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Acer gets serious about gaming with Predator PCs, laptops and a tablet

Curved Predator monitor with G-sync completes Acer's new line-up of gaming laptops and desktop PCs

Acer had great success with the Aspire Nitro V, a capable gaming laptop disguised as a mainstream model, but the company has decided that there’s no substitute for raw performance. It announced a slew of dedicated gaming laptops, desktops and even a tablet at today’s #keepasking event, which look set to rival the likes of Asus and MSI with top-end hardware and a moody angular design.

Predator laptop

The Predator laptop has customisable buttons, which let you assign macros and actions when in-game in a similar manner to desktop gaming keyboards. There’s also a subwoofer on the bottom, along with an easy access panel for upgrading storage or RAM. The angular design and massive cooling vents on the back of the machine are more than a little reminiscent of the Asus G750JZ we reviewed last year, and it’s certainly not thin or light enough to carry around with you everywhere, but if gaming performance is all that matters it should be able to provide smooth frame rates at Acer’s typically competitive prices.

The Predator desktop is fairly compact for a gaming PC, with a mixture of sharp lines and angular curves. It certainly looks mean, especially with red activity LEDs and the Transformers-like Predator logo on the side, but the components within are a mystery. Acer would only promise “the latest graphics, the latest processors, and the latest chipsets”.

Today’s announcement was more a statement of intent than a full blown product launch; the models on display during our hands-on session were dummy units with no working hardware inside, and Acer isn’t yet ready to discuss specific components. We were promised next generation Intel processors, meaning Broadwell will be on board in time for launch, and we can expect the most powerful graphics cards available, as well as SSD storage and at least 8GB of RAM.

The one working unit was the Predator Z36, a giant 35in curved gaming monitor equipped with Nvidia’s screen tear-defeating G-Sync technology. The looping demo on display certainly looked smooth, with an FPS counter indicating it was running at a variable frame rate between 45 and 60fps, yet we couldn’t see any signs of screen tear. The 144Hz panel will likely give it an edge over competing ultra-wide panels like LG’s 34UM67 Freesync monitor.

Finally, Acer is also planning a Predator Tablet, which should be the most powerful handheld gaming device the company has ever produced. It is set to include four forward facing speakers for immersive audio and haptic feedback to provide a similar response to force feedback in a console controller, only in a tablet.

Again, we have no specific details regarding hardware, and the model we were shown was a non-functioning dummy unit so we can’t vouch for performance or even build quality, but it’s a bold launch in the face of Nvidia’s own Shield tablet. With no PC streaming technology (Nvidia’s Gamestream is proprietary and unlikely to appear on rival devices) it remains to be seen what will set the Predator tablet apart from its main competition.

The Predator notebooks will be arriving in Q3 as 15in and 17in models, followed by the Predator desktop in Q4. The Predator tablet is also expected to arrive later this year, although we’ve yet to learn exactly when.