If possible, make this your next gaming laptop.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve put the revamped Acer Triton 500 through its paces (See it on Amazon / See it on Amazon UK). This updated laptop now features Nvidia’s RTX GPUs, and in total, there are three different Triton 500 configurations available from Acer. On the low end, the $1,799 model features an RTX 2060, 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. On the high end, you’ll get an RTX 2080 with Max-Q, 32GB of memory and a 1TB SSD. The laptop I’ve been testing sits in the middle of those two models, costing $2,499.
Here are the specifications of the Acer Predator Triton 500 I am evaluating:
- Model: Acer Predator Triton 500 (PT515-51-75L8)
- Display: 15.6-inch IPS 144Hz Full HD (1920×1080)
- Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H at 2.2GHz (9M Cache, up to 4.10 GHz)
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q (8GB GDDR6)
- Memory: 16GB DDR4
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- Storage: 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
- Webcam: 720p
- Ports: 3 x USB 3.1, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x miniDisplayPort, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x Thunderbolt 3 port, 1 x audio out, 1 x audio in
- Connectivity: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
- Dimensions: 14.11 x 10.04 x 0.7-inches (WxDxH)
- Weight: 4.63 pounds
- Price: $2,499
Acer Predator Triton 500 – Design and Features
After using the massive Alienware Area-51m for a few weeks, the Predator Triton 500 felt like an ultra-portable laptop, not a gaming laptop. It is surprisingly small, measuring 14.11 x 10.04 x 0.7-inches and weighing 4.63 pounds. For me, the most notable aspect is how thin it is. At 0.7-inches, it’s not a whole to thicker than Apple’s MacBook Pro, which is 0.59-inches.
Tucked inside the black housing is Intel’s Core i7-8750H CPU, Nvidia’s RTX 2080 with Max-Q GPU, 16GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD. A 720p webcam sits atop the 15.6-inch 144Hz FHD display with G-sync. The left and right bezels around the display are fairly thin, but what caught my eye about the housing around the screen was the top corners. Instead of coming to a 90-degree angle, each corner has a small slope near the edge. It’s a very small detail that, I think, helps make the Triton 500 look and feel smaller than it really is.
The RGB keyboard has three lighting zones. The WASD keys, the arrow keys, and the Predator Sense key each have a semi-transparent blue border to them. The different color and added transparency makes it look like the keys are individually lit by slightly changing the shade of that zone’s assigned color. It’s an effective trick — it took me a few minutes digging around the Predator Sense app to realize I couldn’t change the color of individual keys.
That said, I do miss the mechanical keyboard Acer used on the Triton 700. There’s nothing wrong with the thinner, standard laptop keys of the Triton 500, but there’s something a mechanical keyboard adds to the overall gaming experience that I missed. This is just one small drawback with such a thin laptop; there’s not enough space to include a mechanical switch in the chassis, and the same goes for per-key lighting.
The touchpad is centered with the keyboard, and a key dedicated to toggling Turbo Mode on and off is found just above the keyboard on the left side. I liked using the touchpad – it was responsive, smooth, and easily registered single or double clicks.
There are more than enough ports on the Triton 500. On the left side are the charging port, an Ethernet port, one USB 3.1 port, and the audio in/out jacks. On the opposite side, you get two more USB 3.1 ports, a miniDisplayPort, and a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 capabilities for external storage or displays.
Outside of overall size, the Triton 500’s design is somewhat boring. It’s black with a few bright blue highlights thrown in. There’s nothing wrong with that, but at the same time, it’s not going to turn any heads.
Acer Predator Triton 500 – Software
I wish there was some sort of agreement between laptop makers and consumers, that when the customer pays over, say, $1,500 for a laptop, the company won’t install antivirus software. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and despite spending $2,499 on this Triton 500, you’ll have to deal with Norton Security.
Despite spending $2,499 on this Triton 500, you’ll have to deal with Norton Security.
