Gaming

Acer Predator Triton 900 review: 4K-capable convertible

Nothing like it right now

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When I first laid my eyes on the Predator Triton 900 during its first unveiling, I couldn’t understand how its form factor would benefit the average gamer. Why would we need a high-end convertible laptop that’s thicker than most? A couple of weeks with it changed my view completely.

If the Triton branding sounds familiar, you probably recall the Triton 700, which wasn’t only the first in the lineup, but possibly the best gaming laptop of 2017. Since then, Acer added the more affordable Triton 500, as well as this behemoth I’m writing about today.

With a 17-inch 4K Ultra HD display strapped on a hinge that allows it to face any direction you wish, this is about as versatile as it gets for a high-powered gaming machine. It’s difficult to describe in words; fortunately, we have a video for that:

All this equates to a desktop-like gaming experience that you can transform however you want. You could keep it in regular laptop mode for a chill session with a clear view of the exposed cooler; extend the display forward so it’s easier to spot enemies in FPS and MOBA games; or turn the whole thing around and plug in a controller to see nothing but screen.

For the record, I never bothered turning the Triton 900 into a tablet like how other thin-and-light convertibles work. Despite having a touchscreen, there’s no practical purpose for it, especially since there’s no included stylus pen.

As you can imagine, the whole thing is heavy because of the all-metal construction. Not so fun fact: So is the power adapter. I’m not kidding when I say that the brick alone weighs more than my primary work laptop.

This is what I like to call regular laptop mode

Extending the screen allows the keyboard to stay visible

Nothing beats this when the keyboard isn’t necessary

My biggest trouble using this as a laptop is fitting it inside a bag. I fortunately have the newest Predator backpack that can handle extra-large 17-inch notebooks like this. It even has space for the massive power brick in a separate pocket underneath. I suggest going for something similar before even considering the Triton 900.

Of course, what you’re paying for on top of the unique form factor are the specs. With the exception of gaming laptops that can be upgraded after purchase and those that have external water cooling, the Triton 900 is as powerful as its gets for a mobile gaming rig.

Here’s a quick rundown of what my particular model owns: Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB NVMe PCIe in Raid 0, and a full-fledged GeForce RTX 2080 graphics chip. Put together, you’re assured to make the most out of the 3840 x 2160 display with G-Sync.

The sides include USB-A, Xbox wireless receiver, and audio ports…

… plus the power button, USB-C, more USB-A, and Ethernet

If you’re particular about gaming PC specs, you’d probably be irked by the screen’s refresh rate: 60Hz. Yes, the Triton 900 doesn’t have the more popular 120Hz or 144Hz standard its 4K display. I honestly would’ve gone for 144Hz on a 1080p panel, considering that my eyes can’t appreciate so many pixels on a 17-inch scale.

Because the Triton 900 has actually been around for a while — hitting the public space only recently — its 8th-generation Core i7 chip isn’t as fresh as it once was. But I do appreciate the RAM and SSD configuration provided, which makes every game load like a dream.

And while the RTX 2080 is the best GPU available today, its ray tracing benefits are still far-fetched. As Dan pointed out in his recent gaming laptop review, there are only a handful of games that support it, and all aren’t must-haves. You can learn more about ray tracing in our simple explainer.

Devil May Cry 5 is a perfect example of how well this setup works

Shadow of the Tomb Raider has been out for a while now, but still challenges today’s best systems

In actual gameplay, it’s a given that the newest AAA games will run at the full 60fps with all settings on high as long as you’re on 1080p. But when cranked up to 4K, frame rates often dip in the 40fps range in certain games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V; however, I had no issues with Devil May Cry 5 and Sekiro no matter the resolution. For synthetic benchmarks, I have a couple:

  • Superposition: 7878, 58.93fps average (4K Optimized, GPU: 70 degrees Celsius)
  • Cinebench R15: 1040 (CPU), 108.94 (OpenGL)

As you’d expect, a machine this powerful gets quite hot — often hitting the 70-plus degrees Celsius range for both the CPU and GPU. And although I’ve gotten used this, the way the hot air blows toward me while the laptop is turned around is troublesome. I need keep my distance with my controller in hand.

