Though you might be inclined to shrug off the names computer companies give to their gaming laptops, the Acer Predator may just be the exception to this general rule.
Unashamedly large, extremely powerful and housing more fans than a wind farm, it can hunt down and play games at a quality you’d normally believe was only possible on a desktop gaming PC.
In many ways, the Acer Predator looks exactly how you’d expect — it’s big and gaudy, with a red-backlit chiclet keyboard, a blue-backlit number pad and red accents on the directional and WASD keys.
But the refined quality becomes obvious in elements like the visual presets shortcut buttons, powdery matte-black skin, red aluminium fan grills and one of the most exceptionally responsive and nice feeling trackpads we’ve come across — which can be quickly disabled if you’re using a mouse.
The Predator’s Intel Core i7-6700HQ chip ran rings around all of the general home and work benchmarks we threw at it, and with 32GB of memory and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980M graphics processor, it even made mincemeat out of the general graphical benchmarking tests we put it through.
Though there is the usual 3.5mm audio-out jack for connecting up headphones, the Predator also houses an inbuilt 4.2-speaker surround sound system, with a speaker at each corner of the device and two subwoofers that combine to give you directional auditory information in games and surprisingly good quality audio.
The Killer Doubleshot Pro dual networking ports will prioritise your networked gaming data to run exclusively over the Ethernet connection, while all other online info flows through the remaining Wi-Fi port.
You do also get Acer’s Predator Dust Defender software, which lets you automate fan flow reversal to prevent dust buildup, and the optical drive can even be swapped out for another fan.
Although we are starting to see gaming laptops at this price-point emerge with 3K screens, like the Aorus X5, it’s by no means commonplace, and at 17 inches, you still won’t see higher than 1080p.
As such, the Predator’s 1,920 x 1,080 IPS LCD is perfectly adequate and will let you run games at higher frame rates with more bells and whistles.
When it actually came to gaming performance, the Predator scored higher than anything else we’ve tested with a single dedicated GPU, smashing titles that are a couple of years old on 1080p Ultra presets.
And adding further veracity to the Predator name, it did all this stealthily — well, the fans were at least only audible when within two meters, under general office audio conditions.
Yet, despite all this power, this beast actually has a decent amount of stamina too. You can stretch almost three hours of battery life from the Predator when using it for home-related tasks, a somewhat surprising result for something with this amount of grunt.
When you consider it’s reasonably priced for something with a top-of-the-line quad-core 6th-gen Intel chip and a Nvidia GTX 980M GPU, and that some bulk is to be expected from a 17-inch gaming laptop, we really can’t think of any glaring faults with this apex predator.
Verdict: An excellent no-compromise gaming heavyweight, but one that cost’s a pretty penny.