Acer Predator Triton 300 SE review: more prey than Predator

Acer’s Predator Triton 300 SE is chasing after the hype that Asus constructed with . It’s comparable in just a few key methods: it’s a sophisticated-looking gaming laptop computer bordering on ultrabook territory when it comes to its smooth and comparatively skinny design. It has a 14-inch 1080p show with a quick refresh charge and respectable graphics capabilities to prime it off. Even its worth hits the same spot at $1,399.

Asus’ newest G14 hasn’t made its method to us for overview but, so we don’t know precisely the way it’ll evaluate to this one in all the ways in which matter. However within the meantime, Acer’s new mannequin already has some clear benefits, like a built-in webcam and the Thunderbolt 4 port. It additionally achieves commendable gaming efficiency with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, however don’t let the similarities (and even the few perks) trick you. Calling the brand new Triton 300 SE a Predator is a bit of little bit of a misnomer.

Final yr’s G14 defied my colleague Monica Chin’s expectations for what a gaming laptop computer may obtain with regards to battery life. Comparatively, Acer’s new laptop computer isn’t almost as long-lasting, nevertheless it’s not horrible. The Triton 300 SE has a 60Wh four-cell battery that lasts round six hours on common with comparatively gentle utilization. More on this later, however protected to say it’s significantly much less than the 10-hour battery life Acer claims. You may really feel assured taking the Triton 300 SE out to a restaurant to do some work for just a few hours. However in case you intend to be out all day, or use it to do any gaming, you’ll have to convey the charger.

Whether or not restricted battery life bothers you or not, there are another points that I couldn’t assist however discover. The interaction of all-plastic on the lid and an all-metal chassis appears to be like tremendous, however the lid feels flimsy in a method that makes me involved for its longevity. Making use of only a few kilos of strain to the Predator emblem beneath the show makes it bow more than it ought to. On the unit that Acer despatched us, the softer plastic constructed into the display’s bezel that cushions the lid when it closes has tiny gaps the place it’s not seamlessly adhered. And close to the keyboard, the “Turbo” key that amps up the followers has a slight imperfection on it. Lastly, Acer stuffed far an excessive amount of annoying bloatware into the Triton. About each hour, there’s a pop-up asking me to put in or subscribe to one thing.

All of this makes for a laptop computer that doesn’t really feel as high-end as its value signifies it ought to.

There’s only one configuration of this mannequin proper now, containing a four-core Intel Core i7-11375H processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 512GB of NVMe SSD storage, in addition to the aforementioned RTX 3060 graphics card. The efficiency of that GPU relies upon loads on how a lot energy every producer desires to permit it to attract. And on this case, it has a 75W most energy draw and may be boosted as much as 1,382MHz. After spending time with a number of RTX 3070-equipped gaming laptops with more headroom than that, I wasn’t anticipating a lot right here. Nonetheless, I used to be happy to see gaming efficiency in a number of titles getting round 60 frames per second with out requiring compromises within the settings.

Horizon Zero Daybreak, a system-intensive, open-world sport, ran at a mean of 60fps with extremely settings turned on. Testing Triton 300 SE’s RTX-enabled ray-tracing chops, Shadow of the Tomb Raider on extremely settings with the ray-tracing shadows set to medium obtained 61 frames per second. Turning the ray-tracing setting as much as extremely knocked it all the way down to 48fps. Working that sport with ray tracing set to extremely and Nvidia’s deep studying tremendous sampling (DLSS) approach turned on that lowers the render decision, then makes use of AI to upscale textures, Acer’s laptop computer achieved 55 frames per second, splitting the distinction. Pink Useless Redemption 2, one other demanding open-world sport, ran at 53 frames per second on extremely settings.

It’s not stunning that, with its newer elements, Acer’s laptop computer places up more favorable numbers than the 2020 G14 that had an RTX 2060. Efficiency may fare barely higher when it comes to 1080p efficiency, despite the fact that it equally makes use of the RTX 3060. That’s as a result of its graphics chip has a barely larger 80W energy ceiling in comparison with 75W within the Triton 300 SE, to not point out that its AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor has eight cores in comparison with the 4 cores with this eleventh Gen Intel processor.

The Triton 300 SE’s steel chassis successfully turns right into a heatsink to dissipate warmth beneath heavy use, and I seen it getting heat throughout gameplay. In contrast to most laptops, the warmth prolonged all the best way all the way down to the wrist relaxation, nevertheless it wasn’t bothersome. I respect the thought that went into the cooling system, which takes air in by the again, then pushes it out the edges of the laptop computer. Some laptops do the inverse of this, and it will possibly make truly utilizing laptops in your lap a bit of too toasty, even for non-gaming-related duties.

