New Predator poised to take on the best gaming laptops

The Acer Predator 15 shows a significant increase in performance over the 17X.
The Acer Predator 15 shows a significant increase in performance over the 17X. PHOTO: ACER

The Acer Predator 15 is a smaller version of the Predator 17X that I tested in September.

It has the same red LEDs, giant air intake vents and black, soft-touch finish. In other words, the Predator looks like most gaming laptops in the market.

The big difference between the two Predator laptops: the 15 sports a newer Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics chip, whereas the 17X has the last-generation GTX 980.

This translates into a significant increase in performance in our game tests.

For instance, the Predator 15 scored around 96 frames per second (fps) in Crysis 3 at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and at Very High setting, compared with 68fps for the Predator 17X.

There was significant improvement in Doom, too. The Predator 15 scored 123fps - compared with 68fps for the 17X - at Ultra setting and at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

In short, you should not be buying any of the older Acer Predator gaming laptops unless there is a substantial discount.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $3,598

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5

    RAM: 16GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C with Thunderbolt 3, 4 x USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet port, SD card slot, audio jacks

    BATTERY: 88 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 1/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

To be fair, the Predator 17X had impressed me with its FrostCore cooling system and thankfully, the Predator 15 uses the same system.

Not only is this cooling system quieter than the fans on other gaming laptops, the Predator 15 also feels less warm than its competitors.

Despite the reduction in size, the Predator 15 remains fairly hefty at around 3.7kg. It is also chunky and looks thick enough to fit two slot-loading optical drives on top of each other (it has a single tray-loading DVD writer at the side).

Like the Predator 17X, there is a loud audio flourish when I turn on the Predator 15. You can disable this sound effect in the settings, but I preferred to keep it on.

The Predator's 15-inch screen looks good even from the sides. Gamers will be pleased to know that it supports Nvidia G-Sync technology to enable a smooth, stutter-free gaming experience.

Key travel is excellent on the Predator's keyboard. It may not be quite as good as a mechanical keyboard, but I know of just two laptops that actually have a mechanical keyboard.

The keyboard also has a fancy RGB backlight. You can configure the shade you want using the Predator Sense app.

This app includes other functionalities, from recording a macro to programming the five extra shortcut keys above the keyboard.

This utility can also monitor the laptop's temperature and fan speed, though I feel that similar apps from rivals such as Asus and MSI offer slightly more features.

The $3,598 Predator is more expensive than competitors such as the ROG Strix GL502 ($2,698) or the Aftershock S-15 ($3,000).

But having tested these other laptops, I would say that the Predator runs the quietest and the coolest among them.

Vincent Chang

  • Verdict: Acer has rectified the Achilles' heel of its gaming laptops after a graphics chip refresh. Its cooling system is excellent, too.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'New Predator poised to take on the best gaming laptops'. Print Edition | Subscribe