As many of you are probably already aware, Acer launched their Predator Triton 700 series laptop several months back. It boasted having a near desktop gaming experience in a thin and light laptop by squeezing a Max-Q GTX 1080 into a chassis only ¾” thick. A very impressive package, on paper.
But after seeing the Asus Zephyrus in person, and add in the steep $3000 price tag, the Predator Triton 700 lost a little bit of its appeal to me. Not only that, but many early reviews showed that the laptop suffered from some major overheating issues.
But what about the 1060 version? It’s roughly $1000 cheaper – still expensive, but at least in the price range for more potential buyers. And considering there are almost no reviews on this model, I figured I’d give it a shot and try it out.
But I’m reviewing this model with a lot of skepticism. For months, there have been other thin and light 1060 laptops out there. So this one better have some features that make it stand out against the rest, considering it’s the most expensive one available (even more expensive than the Razer Blade).
So going in, I’m questioning many things, such as: Does it overheat? How’s that oddly placed trackpad? Does it have a 120Hz screen like the 1080 version? And if you want a blunt spoiler, the answers are: yes, frustrating and no. But there are some pretty nice positives to the package that make this laptop still an interesting buy. You just have to be a certain type of person and be willing to sacrifice in a couple areas. In short – you have to appreciate the overall design of the laptop, which surprisingly I find pretty darned nice.
So if you think that’s still you, keep on reading and see what I found out. As always, I write it how I see it, both good and bad. And there’s plenty of both to go around on this one.
The specs sheet
|Acer Predator Triton 700 PT715-51-761M|
|Screen||15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px resolution, IPS 60 Hz|
|Processor||7th generation Intel Kaby Lake i7-7700HQ 2.8Ghz with 3.8Ghz boost, quad-core|
|Video||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 vRAM), with Optimus Intel HD 630|
|Memory||16GB DDR4-2400 (2 x 8GB modules)|
|Storage||512GB SATA M.2 SSD(2x 256GB modules in RAID 0)|
|Connectivity||Killer 802.11ac WiFi 1535 with Bluetooth 4.1|
|Ports||1x USB-C Thunderbolt 3, 3x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-A 2.0(recessed into casing), HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet|
|Battery|| 54 Wh|
|Size||393mm or 15.47” (w) x 266mm or 10.47” (d) x 18.8mm or .74” (h)|
|Weight||On average 2.44kg or 5.4lb|
|Extras||Headphone and mic, 180W AC adapter|
Design and exterior
Easily the highlight of this machine is the overall design and build quality. From the instant I picked it up, it felt like a premium machine. It’s not completely encased in metal, but it sure feels like it. Next to the Razer Blade, this feels like one of the sturdiest ultrabooks I’ve ever had my hands on, to date.
There’s a pretty good blend of metal and plastic, which might seem like a drawback to many people. But the fact is, that plastic has some purpose. The bezel and strip on the lid, for example, allow for excellent Wifi reception(more on that later). And the bottom also has a hidden feature as well, not to mention if it were made of metal it would probably burn your leg.
So starting from the top is the metal lid, which is made of a black aluminum. It’s sort of a fingerprint magnet, but no different than any other black metallic laptop. Centered on the lid is the Predator logo. I seriously hate ugly gaming logos and Predator’s certainly qualifies as one of them. At least they didn’t go all out with this one and make it glow red. Instead it’s accented with their “frost” blue color. It actually looks pretty cool in person and I really don’t mind it as much as I thought I would – probably because it doesn’t glow.
Lifting the lid is possible with a single finger but it takes a little more effort sometimes. The hinge is very sturdy. We’re not dealing with a touchscreen here so it really doesn’t matter all that much, but the hinge is certainly stong enough to keep the lid shut properly when carrying it around.
Underneath the lid is a work of art. Instead of a keyboard up top, there’s a large piece of Gorilla glass. It’s tinted, but allows for a pretty nice view of the CPU fan and the heatpipes. It looks slick, especially with the subtle accent light they have on the fan, which is programmable to any color. Integrated on the gorilla glass is the trackpad. This will be discussed in more detail in the next section, but let’s just say it’s not one of my favorite parts of this machine.
