After Acer's New York City event this spring, where we saw an avalanche of new Acer products, we got teasers about the company's newly rethought line of gaming devices. Though we were a bit disappointed that all that was available at the event were mockups of its "Predator" gaming desktop, tablet, notebooks, and curved monitor, we anticipated seeing the new gear in full regalia, with complete specs and pricing info and availability, at Computex.
Alas, this week we were disappointed again. When we went to Acer's booth, all we saw of the gaming line was the same nothing we saw in March: empty shells and more promises. We checked with our contacts at the company just to be sure we weren't missing something, but the confirmation came down: "We haven't yet disclosed specs, pricing or availability for the new gaming products."
Although admittedly I'm inferring a lot when I say this, I believe that the reason the information is not available is because it doesn't exist yet, at least not fully. That is, it's not that Acer is holding its cards close, it's that the company hasn't finished building the deck yet.
Frankly, I'm disappointed. Late last year, Acer CEO Jason Chen said all the right things. I asserted at the time that, judging by his words, he "got" gaming. It looked as though the market was gaining a new player in the gaming space, and if Acer's past and present strategy of delivering low cost devices to undercut the competition was any indication, the gaming line would be as affordable as anything else available.
But alas, Computex has come and gone, and still we've seen no new gaming products from Acer. Meanwhile, many of the competitors Acer no doubt plans to take on had booths full of new gear to capture the attention of the tech media. The company squandered a golden opportunity by coming to Computex with a quiver woefully bereft of arrows.
For what it's worth, from what we've learned we do not believe that the Predator line is vaporware, but Acer has done itself no favors here. From the outset, many enthusiasts scoffed at the idea that Acer could deliver a truly competitive gaming lineup, and now that two important events (including its own!) have passed with no new information and no actual products, most people aren't even paying close enough attention to care what Acer does one way or another.
A bright spot would seem to be the upcoming monitor line -- at its Computex booth, Acer had three monitors on display bearing the "Predator" branding: the Z35, XB1 (XB218HK) and X34 -- but even that is messy. We checked with Acer and were told that only the Z35 and X34 would be in the Predator line (at least for now) even though the XB1 bore the label.
We learned of the Z35 earlier this year; it has a curved 35-inch G-Sync panel with a 21:9 aspect ratio, a refresh rate of 144 Hz and two 9-watt speakers. Ports include four USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, digital audio, LAN, two HDMI (one with MHL), and DisplayPort in/out. Availability is expected sometime in Q2.
The XB218HK is a 28-inch (3840 x 2160) display with G-Sync that offers 1 ms response time and a USB 3.0 hub with four ports. The stand offers adjustable tilt, swivel, height and pivot, according to a placard we saw in Acer's booth.
The curved Predator 34 IPS monitor has a 3440 x 1440 resolution and G-Sync, and it comes equipped with two 7-watt speakers and a stand that offers adjustable tilt and height.
Obviously, those are awfully light specs, but at least those displays are real, and thus we can assume that they're coming soon. Whether or not they'll all be in the Predator lineup apparently remains to be seen.
Otherwise, for the rest of Acer's upcoming gaming lineup, we're stuck with empty husks under glass, unable to put our hands and benchmark suite on anything.