Acer given most of its laptop lineup a major refresh at CES 2021 and there seems to be something for every budget, from entry-level machines like the Acer Aspire 5 that cost just $550, to the high-end Predator Triton 300 SE, which costs a surprisingly reasonable $1,400. It also appears to have been totally re-imagined for gamers who want the high-end specs without the ostentatious flash.
Not only has Acer ditched the black and neon-blue trim for a basic, silver-ish finish, but its also shrunk down the Predator logo and moved it to the top corner of the laptop lid. The result is a professional-looking laptop that would blend seamlessly into any work meeting, coffee shop, or where ever people are present (eventually). Aesthetic-wise, this is one of my favorites laptops from CES so far this week.
Beneath its sleek chassis is a brand new 11th-gen Intel Core i7 H35-series Special Edition processor and an Nvidia RTX 3060. That’s a lot of power inside a 0.70 in. thin and 3.75 lbs. all-metal chassis. Acer also says its new Predator Triton 300 SE can get up to 10 hours of battery life, which if true, would be a tremendous improvement over the battery life of the previous Predator Triton 300 we reviewed last year.
Acer also tweaked its thermal design, which it says resulted in a 10% performance increase over the previous generation. The new Predator Triton includes a backlit 3-zone RGB keyboard, Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2, and HDMI ports, and a 14 in. FHD display with a 144 Hz refresh rate. The Predator Triton 300 SE will be available in North America in March 2021 starting at $1,400, and in EMEA in February 2021 starting at €1,500.
A step up from the Predator Triton is the Predator Helios 300, which looks just like the Triton of old that screams “Yes, this is a gaming laptop.” This is the model that packs in all the flashy specs to match the outside, which includes: up to a RTX 3080, up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory, and a 240 Hz IPS display. All the flashiness has one distinct upside though. The Helios is a tad cheaper than the Triton and starts at $1,250 and is available in North America in February 2021. It’ll also be available in EMEA in February 2021 starting at €1,500 and in China the same month, starting at ¥10,000.
Acer’s Nitro gaming laptops—the most budget-friendly of the bunch—are getting a refresh, too. The Nitro 5 and Nitro 7 will both feature the same 11th-gen Intel Core H35-series processors, but Nvidia’s last-gen GTX GPUs, and up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory. The display has a 144 Hz refresh rate, and this may be a small change, but it’s one of my favorites: Acer has moved the charging port to the back of the laptop, which makes cable management a tad easier.
The only difference between the Nitro 5 and Nitro 7 is the screen size. The 5 has a 15-inch screen and the 7 has a 17-inch screen. Unfortunately, Acer did not provide a North American launch date, but both will release in EMEA March 2021 and start at €1,000. The Nitros will also release in China the same month with different pricing: ¥6,000 for the 5 and ¥6,500 for the 7.
The Nitro 5 gaming laptop will also have an AMD version for the even more budget-conscious consumer who still wants the fastest components possible, up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5000 H Series mobile processor, and up to an RTX 3080 GPU. It will come with either a QHD 165 Hz display or a FHD 360 Hz display. Availability in North America and EMEA begins February 2021, with pricing starting at $750 and €1,300, respectively. Both will be available in China this month starting at ¥6,500.
Acer’s Aspire 5 and Aspire 7 gaming notebooks are getting AMD’s new 5000-series mobile processors too, but sticking with budget-GPUs to keep the price down. The Aspire 7 will be paired with a GTX 1650 (though I wish it had something like a GTX 1660 Ti for better graphics performance), up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory, and up to 1 TB of PCIe SSD storage. It also features Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, a 15.6 in. FHD display, and a dedicated keyboard shortcut for controlling the fan speed.
The Aspire 5 comes with an AMD Radeon RX 640 GPU (which has slower performance than the GTX 1650), 24 GB of RAM (which is an odd number for memory capacity), and up to a 1 TB PCIe SSD or a 2 TB HDD. It has the same display and other features as the Aspire 7.
The Nvidia-specced Aspire 7 starts at $750/€900 and will be available in North America and EMEA starting February 2021. The AMD-focused Aspire 5 starts at $550/€700 and will be available in North American and EMEA starting February 2021. It will also be available in China this month starting at ¥5,000.
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