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Clad in an aluminum chassis with glittering RGB keys, the Triton 700 makes one hell of a first impression—and it only gets better once you actually start gaming. This is one of the most impressive gaming laptops ever.
But the touchpad. Why the hell did Acer do this with the touchpad?
Gordon Mah Ung/IDG
Yes, that glass strip below the display is the Triton 700’s touchpad.Predator Triton 700 prices, specs, and features
To be fair, the transparent trackpad set over the keyboard looks stunning, providing a faintly illuminated glimpse of the potent hardware lurking within. Let’s talk about that hardware first.
CPU: Core i7-7700HQ
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
RAM: 32GB DDR4/2400
Display: 15.6-inch, 120Hz 1920×1080 IPS with G-Sync
Storage: 2x 256GB LiteOn NVMe SSDs in RAID 0; 512GB total storage
Weight: 5.27 pounds., 2.04-pound power supply
Dimensions: 15.5 x 10.5 x 0.7 inches
Ports: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 2.0, 3x USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, mic jack, headphone jack
Price: $3,000 on Amazon
The Triton 700’s main rival
Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
Read our review
The Acer Predator Triton 700 joins the Asus ROG Zephyrus ($2,699 on Amazon) in the GTX 1080 Max-Q’s vanguard. We’ve covered Nvidia’s technology in-depth in both a standalone Max-Q article as well as the ROG Zephyrus review, and won’t retread the same ground here.
In a nutshell, Max-Q uses careful hardware and software tuning to reduce the GTX 1080’s TDP from 150 watts all the way down to roughly 100W, which allows it to fit into far slimmer laptops than before, like the Triton 700. The process requires the Max-Q GPUs to run at much lower clocks than a standard GeForce GTX 1080, which does result in slightly lower frame rates. You won’t notice it with the way the laptop’s configured, though.
Gordon Mah Ung/IDG
Nvidia’s Max-Q and G-Sync deliver a solid gaming combo in the Predator Triton 700.
An option for a 4K or 1440p display would be nice, but both G-Sync and Max-Q require careful technical tuning, so I can’t begrudge Acer for sticking to this single superb setup.
Ports on the rear, including the power connection.
Ports on the left side.
All in all, the Acer Predator Triton 700 and Nvidia’s Max-Q tech prove truly impressive. This beast is packing some serious firepower, and it’s wild that this much high-class hardware fits inside a package this slim. Again: A laptop like this wouldn’t—couldn’t—have existed mere months ago.Keyboard, audio, and the terrible touchpad
Not in every aspect. The Gorilla Glass touchpad, situated just underneath the display, shows off one of the system’s Aeroblade fans and glimpses of the copper heatpipes that keep the GTX 1080 cool, gently illuminated by a blue LED light. It sure is pretty! And the touchpad itself is smooth and responsive.
I can’t get over its placement though. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a gaming laptop slap its touchpad above the keyboard, but it’s still a terrible idea. You could argue that a great gaming mouse is all but obligatory for a notebook like this but I don’t buy it. Even simple acts like slinging emails and juggling Office documents prove frustrating with the weird trackpad position; it’s hard to reach comfortably, and years of muscle memory scream in frustration with every use.
Gordon Mah Ung/IDG
But it gets worse. Sure, seeing the glowing fan underneath looks badass, but in practice placing the touchpad over critical components results in hot temperatures during gaming sessions—uncomfortably so. You’ll want to let the touchpad cool down before using it again, and don’t even think about playing a game that could theoretically work well enough with a touchpad (a CRPG like Wasteland 2, say) on this. You won’t get far.
The Predator Triton 700’s mechanical keyboard is the yin to the touchpad’s yang.
The audio’s augmented by preloaded Dolby Atmos software. The volume gets loud, and while the sound is wee bit unbalanced and brassy compared to dedicated headphones due to the lack of a deep bass punch, the speakers hold up well overall for a laptop. All that said, I universally recommend a good pair of gaming headphones when you’re playing on a notebook. Built-in speakers just can’t compare.
Next page: Benchmarks, software, and bottom linePredator Triton 700 performance
Our second test uses an older version of the free HandBrake encoder and mostly focuses on CPU performance as well. Unlike Cinebench’s short run time, the file we encode for testing takes around 45 minutes on a quad-core processor, which lets you see how a laptop’s temperature throttling affects performance over time. Once again, the Predator is neck-and-neck with the Zephyrus, and the Alienware 17’s more powerful processor gives it a performance lead.
Enough with the CPU tests. Graphics are the real star in gaming laptops. We test the graphics chops of gaming laptops using 3DMark’s Fire Strike Extreme benchmark. Specifically, we rely on the Graphics sub-score, which focuses on pure GPU performance.
A 17-inch laptop with a full GTX 1080
Alienware 17 R4
Read our review
Best Prices Today:
That difference continues to show in actual games, with the Max-Q laptops falling slightly ahead of GTX 1070-packing Alienware 15, but solidly behind the GTX 1080-equipped Alienware 17. Don’t take that the wrong way, though: The Acer Predator Triton 700 still delivers blistering fast frame rates for its 1080p display, and G-Sync helps keep everything smooth.
Brad Chacos/IDG Brad Chacos/IDG
A recent Nvidia driver update significantly altered performance in Rise of the Tomb Raider, so we’re limiting our results to the Max-Q duo, both of which were tested with the new software. As we’ve seen in every benchmark so far, these identically equipped laptops deliver virtually identical performance results.