There’s a “Turbo” button situated above the principle batch of keys that overclocks the CPU and GPU, sending the followers loudly into overdrive. I didn’t want to make use of this mode to attain the body charges I cited earlier, and turning it on didn’t appear to make an enormous distinction throughout my testing. I additionally didn’t discover an considerable distinction utilizing it with Adobe Premiere Professional to export a 5-minute, 33-second 4K video. It took 5 minutes and 40 seconds to run by the take a look at. Contemplating the value and dimension of this machine, these outcomes rank extremely amongst different laptops we’ve examined lately.

Acer makes use of a 14-inch 1080p IPS 16:9 facet ratio panel with a 144Hz refresh charge with as much as 300 nits of brightness. Throughout basic use and gameplay, I’ve no complaints concerning the shade accuracy or brightness, although there’s some noticeable ghosting, doubtless attributed to the next response time that provides latency. Consequently, the mouse pointer doesn’t glide throughout the display as easily as I’ve seen on different excessive refresh charge screens, and it extends to gameplay trying a bit of blurry at occasions, trivializing the technical achievement of hitting 60 frames per second in video games, in addition to having a 144Hz refresh charge within the first place. Regardless of a number of requests for a touch upon the response time, Acer didn’t present the spec.

Moreover, this display’s viewing angles are far more restricted than I anticipate from an IPS panel. It’s simply viewable straight-on, however much less so from different angles except the brightness is amped up. Subsequent to the less-than-stellar battery life, it is a large miss for Acer that may be much less forgivable for avid gamers.

I used to be proper at dwelling with Acer’s keyboard, although, each when it comes to the format and really feel of the keys right here. This keyboard has three-zone backlit keys (you may customise every zone to be a unique shade in its Predator software program), and although many options require holding the “Fn” key to make use of, the format is intuitive and doesn’t really feel overly cramped.

The glass trackpad helps all the gestures I anticipate with Home windows Precision drivers, nevertheless it isn’t as conscious of my contact accurately. I believe it’s more a problem with the display’s response time than it is a matter with the trackpad. A fingerprint scanner you need to use as a substitute for a PIN is embedded within the top-left nook of the trackpad, however I’ve discovered that it solely works half the time. With that failure charge, I’d fairly simply have more trackpad actual property.

Acer included the necessities when it comes to ports. There are two USB Kind-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports — one on all sides, with the right-facing port having the ability to cost some units. The star of the present is the Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, which can be utilized to switch knowledge or join a show. Moreover, I’m pleased to see an HDMI 2.1 port, providing as much as 4K decision at 120 frames per second. There’s additionally a headphone combo jack and a DC-in port for its comparatively compact 180W energy brick. I want Acer allowed this laptop computer to be recharged by way of USB-C, nevertheless it’s all dealt with by the proprietary DC charging port.

Coming again to battery life, it’s not the most important flaw that this laptop computer can solely get between 5 and 6 hours of battery life per cost whereas utilizing apps like Microsoft Edge, Spotify, and Slack. The problem right here is that Acer claims it’s going to last as long as 10 hours, nevertheless it doesn’t outwardly point out that you just’ll solely get that form of longevity in case you’re doing one thing quite simple, like watching HD video with no different apps working. That’s tremendous in case you’re on an airplane for hours on finish, however most individuals depend on a laptop computer for more than that, so it’s removed from the most effective methodology for judging battery efficiency. Primarily based on my testing, the most effective outcomes it’s best to anticipate with gentle utilization is about six hours at most. It’s not unhealthy for a gaming laptop computer, nevertheless it retains the Triton 300 SE from hanging with the battery efficiency you will get from different ultrabooks and even the Zephyrus G14.

It was daring of Acer to leap into the ring in opposition to Asus’ Zephyrus G14, a gaming laptop computer that ticks quite a lot of containers (except for the lacking webcam) for the value. This can be a more elegant-looking machine than the G14, and in contrast instantly, it’s onerous to not respect its Thunderbolt 4 port and a webcam. It’s additionally a succesful performer with video games. However Asus proved {that a} gaming laptop computer may be more than only a highly effective machine. It could possibly even have good battery life for transportable use and competent construct high quality and not using a bunch of bloatware. The competitors is fierce, however the Triton 300 SE is more like prey than a bonafide Predator.

Pictures by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

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