Just when we thought Dell had sealed the deal with its Alienware 13, Acer crept back into our minds with the laptop version of their high-end Predator G1 gaming PC. They called it the “Acer Predator 15”. A tad larger than the Alienware 13 in both size and weight and lacks the Alienware’s superb OLED screen, the Predator 15 still holds its ground in the gaming laptop market segment.
Acer’s Predator 15 packs a lot of specs under the hood, the same way it packs its 8-pound weight into your laptop bag when most gaming laptops in its segment are below 7 pounds. But what it can’t make up for in size, it does so in other areas, especially it’s battery life which lasts for about 4 hours of intense use, and its seamless ease of use and compatibility with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets.
The body is made of brushed black aluminum with the red accents here and there and helps keep stain away from the laptop. The rear air grids look quite cool, like the rear of an American muscle car.
Though it lacks the G-Sync feature that eliminates gaming animation glitches, this user-friendly gaming laptop sports a 15.6-inch Active Matrix TFT Color LCD Full HD screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution – the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 has an IPS screen with the same resolution – with specs that scream awesome.
There’s a quad-core 2.6GHz (can be Turbo boosted to 3.5GHz) Skylake Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor with 6MB cache, 32GB RAM (upgradeable to 64GB), the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics chip with 4GB memory, a 512GB SSD and a 1TB SSD, as well as an optical drive which can be swapped out for the Acer Predator FrostCore Fan to help keep the laptops temperatures low while you’re engrossed in your in-game missions.
To the right side of the Predator 15 are two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support, an HDMI output, DisplayPort and an Ethernet port. To the left are the headphone jack, the AC adapter port, two USB 3.0 ports and a Kensington lock slot.
The easy-to-use keyboard with its bouncy keys is nicely backlit, and its colors can be tweaked using the PredatorSense software that comes preinstalled with the laptop – Acer hates bloatware, so there’s no need to worry about that. To the upper left side of the keyboard are six tweakable macro keys that can be used for a variety of functions like controlling the fan or turning on and off the sticky keys. The trackpad is also great to use and has a button for enabling and disabling it and the Windows key, so it doesn’t get in your way if you decide to play games on the computer using the WASD keyboard configuration.
Hardware intensive games like Far Cry 4, Heaven and Valley both ran smoothly at ultra-quality settings as the Predator 15’s speakers did justice to the in-game sounds without becoming hot, thanks to Acers FrostCore fan which replaces the removable optical drive on it.
Frankly speaking, Acer did a great job on the Predator 15 with all its specs and a relatively affordable price – $2,500 for the top-of-the-range specs – but could have done better in terms of weight. This laptop would definitely draw attention from the fans of the Alienware 13.