The fans ramp up the longer you game, striving to keep the GPU and CPU around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, though temperatures occasionally spike slightly higher. The noise is far from silent, but I was still surprised at how quietly the fans ran overall. Many hulking gaming laptops sound like airplanes taking off; the Predator Triton 700 doesn’t, though the fan’s noise is somewhat high-pitched. Overall, the cooling system and large exhaust manage to keep performance stable. I repeatedly re-ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark for 45 minutes and only saw a 2-fps drop from the initial runs.
In practice, these laptops pooped out in about two hours in PCWorld’s battery rundown test, which loops a 4K video endlessly—by far the worst we’ve seen in a notebook. Even the no-holds-barred Alienware 17 lasts a solid 40 minutes more, and that machine is put to shame by laptops like the Gigabyte Aero 15. Don’t leave home without a mouse and your charger.Acer PredatorSense
Like all laptops from major manufacturers, the Predator Triton 700 includes some preinstalled software—not too much, though. A couple of apps prove especially handy: The aforementioned Dolby Atmos if you’re using headphones, and Acer’s own PredatorSense.
Acer’s PredatorSense software lets you configure the Triton 700’s RGB lighting.
PredatorSense includes several sections devoted to the Triton 700’s key features. The Lighting section includes a wealth of customization options for the backlit RGB keyboard, including a profile manager if you want to swap between setups. You can tinker with the lighting on the fan beneath the glass touchpad. You’ll also find sections dedicated to fan control (yes, there are manual options) and system temperature monitoring.
PredatorSense makes overclocking easy.Bottom line
Let’s end where we began.
The Acer Predator Triton 700 ($3,000 on Amazon) is one of the most impressive gaming laptops ever created, full stop. Every inch of this rig oozes quality, from the sleek, slim aluminum chassis to the fantastic mechanical keyboard to the no-compromises gaming experience provided by the GTX 1080 Max-Q and its accompanying 120Hz G-Sync display. And that doesn’t even take into account that it was literally impossible to cram this much power into a laptop this thin until very recently. There’s a lot to drool over here.
Gordon Mah Ung/IDG
The overwhelming excellence makes some serious compromises all the more painful. The horrible, poorly placed, disappointingly hot touchpad is a major negative. It can be mitigated by using a discrete mouse, but you’ll always need to keep it handy because the Acer Predator Triton 700’s touchpad is almost unusable, especially if you plan on actually gaming with it. And like the Asus ROG Zephyrus ($2,699 on Amazon), this GTX 1080 Max-Q laptop makes severe battery life sacrifices to achieve its sleekness.
Mentioned in this article
Predator Triton 700
You pay big-time for the Triton 700’s mobility, though. If you don’t mind massive desktop replacements, the 17-inch Alienware 17 R4 packs a more potent, full-fat GTX 1080 with a higher-resolution 2560×1440 G-Sync display for about $2,550 on chúng tôi The Alienware’s processor also outpunches the Triton 700’s. Yet it’s almost twice as heavy at a staggering 9 pounds, 12 ounces. Pick your poison. But for the first time ever, gamers on the go have some choices.
You're reading Acer Predator Triton 700 Review: A Stunning Gaming Laptop With A Terrible Touchpad
Latest Intel CPU
Keyboard and connectivityCons
Quite chonkyOur Verdict
Acer provides a pretty nice balance of value and performance here at 144Hz, as long as your ok with middling battery life, lower screen quality and a less portable design.Best Prices Today: Acer Predator Helios 300 (2023)
The Acer Predator Helios 300 has been around for a few years, but this 2023 model is an updated version. It’s been outfitted with new components, and minor exterior changes make it a little easier to live with.
A more powerful Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card and a new Intel 10th-gen CPU have both been fitted, and it’s paired with a 144Hz display and a whopping 20GB of memory.
The Predator Helios 300 is designed for mainstream gamers, and its £1,399 price makes it a little more expensive than its predecessor – but it’s still a little cheaper than both of its key rivals.Design & Build
There haven’t been big visual changes here from the Helios 300 (2023) . The lid still has a blue, illuminated logo between two slashes. You’ll still find dramatic air vents with blue internals – although minor tweaking means they now have a row of metallic plastic underneath, too.
Around the front, the trackpad is ringed with metal to match the front of the machine, and the bulk of the machine is built from matt black aluminium. Acer’s black-and-blue theme looks reasonable, but rivals are more subtle if you would prefer: the MSI GS66 Stealth is almost entirely black, with fewer flourishes, and the Asus ROG Zephyrus 14 also looks more mature.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 weighs 2.2kg and is 23mm thick, which makes it larger than rivals too. The MSI is a little smaller and lighter, while the 14in Asus is far more compact.
Build quality is middling: the base is sturdy but the screen has a little too much give. It’s not worryingly weak, but its rivals are more robust, and a protective sleeve would be a good idea. Also bear in mind the laptop’s front edge – it can dig into your wrist and can be quite irritating.
The Helios 300 has single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports, with both connections supporting faster 10Gbps transfer speeds and charging. There are two slower USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectors, HDMI and mini-DisplayPort outputs and a headphone jack alongside Gigabit Ethernet.