The glass ends before the GPU, as Acer opted to have a fan intake on the top instead of more glass. Good move in my opinion. The entire palm rest is made of the same aluminum as the lid. I guess I can’t really call it a palm rest on this one since there’s no space to put your palms. Instead, the bottom edge of the space is covered by a pretty nice mechanical keyboard. This will also be discussed in more detail in the next section.
Flanking both sides of the keyboard are two upward facing speaker grills – nice! Lastly, on the right side of the keyboard are two indicator lights. One is for power, which has the frosted blue color. The other is a battery light, which switches between the frosted blue and an orange color.
Up top is a 15.6” IPS screen surrounded by a plastic bezel. There’s a webcam up top, which is behind a very shiny strip of plastic. At first glance I thought it was a Windows Hello cam, but don’t get too excited – it isn’t. It’s just a plain HD webcam. Centered below the screen is the Predator logo.
Now for the edges. There’s a surprising amount of IO on this machine, considering the size. The front edge has nothing, but the back edge has a power connection and full sized DisplayPort and HDMI outputs. Extremely nice touch, especially if you plan on using an external monitor a lot. Also in the back are some exhaust vents.
On the right hand side, you’ll find a slightly recessed power button (which glows frosted blue when on). You’ll also find an Ethernet connection, a single Thunderbolt 3 enabled USB-C and a USB-A 3.0 port. Adjacent to all that is the GPU vent.
The left hand side has 2x USB-A 3.0 ports, separate microphone and headphone jacks and a Kensington lock. There’s a CPU vent right next to the lock. No SD card reader unfortunately. Though there’s something special next to the USB ports, which happens to be something I’ve wanted for years.
A small removeable piece of plastic covers a recessed USB 2.0 port. This is the perfect spot for your USB dongle for an external mouse (something that you absolutely need to use if you plan on being productive on this machine). Honestly, I hope they start doing this on all laptops from now on. Pretty much every notebook I have ever used has a USB dongle permanently attached to the side, so it would be nice for it to be flush for a change.
The only thing I would change about the recessed USB is to have it on the right hand side. It’s hard to recreate, but when I fully load the laptop(such as disabling Vsync on games like DOOM), the wireless mouse reception seems to diminish to the point of being unusable. It’s definitely a power issue, but it’s compounded by the reception of the dongle being blocked by the metal casing. Moving the mouse to the left hand side fixes the issue, but that’s obviously only a solution if you’re left handed. For most games though, it’s not an issue at all, and you can always just hook the dongle on the other side if it’s a problem.
The bottom of the laptop is pretty uneventful, but it’s also well designed. There are four very large footpads, which lift the laptop to a proper distance to allow adequate cooling. There are some passive vents on the bottom and there are a dozen screws holding the casing together. The bottom is plastic, which allows for a clever footpad design as well as that recessed USB port and slot for the ethernet. It’s a good quality plastic though and blends very well with the rest of the machine.
At the end of the day, I think the design and build quality of the Triton 700 is pretty exceptional. There are plenty of ugly gaming laptops out there, but this one has some pretty cool engineering features that make this one stand out in a good way. It’s also a breath of fresh air to see a gaming laptop that isn’t centered around the color red(or orange for that matter).
Keyboard and trackpad
The Predator Triton 700 keyboard certainly isn’t run-of-the-mill. First off, it’s located at the bottom edge of the laptop, leaving you with no palm rest. It certainly takes some getting used to but fortunately I’ve had some practice with the Asus Zephyrus. Acer doesn’t include an external palm rest like Asus did, but even without it I like this keyboard a heck of a lot better.
I think the main reason I like it so much more is because it’s mechanical. I’ll admit, after handling the Razer Blade Pro, I was very skeptical about having a mechanical keyboard in a thin laptop. But Acer has definitely gotten it right with this one – this is probably one of the better laptop keyboards I’ve used in a long time.
Yes, the keys are clicky, but it’s a very satisfying click and keystrokes are properly registered every time you hear one. I’ve very satisfied with both the feedback and actuation force of the keys and I find them all to be very consistent with each other. To put some numbers to my statement, I measured 60 grams of force required to actuate a keystroke and 1.4 mm of key travel.
