When we think of high-end gaming laptops, we often think of bulky and heavy machines. But the Acer Predator Triton 500 is nothing like that. In fact, it delivers some surprisingly high-end performance in what is a slim and relatively lightweight chassis.
Design and build quality
Despite the manageable chassis, the Triton 500 is solid feeling. It is primarily made of metal with minimal Predator branding on its lid. There is some rear spacing and venting for cooling the device which also looks fairly good and adds to the appeal of the laptop. One more thing to add is its hinge. It is quite solid and robust which is something you would expect for a laptop of this caliber.
While there is nothing too flashy about the device otherwise, we prefer this look. The more conventional design makes the laptop usable even for office environments, adding to its versatility. Perhaps slightly less flex to the display would make the device feel more robust but that is nitpicking.
Connectivity and I/O
Carrying over from its design, we are also fairly impressed with the laptop’s port selection. On the left edge of the laptop, you find the power input, an Ethernet port, a Type-A USB port, an HDMI port as well as separate microphone and headphone inputs. On the right side, there are two more Type-A USB ports, a Type-B USB port and a Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 2 port that supports 10Gbps transfers, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3. An additional fingerprint reader on this edge would have been a great addition. For the purpose of our review, we used the Type-C port to attach an additional dongle to the laptop to get more ports including an SD card reader, which is missing on the laptop by default. In terms of wireless connectivity, you find both WiFi 802.11ac support as well as Bluetooth 5.0.
In particular, we were impressed with the laptop’s wireless capabilities. Even when WiFi signals are low, the laptop is able to maintain a good connection. And that is not something we can say for other laptops. This may also be due to the laptop’s Killer DoubleShot Pro software support which optimizes traffic. But something that was a bit inconsistent was the laptop’s ability to become a hotspot device. When done via the Ethernet port, devices had a hard time connecting to the laptop for an odd reason. With my workflow, I have done this with many laptops in the past and this was the first one where I encountered this problem.
While the laptop also includes a camera, it is still fuzzy and not detailed unless you have plenty of light. We want to see some better quality ones from manufacturers going forward. Not just because of a widespread increase in the number of people using video services nowadays but also because gaming enthusiasts could then use the native camera for live streaming content.
Display and performance
The front panel of the Acer Predator Triton 500 is a Full HD resolution one with a 144Hz refresh rate. Quite impressively, you get an 81.3 per cent screen to body ration and 3ms response time. From a gaming sense, this is quite useful. But the panel can be used for casual multimedia consumption as well. The IPS style panel has anti-glare properties which helps when watching content under direct light. However, the panel in itself is not too bright with contrast levels on the lower end too. As such, you will lose out on minute details in the dark when watching multimedia and during gaming. This though, is fairly minor and perhaps an easy solution for it is to attach the laptop to an external display.
As for internals, you are looking at high-end but slightly outdated specifications. On board, you find a hexa-core Intel Core i7-9750H 9th generation processor at 2.60GHz. This is paired with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 1TB of SSD storage in our review device with sequential read and write speeds of 3,223MB/s and 2,759MB/s respectively. The 16GB of RAM can become a bottleneck during heavy multitasking and video editing and so can the 1TB of storage. However these days, high-end games take up a lot of storage. And as such, we would steer away from the laptop’s configuration with 512GB of SSD storage. Even with our variant, we can see serious gaming enthusiasts run out of storage space fairly quickly. If you are one of them, considering external storage could be a good option.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard on the Triton 500 delivers great performance. During my use case, the keys were deep and satisfying to press, which is nice. They also increased my overall typing speed by a few words per minute. Coupled with Acer’s PredatorSense technology, you can customize the color of the keys. The software defaults the keyboard to a teal color but offers users up to 168 million different hues. You can customize the keyboard in three zones and there are plenty of presets for you to choose from. To push the experience to the next level though, Acer could have thrown in a few custom keyboard buttons or perhaps a volume slider for more intuitive controls.
As far as the trackpad goes, it too is great. In our usage, it has remained tactile and responsive which is great. However, its response is not uniform all across the trackpad. Pressing it on the top left and right edges results in inconsistent feedback which some may find difficult adjusting to coming from a premium experience such as the one found on a MacBook.
Accompanying the processing power of the laptop is the NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q edition GPU. This comes with 8GB of dedicated VRAM and for the majority of your gaming experience, you should face no issues. During our testing, we tried Apex Legends, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and Call of Duty: Warzone and all the titles ran extremely well. The more graphic heavy games did dip to just shy of 65fps at some stages however even so, the experience was more than playable. But bear in mind, this is at Full HD+ resolution. For enthusiasts wanting to game at a higher resolution, the power on-board may not be enough to support games at their highest settings. More so, to enjoy your games at 144fps, you will need to tone down on some gaming settings when playing but this is not a big deal.
And we say that because by doing so, you are truly taking advantage of the laptop’s 144Hz panel. But from an overall perspective, the laptop should have no trouble playing your favorite games, whether they are graphic rich or not. And we are confident this will be the case at least a few years to come, with the card also supporting ray tracing to a decent degree. However, gaming on this does ramp up its fans. The fans do get quite loud but at least the laptop stays relatively cool. Furthermore, the loud ambient noise does not necessarily help when it comes to the machine’s weak speaker performance. But who games without headphones these days anyway?
We think the Acer Triton 500 is an enviable option when it comes to its hardware package. Although, a more recent laptop version with the latest 10th generation Intel Core-i7 processors and NVIDIA’s Super GPU lineup is also now available. That being said, this particular unit of the Triton 500 is also not bad by any means. And if you can find yourself a deal on it, it could be worth it as an all-purpose laptop that is not only easy to carry but reliable too.