Welcome to T3's review of the Acer Predator Triton 500, a fast gaming laptop which doesn't exactly skimp on the power - this is a monster of a performer with a lot going for it besides gaming prowess.
If you're looking for a high-end laptop for work, or (more likely) one of the best gaming laptops able to kick even AAA titles into gear, you've found it - but the price is likely to make the Predator Triton 500 a little out of reach for those on a budget.
I've been lucky enough to spend a few weeks with the Predator Triton 500, so let's break down what's hot, what could be improved, and why you should give it strong consideration as your next gaming PC - and yes, I'd include specced-up desktop beasts in that equation.
Acer Predator Triton 500 review: design and build quality
It's easy to argue that a high-end laptop has to hit a certain level of build quality. A sturdy frame, clever cooling, blow-away looks; they're a vital part of the package. Acer scores big here in almost every respect.
The case of the Predator Triton 500 is a satisfying aluminium on top and bottom, giving it an air of indestructibility, though my confidence in the top lid isn't the highest - there's a higher-than-expected level of flex in the screen section, particularly next to something like the Asus ROG Zephyrus 14. That could just be a case of geometry, of course - the 15.6" panel here is clearly larger than the Zephyrus' 14-incher - but I would have appreciated a little more bracing.
Let's pick one more nit before moving on to what's good: there's a row of media keys on the right hand side of the Predator Triton's keyboard which, honestly, I would rather weren't there. It's hard to find a winning formula when you're putting together a laptop keyboard, but untrained touch typists who habitually use the right shift key (ahem) may find themselves taking a bit longer to get used to things.
Aside from that it's hard to find fault with what Acer has produced here. Everything feels right. The RGB-illuminated keyboard is shifted slightly to the front of the base to make room for a large exhaust at the rear, a clever use of space, and the adoption of a Max-Q designed graphics package means the Predator Triton 500 manages a remarkably thin profile. Those gamery design notes are in there, sure, but they're subtle enough.
Acer Predator Triton 500 review: specs and hardware
Geekbench benchmark scores
Geekbench CPU single: 5390
Geekbench CPU multi: 22315
Geekbench compute: 228443
I've mentioned the Max-Q graphics card, so let's start there: Acer has wedged in a seriously strong 8GB Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 SUPER, which (at time of writing) sits at the very top end of laptop pixel-pushers; 30-series mobile graphics devices are coming, but we're yet to see what they'll be able to do, particularly in a space as small as this one.
To help you make the most of that graphical prowess, Acer has buddied the graphics card up with a 300Hz panel which can overdrive to 3ms response time and supports G-Sync. This is just about the best one-two punch you could ask for at this point; the panel itself is not without a couple of minor drawbacks, as we'll discover, but it's certainly an impressive combo.
Even better: the graphics package is backed up by Intel's Core i7 10750H processor, a chip that easily balances cooling and performance (unless you really push it), there's a full 16GB DDR4 memory, 1TB NVMe storage, high speed networking both of the wired and wireless variety, and a very generous selection of ports.
So the Acer Predator Triton 500 is, it's fair to say, specced right up to the eyeballs. But how does it perform?
Acer Predator Triton 500 review: gaming and performance
3DMark benchmark scores
Time spy: 8032
Fire strike ultra: 5059
Fire strike extreme: 9657
Fire strike: 17639
Night raid: 39692
Sky Diver: 38523
In a word, buttery. This is smooth, strong, powerful stuff. Nothing we tried could really best it, and every game I played in testing felt absolutely fantastic - from Sniper Elite 4 to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Predator Triton 500 hit high numbers and very slick performance.
That's not a huge surprise. G-Sync generally helps things feel smooth, and FHD resolution is low enough that the 2080 SUPER doesn't get too terribly taxed. Not that it's not working hard - the fans do ramp up significantly when things get complex - but frame drops and throttling didn't crop up in gaming tests or during benchmarking activities. This is a true desktop replacement laptop. The upgrade path may not be as good as that of a desktop PC, and it may not be a magical panacea which can drag outrageous FPS numbers out of something like Cyberpunk 2077 on Ultra with RTX enabled (not much is, at this point) but it's a brilliant experience. Switch on Nvidia's DLSS, and the 2080 SUPER can carve through just about anything.
The only real issue, and it's a tiny one, is the panel, which is (at 300Hz) plenty fast to update but can look quite washed out at times. It's also not blessed with the best vertical viewing angles, so you'll need to get a good head-on view, and it's lower-res than many competitors. I think it's a payoff that's worth it, but if 4K and eye-melting contrast are more your bag, this might not be the laptop for you.
Acer Predator Triton 500 review: verdict
It's not cheap, and there's a hardware upgrade lurking on the horizon, but I absolutely love the Predator Triton 500. It promises a lot, it absolutely delivers. If you're happy with the fact that you're pretty locked down in terms of its specs, this is absolutely a viable replacement for a big-box desktop PC.
If you want power you're going to have to pay for it. The Predator Triton 500 is specced-up and tough enough to keep you gaming on the go for years to come, but you're going to have to be very serious about using it if you don't want to look back sourly on your investment when the time comes to move on.