Gaming

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

[irp posts=”13649" name=”Acer Predator Triton 700 First Look”]

Gaming

Black Shark 2 launches with a pressure-sensitive screen

It sports 12GB of RAM!

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Gaming smartphones occupy a strange position in the market. When the category started, it consisted mostly of devices with high-end hardware. The gaming aspect was just a nice addition supplemented by a few gaming-centric features. Sadly, the first gaming smartphones funneled into a premium niche.

Years after, the gaming smartphone evolved into a more versatile device. The category now sports several premium features. For example, Xiaomi has recently launched the Black Shark 2, a gaming smartphone that puts the premium on gaming.

The Black Shark 2 touts a Samsung-sourced 6.39-inch AMOLED screen, pumping out images at 2340 x 1080 resolution. Additionally, the display’s brightness goes up to 430 nits. Latency has also been reduced to 43.5ms. It has motion interpolation, optimizing the display for gaming purposes.

The screen also comes with new pressure-sensitive features. Users can map separate button functionalities for both left and right flanks, like how a game controller works. Both buttons trigger with additional pressure. It will also come with an under-screen fingerprint sensor.

Under the hood, the Black Shark 2 boasts a Snapdragon 855 chipset, Adreno 640 GPU, up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of internal storage. Liquid Cooling 3.0 will keep the phone in workable temperatures even during heavy gameplay sessions.

For photography, the smartphone carries a dual 48-megapixel + 12-megapixel AI rear camera combination and a 20-megapixel f/2.0 front-facing shooter. Speaking of front-facing, it also has two front-facing speakers, preventing any blockages during gameplay.

Complementing this heavy machinery, the Black Shark 2 will use a huge 4000mAh battery, with 27W fast charging capabilities.

The Black Shark 2 is already available in China. A lighter 6GB+128GB variant retails for CNY 3,200 (US$ 475). Meanwhile, the stronger 12GB+256GB variant retails for CNY 4,200 (US$ 625). It comes in either Shadow Black or Frozen Silver.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Black Shark 2 shows up in quick hands-on video

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Gaming

Ten university students arrested for playing PUBG in India

Because it’s too violent and distracting

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Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

That’s something ten university students didn’t adhere to when playing PUBG on their mobile phones, which led to their arrests. The incident happened last Wednesday in the state of Gujarat in India, where this specific game is banned.

The report by Channel News Asia says that they were released on bail with a warning shortly after. According to the account of one officer, the students were so “engrossed in playing” that they didn’t notice the police walking toward them.

PUBG was banned from being played a week ago after several authorities, as well as parents and educators, felt the game is too violent and distracting for the youth. A local minister went as far as calling it a “demon in every house.”

As of now, Gujarat is the only state that has outright banned the game in fear of it harming the development of children. Although similar titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends have been cited as being equally detrimental, only PUBG is part of the current ban.

However, to PUBG‘s credit (or rather discredit in this instance), it’s been around longer as a battle royale-style game and has been free to download on mobile devices since its launch.

There’s no word yet if other Indian states will follow suit. Outside of India, PUBG is still experiencing worldwide attention as part of several esports tournaments such as the Predator League.

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Gaming

New avenues open for aspiring esports athletes

Brands are going all in!

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Competitive gaming has been around for quite a while now and in the Philippines, aspiring to be a professional gamer might not be too far fetched of a dream anymore.

The Nationals

Inspired by the PBA or Philippine Basketball Association, brands have come to together to form The Nationals — the first franchise-based esports league in Southeast Asia. The inaugural season will feature five teams and three games.

Here are the five teams:

  1. Bren Epro
  2. HF Emperors
  3. Cignal Ultra Warriors
  4. PLDT-Smart Omega
  5. Suha-XCTN Punisher

These five teams will compete in three games on three major platforms: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang on mobile, Dota 2 on PC, and Tekken 7 on PS4. A sixth team — STI — will join the league on June 2018 after the Dota 2 competitions.

Sizzle reel of fans hyped for The Nationals

Each game will have two conferences. The two conferences will comprise a double round-robin group stage and single-elimination playoffs. Winners of the two conference will then face off later on for the season finale.

The Nationals will be run like any other professional sports league. Commissioner Ren Vitug is hopeful the league will provide a platform where talent can be nurtured.

A tested league model in the Philippines

The franchise-based approach might be alien to international observers whose participants comprise of either clubs or city-based teams. However, it’s a tried and tested formula in the Philippines.

The PBA, which was founded in 1975 and is the longest-running professional basketball league in Asia, is also franchise-based and has been the model for other sports leagues in the country.

While that league is experiencing some issues in gate attendance, it is still running thanks in large part to the financial backing of its member franchises. It stands to reason that this league model might prove to be successful in the Philippines.

The Esports Center

Elsewhere, major Philippine telecommunications company Globe has launched The Esports Center or ESC. It’s a pop-up that will run from March 9 to 24 at Play Nation in UP Town Center, Quezon City. Globe says the ESC hopes to provide a venue where the entire esports community can come together.

The ESC also welcomes those who are into gaming and want to break into the esports industry but are not exactly sure where to start. Globe SVP and Head for Content Business Nikko Acosta says the ESC hopes to serve as the “venue to upgrade [the gamers’] knowledge and gauge their skill levels with others through peer learning.”

Present during the launch was Team Liyab — Globe’s own esports team which was built in partnership with professional gaming organization Mineski.

Team Liyab poses with shoutcaster Rikucasts

Other than mobile and PC arenas, the ESC will also have a place called The Studio. Here, those who are more interested in becoming streamers instead of esports athletes will have a place and the tools to learn more about the craft.

Brand support key in esports growth

Esports has seen a major rise in recent years and brands in the Philippines are going all in. The proclamation of overall support which include not only the athletes’ training and finances but also their emotional, mental, and physical well-being all sound very promising.

All of these are still in the infancy stages, but the prospect for growth and the continued support by brands and fans alike could push the industry to heights once reserved only for traditional athletes. If this continues, it might not be long before we’re having debates about who the G.O.A.T. esports athlete is.

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