As much as I like the keyboard, it can be somewhat challenging to type on depending on your situation. I find typing on a desk to be a lot easier than on the lap. Yes there’s no palm rest, but considering how thin the laptop is, you really don’t need one. It’s not much higher of a bump than your typical desktop keyboard. On the lap though, things can get a little more challenging. I always type my reviews on the test unit and I can say that my error rate is slightly higher than normal when typing on my lap. But my typing speed is also a lot higher so, that could be a contributor.
I took my typical typing test a number of times to get to the bottom of it. My first test scored 54 wpm with only 3 mistakes(on my lap) – about average for me and pretty impressive considering the keyboard’s position. After using it a week, I took the test again. On my lap, I scored 61wpm with 12 mistakes. On a desk, I scored 58wpm with 5 mistakes. My speed has certainly gotten faster, but my mistakes on the lap are pretty high. I’m sure with practice that error rate will go down.
The keyboard is backlit, with each key having its own LED. The software allows you to change the color of each key, similar to what Razer, Aorus and MSI currently do. I find the backlighting to be very even and subtle, similar to how it looks on the Razer Blade. There are some pretty cool effects you can do with the keys – most of which are just for show.
I have two small problems with the backlit keys though. First off, like the Razer Blade, the secondary functions are not backlit. This is especially annoying when trying to turn the volume up in a dark room. If you don’t have the keys memorized, you aren’t going to be able to see the shortcuts.
The other problem is with the keyboard brightness- it’s either on or off. I thought I would be able to adjust it in software, but that’s not available either. I know for a fact it’s possible though because some of the preprogrammed effects have dimmer keys. Perhaps Acer will fix this in the future.
Overall, the keyboard has a big thumbs up from me. I enjoyed typing my review on it and it’s exceptional to use while gaming as well. It’s also nice to have a full NumPad, instead of the strange hybrid trackpad/numpad that Asus supplied with the Zephyrus.
But that certainly doesn’t make Acer’s trackpad a better solution. In fact, besides the extra cool factor, it’s probably one of the most frustrating trackpads I’ve ever used.
The trackpad is integrated into the gorilla glass plate that is just above the keyboard. For sure, this is an unorthodox place to put it. But it’s not the first time Acer has tried this – remember the Aspire R7 from a few years ago? Even then, Acer admitted that was a mistake. But I guess after having a lack of a choice, they reluctantly had to try it again.
At least it looks cool though. And as far as using the trackpad goes, there are some good things about it. It does track pretty well and gestures are about as smooth as it gets. But that’s about all the praise I can give it.
The trouble is, when using it for long periods of time, the novelty wears off and then becomes frustrating to use. The main problem I have is with the trackpad’s borders (or lack thereof). There’s a trapezoid shaped “border” in the gorilla glass, which is difficult to see in good light, impossible to see in the dark and has no tactile feel to it. So very often I’m finding myself going past the border and my mouse pointer just stops. This is even more frustrating when trying to do a drag and drop and only getting part way.
The lack of physical buttons or even a click pad makes it troublesome to use as well. I’m pretty accustomed to double taps for right clicks, but there are certain times where I still click the pad or button. Drag and drops, for instance, become quite a nuisance when you only drag it halfway to the goal and get cut off abruptly.
The fact it’s made of glass is also a minor hinderance. For the most part, it’s really smooth to use. But if you have any moisture on your fingertips at all, you’ll notice it gets very tacky. If you’ve ever used a cell phone without oleophobic coating, this is exactly the same situation.
I could beat this to death all day but I’ll wrap up with the awkward location of the trackpad in general. Trackpads have been below the keyboard for over 20 years and have gone through constant software improvements to prevent accidental taps while typing. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the opposite direction and you’ll have to deal with accidental keystrokes, if you’re not too careful.
At the end of the day, I’ll accept that the trackpad is difficult to use on this machine. At least it exists and gets the job done (as annoying as it may be). If the alternative is the hybrid numpad/trackpad like on the Zephyrus, I would choose this one for sure, as in my opinion the real NumPad and the recessed USB for a wireless mouse make up for these disadvantages.
The screen option on the model I received has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 px. It’s an AUO brand IPS screen with the screen model B156HAN06.0(ID AUO60ED). Unfortunately, this is only a 60Hz screen and not 120Hz like on the GTX 1080 model. A major disappointment if you ask me, especially since the actual cost difference on the panel is a mere $30.
