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Acer Predator Triton 900 review: Hybrid gaming head-spinner

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £4000

Like the Acer ConceptD 9, the Acer Predator Triton 900 has a spinning hinged display. Will gamers use it, though?


  • Huge 4K touchscreen
  • Incredible performance
  • Novel rotating hinged display


  • Insanely loud fans
  • Far too pricey for most
  • 60Hz refresh rate not ideal for gaming

Gaming laptops aren’t renowned for their subtlety. Typically oversized, noisy and coated in RGB lighting, they’re easily the most garish form of laptop going. As for the Acer Predator Triton 900, it might be the most outlandish machine of them all. Sure, it has a touch more class than some gaming notebooks out there, with a premium all-metal design and muted colour scheme, but its unique rotating hinged display is a serious head-turner.

Besides its unusual design, the Predator Triton 900 stands out for its unbelievable performance. There are few laptops on the market that can match it for raw power, but do you really need all that juice for gaming? And even if you do, are there any rival machines that would serve you better?

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Acer Predator Triton 900 review: What you need to know

Back in April of 2019, we attended the New York unveiling of the Acer ConceptD 9, and the Acer Predator Triton 900 is essentially the gaming equivalent, with similar dimensions, a similar spec and that same hinged display design. It’s a gigantic Windows 10 machine that weighs 4.5kg (power supply not included) and measures 428 x 303.3 x 23.8mm. Not the kind of notebook you’ll be cracking open at the coffee shop to bosh out some emails, then.

I’ve been sent the top-spec edition of the Acer Predator Triton 900 for review. By anyone’s standards, it’s a seriously impressive loadout. Acer has equipped it with a 9th-Gen octa-core Intel Core i9-9980HK processor that has a base frequency of 2.4GHz and maxes out at 5GHz. This is helped along by 32GB RAM – the maximum that the Triton 900 can hold. Graphics responsibilities are shouldered by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 mobile GPU, while two 512GB PCIe SSD drives give you 1TB of storage; enough to hold a decent-sized library of games.

The Acer Predator Triton 900’s 17.3in IPS touch display has a 4K resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, though this limits the refresh rate of the panel to 60Hz. That’s considerably lower than the 144Hz or even 240Hz panels that have become the industry standard on high-end 1080p gaming laptops, and that, unfortunately, means that the Triton 900 cannot display games at the high frame rates aspiring professional gamers prefer – even though it potentially has enough internal power to run some games at 4K at above 60Hz. Effectively, you’re trading off higher frame rates for the higher resolution, which might leave some gamers cold – not that many of us could afford to buy it anyway.

Acer Predator Triton 900 review: Price and competition

And that’s because the top-spec Acer Predator Triton 900 costs a bank-busting £4,000. For those who wince at dropping anything over a grand on a new laptop, this is a frankly ludicrous price tag. At the time of writing, this model is not actually available to buy in the UK, but once it lands it will be sold by Box, Scan, Overclockers and Currys PC World.

In a rush to buy one? Don’t worry, because there are lower-spec variants up for grabs right now, including an Intel Core i7-9750H model with 16GB RAM sold at Currys PC World for £3,800. Acer is selling the same machine, albeit with 32GB RAM, on its webstore for £4,000, while Scan is selling two slightly different configurations from £3,550. All of these have the same 4K, 60Hz touch-enabled display as my review model.

What of the competition, though? There’s only one laptop that can stand toe-to-toe with the Triton 900, and that’s the Alienware Area 51-m. I recently reviewed the top-spec model, sold by Dell for £4,000, and it’s the most powerful laptop ever tested at Expert Reviews.

The Area-51m truly is a beast, packing an Intel Core i9-9900K that overclocks to 5.5GHz, 32GB RAM (expandable to 64GB) and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU. Its 17.3in display has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, lower than the Triton 900’s, but it compensates for this by having a refresh rate of 144Hz. This means it has higher on-screen frame rates and provides a smoother gaming experience, even though the two laptops’ components are pretty evenly matched. Of course, the Area-51m does not have a rotating touch display but, arguably, that feature doesn’t have much use for gaming anyway.

Those after a powerful gaming laptop with a more compact form factor might look into the Razer Blade 15 (2019), a gorgeous, slimline powerhouse with a fantastic 240Hz FHD display. Running on a 9th-Gen i7-9750H, 16GB RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, it delivers phenomenal performance on all fronts. And it’s all yours for £2,880 from Razer. Unlike many high-end gaming laptops, it’s easily portable, slotting nicely into an average-sized backpack.

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Acer Predator Triton 900 review: Design

To call the Triton 900 ‘portable’, however, would be to stretch the definition of the word to breaking point. Its hefty body is essentially one massive chunk of solid metal. And while it looks nice sitting on a tabletop, it doesn’t feel too good when it’s sitting on your lap. It’s a monster of a machine and if you were planning to move it around from place to place you’d definitely want to invest in a specialised gaming laptop rucksack. With those hefty rear and side vents and jutting Ezel Aero Hinges it’s an imposing sight and becomes even more so once you raise the lid.