Once again, rivals are arguably better: the MSI has more, faster USB ports and adds Thunderbolt, while the Asus subtracts Gigabit Ethernet and Thunderbolt but does include two USB-C connectors.Keyboard & Trackpad
The Helios 300 has a dedicated numberpad, which instantly lifts this keyboard above both rivals. There’s a dedicated button for Acer’s Predator software alongside a good layout – the only minor issue is the single-height Return key.
The WASD, cursor and Predator buttons are highlighted with see-through plastic, and every key has a slightly concave shape for better grip.
The Predator has RGB LED backlighting, although it’s not a per-key affair – instead, it uses four zones. It’s a sensible compromise, and the lighting is bright and consistent.
The keyboard offers ample travel for gaming and typing, and its action is comfortable and quick, with a good amount of snap. It’s crisper than the Asus, but a tad softer than the MSI. It’s also a little too loud for my liking.
The keyboard is decent, but the trackpad is disappointing. The buttons are soft, and the MSI’s pad is far wider. The positioning is awkward too as it sits on the left of the machine, so trying to use the trackpad and the WASD keys simultaneously is cramped. If you want to enjoy gaming, use a USB gaming mouse.Screen & Speakers
The 15.6in display has a Full HD resolution, a 144Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time, which means it’s ideally positioned for mainstream single-player and competitive gaming.
This display has no syncing and it’s certainly possible to get a higher refresh rate – the MSI has a 240Hz screen. However, a 144Hz display is buttery-smooth in all games, and most users won’t notice the benefit of a leap to 240Hz.
The screen has middling quality. Its brightness level of 329 nits is fine, but its black point of 0.38 nits is high. The contrast ratio of 866:1 is underwhelming, and in real-world situations that means colours are a little pallid, with darker areas that appear grey rather than black.
The colour temperature of 8,621K is on the chilly side, which also leaves the screen feeling a little washed-out. For gritty, metallic games and movies, that’s not terrible – but other panels have more punch. The Acer’s sRGB coverage level of 87.2% is mediocre, and this display can’t handle DCI-P3 or Adobe RGB.
The average Delta E of 2.59 is reasonable, and the panel’s uniformity is good – the brightness deviated by 11% in the top-left corner and by less than 6% everywhere else.
The Helios 300’s display is good enough for gaming, primarily thanks to its refresh rate and response time – it’s smooth and fast, even in frantic situations. However, the MSI’s 240Hz panel is faster, with better contrast and more accurate colours. The Asus is also better in those areas, and is available with 1080p/120Hz and 1440p/60Hz options.
The speakers have enough volume for bedroom gaming, but they have weak bass, a muddy mid-range and a tinny top-end – they’re only useful if you have no other options. None of the Acer’s different audio modes made a difference, either. The Asus is much better, and aSpecs & Performance
The Intel Core i7-10750H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 are a popular laptop combination at the moment. The former component is one of Intel’s new 10th-gen CPUs, and the latter is a solid graphics core with Nvidia’s latest architecture.
The RTX 2060 included here has the usual 6GB of memory, and it runs at base and boost speeds of 1,005MHz and 1,350MHz – speeds that outpace its default specification. The Predator Helios 300 also has Fast and Extreme overclocking modes that improve the boost speed to 1,400MHz and 1,450MHz.
The processor has six multi-threaded cores, base and boost speeds of 2.6GHz and 5GHz and Intel’s Comet Lake architecture. Specs are rounded out with 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD alongside Killer-branded Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 6. It’s a good selection overall.
The rival MSI has a virtually identical specification, but the smaller Asus uses a more efficient RTX 2060 Max-Q alongside a new AMD Ryzen 4000-series mobile CPU.
The Acer’s RTX 2060 is impressive in benchmarks. We’ve also included Acer’s Nitro 5 to show how a cheaper option compares.
In 3D Mark Sky Diver, the Acer scored 36,003, which is more than 1,500 points beyond the MSI and further ahead of the low-power Asus. In Wolfenstein: Youngblood the Acer averaged 103fps, which is seven frames beyond the MSI, and its 75fps pace in Far Cry: New Dawn matched the GS66.
The Acer’s 64fps pace in Total War: Warhammer II is three frames ahead of the MSI and three frames behind the Asus, which pulled ahead thanks to its AMD CPU.
The Helios 300 is a little quicker than rivals in most gaming scenarios, and it’s got enough speed to handle key situations: it’ll play high-end single-player games at tough graphics settings, and it’ll run eSports games at the speeds required by the 144Hz display.
Don’t expect much from the Acer’s GPU overclocking, though: these modes provided inconsistent results, with declining speeds in 3D Mark and Far Cry alongside a modest gain in Wolfenstein.
The Predator’s Geekbench 5 score of 6,022 is marginally ahead of the MSI, and those machines were virtually identical in PC Mark 10. The diminutive Asus machine is better, though, thanks to its eight-core AMD CPU. That machine scored 7,693 points in Geekbench 5 and 5,682 in PC Mark 10.
The Acer has the power to handle everyday work, multi-tasking, office applications and photo editing. However, the Asus’ AMD chip is far better if you need a laptop for work alongside play.
The Acer has no interior or exterior temperature issues, and its noise levels are fine when gaming using conventional performance modes – there’s fan noise, but it’s modest. The noise is louder when using the misfiring overclocking modes, and stressing the CPU also caused the noise to increase. Both scenarios are easy to avoid, however.Battery life
The Acer can’t compete with either rival when it comes to battery life. In a video playback test with the screen at 120 nits the Acer lasted for four hours and 50 minutes, but the MSI lasted for eight hours – and the Asus eleven hours.
