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

Nintendo planning to launch more affordable Switch this year

Coming sooner than expected

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A report by Nikkei claims that a smaller and more affordable Nintendo Switch is indeed coming this year — during fall to be exact.

This backs up The Wall Street Journal‘s source that says two models are on the way: a pro model and a lite variant. While the former is expected to push better graphics and offer a larger screen, the latter looks to be more compact at the expense of losing the vibration feature.


Fortunately, both should still have TV compatibility for a larger screen to play on. The bigger takeaway, however, is that this lite version might not launch at the same time as the higher-end model, which might be saved for another event this year or next.

It’s possible that Nintendo is discretely making noise for its next batch of handheld consoles after the slew of info we received about Sony’s next-gen PS5 a couple of days ago. Microsoft also made its disc-less Xbox One S official the other day.

These announcements seem timely, with the three major players possibly feeling some heat from Google and Apple, both of which have announced their own push into the gaming realm with cloud gaming solutions and an exclusive app store, respectively.

Via: The Verge

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Gaming

Sony PlayStation 5: Everything we know so far

It’s more than just a mere upgrade

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After months of speculation, the time has come for Sony to drop its plans on its latest console. In an exclusive interview with Wired, Sony’s lead system architect Mark Cerny revealed initial details on the upcoming PlayStation 5. Here’s what we know so far:

The new PlayStation console will house a better CPU and GPU to meet the demands of long-time gamers on the system. The CPU will be based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line, with eight cores of its new Zen 2 architecture. It promises to bring better performance and 3D audio capabilities, as well.


Meanwhile, the GPU will be a custom variant of AMD’s Radeon Navi, and will come with ray tracing! Apart from better overall visuals, the GPU now opens support for 8K graphics. To date, no gaming console has ventured into including ray-tracing technologies into their GPUs so it will be interesting to see how Sony will do it.

With games requiring more space to run smoothly and flawlessly, the new PlayStation provides a solution with an upgrade. This time, the PlayStation 5 will come with a solid state drive (SSD) that promises better and faster loading times. Cerny demonstrated the power of the SSD by playing Spider-Man through a PlayStation 4 against a developer’s kit-version for the new console. The results: web-slinging across New York City in under a second for the SSD.

Unfortunately, the PlayStation 5 won’t be available this year and Sony has yet to confirm a release date. The company isn’t expected to make that announcement any time soon since they pulled out of E3 2019. For now, all we can do is simply wait for new details to surface.

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Microsoft’s next Xbox does not have a disc slot

All digital!

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Image source: WinFuture

For the past two to three decades, video gaming has always been associated with compact discs. From then to now, video game stores are lined with cases and cases of discs. Sadly, times are changing. For quite a while now, PC gaming has almost completely moved to digital distribution. Now, video game discs belong exclusively to console gaming. However, the compact disc’s last sanctuary is slowly coming to an end.

Recently, a leak has revealed Microsoft’s latest project — a disc-less Xbox One. Supplemented by detailed renders, the Xbox One S All Digital does not include a tray for discs. Instead, the upcoming console will rely solely on digital downloads and subscriptions. Unfortunately, the leak does not include any other hardware specifications. However, the leaked box art indicates the inclusion of pre-installed games like Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 3. The leak also hints at 4K support and 1TB of internal storage.


Finally, the leak included the device’s release details. The Xbox One S All Digital will retail for EUR 229.99 starting May 7 in Europe.

Albeit strongly supported, the leak still carries a slight bit of uncertainty. Microsoft has not officially announced the device. However, given the industry’s current trajectory, an all-digital console sounds like a logical choice. Google has even announced streaming service Stadia. Unfortunately, the industry’s trajectory does not bode well for the traditional compact discs of old. Say goodbye to scratched disc problems; say hello to more slow internet woes.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft built prototypes of Xbox controllers for mobile

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