Those bulky hinges allow the Triton 900’s display to tilt on its X-axis, flipping back as far as 180 degrees. This adds a great deal of multi-functionality to the device, as you can adjust the angle of the display to suit your working needs. This feature could be especially useful for those who use a standing desk, as you can pull the hinges forward in front of the keyboard and then swivel the screen, altering your proximity to the display without having to move the whole laptop. Designers and artists would probably get the most out of using the Triton 900 in tablet mode. Gamers, not so much.

The screen image flips when the display is rotated into a backwards-facing position, and in Acer’s marketing, this is depicted as a good way to play games, putting the main body of the laptop behind the display so that you can be closer to the action. Personally, I found it a handy way to show colleagues sitting opposite me what was on my screen; simply flip, wait for auto-rotate to kick in, then flip back to continue working.

As are most gaming laptops, the Triton 900 is absolutely chock full of ports spread across the back, right and left, although much of the real estate along the edges is consumed by the air vents. On the right edge is an RJ45 Ethernet Jack, one USB Type-A 3.1 port, one USB Type-C (with DisplayPort) and one USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port. Next to the latter is the power button which, in my opinion, has been poorly placed because I accidentally pressed it quite frequently when inserting or removing cables from the Thunderbolt 3 connector. Next to the power switch is a Kensington Lock Slot.

Over on the left are two 3.5mm jacks, one for a headset and one for a mic, plus two USB Type-A 2.0 ports. Oddly, one of these Type-A ports is concealed within a hatch set into the base. This hatch swivels outwards, allowing you to remove the dummy connector and then slot in your desired USB-dongle (such as that for a wireless mouse), then swivel the hatch closed, thus keeping your USB-attachment out of view while you work or play. I’m not sure of the point, really. Lastly, on the back edge, you’ve got an HDMI 2.0 output, a full-sized DisplayPort and the proprietary power port.

Acer Predator Triton 900 review: Keyboard and touchpad

Now onto a more disappointing aspect of the Triton 900’s design. Acer has followed the Asus ROG model with its keyboard and touchpad arrangement, shunting the keyboard in front to make way for the fan intake above. You can actually see one of the fans glowing from within through a semi-transparent window; a silly feature that doesn’t look anywhere near as cool as it sounds. Meanwhile, the touchpad has been pushed into the bottom right corner and flipped at a right angle. This doubles as a digital numeric keypad, another feature nabbed from Asus machines like the ROG Zephyrus GX701.

The keyboard itself is sub-par. The keys feel tacky and cheap, in contrast to the premium feel of the laptop’s chassis, and each key press elicits a tinny-sounding clack. There’s not a lot of weight to them, basically. Above and to the left of the main keyboard layout sits a row of shortcut keys.

As for the touchpad, it’s comically small for a laptop of this size and frustrating to use because of the lack of space it gives you. If you’re buying one of these, a mouse is essential and I can’t imagine many gamers doing without one, anyway. The right and left-clickers that sit below the touchpad feel a little cheap too, much like the keys of the main keyboard. I will say that the digital numpad feature on the pad works nicely. It’s responsive and very easy to turn on and off.

Acer Predator Triton 900 review: Display

One of my main gripes with gaming laptops is the rampant use of hyper-glossy display finishes which reflect light and distract from the on-screen action. I’m sorry to report that the 17.3in IPS display on the Predator Triton 900 is a particularly glossy offender, but at least you can adjust the angle so it’s not pointing at any light sources. Reflective finish aside, the display quality still isn’t that great considering how much Acer is charging.

Sure, it’s got a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution but all those pixels don’t make it any more colour accurate. Using a colorimeter and DisplayCAL software I measured an sRGB gamut coverage of 98.6% and an sRGB gamut volume of 149.4%, which means that the Triton 900 is capable of reproducing much of the sRGB gamut but overshoots massively. Blues, reds, greens and whites are all way off target.

The oversaturation of colours is evident at a glance, and the numbers back this up: an average Delta E of 5.65 makes this one of the least accurate displays I’ve tested in months, and it’s totally unsuitable for professional photo or video work. There goes the appeal for designers and artists who might be interested in the rotating touchscreen.

The maximum brightness measurement of 326cd/m2 means the display is perfectly visible in indoor conditions, so long as it’s not reflecting any lights. And as for the contrast ratio of 1075:1, it’s neither impressive nor unimpressive. Yes, it could be better, but it provides an adequate amount of contrast between dark and light, so you can still what’s going on in shadow-heavy games like Metro: Last Light and Hitman.

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Acer Predator Triton 900 review: Performance and battery life

Which brings me neatly onto the performance of the Predator Triton 900. I’ll go over gaming benchmarks in a moment, but first, the big one: the Expert Reviews in-house 4K test. Our custom Bench application is designed to put laptops through the wringer, straining the CPU, GPU and thermal management systems to their limit. Unsurprisingly, given the impressive spec, the Triton 900 performed admirably, smashing out an overall speed of 291. That’s the second-fasted in Expert Reviews history, though still some way behind the Alienware Area-51m’s supersonic score of 310.