When gaming, the Acer lasted for an hour and fourteen minutes. You’ll need to stick by the mains if you want to use this laptop for a proper gaming session.Price
UK users can choose from two different Helios laptops. The model we’ve reviewed costs £1,399 from Scan and a £1,299 version maintains most hardware but drops down to GTX 1660 Ti graphics – so you have a little less power alongside no Ray-Tracing.
In the US, only the pricier model is available right now, but at US$1,119 via Amazon.
Acer’s rivals are more versatile. The MSI is available in numerous different options, including alternatives with faster GPUs and 300Hz screens if you’re happy to splash more cash.
The Helios 300 is pretty good value for money but the ROG Zephyrus G14 just can’t be beaten starting at £1,099.
Check our chart of the best gaming laptops to see our top 10.Verdict
The Predator Helios 300 has a decent price, a fast GPU and solid components and connectivity. Combine this with the good keyboard and the smooth 144Hz screen, and you’ve got a system that can easily cope with mainstream gaming and eSports.
It’s a well-rounded machine and is cheaper than the MSI GS66 Stealth with very similar performance, although that has a 240Hz display if that’s enough to tempt you to spend more.
The bigger issue for Acer is that the excellent Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is even cheaper and offers amazing performance and a better screen. Both rivals have a more svelte and portable design than the Helios 300, too.
For mainstream gaming the Acer Predator Helios 300 is easily good enough thanks to its solid components and design.
If you want more finesse, specialisation or CPU power, though, Acer’s rivals remain a tad more compelling.Specs Acer Predator Helios 300 (2023): Specs
Processor: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6GB
Memory: 20GB 2,933MHz DDR4
Screen: 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS 144Hz
Storage: 512GB SSD
Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x audio, 1 x HDMI, 1 x mini-DisplayPort
Connectivity: Dual-band WiFi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0
Dimensions: 363 x 255 x 23mm
Warranty: 1yr RTB
Note: Since our review was written, the specific model we tested is no longer available. However, a virtually identical 6QD model is available for the same price and has the GTX 950M instead of the 940M.
MSI GL62-6QC 065UK review: Price
The main appeal of the MSI GL62 is that it starts at £599, and this is the specific model we’re looking at here. You can buy the MSI GL62 6QD from Ebuyer for £599.99.
This version has a GeForce GTX 950 GPU, a quad-core Core i5 CPU and hard drive storage rather than an SSD.
The GL62’s rivals include the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 which costs from £719 and is similarly a subtle gaming laptop. However, you should also read our roundup of the best gaming laptops to buy right now.
MSI GL62-6QC 065UK review:
It’s not hard to spot a gaming laptop, but the MSI GL62 has little bits of gaming flair here and there rather than opting for an outrageous colour scheme or flared vents and mad logos. The keyboard font, the badge insignia on the lid, the odd bits of red trim and some of the GL62’s angles are all obvious ‘tells’ to an experienced eye.
This laptop has a metal-covered lid but the rest of the laptop is plastic, as used in the vast majority of gaming machines. It doesn’t try to push its luck with thickness or weight either.
At 2.3kg and 29mm thick, the MSI GL62 isn’t light or small enough to be considered a portable laptop. You’ll want to keep it at home most of the time.
MSI GL62-6QC 065UK review: Ports and features
While it has a sensible, slightly conservative design for a gaming laptop, the MSI GL62 does have up-to-date connections. It features two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port on the right side and an additional USB-C. It’s reassuring to see MSI has added has effectively added an extra USB with the USB-C socket, rather than using it as an excuse to pare down the total number of plugs.
It’ll be a while before everything uses USB-C, after all.
The MSI GL62 also has the main connections required of a desktop-replacer. It has HDMI and Mini DisplayPort video outputs and a full-size Ethernet socket. Many of you may be happy with using Wi-Fi, though, particularly as Wi-Fi ac is supported.
Around on the other (right) side of the MSI GL62 are a DVD Multiwriter optical drive and a full-size SD card slot. Just as the MSI GL62 strikes a good balance between a gamer-tinged look and an ordinary one, the laptop has an ultra-accessible set of connections that’ll suit the sort of buyer to whom a lower-cost gaming rig might appeal.
Just using mobile grade connections like a 12in MacBook just wouldn’t work here.
MSI GL62-6QC 065UK review: Screen
There’s a similar melding of worlds in the MSI GL62 in the screen too. The laptop has a 15.6in 1080p resolution display, but unlike most modern £500-plus laptops does not use an IPS screen.
It’s not a plain old TN screen either: MSI using something a little different. The GL62 has TN-based screen, but its tweaked architecture makes it look much better than other TN displays. MSI calls it a “world first”.
Its colour is fantastically vivid for a laptop of this price. It can display deeper, richer tones than many a £1000 laptop.
Setting our colorimeter loose on the MSI GL62, it hits 99.7 percent of sRGB, the usual standard for laptops, as well as 77.8 of Adobe RGB by volume and 85.7 percent of the cinema-grade DCI P3 standard. We’ll admit to being genuinely surprised to see such an affordable laptop provide such rich colour. An IPS laptop at this price might hit 70 per cent of sRGB and be considered more than fine.
