So you guys have no doubt seen this behemoth in news and reviews over the past few months – it made its debut at CES in January, and since then, has been blowing everyone’s minds by its very existence. This is the Acer Predator 21X. It costs 9 thousand US dollars, weighs 20 pounds, and is the first and only gaming laptop if you can call it that, with a curved 21 by 9 display. Acer gave us an opportunity to try it out, so I thought I’d give my thoughts on the bewildering fact of this monstrosity’s existence.
Let’s try to describe the key features of the Predator right off the bat. The ultrawide display is IPS for accurate colour and measures 21 inches across with a resolution of 2560 by 1080, 120Hz refresh rate, support for G-Sync, and a curve of 2000R. Powering the beast is an overclockable Intel Core i7-7820HK, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and two Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080s in SLI. Storage is two 512GB PCIe NVMe SSDs in Raid 0, which practically means a 1TB boot drive, and another 1TB hard drive for extra storage. The full-size mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX brown switches is fully programmable and lit by RGB LEDs.
And then there’s the features that aren’t just impressive, they make you go “okaaay. Come onn.” The trackpad on the right can be removed and flipped over, revealing a number pad, also LED lit. 6 hotkeys on the left allow you to set custom actions. The default set allows you to push one button to overclock your CPU or GPU, and max the fan speed, if you want to simulate a jet taking off real quick. The first button allows you to cycle through 3 different sets of 5, for a total of 15 custom macro keys. This machine also has Tobii eye tracking built in, so you can control aspects of games like Assassin’s Creed, Deus Ex, and others just simply using your eyes. We talked about Tobii eye tracking in THIS video, the link will be there if you wanna check that out.
I/O options are… robust, to say the least – 4 USB 3.0 ports, one of which supports charging while the laptop is off, a Type C port with USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3, headphone and mic jacks, SD card reader, HDMI 2.0, 2 Display Ports, Ethernet jack, and a Kensington lock. And oh yeah – two power connectors, because this thing has two power bricks. That panel with a dragon serpent thing on the front comes off from taking out a single screw to reveal the hard drive and half of the RAM, which can both be swapped out. And the art panel can also be replaced by a number of other options. There’s another maintenance panel on the bottom that gives access to the 4 m.2 SSD drive bays and the other 2 RAM slots.
Now we didn’t do a ton of benchmarks on this thing, because there’s lots out there. This is the fastest laptop you can buy. The dual GTX 1080s consistently get over 100 FPS in games at the highest settings. I think it’s safe to say that if you’re buying a laptop for the price of a budget car, you won’t be wanting in the performance department. And even if you managed to tax the system so much that your framerate dips below 100, G-Sync smooths everything out very nicely. The fan system keeps the GPUs nice and frosty, although the CPU temperatures went a little high for my tastes when they were set to the highest overclock.
So to go back to my original question – what is this thing? You can certainly use it on your lap, but I wouldn’t recommend it, so it’s hard to call it a laptop. I wouldn’t really call it a notebook, either, since that word evokes the thinness and lightness that laptops have been striving toward for some time. Mobile computer? I mean, yeah, if you don’t mind packing it up in the custom Pelican hard case that comes with it to cart it around. That’s bound to get you some weird looks if you take that to a coffee shop. Although it might be worth it just to see the look on people’s faces. I’d say the Predator 21X is a challenge by Acer to the rest of the industry. Look. That badass gaming laptop you have? It’s not the king of the hill. This is.
I don’t really wanna say if you’re interested in this thing to click here to buy it? Because… most of you probably can’t, and definitely shouldn’t. But if you have Jay-Z-like levels of success, you can click here for a buying link. It’s over 13 grand Canadian.
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