Intro and Design
Oh Acer, let me count the ways. The ways your monitors absolutely thrash the competition. The ways your new Predator laptop makes gaming geeks everywhere drool in envy. I could go on, but let's rewind to me practically attacking the FedEx guy as he dropped off the Acer Predator 15 gaming laptop. Immediately, like most of the Predator series, I was impressed with the overall simplicity of the packaging but the high quality of every component. As I pulled out the unit itself, I was surprised that for a 15" laptop, it's not lightweight or compact in any way, shape, or form. Regardless, every square inch is screaming quality and it was begging to be pushed to the max (See detailed specs below).
Basically, our review unit was rocking with a GTX 980M, 32GB (!) of RAM, 512 SSD, etc. Enough to talk on today's most demanding titles. I was stoked but I was a little misled by the GSYNC sticker on the unit. The builtin display is not GSYNC capable but you can hook an external GSYNC monitor in via the DisplayPort connector. Bummer it's not built in! Either way, this is an extremely solid piece of workmanship and the quality factor is off the charts. The Predator FrostCore also rounds out the package with the option between a Blu-ray drive and the FrostCore, you can swap back and forth. Suh-weeeeet!
Let's talk turkey. The Acer Predator 15 is screaming fast with even the most demanding games. Rise of the Tomb Raider? Cupcakes to this beast. We were able to max that game out at 1080p and it was silky smooth. Fallout 4, Layers of Fear, Firewatch and all the games we've been playing as of late looked absolutely stunning on the 1920x1080 IPS display. This is one of the better mobile displays I've seen in quite some time. Blacks were inky, colors were vibrant and it's the perfect resolution to rock with the GTX 980M. The Predator FrostCore cooler was also fabulous in this regard. During some gaming session, I hit over 81C but with the FrostCore, I never went above 74C! Rock solid temps for a very high performance laptop. Kudos to Acer and Cooler Master on that one.
The sound with built in speakers and subwoofer were also impressive mainly in the volume category. I cranked that bad boy in several environments and I'm pretty sure the peeps in the hotel room next to me weren't happy. Hey, better than the banging headboard I've been kept up frequently on so many nights on the road! Anywho, the quality of the audio of just average but the volume is nuts. Also, the wireless and download speeds I experienced were rock solid which is always a tossup with laptops. Overall, this is an extremely impressive and blazing fast machine that will bring years of gaming envy to your cohorts.
Value and Conclusion
This area is a bit more difficult to wrap my mind around around as there are a lot of high performing laptops for around or above $2000. I would say the biggest strengths of the Predator 15 is rock solid design, quality components, a gorgeous display, beefy options (up to 64GB of RAM!), and the FrostCore option. The downside? Extremely heavy and bulky for the specs. It's definitely not for the mobile warrior that is constantly on the go as it's not nimble by any means. Overall, I had an absolute blast with it and would consider it one of the highest end builds we've had the privileged of enjoying. So, if you want the best of the best and aren't afraid of weight and size, this baby is for you. We live in an amazing time with horsepower of this magnitude in laptop and this is an incredible machine for said time. I can't wait to see what Acer does next with their Predator line as I've been nothing but impressed so far.
15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px resolution, matte, non-touch
Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ CPU, quad-core 2.6 GHz (3.5 Ghz TBoost)
Integrated Intel HD 530 + Nvidia GTX 980M 4GB
32 GB DDR4 2133Mhz (2xDIMMs)
512 GB NVMe SSD + 1 TB 2.5″ HDD
Wireless AC Qualcomm Atheros , Gigabit LAN, Intel Bluetooth 4.0
4x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1(Thunderbolt 3), HDMI, DisplayPort, mic, earphone, SD card reader, LAN
391 mm or 15.39” (w) x 300 mm or 11.8” (d) x 39 mm or 1.53” (h)
3.6 kg or 7.93 lb
Two-tone backlit keyboard with macro keys, 4.2 sound system, optical drive and replacement cooling unit included