Attractive, slim design
Excellent 240 Hz display
Solid gaming performance
So-so keyboard and touchpad
Middling CPU performance
Short battery life
Acer’s Predator Triton 300 is the very model of a mid-range gaming laptop. It has everything you’d expect, from a 15-inch display with a high refresh rate, to an Intel processor paired with Nvidia GPU. Acer has gone down the list of expectations and checked off all the boxes.
The result is a laptop that offers few surprises but also few serious disappointments. It delivers competitive game performance for the price and it’s enjoyable for day-to-day use. The Triton 300 could level up, though, if Acer made different choices in a few key areas, like the processor and keyboard.
You should know this laptop, as with most gaming laptops sold right now, will soon receive an update. New models with Nvidia RTX 3000 graphics will arrive in the spring and summer of 2021. These laptops will look and feel similar to the current models but will pack performance improvements.
About the Acer Predator Triton 300
- Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
- Memory: 16GB
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Display: 15.6” 1920 x 1080 resolution at 240 Hz
- Ports: 3x USB-A 3.2, 1x USB-C 3.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Mini-DisplayPort 1.4, 1x 3.5mm combo audio, 1x Gigabit Ethernet
- Wireless: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery: 58 watt-hour
- Charger: 150 watt, 20 volts at 7.5 amps
- Weight: 4.41 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.3 x 10 x .78 inches
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty
What we like
Premium feel at value pricing
Acer’s Predator laptop line was re-launched at IFA 2016, dropping the Aspire branding it previously used and adopting a new design language of hard lines and aggressive vents that seems inspired by Michael Bay’s Transformers films. It has since expanded into an entire sub-brand of products that offer a unified look and feel.
Acer’s work can’t beat Alienware’s superbly sleek and modern look, but Predator has a cohesive, premium look and feel. This is a surprise, because Predator still beats Alienware and Razer on price.
The Predator Triton 300 is a half-step between the ultraslim look of a Razer Blade 15 and the bulkier design of a conventional 15-inch gaming laptop. The display bezels are large, particularly along the bottom, which translates to a large overall footprint. You may find this laptop hard to fit in a typical laptop bag. The machine has a slim profile, at least, and weighs about four and a half pounds.
All Predator Helios and Triton laptops have a metallic look that is subtle but attractive. The chassis, built from aluminum and plastic, feels solid when handled, though the display can flex more than we’d like when the laptop is open. Aside from a Decepticon-like backlit Predator logo on the lid, which can be turned off, the Predator Triton 300 doesn’t look flashy.
We’re fans of the fans
Gamers annoyed by loud, buzzy fans are going to love the Predator Triton 300. The laptop clearly makes fan noise a priority. Its default tuning keeps the fans restrained to a murmur. The fans kick up to a noticeable level in games but remain civil and have a pleasant, whooshing quality that never sounds buzzy.
It’s possible to customize the fan performance. You can even set them to run full-tilt at all times. This may slightly improve game performance, but most owners will notice the persistent fans more easily than they’ll perceive the extra frames per second that result.
Game performance is solid, if not spectacular
The Acer Predator Triton 300 we tested has an Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU. It’s a solid mid-range mobile graphics chip, but the “Max-Q” affix is important. A Max-Q GPU is designed to alter performance to maintain acceptable temperatures even in a thin laptop. This means a powerful GPU can be stuffed in a thin laptop but can limit performance as the hardware throttles back to keep its cool.
Our testing showed the Predator Triton 300 can deliver 60 frames per second in modern games at high to ultra settings. Lighter games like Fortnite will perform better, but demanding games like Metro Exodus can dip performance below 30 frames per second if you turn on every setting.
These results are a good fit for the 1080p display, as a higher resolution would prove too taxing in many titles. The 240Hz refresh rate feels pointless, as the Predator Triton 300 won’t come anywhere close to that in most titles.
The Predator Triton 300 outperforms RTX 2060 laptops we’ve tested, such as the Asus TUF A15 and Acer’s less expensive Predator Helios 300. The Triton 300 also falls behind RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Super laptops, like the Razer Blade Advanced we tested last year. In other words, the Triton 300 performs as expected.
The Acer Predator Triton 300 does lose to the MSI GE75 Raider, a laptop with a conventional (not Max-Q) RTX 2070. The GE75 Raider defeats the Triton 300 by about 10 percent across our range of benchmarks. This shows the gap between a conventional and Max-Q GPU. The GE75 Raider is a 17-inch laptop, however, and more than an inch thick.
The display is 240 Hz, but that’s not why it’s great
Acer’s Predator Triton 300 has a display with a 240 Hz refresh rate and 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. The refresh rate is clearly meant to be its headline feature. 240 Hz! In other words, it can refresh 240 times each second. That’s four times more than a typical 60 Hz display!
