The ideal gaming notebook is one that balances performance with aesthetics, weight, and battery life.
Acer chucked all of that out the window with the Predator Triton 900, and instead cranked the performance and cool features, and threw out notions like good battery life and keeping weight down.
The result is a very heavy but kick-ass gaming notebook that keeps games playing at more than 60fps at 4K, at full detail, on a screen that’s a joy to look at, just not for very long on battery.
It’ll meet the performance needs of a modern gamer looking for a gaming notebook, for sure. What the Triton 900 won’t do, however, is meet the needs of anyone on a budget.
If you want one of these, you’re going to need a suitcase full of money. Maybe two.
More on that later.
The Inside Story
First, the good bits: the hardware.
On the inside you’ll find top-tier components: 32GB of fast DDR4 RAM, an 8GB GeForce RTX 2080, a high-end Core i7 processor, and two 512GB NVME SSDs in RAID 0 for super-fast OS boots and generous data storage.
Acer went with a very clicky mechanical RGB keyboard which feels great to type on, and the smooth and responsive trackpad is conveniently placed right next to it.
Of course it’s the screen that steals the show, as it’s not only a 17.3inch G-Sync-enabled IPS 4K panel, but it’s convertible and can be arranged to flip, extend, or recline into a range of handy positions.
It’s a handy feature that let me game comfortably with the machine on my lap, with the screen arranged so I felt no neck-strain at all. Good stuff. That it’s also a touchscreen is a bonus.
Great for gaming
Every game that I threw at it played flawlessly, too, thanks to the RTX 2080. Control with RTX on looks amazing, The Witcher 3 ran like butter, The Division 2 was silky smooth, and it tore up every 3DMark benchmark I put it through. It was a real pleasure to game on.
I compared it to my home rig, a 1080 Ti-powered machine with a 9th Gen Intel chip, and I was surprised to see the Triton 900 lagging a bit behind my desktop system in 3DMark.
The gaming experience was very close, however, and I can’t really say I felt like the Triton 900 was any worse than my rig, but for sure the only way it was “better” was due to its support for NVIDIA’s new ray-tracing tech.
Overall, I was very happy with the performance delivered by the system. It’s definitely capable, and a great option if 4K gaming at or above 60fps is your jam.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my gaming notebook
Which is good, because that performance ensures gamers won’t mind developing back problems lugging the Triton 900 around.
Honestly, this is one heavy-ass notebook. Official figures put it at 4.5kgs; that’s largely because it’s made of CNC machined metal, which gives it a premium feel, but really that’s a lot and I absolutely felt it while carrying the notebook around.
Fortunately it’s not commensurately thick, and is rather just thick enough to accommodate a good selection of ports (USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet). As a result I can say I really like the look and feel of the Triton 900.
Since you’ll be spending upwards of R110k (yes really!) on this bad boy, believe me, you’re going to want to feel that your money is well spent. I am happy to say that with the Triton 900’s excellent metal build and smart finishes, you’ll definitely get that sense.
Your wallet may disagree, however.
Battery life turned out to not be all that great. One night of loadshedding saw me pop on a movie, but even though it was a standard hour and a half flick and I kept the screen brightness down, the notebook died 20 minutes before the end.
I tried gaming on battery once it was recharged, and got 45 minutes into Control before the notebook said sayonara. So no, this thing is not wonderful when you’re not hooked up to the mains.
Ultimately, my thoughts on the Triton 900 turned out to be pretty conflicted. On the one hand, it’s a desktop replacement in the literal sense, and can easily handle any task I, as a gamer, writer, and consumer of internet content am likely to throw at it.
On the other, it’s big and bulky and really heavy and so I doubt I’d want to move around with it much. I would thus probably leave it permanently set up on a desk, connected to a bigger monitor.
But that way its value as a portable gaming machine would be massively diminished, because it wouldn’t offer me much benefit over a desktop PC I could build myself that would undoubtedly offer better performance and cost far less money at the same time.
So, is the Acer Predator Triton 900 a very nice gaming notebook? Absolutely, positively, yes. Acer’s done a great job putting in the right kind of hardware to drive the kind of gaming experience even hardcore gamers will like, the convertible screen looks really nice and is practical and functional, the keyboard types nicely and the RGB lighting is appreciated. That its battery life is not amazing isn’t much of an issue, since it’ll likely end up attached to a desk with power always nearby anyway.
Well, when Eskom is supplying it, that is.
But is it a smart buy? Absolutely, positively, no. R110k for all of this is just ridiculous, and even if you decide to import one from overseas and pay just over half that (before import duties and delivery costs), it’s still too expensive.
Sure, the rand sucks and is being buffeted just like all other emerging market currencies at the moment thanks to the coronavirus shenanigans happening in China right now, but any way you slice it R110k is a lot of money.
Rather spend R40k (or less) on an actual desktop gaming PC.
If you’re looking to show off your BDE, however, by all means snap up a Triton 900 or three to show your friends. I can’t argue that it isn’t a great machine, it’s just really bloody expensive.