro achieved 116 fps.
Switching over to the Grand Theft Auto V test, the Triton 700 dropped a few frames, hitting only 59 fps. It was enough to top the 50-fps average, but not the Zephyrus, Blade Pro or Alienware 17, which scored 78, 81 and 82 fps, respectively.
If you're interested in the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101 Headset, the Triton 700 can take any virtual shenanigans you can throw its way. The laptop got 10.7 on the SteamVR Performance test, matching the Zephyrus, which is just short of the 11 scored by the Blade Pro and Alienware 17.
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The Triton 700 has a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, which isn't overclockable, but can still do more than its share of multitasking. Despite launching 22 open Google Chrome tabs -- with some running Twitch, Slack and TweetDeck -- I never noticed any latency.
The laptop continued its strong showing on our synthetic benchmarks, such as Geekbench 4, where it delivered 14,370, topping the 10,936 average and the Asus ROG Zephyrus (Core i7-7700HQ), which notched 14,289. The Alienware 17 and its overclockable 2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU managed only 14,154, while the Razer Blade Pro (Core i7-7820HK) produced 15,404.
To test for productivity, we made the Triton 700 match 20,000 names and addresses. The system completed the task in 3 minutes and 19 seconds, beating the 4:21 mainstream average along with the Zephyrus (3:43) and the Alienware 17 (3:21). The Blade Pro was just a few seconds faster, at 3:16.
Thanks to its dual 256GB NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration, the Triton 700 has blink-and-you-might-miss-it transfer speeds. The speed demon only took 6 seconds to copy 4.97GB of mixed media files, which translates to 848.2 MBps, scorching the 255.6-MBps average. The Zephyrus' 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD came the closest to catching the Acer, at 508.8 MBps. The Blade Pro (dual 256GB M.2 PCIe SSDs) and Alienware 17 (512GB SSD and 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive) obtained speeds of 339 MBps and 282 MBps, respectively.
Just because those high-powered specs are running more efficiently, don't expect to get any exponential change in battery life. The Triton 700 lasted only 2 hours and 7 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi. That's only slightly longer than the Razer Blade Pro (1:57) and the Asus ROG Zephyrus (1:54), and way shorter than the 6:21 mainstream average. The Alienware 17 was the last system standing, at 2:46.
The biggest challenge problem that thin-and-light gaming laptops have is keeping things cool. The slimmer the system, the less space there is to move air to the criticalaffected components. To combat this, Acer has retooled its proprietary AeroBlade 3D fans, creating a pair of slim, all-metal fans coupled with five heat pipes. Using the CoolBoost app, cool air is quickly cycled in from the top of the deck, dispelling hot air through rear vents at either Auto, Faster or Turbo speeds. Depending on which speed you use, the laptop can go from a low hum to a fairly loud roar.
Like its namesake, the messenger of the sea, the Triton can blow a mean horn.
A word to the wise:, do not touch the glass when gaming. I made the mistake of running my fingers across the touchpad after playing Shadow of War and discovered the glass measured a scorching 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The center of the keyboard was much cooler, at 88 degrees, which is below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The middle of the laptop's undercarriage hit 133 degrees after 15 minutes of playing Shadow of War, so you might want to be careful if placing the system in your lap.
After we streamed 15 minutes of streaming an HD video, the touchpad matched our 95-degree comfort threshold. The space between the G and H keys was slightly cooler, at 90 degrees, while the bottom measured 100 degrees.
You might be ready for your close- up, but the Triton 700's integrated 720p webcam isn't ready to to give it to you. The test shots I took were littered with graphical noise, which meant I could only see details only on the most pronounced objects in the image, like the pleating in my shirt. I was impressed, however, with how well the camera captured the peachy-pink of my blouse thanks to the High Dynamic Range technology.
Software and Warranty
Aside from PredatorSense, the Triton 700 has its fair share of preinstalled apps, some of which are more helpful than others. For instance, you have Acer Care Center, where you can check system diagnostics and run updates, or Acer Quick Access to toggle USB Charging or the Bluelight Shield on or off. There's also the Recovery Manager to back up your files just in case of a system crash.
Gamer-centric apps include the network bandwidth management app Killer Control Center. There's also Killer Diagnostics to check network speed. The system also comes with Nvidia GeForce Experience, which has a suite of features designed to optimize your gaming. And if you're interested in livestreaming, the Triton 700 has a free six6-month license of XSsplit Gamecaster.
Acer backs tThe Predator Triton 700 ships with a two2-year parts and limited warranty. See how Acer fared on our Annual Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Gaming Brands Report.
I had the opportunity to play with the $2,999 iteration of the Triton 700, which is equipped with a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 32GB of RAM, dual 256GB NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q GPU. Acer will also be launching a $1,999 base model, which will bump the RAM down to 16GB and the GPU to a GTX 1060.
At its core, I like the cut of the Acer Predator Triton's jib. The company tried something different, yielding a laptop that has a lot of wins and a few aspects that need to go back to the lab. For $2,999, you get an absolute beast of a gaming laptop in a reasonably portable frame. The Triton 700's Max-Q GPU and Intel Core i7 processor deliver serious performance whether you're gaming or crunching numbers, and it haswith a lovely display and surprisingly good audio quality. And Acer finally joined the customizable- backlighting club.
However, the awkward touchpad placement is going to be an adjustment for most people, even if you're using the Triton primarily as a gaming system. And the battery life leaves much to be desired, as well while as the heating issues are a real downer. If you're dead set on getting a Max-Q system, check out the cheaper $2,699 Asus ROG Zephyrus, which has nearly identical specs with a much better cooling system and a lighter chassis. Otherwise, check out the Razer Blade Pro ($3,999) which is crazy slim for a 17-inch system and offers full GTX 1080 and a you've-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it 4K display.
But overall, the Acer Predator Triton is a goodgreat choice for people whothat want to game on the go without sacrificing too much power and are confident they'll be by a power outlet at all times.
Credit: Shauyn Lucas/Laptop Mag
|CPU||2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||Dual 256GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||n/a|
|Hard Drive Type||NVMe PCIe SSD|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Highest Available Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Optical Drive Speed||n/a|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (Max-Q) GPU|
|Wi-Fi Model||Killer Wireless-AC 1535|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Kensington Lock|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI 2.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 2.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||DisplayPort|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Thunderbolt 3|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Microphone|
|Warranty/Support||2-year Parts and Labor Limited Warranty. Includes dedicated Predator support line.|
|Size||15.5 x 10.5 x 0.7 inches|