This goes without saying, but I can’t even bother to rely on battery power with this setup. I get a maximum of 1.5 hours on a full charge; much less if I multitask or play a bit. Bringing along the power adapter at all times is a must, which again, is a pain in itself.

The mechanical keyboard is welcome, but the vertical trackpad can be tough to use

The RGB keys can light up individually

A bunch of these issues are a given considering the Triton 900’s versatility and how much power it packs, but I do have a few design concerns, starting with the placement of the power button. It’s possibly in the worse spot imaginable, right where you’re expected to hold the laptop while adjusting its placement. I can’t count how many times I accidentally turned this thing off.

Second, I’m not a fan of the vertical trackpad. Although it ergonomically makes sense to have it on the right, using it on a wide 16:9 screen doesn’t. Fortunately, I often rely on a wireless mouse instead and turn the trackpad into a virtual numpad with a double tap. I honestly miss the unique glass trackpad of the Triton 700.

Lastly, and this matters when gaming, the speakers crack on the highest volume. Again, I usually use headphones especially when gaming, but having clear-cut audio is pleasant when watching a quick show on Netflix or YouTube.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you can’t tell by now, the Triton 900 is an absolute joy to use despite the minor misses. It’s a true all-in-one convertible designed with both gamers and creators in mind. At the same time, the price is tough to swallow. Starting at US$ 4,000 — even more for the configuration I tested — this is exclusive to those with deep pockets (and deep bags to keep this in).

Like I say in every high-end laptop review, if you have the patience to build a desktop PC and spend the savings on a more practical gaming notebook, you’re in for a better overall deal. Acer has an excellent Helios lineup of midrange options that would work flawlessly for light gaming on the move.

Otherwise, this is the beast choice for those who want a flexible monster. Sure, there are more outlandish gaming machines out there, but the Triton 900 actually makes sense out of all the firepower and features it puts together.

Gaming

Rollerdrome Review: Trick, shoot, repeat

Challenging, fun, and never boring

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Rollerdrome

The best way I can describe Rollerdrome to anyone curious about trying it is that it’s a cross between Tony Hawk Pro Skater and the shooting of Max Payne. You get shades of those two games in a unique art style along with a gameplay that demands hours to be mastered. 

The game has a pretty simple premise. You play as Kara Hassan making her way through the tough, violent sport called Rollerdrome.

The opening area tells you a little bit about the world Kara is in. But after that, it’s pretty much one challenge after the other. 

Basic tutorial 

Rollerdrome

Like any other game, you’ll be put through some relatively easy tutorials. You’ll first be taught the easy movements and then progress to more advanced ones as you beat each level. 

It’s a good idea to spend some time trying out the various trick combinations during the tutorial stages. Things can get quite hectic during the actual levels so, the more you’re familiar with the controls, the better chance you’ll have at getting high scores.

That’s not what I did. I took some of the tutorial stages for granted and had to learn on the fly. Not being too familiar with the controls while advancing through stages is hard as the game will really challenge you.

Advancing gameplay

Rollerdrome

Each stage has a number of different challenges you have to meet. This includes doing specific tricks on a trick marker, killing enemies a certain way, and having to do specific maneuvers on an area in the stage. 

There are also high score challenges which are the hardest to beat in each stage. These are the ones that require some level of mastery of the tricks and the shooting. 

The tricks and shooting are tied to each other. You only have a limited number of ammo and you’ll need to perform tricks to reload. So, the primary gameplay loop is having to do tricks while dodging enemy attacks, and then unleashing your own attacks all while transitioning to the next trick to reload. 

It’s easy enough to understand conceptually, but it’s in the execution where it can be extremely challenging. Enemies spawn in waves and they get tougher and more aggressive as you progress.

