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Acer Predator 17 X Review: A heavy beast

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I got my hands on the Predator 17 X and one thing was obvious: It’s a heavy machine. Granted, I’m a little bit vertically challenged, the Predator 17 X carries all the trademarks of gaming laptops we’ve seen: big, bad, and boy-does-it-run-fast.

Specs you wish your laptop had

The Predator 17 X comes with a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, backing up an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. It’s this kind of intense graphics power that makes it one of the gaming laptops that is VR-ready.

The Predator 17 X has the power jack, two USB 3.0 ports, microphone port, earphone jack, and SD card reader on the left

And with new games like Agony by Madminds Studios, Kittypocalypse by Bolverk Games, and your classic Keep Talking And No One Explodes by Steel Crate Games joining the ranks of VR games, the Predator 17 X will make your current specs seem ancient by comparison.

A USB-C port, two other USB 3.0 ports, HDMI jack, full-sized DisplayPort, and LAN cable port are found on the right

It has 64GB of memory with a 512GB SSD and an additional 2TB HDD. If that doesn’t scream a ton of gaming power, I don’t know what does.

How does it keep itself cool?

As far as cooling this beast goes, Acer developed the Aeroblade 3D technology that scraps the old plastic fans with thin metal blades.

These blades are designed with axial fins that help the laptop cool down more efficiently than with usual metal fans. The Predator 17 X comes with three of these fans, so expect this beast to make a considerable roar.

Prepare to lift

This laptop weighs a ton. How much exactly? It weighs a whopping 4.55kg and the dimensions are 42.30 x 32.15 x 4.50cm. With my figure, it takes a few minutes of silly tottering around the office to get this from point A to point B.

The Predator 17 X’s dimensions are not surprising for a gaming laptop, though — considering its premium counterpart, the Predator 21 X, has an exclusive crate for you to bring it around. This unit is barely portable, but is a whole lot more manageable than most gaming laptops, thanks to its properly placed curves and matte finish.

Backlit keyboard that will make you puke rainbows

The Predator 17 X has a customizable, individually lit, and multi-colored keyboard. I think I’ve said this in a previous review: People often underplay the benefits of having a backlit keyboard.

With this sweet setup, you can probably imagine the incoherent squealing I had in my head. (I have a strong conscience that reminds me day by day to respect the more-or-less quiet space that is the GadgetMatch office.) Forget about rainbows shooting out of unicorns, this laptop will let you play on them.

Customizable macro keys to help you get good

With the Predator 17 X, you’ll run out of excuses for not joining the PC Master Race. It’s got everything you need from being bold at first glance, to integrating the quick customizable macro keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard.

Unfortunately, all these specs can only do so much to help someone build their skill set, so getting this laptop comes with the pressure of getting good, and fast.

Jack of all gaming trades

I played Overwatch, Street Fighter V, and Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Predator 17 X. While playing Rise of the Tomb Raider, the game stuttered too much on the notebook’s native 4K resolution and gameplay looked too gritty to enjoy. After tweaking the settings and downing the resolution to 1080p, it played out well at 70fps. On Overwatch though, it could handle gameplay at 4K, but exclusively on 60Hz at best, which is the monitor’s maximum refresh rate.

You can play a ton of other games on the Predator 17 X, and it does well for practically any game you install on it, but it does fall through the cracks when trying to max out the specs for testing 4K. Don’t mistake this as a faltering factor though, since even GTX 1080-equipped desktop PCs have a tough time handling resolutions above 1440p with smooth frame rates.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For gamers who want a semi-portable gaming laptop, this can handle a good beating. Despite sustaining the stigma of poor portability for gaming laptops, given that carrying this thing can most likely tear through any laptop bag available, it’s still a pretty good deal.

Considering an ample amount of storage for games, an RGB backlit keyboard, customizable macro keys, and three aeroblade cooling fans — not to mention being VR-ready — this laptop is one tough beast. Starting at US$ 2,700 or PhP 220,000 in the Philippines, the Predator 17 X can stop being the laptop you wish you had to the laptop you wreck people in-game with.

SEE ALSO: Acer Predator Triton 700 First Look

Gaming

Nintendo Labo transforms Switch using cardboard and creativity

Fun for kids and adults alike!

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You really have to hand it to Nintendo for truly maximizing the capabilities of their consoles. The latest creation comes in the form of Labo, which can make your Switch even more fun to play with using just cardboard.

