Acer Predator Triton 500 SE review: Refined power for work and play

Acer is one of those laptop makers that often tries to stand out.consider Predator Triton 900, a wild machine with a 360-degree rotating screen that I found almost useless. Earlier this month, Acer also announced plans Bringing its SpatiaLabs naked-eye 3D technology to gaming laptops. Ambitious swings are fine, but these days I’m more interested in notebooks where gaming prowess is subtle. After testing the Predator Triton 500 SE over the past week, I learned that Acer does this well.

Gallery: Acer Predator Triton 500 SE | 12 photos


The Triton 500 SE packs all the features you’d want from a large gaming notebook in a sleek metal frame that won’t look out of place in a stuffy office or lecture hall. There’s little need for fancy LEDs (except for the keyboard backlight, which you can turn off at any time) or other obnoxious case glitter. It’s ready to start working. Of course, it’s not the only nifty gaming notebook, but rivals like the Razer Blade beat the Triton’s $2,300 starting price.

advantage

  • Gorgeous and smooth 16-inch screen
  • Fast 12th Gen CPU and NVIDIA GPU
  • Sophisticated Design
  • cool show
  • Overclock with ease
  • lots of ports

shortcoming

  • Could use a better keyboard
  • Trackpad is hard
  • Small speakers

Powerful hardware aside, what sets the Triton 500 SE apart from a typical productivity laptop is its excellent 16-inch screen. It has a 16:10 aspect ratio, making it slightly taller than a typical widescreen monitor, and more useful for working with documents. Our review unit came with the 240Hz WQXGA model (running at 2,560 x 1,600 pixels), which in my opinion is the ideal balance between sharpness and silky smooth refresh. There’s no HDR support, but at least it offers a relatively high brightness of 500 nits, as well as full coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut. While the screen is a big reason why the Triton weighs 5.3 pounds, it’s still better than most 17-inch gaming laptops (the Razer Blade 17 weighs 5.5 pounds).

Intel’s 12th Gen processors and NVIDIA’s latest RTX 30-series GPUs, all the way down to the drool-worthy RTX 3080 Ti, power this great monitor. The unit we received came with a GPU along with Intel’s high-end Core i9 12900H, 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and a high-speed 1TB NVMe SSD. Honestly, it’s this configuration that inspired me to review the Triton 500 SE in the first place. I wonder, does this humble notebook really satisfy gamers? turn out to be, Yes.

Halo InfiniteFor example, a solid 85fps was achieved at the Triton’s native resolution at Ultra Graphics settings. While I missed the HDR and wide field of view I’m used to on the Alienware QD-OLED ultrawide, I was surprised by how immersive the game was on the 16-inch monitor.You can thank the higher 16:10 aspect ratio – sometimes it feels like I’m going to dive right in Halo Infinite map. (It may also indicate that I need to make my desk more ergonomic for the laptop.) The 240Hz display was also bright when I lowered the graphics settings for games to achieve higher frame rates. I’m not quite sold on such a high refresh rate, but it’s great to see laptop makers push for smoother, more realistic gameplay.

Gearheads may appreciate the Triton 500 SE’s built-in overclocking capabilities. Acer’s software makes it easy to adjust clock speeds and thermal profiles. Personally, though, I’m glad there’s a simple “Turbo” button on the keyboard. It speeds up the fans along the way and automatically overclocks the system.exist Halo Infinite In all benchmarks I’ve run, it typically results in an 8% to 10% improvement in performance. Biggest downside? It’s so loud, you probably don’t want to use it without headphones.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Even without overclocking, the Triton 500 SE beat every benchmark we ran on it, delivering performance that was basically on par with the Razer Blade 15. The Razer took the lead in a few cases, such as in PCMark 10 and Geekbench 5’s compute tests (which mostly emphasize the GPU). But in other areas, including Cinebench R23 and 3DMark’s Port Royal ray-tracing benchmark, the Triton leads the pack. That’s partly because our review unit has a slightly faster 12th-generation processor. Hit the Turbo switch and the Triton count will skyrocket even higher.

PCMark 10

3DMark (TimeSpy Extreme)

Geek Platform 5

ATTO (top read/write)

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022, Intel i9-12900H, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti)

6,779

4,887

1,736/11,382

6.4GB/sec/4.9GB/sec

Razer Blade 15 (2022, Intel i7-12800H, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti)

7,085

4,798

1,795/9,529

4.32 GB/sec/6.45 GB/sec

Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022, AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS, Radeon RX 6800S)

7,170

3,821

1,543/9,839

3.5GB/sec/4GB/sec

Asus Zephyrus G15 (AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Max-Q)

6,881

4,530

1,426/7,267

3.3GB/sec/2.85GB/sec

NVIDIA’s Advanced Optimus feature, which intelligently switches the Triton’s GPU between integrated and discrete graphics, also worked flawlessly throughout my testing. I don’t see any performance bottlenecks with older Optimus machines, where the discrete GPU had to be squeezed by the integrated graphics. There’s also a MUX switch that lets you manually switch between the two GPUs without rebooting the entire system.

After benchmarking and playing a few games for a few hours, the Triton 500 SE was still relatively cool. The CPU typically hovered around 78 degrees Celsius under load, while the GPU hit 83 degrees Celsius. It never felt hot to the touch, but it’s worth noting that I’m testing in a cold basement. The fan noise is what I’d expect from the Triton’s default performance settings – audible, but not as annoying as turning them all the way with the Turbo button.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

But even though the Acer’s cooling and overall performance are good, it’s a shame that some of the Triton 500 SE’s hardware is holding it back. The keyboard is fine for gaming, but I wanted more feedback for lengthy typing sessions. While I appreciate the large, sleek trackpad, the actual clicking mechanism feels stiff — especially bad when registering a right-click. I also don’t like having a fingerprint sensor on the trackpad because it often gets in the way when I swipe around. Just stick that sensor on the power button, or already put in a Windows Hello webcam! I’d also like to see Acer bundle more than a pair of tiny stereo speakers, especially since Razer, Dell, and others are cramming more drivers into their laptops.

Battery life is another disappointment, though I guess we’re used to powerful gaming laptops. The Triton 500 SE lasted 5 hours and 25 minutes on our benchmark, which includes looping HD video. That’s 17 minutes less than the Razer Blade 15. During my typical work day, it usually lasts about five hours before needing a charge. Unfortunately, this is typical for gaming laptops with large screens. You never want to get too far from a power plug.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Still, I think most people want to keep their workstations connected for optimal performance. Acer also comes with all the ports you need to make it a true workstation, including two USB 3.2 Type A connections, dual USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and an SD card slot. Thankfully, Acer didn’t get rid of the headphone jack, and more laptop makers are doing so these days.

The Acer Predator Triton 500 SE starts at $2,300, which is $200 less than the Razer Blade 15 with 12th-generation Intel chips and $400 less than the latest Blade 17. If you want all our hardware, be prepared to shell out $3,000 for a review unit (still cheaper than Razer and other machines in its class). However, you can also find older Triton 500 SE models for $2,000 or less if you can get hold of last year’s 11th-generation Intel chips. However, we recommend doing everything possible to get a 12th-gen chip, as performance varies widely.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

If anything, the Triton 500 SE proves that Acer does more than chase gaming gimmicks. After years of being known for making cheap and simple laptops, it’s great to see that Acer can make a polished gaming laptop without any unnecessary frills.

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