3DMark – FireStrike Ultra – 1789
3DMark – Firestrike – 6719
Unigine – 79 fps Max
PCMark 8 – 3290
Verdict: A great gaming laptop that is too heavy to carry around.
Total Score: 9/10
Being a gamer – be it a casual or a hardcore player – having the right tool for the job is important. You would not want to be caught pants down with a sub-par system when you are facing a hoard of zombies, trolls or flying monkeys.
What makes a great gaming system? Is it the processor? GPU? Peripherals? It is everything essentially – every one of the components needs to be in sync with each other so that your gaming experience will be something spectacular. Acer’s Predator line of products has now become synonymous with great games, and the latest Predator 15 is no slouch in that department.
Big and Bold
First of all, we have to say that the Predator 15 is definitely not a notebook you tote along everywhere. It is designed as a notebook, but safe to say that this is more of a desktop replacement than a mobile gaming solution. Still, with the correct bag, the Predator 15 can be carried around with relative comfort, even though it is more than 3KG in weight. But with the size and weight, comes a great range of features and functions that thinner machines will lack.
Keys to a Gamer’s Heart
You get a full keyboard layout here – 101 keys to be precise. This is supplemented by a row of macro keys that can be programmed to run your choice of quick functions, be it on Windows or in the game environment. Just below the keyboard sits a button that on a single press, disables the Predator’s touchpad and Windows key – two things that can ruin your gaming experience if you accidentally press them. No more sudden jump back to the Desktop.
Bring On The Heat
For peripherals, there are ports for just about any device you can think off. It comes with four USB 3.0 ports, both a HDMI and DisplayPort, Gigabit LAN, SD card reader, as well as a USB Type-C port that also serves as a Thunderbolt 3 port. Also included with the Predator is a DVD-RW drive that sits in a hot-swappable bay on the left side of the chassis. While you may wonder why do you need to hot swap it out, ACER has teamed up with Cooler Master to create a fan module called the Predator FrostCore for the bay that you can slot in for extra cooling power. Now that is cool.
Underneath all of these lies an Intel Core i7 6700HQ processor, clocked at 2.6GHz. This is paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970m GPU, as well as 16GB of RAM that can be upgraded. With a 15” IPS panel running at 1920 x 1080 pixels, this is a gaming machine that is both lethal and powerful. How lethal can it go? Well, lethal enough that nary a dropped frame during intense gaming sessions for AAA game titles.
Even the benchmarks agrees with our assessments. 3DMark scores the Predator 15 a 6719 for its Firestrike benchmark, and 1789 for its 4K-capable Firestrike Ultra benchmark. Unigine churned out a max of 79 frames per second at its maximum setting, while PCMark scored an impressive 3290 points.
There are some niggles with the Predator 15. For one, the buttons on the trackpad are very, very mushy. There is barely any tactile feel with every press. The keyboard is commendable, but the placement of the keys may just irk some people as it is slightly off to the right from the centre of the screen. The bezel on the screen is also something of an eyesore, as it is so thick around the display that it looks like a picture frame than a screen bezel. Plus, even on idle, the fans on this machine can be audible enough that it is not advisable to run this in a quiet room.
These niggles aside, the ACER Predator 15 is one hot gaming machine that many will like to own as a “portable” gaming machine.