Gaming laptops are undergoing change: no longer do they need to be the size of a four-bedroom house to deliver considerable power, as the trimmed-down Acer Predator Triton 700 goes to show.
Ok, so it's still about the size of a two-bed semi-detached, but the Triton 700 is a darn sight slimmer than its near competition. How slim? Just 18.9mm when it's closed.
Acer Predator Triton 700 preview: Keyboard and trackpad switch-around
- 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display
- Intel Core i7; latest Nvidia GeForce GTX 10-Series
- 18.9mm thin; 2.6kg weight
- Full mechanical keyboard, invisible trackpad
Considering what's within that's really good going. Lift up the lid and there's a full mechanical keyboard, with proper clicky key movement - the likes of which Acer has used on its Predator 21 X gaming laptop. The Triton 700 lights-up with a soft blue colour, which keeps things sophisticated rather than garish.
Here's the first really bizarre thing, though: the keyboard doesn't have a trackpad ahead of it. Where you'd normally rest the wrists and swipe away is a no-go on this laptop; instead the trackpad is invisible, hidden under a sheet of Gorilla Glass which exposes the fan beneath, but which you can swipe away at.
It's not the first time we've seen Acer go borderline mad with such design - the failed Aspire R7 still makes us chuckle to think about - but as this is a gaming laptop we don't mind the trackpad's position, as a wired mouse is most likely to be plugged in at all times. That actually means the keyboard will be closer, so you'll be nearer to the screen in a sense, more immersed in the action.
The problem is simple: there's nowhere obvious to rest your wrists. Which, if you were typing out long essays, would certainly bring on a bout of RSI, but as deft-fingered gamers will know the number of keystrokes in a mammoth match is no short order. Perhaps, then, the keyboard should just be in the normal position?
Acer Predator Triton 700 preview: New fan system for cooling
- Dual second-gen AeroBlade 3D Fan
- Gorilla Glass plate exposes cooling system
- 3x USB 3.0, 1x Thunderbolt 3.0, 1x Ethernet
Still, it's a unique point, a lure to get you looking in the first instance. And that glass window does look great: it provides a visual into the fan cooling system (on one side of the machine anyway), exposing five cooling pipeline and Acer's second-gen AeroBlade 3D Fan solution.
What does that mean? First Acer made a metal rather than plastic fan in the AeroBlade, which increased airflow by 15 per cent by compare. Then the company made the AeroBlade 3D Fan, delivering a 25 per cent uplift compared to a conventional fan. With the second-gen solution there's an axial fin which enhances cooling and makes it much more efficient - 35 per cent beyond a conventional fan.
That's why the Triton 700 is so thin, all things considered. It's over 3mm slimmer than an Alienware 13, or over 5mm slimmer than the current Asus ROG Strix GL753VD. This is Predator making its point and making it well.
Flip the laptop over and the full array of fans can be seen, including blue accenting - again, giving the machine a distinctive look without being over-the-top.
To the sides are all the ports you could need, including a full-size Ethernet, three USB 3.0, one Thunderbolt 3.0 and 3.5mm jacks for microphone in and headphones out. Around the back there's a full-size HDMI.
And how much cash will you need to part with to buy a Predator Triton 700? €3,399 when it goes on sale in August. There's no distinctive UK price, but given the current climes we wouldn't be surprised if it was also around the £3,000-£3,500 mark (spec depending).