Set to become available by April 20, Nintendo Labo is a DIY set that lets you build everyday tools that are fully compatible with the Switch’s main body and Joy-Con controllers. There are two sets to choose from: a Variety Kit that’ll retail for US$ 70 and a Robot Kit that’ll cost US$ 80.

Those may seem a little pricey and too close to the cost of an actual Switch when combined, but wait till you see Nintendo’s first trailer for Labo:

It’s a dream come true for fans of the Switch and DIY enthusiasts! The video shows off some of the creations you can make, including a functional 13-key piano, fishing rod, and motorbike. Those and more are part of the Variety Kit.

For those who want to unleash their inner mecha, the Robot Kit looks even more appealing. If the trailer turns out to be accurate, you can place yourself right into the action with a backpack mount, visor, and straps for your hands and feet. Again, these are mostly made of cardboard, making it all the more appealing and fun to play with.

Of course, paper alone isn’t enough to get these new games to run. Software will be bundled to complete the experience, as well as step-by-step instructions that are child-friendly and allow kids to learn how to build on their own.

Those lucky enough to reside in New York City or San Francisco can attend a three-hour Nintendo Labo Studio hands-on event on February 2 to 3 or March 2 to 4, respectively. You’re gonna have to bring a kid aged six to 12 to participate, however, according to the website’s rules.

For an additional US$ 20, you can also purchase a customization set loaded with sticker sheets, stencil sheets, and cutesy tape to modify your designs. All these seem like only the start of what Nintendo has planned for the future of the Switch, and we can’t wait to see more!

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CES 2018

Hyperkin remakes the Game Boy for 2018

Will cost less than $100

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The hunt for nostalgia drives a lot of the new releases in the gaming industry. Years to decades after their launch, beloved games and consoles are getting remasters and rereleases. The Game Boy will be the latest blast from the past to hop on the nostalgia train.

Nintendo, however, isn’t responsible for this trip down memory lane. Gaming peripherals company Hyperkin takes on the challenge of bringing the classic portable gaming machine back to life.

The very first Game Boy was released back in 1989. The handheld console would go through several versions until the Game Boy Micro in 2005, when it would bow out to the Nintendo DS. Because of its proficiency, the DS (and recently, the Switch) overshadowed the legacy created by the GB family.

Last year, the company has remade the NES, SNES, and Famicom home consoles into repackaged Classic Editions. The new editions would usher in a clamor for more retro consoles. It was only a matter of time before Nintendo got around to the Game Boy once again.

Hyperkin beat them to it. At CES 2018, they announced plans to release an updated version of the Game Boy that features optimized hardware and compatibility with the original games from before.

Called the Ultra Game Boy, the new console is made from aluminum, allowing for more durability than the original. The layout mimics that of the first, but includes an additional dial for backlight brightness. (Until the Advance SP, the original GB family had no backlighting.)

The Ultra GB also features a built-in rechargeable battery that boasts six hours of usage. Connectivity includes a USB Type-C port for charging and audio-out ones.

The catch? Unlike Nintendo’s re-released consoles, Hyperkin’s Ultra GB won’t come with a built-in suite of games. Owners will have to blow into their old collection of cartridges to play anything on the console.

Hyperkin hopes to launch the Ultra Game Boy by this year. It will come with a price tag that runs around the US$ 100 margin.

SEE ALSO: 5 must-have Nintendo Switch games that aren’t Zelda

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Apps

Pokémon Go will drop old iPhones that don’t support iOS 11

You must upgrade to play!

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Bad news for Pokémon Go trainers out there with an old iPhone. If the “battery-gate” fiasco is not enough to make you upgrade, this announcement might force you if you want to keep on playing.

Niantic announced its plans to drop support for iOS devices that can’t be updated to iOS 11. Primarily, these are iPhones and even iPads released in or before 2013. They are the following:

  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad (4th generation)
  • iPad (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (1st generation)
  • iPad 2

The anticipated update will take effect starting February 28, 2018. After that date, Trainers using Apple devices that can’t be updated to iOS 11 will no longer be able to log in, catch Pokémon, and use their PokéCoins or other items. They must switch to a supported device to continue playing.

Niantic stated that the change is a result of improvements to Pokémon Go which push the game ahead of the capabilities of old iPhones and iPads.

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