What does this score mean, exactly? Well, to put it into perspective, it’s on par with many high-end desktop PCs and the Predator will chew up any task you throw at it, from multi-tasking to file conversion, demanding video editing apps, 3D rendering work and so on. You name it, the Triton 900 can do it, and stay cool all the while: at no point during my testing did any individual core exceed a temperature of 94 °C, while the majority went no further than the mid-80s.

What the Triton 900 will not do, however, is keep quiet. When the internals are running at full tilt the fans go into overdrive, and my goodness are they loud. Obnoxiously loud. 78 decibels loud, according to the sound level meter I placed on the table next to the laptop. Noise-canceling headphones are recommended.

For another example of the Triton 900’s incredible CPU power, it’s worth studying the GeekBench 4 chart above. As you can see, the Triton 900 and Area-51m possess internals far more powerful than their competitors within the gaming laptop sphere, achieving multi-core scores of 32,392 and 32,234 respectively.

But it’s the RTX 2080-powered gaming you want to know about, right? In the GFXBench Car Chase test, the Triton 900 pushed off-screen frame rates to an unprecedented average of 430.2fps, besting even the Area-51m, which scored 415.9fps. The on-screen results are a different matter, of course, with the Triton 900’s 60Hz panel setting a 60fps limiter on the action.

When it comes to more ‘real-world’ gaming tests, the Triton 900 begins to fall behind the Area-51m. Take the Metro: Last Light 1080p benchmark, which the Predator Triton 900 ran at an average of 155.3fps – barely any better than the Acer Predator Helios 500, which is £1,800 cheaper. Under the same conditions, the mighty Area-51m pushed the Metro benchmark to an average frame rate of 213fps.

IO Interactive’s Hitman 2 has one of the most demanding benchmarks of any game in existence. Running the Hitman 2 1080p Mumbai benchmark on high settings, the Triton 900 cranked out an average of 57.86fps, only slightly below its refresh rate. Few laptops out there could manage such a feat, and even the Area-51m was a tad behind at 54.7fps.

The Hitman 2 benchmark is considerably shorter than the Metro benchmark we run, so thermal management comes into play more on that test. Because the Triton 900 scored better than the Area-51m in the shorter test but worse in the longer test, I’d have to assume that the Area-51m has the more efficient cooling system of the two.

If you buy a Triton 900 you’ll no doubt be eager to save your games library as quickly as possible and boot up a session right away. In which case, you’ll be grateful for the impressive storage speeds of its dual 512GB PCIe SSDs. The Triton 900 is in a league of its own here, with its drives managing sequential read speeds of 3,027MB/s and sequential write speeds of 2,781MB/s. As the chart above indicates, it’s unusual for a laptop to have such incredible read rates, and even rarer that the write rates match them so closely.

No matter what you’re using the Triton 900 for, be it gaming or editing or just watching a film, you definitely won’t want to separate it from its power source. In our standardised battery rundown test, it went from a full charge to dead after only 1hr 57mins of video playback. The same goes with any laptop of this magnitude, though, so the short-lived battery hardly comes as a shock.

Acer Predator Triton 900 review: Verdict

I’d be surprised if anyone who’s got this far into the review is still considering purchasing an Acer Predator Triton 900. That’s if anyone was, to begin with. It’s a £4,000 laptop, after all, and far, far above what the average consumer is prepared to pay. Unless money is no object, I’d suggest going for something less ludicrously pricey, such as the Razer Blade 15 (2019) or the Asus ROG Strix Scar III, both of which offer great gaming performance and 240Hz refresh rates.

And even if money is no object, I’d still nudge you towards that other four grand behemoth, the Alienware Area-51m, because of its superior benchmark results, higher refresh rate and better display quality, even given the lower screen resolution. It may not have an exciting rotating hinged panel like the one on the Triton 900, but does it really need one? The spinning screen is fun to play with for a few minutes, but if you’re after a gaming laptop then you want something that’s going to stay fun for hundreds of hours.

Acer Predator Triton 900 specifications
ProcessorOcta-core Intel Core i9-9980HK,
2.4GHz (Base) to 5GHz (Max),
9th-Gen, Coffee Lake,
Launched Q2 2019
Total memory slots2
Max. memory32GB
Graphics adapterNvidia GeForce RTX 2080
Graphics memory8GB GDDR6
Storage1TB (512GB PCIe SSD x2)
Screen size17.3in
Screen resolution3,840 x 2,160 (4K)
Pixel density254.67
Screen typeLCD IPS, 60Hz
Pointing devicesTouchpad, touchscreen
Optical driveNo
Memory card slotNo
3.5mm audio jackYes
Graphics outputsHDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4,
USB Type-C 3.1 (DisplayPort),
USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3
Other portsRJ45 Ethernet Jack, 3.5mm mic
jack, USB Type-A 2.0,
USB Type-A 3.1 x 2,
Kensington Lock Slot,
Proprietary power port
Web Cam2MP, 1,920 x 1,080 @ 30fps
SpeakersQuad speakers
Wi-FiKiller Wireless-AC 1550 802.11ac
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0
Dimensions (WDH)428 x 303.3 x 23.8mm
Battery size71.9Wh (design capacity),
68.8Wh (full charge capacity)
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
Operating system restore optionWindows restore partition