The good news is it’s a pretty nice screen in general. The viewing angles are excellent and typical for today’s IPS panels. There was little or no backlight bleed on my unit; it has a matte finish, but the images still look sharp. Besides not being 120Hz, FHD panels don’t get much better than this.
I took some measurements on the screen. The color space coverage was very good, with 94% sRGB, 69% NTSC and 73% aRGB. The contrast ratio at maximum brightness was 750:1, which is also very good.
The max brightness was 292 nits with blacks being .39 nits. The minimum brightness goes as low as 16 nits, for optimal nighttime reading. See my chart below for the brightness distribution on the panel.
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO60ED (B156HAN06.0);
- Coverage: 94% sRGB, 69% NTSC, 73% AdobeRGB;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 292 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 750:1;
- White point: 7100 K;
One last thing to note here is the lack of GSYNC on this model. In fact, this model has Optimus enabled, which prevents GSYNC from being an option. So if you were planning on swapping the screen out for the 120Hz one (like I am), keep that in mind.
Hardware and performance
Now to focus on the internals. The CPU they chose to use is a Core i7-7700HQ. It’s a quad core CPU and pretty typical to see in most gaming laptops these days. It’s not overclockable, but it really doesn’t need to be since this one pretty much hits high thermals at standard clock speeds.
Also included in this configuration is 16GB of 2400Mhz DDR4 RAM. It’s not 32GB like the more expensive model, but at least it’s not soldered. There are only two slots on this laptop, so 32GB is the maximum.
This model has a full Nvidia GTX 1060 inside. Like I said before, it uses Optimus switchable graphics, so you’ll be able to take advantage of some battery savings when not gaming. The graphics card has 6GB of GDDR5 vRAM on board, which is plenty for any gaming on a FHD panel.
It’s not a desktop GPU card, but it’s darn close. The stock clocks place it halfway between your typical laptop GTX 1060 and a desktop version. But it can be overclocked to surpass the desktop card, at 1605Mhz with a boost frequency of 1883Mhz. It might be able to be pushed even further, but you’d have to use MSI afterburner instead of Acer’s PredatorSense (included).
As I just stated, this laptop is Optimus enabled, so the graphics will switch from the integrated GPU to the dedicated one, when needed. For some reason, the unit I have is a little buggy and the dGPU will check in every 60 seconds or so, causing a slight stutter in the screen. It’s super annoying and is probably the reason this unit was returned to the store. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what driver was causing the issue, but I couldn’t isolate it. I eventually ended up just reinstalling Windows and the issue was resolved. Hopefully Acer resolves this in a driver update or something, but I’m happier with a fresh install of Windows anyways.
While I’m talking about tweaks and bugs, lets address that startup sound real fast. For some reason, Acer has decided that there needs to be a sound that plays, every time you power on your laptop. It’s not subtle either – in fact, I don’t care where you are(school, the office, with friends), if you start this laptop in a quiet room, you will definitely turn some heads. It’s a loud shrill and not of this world. Fortunately it can be disabled in the BIOS, but you have to hear it at least once when you first boot it up. So don’t go setting it up at an office meeting or anything.
There are two onboard M.2 slots, both occupied by 256GB SSDs in RAID 0. What’s unfortunate is it looks like Acer cheaped out and put some mediocre SATA SSDs in there. The model for these SSDs is Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN and I posted a picture of the RAID 0 CrystalDisk benchmarks, for reference. These aren’t the greatest speeds. It’s not even as fast as a single Samsung Evo 850 500GB module, so I’m not really sure what Acer was trying to accomplish here except cost savings.
Speaking of the RAID configuration, it appears to only be enabled through Intel IRST. If you decide to break RAID, you have to reinstall Windows. And to reenable it, you need to download Intel IRST and enable it in Windows. There is no bios option to disable Secure Boot and to a hardware RAID configuration(Ctrl-I).
The good news is I was able to install two NVMe SSDs(a pair of SM961) and they worked just fine. I tested the speeds in single SSD mode and in RAID 0 – there was a significant speed increase. The only catch is the power needed to operate both SSDs in RAID at full speed requires you to be plugged in. Otherwise there’s negligible improvement in performance between RAID 0 and separate SSDs.