I understand that I drive this point home in nearly every review, but this practice is incredibly hostile to users. If the alerts of expiring trials aren’t passive-aggressively worded, the buttons to close said alerts are intentionally made hard to find. Or, in the worst case scenario, the alerts interrupt you mid-game.
The last scenario happened to me more than once during my time with the Triton 500. I would be mid-game, then as if I had quick-switched out of the game, I would find myself back on the desktop looking at a Norton prompt about the trial expiring. Infuriating.
Outside of the bloatware, Acer includes a handful of apps to keep the Triton 500 up to date, as well as the company’s gaming software Predator Sense. Predator Sense is used to view system stats, control the lighting themes, create gaming profiles that change performance modes when a specific game is launched, along with fan speed, and overclocking.
I appreciate the basic layout to Predator Sense, making it easy to find a specific section of the app and create profiles or adjust the keyboard’s lighting effects. This is how gaming apps should be done.
Acer Predator Triton 500 – Performance and gaming
The Triton 500 is the third RTX 2080 laptop with Max-Q I’ve tested. Each one has been tuned by the manufacturer to a varying degree, optimizing the GPU’s overall performance for that specific laptop. As you can see in the benchmarks below, the tuning does have an impact. The overall performance doesn’t vary significantly between the Triton 500 and the Asus ROG Zephyrus S, however, the MSI GS75, with the same core components, was mostly outperformed.
What’s odd is that Acer and MSI tuned their respective laptops with identical base and boost speeds of 735MHz and 1,095MHz, respectively. Compare that to Asus, who tuned the Zephyrus S to a base speed of 900Mhz and a boost speed 1,230MHz out of possible 1,590MHz. That said, the Acer outperformed the more expensive MSI laptop in every single test, which is rather impressive given the fact that they are equipped with the same hardware.
With Nvidia’s RTX GPU line support for real-time ray tracing, I spent a bit of time playing Firestorm mode on Battlefield V set to ultra across the board (that includes DXR mode). The frame rate bounced around a bit, with a low of 95 frames-per-second and a max of 130 FPS.
With all graphics set to High, Apex hovered right around 150 FPS.
I’m still having a lot of fun playing Apex Legends, which the Triton 500 handled like a pro. With all graphics set to High, Apex hovered right around 150 FPS, with an occasional dip to 140 FPS. I’d taken a few weeks off of playing Fortnite, only to come back to it during this review and I felt lost as ever. Helicopters? Dig sites? I don’t know what’s going on with the storyline, but that’s been the case for a while. Nonetheless, the Triton 500 hovered between 120 FPS and 130 FPS with Epic settings.
It wouldn’t take but a few tweaks to the settings for Fortnite or Battlefield V to get the frame rate above 144 FPS to take full advantage of the 144Hz display, which, but the way, looks great. Especially when playing Apex Legends, everything is smooth and the colors are vibrant without being oversaturated.
Perhaps a downfall of being so thin, the Triton 500 does get fairly warm around the keyboard over prolonged gaming sessions. Not warm enough I can’t touch or leave my hand on it for a few seconds, but compared to other RTX 2080 laptops I’ve tested, it was noticeable.
The cooling fans aren’t terribly loud, but I did find I had to turn up the volume above the 60-percent mark when playing without headphones to feel like I wasn’t missing out on footsteps or shots in the distance.
My review unit’s 512GB SSD has about 120GB of free space (out of 475GB of usable space) after installing a handful of games and benchmark apps. For those who want more room, there are two SSD slots available for you to add more storage yourself. And for those who want more memory, the Triton 500 is upgradeable up to 32GB in total.
Acer Predator Triton 500 – Battery Life
Battery life on the Triton 500 is impressive. When looping a video at 50% brightness, the battery gave out after 141 minutes (2 hours and 21 minutes). That’s almost as long as the GS75’s 167 minutes, and easily bests the 102 minute mark of the Zephyrus S. Two hours of battery life for any gaming laptop is enough to grab my attention.
Acer Predator Triton 500 – Purchasing Guide
The Acer Predator Triton 500 I tested has a $2,499 price, but there are configurations available for more or less, depending on your needs.