(Pocket-lint) - You might not think 'gaming laptop' and 'entry-level' go hand-in-hand. After all, these machines are typically beastly when it comes to specs, meaning a higher asking price is inevitable. But the Acer Predator Triton 300 is here to try and change that, delivering strong specs for a price point not too far north of £1,000.
Sure, it's not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but with a fast-refresh screen, portable 15.6-inch screen size and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics, this gaming laptop delivers the core that many gamers will find sufficient.
- 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD screen
- 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time
- Zoned RGB lighting & Predator Sense keys
- Waves Nx immersive audio
- Aluminium chassis
- Under 20mm thin
- Weight: 2.3kgs
Gaming laptops are all about distinctive style, with Acer's Triton range already well established with its 500 and 700 models (the former now available with a pricey 300Hz screen refresh option, wowzers).
The new 300 model looks a lot like the 500, albeit a little chunkier (but still sub-20mm), given the 15.6-inch screen size, dark aluminium chassis, and distinctive zoned RGB lighting & Predator Sense keys on the keyboard.
That keyboard is one of the most striking aspects of any gaming laptop, the WASD keys here being concave shaped and transparent to stand-out from the rest of the board (the arrow keys have the same treatment).
The screen delivers a 144Hz refresh rate, which for a so-called 'entry-level' product is a significant feature to ensure smooth playback. Given that just a couple of years ago this was about as high-end as it got, it shows how fast things are moving.
The resolution is Full HD only, but anything more and you'd struggle to get games to hit the right frame-rates and resolution. It feels like the right choice here.
- Ports: 1x Ethernet, 1x HDMI, 1x USB-C, 3x USB-A, 1x 3.5mm jack, Wi-Fi 6, charging port
- Thermal design: 4th Gen AeroBlade 3D and CoolBoost technology
- Up to 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor
- Up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU
- Up to 32GB DDR4 RAM (2666Hz)
- Up to 2x 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD
The real part that's going to excite is what's under the hood. Because while the Triton 300 won't cost much more than a grand (it's penned it at €1299 for launch), it packs in 9th Gen Intel Core i chips, heaps of RAM (16GB standard, 32GB upgradable), loads of storage (two 1TB SSD as standard, upgradable to 2TB), and that Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU.
To keep all that running cool, the chassis is thicker than standard laptops, packing in Acer's fourth-gen AeroBlade 3D metal fans and CoolBoost air intakes and exhausts - the latter which you can see in blue finish to the rear.
There's also Wi-Fi 6 for fast over-the-air connectivity, while an Ethernet port ensures wired connectivity is available too. In terms of other ports, everything you could expect is on hand, from USB-C to full-size USB-A.
Don't expect battery life to last for an age when not plugged into the wall, but that's a given for a gaming laptop.
At first we thought the idea of an 'entry-level gaming laptop' sounded like a contradiction, given that many standard laptops offer similar spec to the Triton 300 without the gaming-style bolt-ons.
But having seen the Triton 300 in the flesh, it makes sense. It delivers on that iconic design, with focus on WASD keys, RGB lighting, and all the other tricks (like an Ethernet port), while including some ultra-desirable features like a 144Hz screen refresh rate and decent spec.
Sure, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 won't appease the most hardcore of gamers, but if you've got more cash to spare then more powerful variants are available elsewhere up the range. This really highlights the Triton 300's worth: its €1299 price point makes many of those gaming features more accessible to those who may not have been able to get onboard before.