As stated before, there are a number of IO ports located around the laptop. There’s a Thunderbolt 3 enabled USB-C connection on the right hand side, that is tied to the dGPU. It is verified to be a PCIe x4 connection and works as it should. There are also a number of USB 3.0 ports and that recessed port which is only USB 2.0.
I ran all the typical benchmarks to test both the CPU and GPU on this unit. I also did some benchmarks while overclocked and with the fan on full blast. Here were my results:
- 3Dmark 13:Fire Strike – 10131 (11957 Graphics and 10758 Physical); Time Spy – 3947; CPU: 87C, GPU 75C
- 3Dmark 13 full OC with full fans:Fire Strike – 10853 (13073 Graphics and 10413 Physical); Time Spy – 4117; CPU: 78C, GPU 61C
- 3DMark 11: P12902; CPU 88C, GPU 71C
- 3DMark 11 full OC with full fans: P13582; CPU 78C, GPU 62C
- PCMark 10: 4535; CPU 86C
- CineBench R15:OpenGL 80 fps, CPU 736 pts, CPU Single Core 159 pts.
If you compare these benchmarks up with a desktop GTX 1060, you can see they line up pretty well. Also, the CPU performs as it should. As far as temperatures go, they are a little elevated, but they can also be controlled in the PredatorSense software. If you’re not comfortable with the automatic settings, just shift them over to manual or to full and see if temperatures are more to your liking.
I also tested a number of games. I picked my typical three games I test with other laptops and also added Prey to the mix. Here were my results:
- Fallout 4– There’s a particular battle near Corvega which takes place in a foggy thunderstorm. It’s a typical spot where the framerates dip the most for me.
- Ultra settings, 1080p – 60fps
- Peak CPU temp 83°C, peak GPU temp 82°C
- Doom– Played through the opening mission for 15 minutes
- Default ultra settings at 1080p – 87-110fps
- Peak CPU temp 89°C, peak GPU temp 83°C
- Witcher 3– Walking back and forth through the opening scene and the first tutorial.
- Default ultra settings at 1080p – 46-50fps
- Default high settings at 1080p – 58-66fps
- Peak CPU temp 88°C, peak GPU temp 80°C
- Prey– 10 minutes through first few scenes
- Default very high settings at 1080p – 60fps (around 90fps with Vsync off)
- Peak CPU temp 81°C, peak GPU temp 87°C
These results certainly line up with the synthetic benchmarks I took. Again, if you don’t like the temperatures, you can always turn the fan speed up. Or even turn the graphics settings down. The fact is, the GTX 1060 is more than enough to handle FHD gaming, even at ultra settings. You can pretty much max out your framerates right off the bat.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers and others
Acer touts an advanced cooling system on the Predator Triton 700. It does, after all, have to cool a GTX 1080 MaxQ GPU in its top model. The are some significant improvements in the cooling system and they can all be attributed to the increased real estate due to moving the keyboard out of the way.
The heat pipes, for example, are very abundant. Acer managed to squeeze six of them between the two cooling fans. And not only are these Aeroblade 3D cooling fans made of metal, the fins are extra thin and there are more of them, which allows for extra cooling flow. Having the keyboard out of the way sure does help. But is it enough?
Well sort of… It’s certainly enough to keep the laptop cool during normal use. In fact, the heat sink alone is enough for that because the CPU fan barely turns on under light use. Even with moderate use, it only has to spin on low, barely audible speeds to keep the chassis cool.
But when you start gaming, things really start to heat up. And by heat up, some parts of the laptop get extremely hot! The good news is the bottom is made of plastic, so it surprisingly doesn’t hurt your leg as much as you would think. But it’s still uncomfortable and you really need to be careful when gaming on your lap. At the very least turn your fans up or put a cooling pad underneath.
I measured some external temperatures so you can get an idea of just how hot things get, both during normal use and during extended gaming sessions. Here were my results.