It’s the colour that helps give the MSI GL62 screen a bold look, because its contrast alone can’t. Thanks to raised blacks that become really quite obvious even in good lighting when you crank up the backlight, the screen only has contrast of 300:1.
Viewing angles are not close to those of an IPS screen either, despite MSI’s claims. When viewed from a severe vertical angle, there’s severe contrast shift, a typical feature of a TN screen. The effect is nowhere near as bad as a regular TN screen, though. There’s clever ‘wide angle’ tech going on here that’s particularly effective at improving horizontal angled viewing.
If you’re prone to noticing poor black level and are going to be playing in dimmed lighting, maybe this isn’t the best laptop for you. However, its colours look a lot more vivid than most laptops at the price.
The screen has a matt finish, a type that tends not to make colours pop as much as glossy ones. As we’ve said, this is a decent screen for colours. although its 253cd/m2 brightness is nothing special. This isn’t a laptop you’re likely to want to use outdoors much, though. If you’re after a portable workhorse, take a look at the Asus UX range.
MSI GL62-6QC 065UK review:
At this price, you’re probably expecting some compromises. And you have to compromise more than with a desktop PC at £599.
The GL62 6QC spec we’re reviewing uses a GeForce GTX 940M CPU, one of the lower-end Nvidia cards. Despite being a solid dedicated GPU, you will need to use fairly low settings in order to get smooth-feeling frame rates in today’s more demanding games at native Full HD resolution.
Thief is a classic example of a game that the GL62 struggles with. At 720p with Low settings it averages 35.6fps, but that rate drops to an unusable 14.9fps when resolution is increased to 1080p and graphics settings increased to ‘High’: unplayable.
The much less demanding Alien Isolation test brings better results, but is still too slow in the GL62 with visuals at 1080p/High. It averages 20fps, increasing to 49fps at 720p, Low settings. A GTX 960M or even a GTX 950M (which you get in the HP Pavilion Gaming 15) would let you get closer to the mid-level settings that represent the sort of experience offered by today’s game consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One.
CPU power is without contest the strongest part of the MSI GL62’s performance. The Intel Core i5-6500HQ is a ‘full power’ laptop CPU rather than one of the efficiency-leaning ones used in more portable laptops, and its Geekbench result of 9247 (3034 single) is excellent for the price. It scores a similarly good 2681 points in the PCMark 8 Home test.
This CPU could be paired with a much, much more expensive GPU and still not be the bottleneck for performance.
The shame is that you probably won’t get to appreciate all that power on a daily basis. The reality is that, fitted with a plain 1TB hard drive rather than an SSD, it’s relatively slow to boot-up and come out of sleep mode. It also increases application load times.
Storage speed is such an important part of creating a perception of good performance that the GL62 6QC actually feels a bit slower than a lot of much less powerful laptops. It has the power for photo and video editing of large files, but again you’d ideally want a machine with an SSD if that’s what you’re going to be doing.
The fact that the 6QC’s drive spins at a slow 5400rpm (rather than 7200rpm) makes matters even worse. It’s the second reason, behind the graphics chip, to avoid this particular configuration of the GL62.
Under heavy yse, the laptop’s fans are significantly more obvious than those of the comparable HP Pavilion Gaming 15. Higher-pitched and noisier, they can be a little distracting in quieter rooms.
There is an interesting little keyboard shortcut that lets you ‘switch gears’, to use MSI’s terminology. The eco mode helps keep the GL62 quiet when just performing basic tasks.
MSI GL62-6QC 065UK review:
Keyboard and trackpad
The rest of the MSI GL62 keyboard is interesting too. It’s a SteelSeries-branded keyboard, and has a different feel to the average chiclet keyboard.
It takes a little while to get used to, when the crispness of most chiclet designs is designed to make up for lesser key travel. However, the keys still feel good, and the layout is conventional. There’s no backlight, something you’ll have to pay a little more to get.
A lack of pad ambition pays off better with the keys. The MSI G62’s mouse buttons are separate and sit below the pad, a smart move for a gaming laptop.
Finally, let’s mention speaker quality. It’s not a highlight. Despite being a gaming machine the MSI GL62’s speakers are unusually weak. The sound is thin and relatively quiet, outdone even by some recent phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7.
MSI GL62-6QC 065UK review:
A laptop like this that uses dedicated GPU and an HQ-series CPU is never going to offer particularly good battery life. The MSI GL62 lasts 3 hours 55 minutes when playing back a 720p MP4 video file at 120cd/m2 brightness.
While it’s unrealistic to expect eight hours’ use out of a laptop with an HQ-series CPU, some others in this category will last perhaps 30 minutes more.
With its enviable combination of peppy performance, slim design, long battery life and a discrete graphics chip, the $1,000 ZenBook 13 makes for a compelling ultraportable, particularly for productivity-minded users with a taste for casual gaming.
Yes, you can scoop up a faster 8th-generation Intel quad-core ultraportable than the $1,000 Asus ZenBook 13, but good luck finding one with a discrete graphics core, perfect for Photoshop-minded professionals or casual gamers craving on-the-go Fortnite or Dota 2. A solid array of ports, a snappy keyboard and impressive battery life round out the enticing (if fingerprint-prone) package.Asus ZenBook 13 specifications and price
The ZenBook 13’s most arresting feature has to be its glossy, gorgeous lid, etched with Asus’s telltale pattern of razor-thin—or, to be more precise, nano-thin—concentric circles, courtesy of a five-layer process the manufacturer calls “nanoimprint lithography.”
