Price Analysis & Conclusion
So far we've seen three implementations of Nvidia's Max-Q technology, and while we're impressed with Max-Q's performance, we're not entirely blown away yet. The bar was initially set by the Asus ROG Zephyrus, whose GTX 1080 Max-Q performance nearly matched that of the Aorus X7 DT v7 and its full GTX 1080, all while maintaining a thinner and lighter design. The Eurocom Q5 and its GTX 1070 Max-Q paint a similar picture, delivering competitive performance against the GTX 1070-based MSI GE63VR Raider. However, none of the Max-Q laptops offer a competitive price, which makes the Triton, which is more expensive than the Zephyrus and X7, far less compelling.
The Acer Predator Triton 700 hits a solid middle ground between high-end and enthusiast performance. GPU-based synthetic tests such as 3DMark's graphics and CompuBench's Bitcoin Mining tests illustrate competitive performance when compared to the Aorus X7 DT v7's traditional GTX 1080. However, the Aorus' Intel Core i7-7820HK provides more computational power, outperforming the Triton's i7-7700HQ in 3DMark's physics tests, CineBench's multi-core test, and PCMark's Microsoft Office workload. The Triton is unique in that it's the only system in this roundup with a RAID 0 configuration, which produces outstanding read speeds, but it falls short in write speeds.
Gaming performance was also outstanding, with the Triton's GTX 1080 Max-Q competing evenly with the Asus ROG Zephyrus and giving the Aorus a run for its money. This is most evident at Full HD, particularly in Alien: Isolation and DiRT Rally. The areas where the Triton struggles are GPU-dependent titles such as Grand Theft Auto V or Rise of the Tomb Raider, where the limited power draw significantly limits the amount of performance the GTX 1080 Max-Q can offer. Raising the resolution to Ultra HD exacerbates this, and in some cases the Aorus' unrestricted GTX 1080 makes the all difference.
The Triton's battery life is mediocre; its slim form factor introduces a capacity trade-off that larger, traditionally sized laptops rarely face, despite Max-Q's power efficiency. The competing laptops offer either less power-hungry components, larger batteries, or both. The Aorus X7, for example, is adequately equipped with a 94.24Wh battery to complement its GTX 1080, while the Eurocom Q5 features a weaker GTX 1070 Max-Q and a fitting 60Wh battery. Part of the appeal of a small form factor laptop is its portability and longevity, and its disappointing to see the first Max-Q implementations fail in this regard.
Cooling the GTX 1080 Max-Q is satisfactory, as far as gaming laptops go. The Triton maintains a similar average temperature as the Zephyrus, its primary competitor, and runs cooler overall than the Aorus X7. However, only so much heat can be expelled in such a thin laptop; the MSI Raider runs definitively cooler than the Triton thanks to its less power-hungry GPU and wider chassis, which allows for a larger cooling solution.
The Triton's display is a mixed bag. For one, it exhibits outstanding contrasts due to its high white luminance and low black luminance. It also exhibits near consistent saturation at all brightness levels. However, the RGB levels are unbalanced, swinging heavily in favor of blues. This affects its grayscale and overall color accuracy, making the Triton's display problematic for color work.
The Acer Predator Triton 700's build quality is top notch given its form factor. The aluminum chassis is sleek and sexy, but Acer has added just enough accenting to provide the Triton with an unmistakably gamer aesthetic. Perhaps its most attractive physical qualities lie in the mechanical keyboard and Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad. The mechanical keyboard provides a crisp typing experience, while the lighting suite provides the keyboard and exhaust fan with fun customization. The touchpad is also fun to play with. The only problem with the input devices is poor placement, which ruins the novelty.
You can find this particular Triton configuration on Newegg for $3,000, which is a hefty price tag, even for a gaming laptop. The fact that it's thin and portable drives the price up even further. On top of that, the glass touchpad and mechanical keyboard contribute to the high price and the gaping hole you'll have in your wallet.
The Triton's main competitor in price and performance is the Zephyrus; the model we tested can be yours for $2,700, a full $300 less than the Triton. Considering their performance is almost even across the board, the deciding factors come down to whether you think the keyboard, touchpad, and 120Hz display are worth it. For us, these don't tip the scale.
If you're willing to haul a few more pounds, the Aorus X7 comes in at $2,900 and offers considerably better computational performance, slightly better gaming performance, and much more battery life.
Finally, you can cut your costs by at least $700 if you consider an MSI Raider or a baseline Eurocom Q5; both of these GTX 1070-based laptops offer outstanding performance. Note that the Triton will rarely deliver the extra frame rate to match its 120Hz refresh rate.
The Triton's defining features, such as the keyboard and touchpad, will be the main selling point. But with a trim of its price, this Acer laptop might entice a few more buyers looking to take advantage of the Max-Q design at the highest performance level.
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