Not all predators are hulking beasts, at least not when it comes to Acer. The company just unveiled the Predator Triton 700, the first in its new thin-and-light gaming laptop line. Set to launch sometime in August for a starting price of $2,999, the Triton 700 is sporting a barely-there 0.74-inch frame -- putting it into direct competition with Razer, Alienware and MSI. But the Triton has more going for it than just its svelte chassis.
So let's address the elephant in the room -- the touchpad. The input device has been upended to the top of the keyboard deck and transformed into a peek-a-boo panel. In order to make room for the flashy design, the keyboard has been pushed down the deck, eliminating the palm rest.
In practice, it's a touchpad. The clear Gorilla Glass SR plate delivered quick and accurate response. I did a few pinch-zooms and some three-finger taps and flicks. In order to launch a program, I just had to double tap on the icon. However, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to do left and and right click. The actual pad is smaller than it seems. When I tried to tap and swipe on edges of the glass where the fans were, I got no response. As cool as the plate looks, I can't imagine trying to use it to bang out a review or do any serious work without plugging in a mouse.
At 5.7 pounds, 0.74 inches thick, the Triton 700 is gunning for the likes of the Razer Blade, MSI Stealth Pro and Asus ROG Strix GL50VS-DB71. It's outfitted with an Intel Core i7 processor with up to 32GB of RAM. Acer reps hinted that the components are overclockable, which suggests that we're looking at a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU. The system will also feature an Nvidia Geforce 10-series GPU and a pair of NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration.
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If that's not enough bells and whistles for you, the laptop will also feature a backlit mechanical keyboard that Acer says as 1.4 millimeters of key travel. To keep things cool, Acer's added five heat pipes and two of its proprietary AeroBlade 3D fans which deliver 35 percent more airflow than competing systems according to the company.
Thanks to its Nvidia GPU, the Triton 700 is VR ready. Just plug in an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and you're ready to go. And while you're getting up close and personal with various baddies in VR space, spectators can watch the action on the 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 panel with Nvidia G-Sync technology.
All in all, the Predator Triton is a welcome departure from Acer's typical massive systems. I am eager to get more hands-on time with the touchpad and see how those fans hold up against a few hours of frantic running and gunning. One thing's for sure, the thin-and-light gaming laptop market has just gotten a lot more interesting.