Adam Patrick Murray/IDG
The ”nanoimprint lithography” on the ZenBook’s lid is both gorgeous and fingerprint-prone.
The shiny result is certainly a sight to behold, never more so than when you first glimpse the pristine ZenBook sitting in its cardboard shipping box. Within a few days, though, the lid of my ZenBook 13 review unit was covered with fingerprints. I was able to buff the shiny finish back into shape, but fighting off the smudges turned out to be a losing battle.
Measuring 12.2 by 8.5 by 0.5 inches, the ZenBook 13 makes for an impressively slim machine given its discrete graphics core, and it feels reasonably light at about 2.7 pounds, or a little over three pounds if you include the seven-ounce power adapter.Asus ZenBook 13 display
The ZenBook’s 13.3-inch 1920-by-1080 display looks sharp and vivid, with svelte 6.9mm bezels along the sides but somewhat thickers bezels along the screen’s top and bottom edges. Measuring about 282 nits (or candelas) at its highest brightness setting, the ZenBook 13’s display is reasonably bright, well above our minimum 250-nit standard for comfortable indoor viewing, if a tad dimmer than the 300-nit readings we’ve recorded on competing laptops.
Viewing angles on the ZenBook 13’s AHVA (a proprietary twist on IPS) screen were excellent, with the display dimming only slightly as I moved from side to side or above and below.Asus ZenBook 13 keyboard, speakers, webcam
I’m a big fan of the ZenBook’s 13 snappy keyboard. The Zenbook’s backlit, slightly concave keys boast a solid, pleasingly bumpy feel when stuck, while the roomy keyboard makes it easy for fingertips to find the right keys while touch typing. The hotkey selection is fairly typical, including the usual hotkeys for brightness, volume, airplane mode, toggling the trackpad and juggling external monitors.
Adam Patrick Murray/IDG
The keys on the ZenBook 13’s backlit keyboard boast a snappy, tactile bump when struck.
The ZenBook’s Harman Kardon-made speakers are a cut above your average laptop speakers, although thery’re no substitute, unsurprisingly, for external speakers. “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings sounded crisp and detailed, even with the volume cranked, while Mozart’s 27th symphony offered up an impressive amount of mid-range refinement, although little in the way of bass (again, no big shock).Asus ZenBook 13 ports
The ZenBook 13 boasts a solid selection of ports, starting on the left side with a full-size HDMI port, a USB 3.0 Type A port, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C (up to 5Gbps). Also on the left: a barrel-style charging port.
Adam Patrick Murray/IDG
Left-side ports on the ZenBook 13 include a full-size HDMI port, USB 3.0 Type A and USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C.
On the right, you’ll find a second USB 3.0 Type A port, a Micro SD memory card reader, and a combo audio jack.
Adam Patrick Murray/IDG
A second USB 3.0 Type A port, a combo audio jack and a Micro SD card reader round out the ZenBook’s array of ports.
Nope, no Thunderbolt 3, but that’s not a big shock given the ZenBook’s middling price point.Asus ZenBook 14 performance benchmarks
PCMark 8 Work Conventional
As with most of its 8th-generation Intel-powered competitors, the ZenBook 13 breezes through everyday computing tasks.
The ZenBook 13 got a solid PCMark 8 Work Conventional score, but that’s par for the course.
A much better test of quad-core performance, our Handbrake benchmark measures how well a system handles the CPU-intensive task of encoding large video files.
We’ve seen better Handbrake results from 8th-generation quad-core ultraportables, but the ZenBook 13’s score is still in the ballpark.
While the ZenBook 13’s score of 4,872 seconds trails its closest competitors, it’s still in the ballpark (albeit near the warning track) in terms of what we’d expect from a quad-core ultraportable in the $1,000 range, and its Handbrake performance easily outshines cheaper dual-core systems, which regularly take 6,000 seconds or more to complete our Handbrake test.
Sprinting from last to the front of the pack, the ZenBook 13 surges in our Cinebench benchmark, which tests CPU performance under the crushing load of rendering a 3D image. In our multi-core Cinebench test, the ZenBook lags the leader (the Dell Inspiron 13 two-in-one) by a mere point, leaving its other quad-core 8th-gen competitors well behind.
The ZenBook 13’s impressive Cinebench score proves it’s capable of short bursts of speed.
Why the difference? Well, let’s consider the fact that the Cinebench test, which takes only about five minutes to perform, is like the 100-yard dash, while the hour-plus Handbrake benchmark is more like the 10,000 meters. It’s likely the ZenBook 13 can sprint short distances but prefers to pace itself for longer hauls, all in the interest of keeping everything cool inside the system’s svelte chassis.
The ZenBook’s single-core Cinebench result is similar to other notebooks in its class.
Meanwhile, the ZenBook 13’s single-core Cinebench mark score is pretty much in the middle of the pack, as we’d expect, and similar to what you might see from a cheaper dual-core system.
Before we get too excited about the ZenBook 13’s 3DMark Sky Diver score, keep in mind that our comparison chart pits it against 8th-gen quad-core systems with integrated graphics cores. Naturally, the Sky Diver results for the ZenBook and its discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU will crush those of any competing laptop that settles for integrated graphics.