In truth, the 240 Hz refresh rate is underused because the laptop’s performance can’t drive most games anywhere near it. The display’s real highlight is not speed and responsiveness but instead a trait harder to express with a big number: image quality.
This is a nice display. Our objective tests revealed strong scores for all a display’s most important traits including contrast ratio, color accuracy, and brightness. The Predator Triton 300 looks bright, punchy, and vibrant. It even uses a matte display coating, so the glare from lights in your room is subdued.
What we don’t like
Acer should ditch the numpad
The similarities across Acer’s Predator laptop line comes to haunt it in one key area: the keyboard. While competitors like Alienware and Razer offer taut, responsive keyboards that feel great in both games and everyday use, the Predator Triton 300 makes do with a rubbery keyboard that’s merely usable.
Acer crams in a numpad, as well. Creators might like that, as the numpad is often used for hotkey shortcuts, but we don’t think it’s much use for gamers. It leads to a tight, busy layout.
The numpad pushes the touchpad towards the left side of the laptop. This off-center location can be awkward when using the laptop on your lap as it encourages you to hunch or lean. It’s a good touchpad, at least, with a smooth and responsive feel that’s above average for a gaming laptop.
The processor has its limits
Intel’s Core i7-10750H processor powers the Acer Predator Triton 300. This six-core processor is common across a broad range of gaming, workstation, and premium laptops.
The Core i7-10750H clearly falters when stacked against AMD’s new Ryzen 5 and 7 processors. AMD’s alternatives can match the Intel chip in single-core tests and outperform it in heavy multi-core tests like Cinebench, a test that simulates a heavy 3D rendering workload.
The Triton 300 falls not only to AMD’s processors but also Apple’s M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, which are quicker in both single-core and multi-core tests. This softens the Predator Triton 300’s appeal for content creators.
While the Core i7-10750H is disappointing, gamers shouldn’t be concerned. Games tend to bump up against GPU limits before CPU limits. The Predator Triton 300 is among the least expensive gaming laptops with an RTX 2070, and the Core i7-10750H doesn’t hold back game performance.
Where’s the G-Sync?
This laptop might have a fast GPU and high-refresh display, but the gaming experience isn’t always smooth. The Predator Triton 300 lacks Nvidia G-Sync, a feature that can synchronize the refresh rate of the display with the framerate of the game you’re playing. When present, G-Sync significantly improves the perceived smoothness and responsiveness of gameplay.
Laptops often cut G-Sync because of price, and that’s likely the case here. The consequence of this choice depends on the games you play. Players of Civilization VI won’t care but fast, graphically demanding games like Call of Duty can suffer from screen tearing and frame pacing issues. It’s a subtle effect that may make you feel the game is struggling to perform even when the laptop is delivering a solid framerate.
Battery life is short
A 58 watt-hour battery is stuffed in the Acer Predator Triton 300. That would impress in a 13-inch laptop, but it’s small for a gaming laptop. Battery life suffers as a result.
We recorded two hours and 23 minutes of endurance in our standard battery benchmark, which simulates real-world web browsing by looping through web pages in Google Chrome. That result isn’t unusual for a gaming laptop, as most we test provide three hours of battery life or less. Still, this puts limits on how the laptop can be used. The Predator Triton 300 does not like to spend time away from a power outlet.
The Acer Predator Triton 300 has a one-year limited warranty against manufacturer defects. This is standard for the industry. Nearly all gaming laptops ship with just one year of warranty protection.
Should you buy it?
Maybe. The Acer Predator Triton 300 is capable but doesn’t overachieve.
The Acer Predator Triton 300 is a solid gaming laptop for players who have some money to spend but can’t splurge on the most extreme hardware. It’s attractive, well built, and can hit 60 frames per second at high settings in most modern games.
This laptop isn’t an overachiever. It’s extremely similar to the Predator Helios 300, a laptop that we praised for its value. The price of the Triton 300 dampens our enthusiasm. You’ll fork over several hundred dollars more for the Triton 300, but moderately improved game performance is the only benefit. The Helios 300 and Triton 300 otherwise look and feel extremely similar. The models we reviewed had the same Intel Core i7-10750H processor, plus equal amounts of RAM and storage.
Ultimately, it all comes down to price. The Predator Triton 300’s MSRP is $1,599.99, which makes the laptop a hard pass. But it doesn’t usually sell at MSRP. We’ve seen it as low as $1,399.99. That’s not a steal, but it’s good value.
There’s another point that might give you pause. Acer announced a new Helios 300 laptop with an Nvidia RTX 3070 for the spring of 2021. That will no doubt outperform all currently available RTX 2070 gaming laptops. It’s unclear exactly when the new Helios 300 will hit stores, but it should be worth the wait.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is a veteran tech journalist and general-purpose PC hardware nerd. Formerly the Lead Editor of Reviews at Digital Trends, he has over a decade of experience covering PC hardware. Matt often flies the virtual skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator and is on a quest to grow the perfect heirloom tomato.
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