Precision required

Rollerdrome

My consistent thought throughout each stage is how I wished I had more time to be familiar with all the controls. I keep thinking back to how I just know NBA 2K controls by heart, having played it for years, despite a few changes here and there in the core gameplay. 

It was frustrating not being able to apply that same level of mastery. Especially since I had to go on a work trip in the middle of this review process so I couldn’t spend as much time with the game as I wanted. 

Regardless, it’s a game I’ll probably keep coming back to. More skilled players will likely have an easier time, but Rollerdrome does demand you put in the hours.

The controls are pretty tight and precise too. You won’t get through this by randomly pressing buttons. Your mastery of doing tricks while controlling the camera to properly aim will all be tested.

Overall presentation

Other than the gameplay, it’s the art style and its bombastic and frenetic animations that really caught my attention when the game was first announced. It simply looked fresh and unique.

There are instances where there is a lot going on during a stage. Other than the characters and items on screen, you also have markers alerting you if a sniper has you on lock or if you have projectiles tailing you. 

Despite this, the screen never gets too busy to a point where you no longer know what’s going on. The design of each stage makes it so you can easily tell which areas you can perform tricks on without it standing out too much from the rest of the stage. 

The soundtrack largely stays in the background but does a good job of not being distracting. Which is great because having something blasting too loudly could give you sensory overload with everything that’s going on. 

Overall, this game is stylish AF without going overboard. I’m personally a big fan of the art style and it works well in this kind of game. 

Is this your GameMatch?

Rollerdrome

Rollerdrome is a day one pick-up. If the preview videos intrigued you at all, I guarantee you’ll have a grand time playing. This is especially true if you’re fond of challenging yourself. 

Figuring out how to smoothly go from attacking, to doing tricks to reload, and dodge in the process can be really challenging. Unless you’re super skilled, there’s no way you’ll get all of it in one go.

But despite needing to repeat stages, it never feels stale because the core gameplay loop is engaging. It can get frustrating, sure, but the feeling of beating each stage all while crossing off specific challenges is extremely rewarding. 

Rollerdrome

Rollerdrome retails for US$ 29.99 both on Steam and the PlayStation store. But it will be discounted on both platforms until August 29, 2022.

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Gaming

Genshin Impact 3.0 to launch on August 24

Fourth nation, more characters unveiled

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Genshin Impact 3.0

Version 3.0 of miHoYo’s hit action-RPG Genshin Impact will launch on August 24, featuring the introduction of a fourth nation as well as new quests and characters.

The latest version will introduce the fourth nation of Teyvat – Sumeru which expands the game’s map massively.

The Dendro gameplay mechanics will also be revealed for the first time, including brand-new elemental reactions.

Playable Dendro characters include the Dendro Traveler, five-star archer Tighnari, and four-star archer Collei.

Lastly, the Rich Archon Quests and World Quests will also be made available.

To hype up the much-anticipated release, a trailer has also been unveiled here.

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Accessories

Razer unveils updated DeathAdder V3 Pro

Lighter, faster than its previous version

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DeathAdder V3 Pro

Razer has announced the release of the new DeathAdder V3 Pro, the latest version yet of its best-selling mouse line that aims to provide the smoothest gaming experience for users.

Th DeathAdder V3 Pro features Razer’s new HyperPolling technology that allows a polling rate of 1000Hz at 1ms polling intervals, which can be improved to 0.25ms when used with a HyperPolling Wireless Dongle.

This gives gamers an ultra-responsive device capable of a 4000Hz wireless polling rate. The separate device can also auto-switch polling rates for more convenience.

Aside from the technical improvements, the mouse also sports a new shape. It features reduced flares on the sides for better grip and hand support. The scroll wheel, buttons, and palm support have all been elevated as well.

The mouse also has lower wireless click latency than its previous version, and is 25 percent lighter. When it comes to battery life, the DeathAdder V3 Pro can support up to 90 hours. It also comes with a Razer Speedflex charging cable (USB Type C).

The latest DeathAdder is available in black and white colorways for PhP 9,590 in Lazada, Shopee, and Razer’s authorized resellers.

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