Thanks to its discrete GeForce MX150 graphics core, the ZenBook 13’s Sky Diver score blows away those of competing laptops with integrated graphics.
It should also be said that the ZenBook 13’s Sky Diver score (8,630) is somewhat lower than that of the Acer Aspire E 15 (11,526), another GeForce MX150-powered budget laptop. Then again, if you want to choose the Acer Aspire E 15 over the ZenBook 13 based on its higher Sky Diver score, you’ll have to settle for a laptop that’s twice as heavy and twice as thick.
We test laptop battery life by looping a 4K video using the stock Windows video player, with screen brightness tuned to about 250 nits (which, in the ZenBook 13’s case, means turning the brightness setting up to 95 percent) while dialing the volume halfway, with headphones plugged in.
The ZenBook 13’s result is pretty good, squeezing out a solid nine hours-plus from its 50Whr battery. That’s within spitting distance of the Lenovo Yoga 920 and its much bigger 70Whr battery, if well shy of the HP Spectre x360’s nearly 13 hours of battery life from its 61Whr battery.
Either way, if you’re heading out for the day with the ZenBook 13 in your knapsack, you’re probably safe leaving the AC adapter at home, a big plus in our book.Bottom line
Acer’s Predator Aethon 500 isn’t a bad value-add for pre-built PCs, but its $180 price tag is steep for a Kailh Blue-equipped keyboard with some very strange design choices.
The longer you stare at Acer’s Predator Aethon 500, the weirder it seems. It’s not that it’s an ugly keyboard per se, but you might call it “challenging.” Where most companies might settle on one or two flashy design elements to stand out, the Aethon 500 is all flash, a mess of design elements that often contradict each other.
Note: This review is part of our best gaming keyboards roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.Questionable calls
The Aethon 500 is a battle station. Let’s start there, with its heft. This is a monster of a keyboard, so heavy I actually handed the box off to my colleague Adam Patrick Murray to see his look of surprise. You might think 3.9 pounds doesn’t sound like much, but it’s almost a full pound heavier than other flagship keyboards like Razer’s BlackWidow. It’s large, yes, with thick bezels and a row of macro keys—but more to the point, it’s dense. There’s a lot of plastic here, but also a thick metal backplate and sides. If you need a keyboard to potentially bludgeon zombies with, the Aethon 500’s set to be your best friend.
IDG / Hayden Dingman
It’s an interesting contrast to the lightweight Futura typeface emblazoned on (most) keycaps. And if those two elements, sans-serif typeface and a thick slab of keyboard, were sufficient to describe the Aethon 500 then I might say Acer had a winner of a design.
There are so many odd choices though. For one, you’ll notice I said Futura’s used for most of the keyboard. Weird, right? Don’t ask me why, but Acer’s chosen to use a completely different, more aggressive typeface on the five macro keys. It’s not a terrible juxtaposition, but it’s not endearing either.
The branding’s also a bit overdone for my tastes. The keyboard itself isn’t too bad, but having the word “Predator” written across the bottom edge isn’t a choice I’d make. The (thin plastic) wrist rest is the real offender though, with the Acer Predator logo engraved in silver on the right edge. Every time I look at it, all I can think is “Someone stamped Optimus Prime onto this keyboard.”
IDG / Hayden Dingman
One of the first elements you’ll notice is the volume wheel. Why? Because it sticks out of the side of the keyboard. Like so much of the Aethon 500, I’m torn on this choice. It’s useful—if the wheel didn’t stick out the side, you’d be left with one that’s about a half-inch long and hard to find. Like Razer’s recent circular media keys, the Aethon 500 makes it easy to run a hand up the side of the keyboard, find the knob, and twist.
IDG / Hayden Dingman
And these are just the Aethon 500’s most obvious quirks. There are more. For instance, Acer uses the arrow keys for backlight brightness, plus…a second set of volume controls. Why? You’ll find the same sort of redundancy is also present in Caps Lock/Scroll Lock/Num Lock, where Acer has included a standard row of indicator lights across the top-right edge and made it so the lock keys only light up if active. Again, why?
IDG / Hayden Dingman
Perhaps most baffling of all: The “5” key has two secondary function labels, one for the standard “%” sign and the other for the Euro symbol (“€”). That’s the only EurKEY symbol to show up on the Aethon 500 though, and the accompanying “Alt Gr” key you’d use to access it doesn’t (to my knowledge) even work by default in the USA. It just defaults to a second Alt key.
Point being, Acer made a lot of strange choices with the Aethon 500’s design. None of them are really make-or-break, and I haven’t hated having it on my desk these past few weeks. That said, there are better keyboards out there—especially for $180. That might be standard list price for an RGB keyboard, and indeed the Aethon 500’s backlighting is decent enough to compete with Corsair, Razer, Logitech, et cetera. But the rest of the design? I’m not so sure.Blue for blues
That $180 price is doubly hard to swallow when you factor in Acer’s switch choice.
Anyway, those days are long in the past. Rather than revive its old switch, Acer’s instead opted for a fairly standard Kailh Blue on the Aethon 500. There’s nothing wrong with a Kailh Blue in theory. It’s one of the better Cherry MX knock-offs, with a slightly lower actuation force—so slight it’s doubtful you’ll notice, really.
