It’s not too often that we get to test the two most advanced gaming laptops in the market at the same time. And you know what that means? Comparison time!
Neither notebook needs a full introduction. In our full review, we lauded Acer’s Predator Triton 700 for setting the standard for how all gaming laptops should look and feel; at the same time, the ROG Zephyrus (GX501) of ASUS makes an equally strong case for being the mobile machine of the future.
You can’t go wrong with either laptop, but with their eye-popping prices, you have to choose wisely before committing to one. So, which will it be? Let’s break this down into several categories.
These being slim gaming laptops, portability is a major factor. On paper, the Zephyrus (379 x 262 x 17.9mm, 2.25kg) is the clear winner over the Triton 700 (392 x 265 x 18.9mm, 2.6kg). In practice, I find the ASUS laptop much easier to slip into my regular-sized backpack, and it takes less effort to drag around during trips.
But from a pure aesthetic standpoint, the Triton 700 is arguably the better-looking product. Clipped corners, curvier edges, and the clear window that provides a peak at the guts combine for a more alluring package. This round can go either way: Do you prefer a slightly more compact design to carry with you, or do you want something that looks good wherever you go? We’ll call this a draw.
Display and Audio Quality
Both have the same display specs: a 15.6-inch panel with a resolution of 1080p, 120Hz refresh rate, and NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology to prevent tearing and stuttering when frame rates get too erratic during gameplay. When compared side by side with default display settings, the Triton 700 is slightly brighter at max brightness, while the Zephyrus has a warmer tone to it.
When it comes to the entire audio-visual experience, however, the Acer wins out. Its speakers are louder and less likely to crack when outputting loads of low-frequency sound during movie watching or gaming. Chances are you’ll prefer using headphones, but for moments when getting loud and clear matters, we’d go for the Triton 700.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Let’s face it: Both machines have awkward keyboards and trackpads. For the Triton 700, it has a short-travel mechanical keyboard and overly smooth trackpad right below the display. The Zephyrus has a quieter but less responsive membrane keyboard with a trackpad found to the right (which can magically transform into a numpad by pressing a button).
Neither are particularly user-friendly especially at the beginning, but ASUS makes it a little easier with the Zephyrus. It comes bundled with a rubber palm rest to make typing easier, and the trackpad has physical left- and right-click buttons. The only gripe is for left-handed users forced to use a right-handed setup, but the Triton 700 isn’t any more intuitive in the first place.
To make these laptops so thin and powerful, NVIDIA’s Max-Q technology was employed to cram a GeForce GTX 1080 graphics chip beside their high-end Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor. Both also have specialized software — Predator Sense for the Triton 700 and the ROG Gaming Center for the Zephyrus — to maximize the components’ potential and monitor their temperatures (more on that later).
Although they’re designed similarly on the inside, the wired connectivity tells another story. On top of all the Zephyrus’ ports, the Triton 700 also has an Ethernet port, DisplayPort, and better placement for the power port. These matter for a more complete gaming experience, giving Acer this win.
This is the moment most of you have been waiting for. These gaming laptops are designed for the latest games on the highest graphics settings, so it’s only right for us to compare them head to head, number for number. We put them through two raw benchmarking apps and the benchmark tests of two popular games. Here’s what we got:
Unigine Superposition (1080p Extreme, DirectX 12)
Acer: 3428 points, 25.65fps (Average)
ASUS: 3555 points, 26.59fps (Average)
Acer: 671 (CPU), 98.12fps (OpenGL)
ASUS: 741 (CPU), 97.87fps (OpenGL)
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Ultra settings, DirectX 12)
Acer: 98.28fps (Average)
ASUS: 98.14fps (Average)
Deux Ex: Mankind (Ultra settings, DirectX 12)
Acer: 58.0fps (Average)
ASUS: 58.2fps (Average)
No surprises here. Even though the Triton 700 has more RAM (32GB compared to the Zephyrus’ 24GB), there’s no significant difference in terms of pure computing power. The two gaming machines are at the top of their games while being evenly matched.
Temperature and Battery Life
What’s excessive power if the hardware can’t handle it? To ensure stable performance, each machine has its own signature cooling system. The Triton 700 uses AeroBlade 3D cooling fans to quickly exhaust hot air away from the laptop, while the Zephyrus’ Active Aerodynamic System lifts the bottom plate to allow greater airflow when loads are heavy.
We put both devices through a stress test at the same time under identical conditions. Here are the results:
Acer: 80 degrees Celsius (CPU), 77 degrees Celsius (GPU)
ASUS: 71 degrees Celsius (CPU), 70 degrees Celsius (GPU)
To our surprise, the Zephyrus was more efficient at keeping itself cool. The ASUS product was also noticeably quieter throughout the process. However, when we executed a balanced mix of tasks on pure battery power, the Triton 700 lasted much longer:
Acer: 1 hour, 14 minutes
ASUS: 45 minutes
Take note, however, that the Triton 700 throttles its components sooner than the Zephyrus while unplugged, effectively lessening the burden on its fully charged battery for a longer period of time. With that, we ask ourselves: better thermal control or longer battery life? Again, we have a tie.
Which is your GadgetMatch?
When dealing with laptops designed on the same premise, you’re bound to see multiple similarities. The Triton 700 and Zephyrus are more similar than you’d think at first, both owing their power-to-portability ratio to NVIDIA’s Max-Q architecture and Intel’s never-ending quest to lowering power draw for greater efficiency.
In the total count, the Triton 700 wins with one extra point in its favor. But that isn’t to say Acer takes home the trophy with that alone. Pricing plays another factor, and ASUS has the slight advantage.
The official starting prices for the two laptops are US$ 2,999 for the Triton 700 and US$ 2,799 for the Zephyrus. If you look at the pricing of the specific configurations we have on hand in the Philippines, they’re PhP 229,990 and PhP 179,995, respectively. The ASUS laptop is significantly cheaper, even though the installed memory is only marginally less (24GB versus 32GB).
So, which is your GadgetMatch? If you want the most stylish gaming notebook in the market with performance to match, there’s nothing better than the Triton 700 right now. If portability is your priority and want to save money, you can’t go wrong with the Zephyrus from ASUS.