Acer Predator 17 G9: Review
What is black and red and almost 10 pounds heavy? You guessed it: a laptop for playing games!
The Acer Predator 17 G9-973-78CM (starts at $1,499.99; as tested, it costs $1,999.99) doesn’t do anything too surprising for the category, but it does offer good performance for VR and good gaming features at a reasonable price. It’s cheaper than the Acer Predator 17 X ($1,899.98 at Amazon) and has a newer Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card. These are significant updates to a gaming system that was already very good. But it doesn’t quite beat the MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro-005, which is still our Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming laptops because it performs better overall and has a slightly less bulky design.
Acer Predator 17 G9 Specifications
|Screen||17.3-inch screen with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels; matte IPS display; no touch functionality|
|Processor||The processor is a quad-core 2.6 GHz Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ (3.5 Ghz TBoost)|
|Video||Integrated Intel HD 530 + Nvidia GTX 980M 4GB|
|Storage||512 GB NVMe SSD + 2 TB 2.5″ HDD|
|Memory||64 GB DDR4 2133Mhz|
|Ports||Ports include 4 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.1, HDMI, DisplayPort, audio in/out, SD card reader, and Ethernet.|
|Web Camera||720p HD|
|Speakers||4x Speakers + Two Subwoofers|
- Good deal.
- Swappable fan module.
- There are many ways to store things and connect to the outside world.
- The battery life is better than average.
- Heavy, bulky design.
- Fans can get loud.
Design and Specs
If you put the Acer Predator 17 G9 and the Predator 17 X next to each other, you might not be able to tell them apart. Whether good or bad, the 17 X’s heavy and bulky design has mostly stayed the same, and neither has some of its weaker points, like the keyboard’s backlighting. Please read our review of the Acer Predator 17 X for a more in-depth look at how it looks.
But if you put on your Sherlock Holmes hat, you’ll notice some fundamental changes. First, the Predator 17 is 1.56 inches tall, 16.65 inches wide, and 12.66 inches deep, which is 0.21 inches less thick. It also weighs 9.4 pounds instead of 9.67 pounds, a little less. Both changes make a slight difference in portability.
The Keypad and Keyboard
Now, let’s talk about the keyboard and trackpad. The keyboard has a complete layout with a NumPad, programmable macro keys on the left, and separate Arrow keys. The keys are lit from behind. The central part of the keyboard has red LEDs, and the NumPad has blue ones. Unfortunately, you can’t change this, at least not on this test unit.
The light can be turned ON and OFF, but there aren’t different levels. But the backlight on the macro keys, the key on the right side of the trackpad, and the power button stay on even when the other lights are turned off. This is annoying when trying to watch a movie in a dark room.
A few things about how easy it is to see the keyboard:
even though the keys are black and the background is black, the white writing makes them easy to see most of the time. The WASD and direction keys are even easier to find with red borders. But how exactly does the keyboard type? Well, if I had to say it in one word, excellently. The keys feel sturdy, have good resistance, and have a deep stroke. All of these things make it easy to type. They are also quiet, but the high drop makes some noise.
If you want to type in a quiet place, like a library, this noise might bother people around you. Aside from that, it took me a few minutes to get used to such tall keys on a laptop, but after a few minutes, I could type quickly and accurately, so this keyboard got a big thumbs up from me.
Acer Predator 17 G9 built a 90 Wh battery into the body of this machine. That’s enough for 2–5 hours of regular use per charge, which might not sound like much given the size of the battery, but it’s not bad for such a powerful machine.
Now, let’s go to the screen. Acer will sell the Acer Predator 17 G9 with a few different display options, and our test unit has a 17.3-inch UHD wide-gamut panel. It’s a matte screen without touch, but it’s one that almost everyone, from gamers to professionals who need accurate colors, will love to look at. The list below has more information about brightness, contrast, colors, and other technical details.
The colors are accurate out of the box, but calibration will make them even more accurate and get rid of the slight blue tint. But it’s important to note that this screen only refreshes at 60 Hz and doesn’t support GSync, unlike the Asus G752, which could be a problem for gamers. I know that GSync won’t be an option on the FHD screens either. However, I’ll update this section when I learn more about this topic.
Price and What’s Available?
Acer Predator 17 G9 comes in various configurations worldwide, including a wide range of memory and storage capacities, full-high definition (FHD) and ultra-high definition (UHD) display, and Nvidia 970M and 980M graphics processors. Prices for the cheapest models start at roughly $1599, with the top-end setup we tested going for around $3000. An Nvidia GTX 980M 4GB processor, 16 GB of RAM, a 256 GB solid-state drive (SSD), and a Full High Definition (FHD) display would set you back close to $2000.
Some gaming laptops make attempts towards subtlety. And certainly not the Acer Predator 17. This laptop is for gamers who want to show the world they aren’t afraid to flaunt a powerful, aggressive, red-and-black gamer aesthetic without taking a second mortgage on their home. At its asking price of $2,000, it includes several excellent bonuses—like a removable fan—that will likely please upscale gamers.