IDG / Hayden Dingman
Kailh switches also have a reputation for poor quality control though, deserved or not. Regardless of whether you buy into that argument, it means Kailh switches generally don’t command the same price as actual Cherry switches—except here, on the Aethon 500.
Corsair’s keyboards list around $180 and use actual Cherry MX switches. Razer’s and Logitech’s don’t, but each has developed a proprietary switch to justify the price—in other words, “You either get it from us or you don’t buy our keyboards.”
IDG / Hayden Dingman
Now, Acer’s put a lot of work into the Aethon 500 and I’ve no doubt the general build quality is better than most of those $60 keyboards. That said, the Aethon 500 probably deserves a price in between the two extremes—say, $120. Anything higher than that feels a bit steep.Light it up
Before we wrap up, let’s briefly touch on the awkwardly named “Predator Gaming Device Integration” software. It’s okay.
These sorts of software utilities are always hit-or-miss, but Acer’s is at least fairly intuitive when it comes to changing out lighting effects, the one feature most people will touch. Macro customization is more awkward, but can be deciphered by someone who cares enough.
IDG / Hayden DingmanBottom line
The Acer Predator Aethon 500 isn’t a bad keyboard, and if you’re buying an Acer Predator PC there’s no reason to throw it out. We’ve come a long way from the old rubber-dome pack-ins that came with a lot of prebuilt machines.
But Acer’s now selling the Aethon 500 to the public and that’s a more questionable pursuit, especially at full price. It’s one of the few keyboards to include macro keys these days, which might be enough to convince certain gamers, but substandard switches, an eye-watering price, and a cadre of awkward design choices make the Aethon 500 an also-ran in my eyes.
It’s expensive, but the Asus G750JZ delivers the goods for gaming performance. You can find similar performance at a lower price, but features such as its Blu-ray drive, 2.1 speakers, and Thunderbolt interface mean that the G750JZ is also well-equipped for other types of entertainment, as well as demanding tasks such as video-editing and audio-recording work.
This flagship model from Asus’ Republic of Gamers range is one of the most expensive gaming laptops we’ve seen recently, coming in at almost £1800. However, Asus really has thrown the kitchen sink into this one. (See also: best laptops for games.)
The G759JZ makes a good impression right from the start. The 17-inch machine may be big and bulky, weighing in at a hefty 4.5 kg and measuring a mighty 58 mm thick. But the build quality is excellent. The matt-black chassis has an attractive ‘soft-touch’ finish, while the keyboard has a nice, firm feel to it.
It’s based around a quad-core Haswell-gen Intel Core i7 running at 2.4 GHz, backed up by a top-of-the-range nVidia GeForce GTX 880M with 4 GB video memory.
There’s a healthy 16 GB of system memory, and the G750JZ boots from a 256 GB solid-state drive, with a conventional 1 TB hard drive included to store your games, music and videos.
There’s also a Blu-ray drive for high-def films, a 2.1 speaker system, and even an Intel/Apple Thunderbolt interface for high-speed back-up drives. (See allAsus RoG G750JZ: performance and benchmarks
Mind you, the solid-state drive wasn’t quite as speedy as we might have hoped, letting the laptop fall almost 100 points short of the 6000-point level that we’d anticipated for our general-purpose PCMark 7 tests.
The Home and Work suites in PCMark 8 produced more solid scores, at 3200 and 3380 points respectively, and there’s no doubt that the G750JZ can handle pretty much anything you throw at it.
There was no problem with gaming performance, either. Stalker: Call Of Pripyat was quickly dismissed with an average framerate of 135 fps, even at its maximum resolution and with Ultra graphics settings. Tomb Raider produced a consistent 60 fps on both its Normal and High settings at 1920 x 1080 resolution, and still maintained a strong 47.7 fps even when we stepped up to the game’s Ultimate setting.
Performance when running Batman: Arkham City was just as strong, comfortably managing 55 fps on the game’s default setting at 1600 x 900, and only dropping slightly to 46 fps when we stepped right up to Maximum settings at 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Scores like that put the G750JZ among the most powerful gaming laptops we’ve seen so far. It even managed something close to respectable battery life, lasting for 4 hours and 30 mins of streaming video when using integrated graphics.
We do have a couple of small complaints, though. The 17.3-inch screen has 1920 x 1080 resolution, and the image quality is enhanced by its anti-glare matt finish. But while the horizontal viewing angles are very good, the vertical viewing scope is more limited, and we did find ourselves needing to nudge the screen to improve visibility.
And, despite its decent volume, the stereo speaker system sounded annoyingly tinny at times. Those aren’t fatal flaws by any means, but they do stand out on an otherwise impressive piece of gaming kit. (See also: the 15 best laptops: the best laptops you can buy in 2014.)Specs Asus RoG G750JZ: Specs
Asus G750JZ T4056H
17.3-inch anti-glare LCD, 1920×1080 (127.34ppi)
Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ (3.4 GHz Turbo)
Intel HD 4600 (integrated)/GeForce GTX 880M (4GB)
256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (5400rpm)
16GB DDR3 RAM
HDMI 1.4, VGA
2.1 speaker set
built-in mic, 3.5mm line-inheadphone/SP-DIF
4x USB 3.0
Thunderbolt, Kensington lock slot
115 x 65 mm, two button
230W mains adaptor
88Wh lithium-ion, removable
410 x 318 x 58 mm
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