*Daily Use – Netflix on EDGE for 30 minutes
*Load – playing Doom for 30 minutes
The gaming readings on the bottom are pretty severe, but can be remedied with a cooling pad. But the levels on the top are pretty satisfactory though. The trackpad gets hot, and rightfully so considering there are six heatpipes underneath it. But you really shouldn’t be using the trackpad while gaming anyway, so it’s a non-issue. The rest of the keyboard stays at moderate temperatures.
Like I mentioned before, the fans on this unit were mostly off under light loads. In most scenarios, I never noticed the CPU fan operating, even at low speeds – it is pretty quiet. The GPU fan is off during normal use, which helps keep the noise down.
While gaming, the fans are definitely noticeable. This isn’t a Max-Q laptop, so there aren’t any decibel guarantees like in the 1080 model. I did take some readings at ear level, which you can see below:
- Ambient noise in the room: 30 dB;
- Light use : 30 dB(fans off);
- During benchmarks: 48dB at ear, 65dB at case
- Max fans(manually set): 56 dB at ear, 77dB at case;
Radios – This unit comes with Killer 1535 wireless AC WiFi module. The module doubles as a Bluetooth adapter, offering Bluetooth 4.1 capability. The coverage is pretty impressive, as I experienced no drops in connection during my use. 25ft from my router, I maxed out my internet connection at 110Mbps. Even 100ft away, behind two walls and in my garage, I still got speeds of 60Mbps. No complaints here at all.
Speakers – This Triton 700 has two upward facing speakers, which come through the small grills on both sides of the keyboard. They are are impressively loud, reaching 80dB. After a little EQ tweaking, I was pretty impressed with the sound. For a gaming laptop at least.
As expected from the small speakers, the bass is a little lacking in my opinion. With a sound test, the bass levels were only detectable as low as 70Hz. Not the greatest, but I could live with it. If you’re shopping for this over the Asus Zephyrus, this has far better sound quality.
The laptop has Dolby Atmos certification, which also applies to the headphone jack. The sound coming through my Bowers and Wilkins over the ear headphones sounded great. With some fine adjustments to the EQ, I was really impressed with what I was hearing.
Webcam– An HD webcam is included on this unit. As shiny as it is, there is no infrared sensor and it’s not a Windows Hello webcam. I’m not really sure what the glossy finish is for really.
The image quality of the webcam is pretty decent. Low light images are a little grainy, but I’ve certainly seen worse. The audio quality of the mics is slightly muffled, but it’s still easy to hear your voice. Overall the webcam is pretty average.
The configuration I received has a 54 Whr battery, which is a pretty decent size considering how thin and light the laptop is.
I ran my typical battery test which consists of using the stock “Power Saver” power profile, 20% brightness (90 nits), WiFi off, Bluetooth off, and running a 720p movie in a continuous loop at full screen with the volume muted. I start the clock when it’s unplugged and stop it when the unit performs a self- shutdown. The Acer Triton 700 lasted 6 hours and 0 minutes before shutting down. I was pretty surprised with this and didn’t really believe it until I did some further testing.
- 12.2W (~4h of 26m use)– idle, Power Saving Mode, screen at 0%, Wi-Fi OFF;
- 13.3W (~4h 6m of use)– very light browsing and text editing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 25%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14.5W (~3h 43m of use)– 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Chrome, Balanced Mode, screen at 25%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14.5W (~3h 43m of use)– 1080p fullscreen video on Netflix in Chrome, Balanced Mode, screen at 25%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11.9W (~4h 32m of use)– 1080p fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie app, Balanced Mode, screen at 25%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 22.1W (~2h 26m of use)– heavy browsing in Chrome, Balanced Mode, screen at 25%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 48.8W (~1h 6m of use)– gaming, DOOM 1080p Ultra
So there you have it – this laptop has some pretty decent battery life in it. I’m actually surprised, considering it’s a quad-core CPU with only a 54Whr battery. But it looks like Acer did a pretty decent job picking some battery efficient components and setting the power profiles correctly.
It helps that this is Optimus enabled. When you compare it to the 1080 version, which has GSYNC and the 120Hz screen, the difference in battery life is night and day. You can easily cut all my measurements by at least 1/3 for that model. Something to keep in mind if you’re torn between the two.
