If you’re Taiwanese notebook brand Acer, how do you create hype around your relatively new gaming notebook line when faced with stiff opposition from the likes of ASUS, MSI, Razer and the like that already have cult followings? Easy – just make the most insane gaming notebook that has features that your competitors don’t have. That seems to be the reasoning behind Acer’s Predator 21 X, one of the biggest and baddest gaming notebooks we’ve ever seen. We never thought we’d see a notebook that could eclipse ASUS’ GX700 in its audacity, but here we are.
Acer Predator 21 x specifications
- Intel Core i7-7820HK
- Dual GTX 1080 GPU
- 32GB of RAM
- 21-inch Quad HD curved Quantum Dot IPS, G-Sync Enabled, 120Hz, Tobii eyetracking tech, 2560 x 1080 resolution
- 512GB of SSD storage, 1TB of HDD storage
- Dolby Sound system, 6 speakers + subwoofer
Packaging and contents
The craziness that is the Predator 21 X starts with the packaging. Acer sent their monster gaming notebook inside a massive protective hard case that looks to be able to withstand a bomb blast.
On further inspection, we found out that the case is a Pelican hardcase that is absolutely able to withstand a blast from a VBIED and live. Pelican cases are built to last and are pretty expensive on their own, so if it turns out that Acer is shipping the Predator 21 X in these cases to their owners, then you already know where your half a million pesos (which is the expected price for one of these notebooks) went.
Once you open the many latches on the Pelican case and lift up the lid, you’ll see the curved screen notebook resting on a special foam cut-out inside. Once you find your strength and lift up the 8-kilo machine from its resting place, you’ll also discover the accessories that Acer included with the package, including two(!) masive power bricks that power this insane gaming notebook. Curiously, we didn’t see a bundled gaming mouse with the Predator 21 X, which is a little odd considering the expected price of this monster.
Initial impressions: Still technically a notebook, but it’s not portable anymore
Even as you look at the photos in this article, it’s difficult to convey the size of the Predator 21 X in photos. This thing is massive, and dwarfs the 15-inch ASUS notebook that we use for work. Like we said earlier, the Predator 21 X weighs in at 8 kilos, so while it’s still technically a notebook that sucker isn’t going to leave your desk once you place it there.
It’s relatively thick too, coming in at 86mm thick (3.39-inches) at its thickest point. That’s not surprising considering what’s inside the thing, though that overall thickness lends to some unique quirks that we’ll get into later.
The display is a 21-inch, curved, WFHD resolution IPS Quantum Dot panel, giving you 2560 x 1080 worth of pixels to play with. It’s the first notebook to have a curved display, and the wider display does give you a bigger FOV when playing FPS games like Battlefield 1, Overwatch and others.
The screen doesn’t completely lie flat against the chassis because of the curved display, so it’s a little hair-raising when you do need to pick the Predator 21 X up in those rare instances (when you’re taking product photos, for example). Once you open the lid, you’re treated to a visual feast – aside from the backlit, mechanical keyboards, there’s also a visible, LED backlit fan that spins while the power is on, as well as a tobii eye-tracking module built into the lid of the Predator 21 X.
Remember when we said mechanical keyboard? Yeah, the Predator 21 X has a full-size mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches. We’re typing this initial review on those keys, and they feel oh so wonderful, both for typing out articles and for blasting your friends on Overwatch, Battlefield 1 or whatever online game you’ll use the Predator 21 X on. The Predator 21 X also has a number pad that can be flipped over if you prefer to use the real-estate for a touchpad instead. Pretty clever if you ask us.
Because of the thickness of the notebook, typing on the keyboard isn’t that comfortable because of how high the keys sit. Acer has included a wrist-rest of sorts to solve that issue.
On the left of the keyboard lies six macro keys that you can configure as you wish. Because of the size of the notebook, there’s input and output ports a-plenty – you’re looking at 4 USB 3.0 ports, 1 Thunderbolt 3 port that also acts as a USB Type-C port, 2 DisplayPort, an HDMI port, Ethernet port, as well as an SD card reader. There’s two 3.5mm jacks for audio, and Acer has also embedded a Dolby Audio system with 6 dedicated loudspeakers + subwoofer. This thig is kitted out.
Speaking of kitted out, the Predator 21 X is armed with the very best in terms of hardware. Inside are two NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPUs, Intel’s latest Core i7-7820HK processor, 32GB of memory (with an option to add even more) as well as 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD and a 1TB 7200 HDD. You can add more RAM and storage via the panel that sits right above the mechanical keyboard if you wished, but you’ll probably won’t do that as the notebook is insane enough already.
Just like with other top-of-the-line gaming notebooks available today, you’re able to overclock the already insane Predator 21 X if you wished, though you’ll have to plug the absolutely massive power bricks to do so.
The hardware package in the Predator 21 X is impressive, and it’s not surprising that it scored high on PCMark’s benchmarks for both DX12 and 4K gaming. We’ve been playing exclusively on 4K resolution ever since we got this beast, and honestly it feels like we’re frame rates in the hundreds while we do. The notebook is certainly capable, though we’ll have to check out its overall performance when we do our full review.
Acer set out to make the craziest, most insane notebook to show the world what their new Predator gaming line can do, and the result is the Predator 21 X. Nothing approaches it in terms of ridiculousness, though obviously the $8,999 (Php 450K) asking price isn’t that surprising. Will there be any takers here in the PH? That’s a difficult question – the Predator 21 X is certainly a technical wonder, though few people would be able to justify paying for the price of a car for a gaming notebook.