Price and availability
The model I reviewed is available on Amazon for the steep price of $2000 (follow this link for details). You’re clearly paying for the design here, as I can’t see how to justify that kind of a price for the internals provided. If that price is still too high and you still want the laptop, be patient. You might get lucky like I did and snag an open box deal or something – I paid only $1599 for mine, which is a far better deal.
There’s also the MaxQ 1080 version of the laptop, which includes a 120Hz screen, 32GB of RAM and a pair of NVMe SSDs instead of SATA. The price tag for that one is also steep, at $3000 at the time of this post (details here).
Whether you go with the 1060 or 1080 version, there’s a lot the Predator 700 has to offer. It’s nice to see some fresh new engineering ideas come to the market that are actually polished. I really like the overall design and think Acer did a fantastic job creating a laptop that looks cutting edge and still feels high quality.
Along with the design, the mechanical keyboard is another big highlight of the machine and I appreciate the attention that Acer gave to putting a high quality keyboard in place. Especially considering its in such an awkward location, having it moved to the front edge.
Also, the amount of IO around the edges is a big plus. Too many laptops these days are minimizing the amount of connectivity options and sometimes it’s just unnecessary. Sure, Acer left out the card reader, but the abundance of USB ports and full sized display connections makes up for it. And that recessed USB port is just a really cool idea – I hope others follow suit from now on.
As with pretty much any laptop out there, there are always some disappointments, and this one is no exception. The trackpad is just not good enough to use on a daily basis. It works in a pinch, but you really need to have a wireless mouse on you at all times if you plan on getting any real work done.
It’s also a little disappointing that Acer cheaped out on some of the internal components (at least on the model I have). It really would have been nice to see at least the 120Hz screen be present on the 1060 version. A better branded SSD would have been nice too.
Finally, the last thing I think would make anyone apprehensive is the cost. $2000 is an awful lot to ask for a FHD laptop with a GTX 1060, especially when you only have SATA SSDs, 16GB of RAM and a difficult trackpad.
There’s a lot of competition out there, and their costs make them all look like the more attractive buy. The reality is, the Triton 700 is pretty much the most expensive laptop with this set of hardware specs. Even the Razer Blade is $100 less and that’s usually the highest priced out there. The Razer Blade has similar build quality and a more normal keyboard and trackpad, but lacks a second SSD slot, has soldered RAM and does not have a mechanical keyboard.
Another alternative is the MSI GS63VR. A similarly specked model is $200 less than the Predator Triton and comes with a similar thickness and weight. The keyboard isn’t mechanical, but is still excellent, and the trackpad is in a normal spot. You also have the added benefit of a 2.5” bay. But the build quality of the GS63VR isn’t even close to the Triton’s.
If you’re comparing the 1080 versions, the only real competition to this laptop is the Asus Zephyrus. Even that laptop has a lower-priced version, with a GTX 1070, that sells for $2000 and comes with the 120Hz screen and a PCIe SSD. But it lacks a proper numpad, has slightly inferior build quality and worse sound quality as well.
Honestly, it’s a toss up between the Zephyrus and the Triton 700, whether you’re choosing between the 1080 models or even the “budget” models. I’d honestly choose Acer’s in both scenarios, mainly because of the keyboard, build quality and the overall look. But I could certainly see choosing the Zephyrus to get a little better specs for your money.
Another thing to consider is just updating the 1060 model to what you want – that’s what I did. It’s not part of this review, but I did successfully update both SSDs to PCIe and configured them in RAID 0. I also bought the 120Hz screen on ebay and successfully installed it – it works great except I have no brightness controls for some reason. My net price after buying and selling the old components is about $150. Worth it? To me, yes, but it’s really a matter of opinion and if you’re brave enough to pull the bezel off without breaking the clips.
At the end of the day, you’re really just be paying extra money for this one’s design. It’s got to be something you like, otherwise it makes no sense to buy. If you don’t like how it looks, you might as well just buy any other normal gaming laptop and you’ll probably be happier. And if you really are into the design, the overall cost doesn’t hurt as bad.
That all I’ve got for the Triton 700. It’s a lot of info and I probably missed some details, so please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below, if you have any. I’ll have this laptop for at least a few months and I’m certainly open to do some more tests. There aren’t any other reviews out there for the GTX 1060 model, so I’m happy to help.