Until the last moment in the assortment of the company Acer the most powerful mobile devices were laptops of the Nitro series. These are good, high-performance solutions, but the most powerful graphics adapter that can be found in this series is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, that is, the mid-range solution. So for the most modern games the Nitro series is by and large not intended.
Having looked at the heated struggle between the main manufacturers of gaming laptops, lasting for a couple of years, and appreciating their chances, Acer decided to join this fight. Two notebooks with diagonals of 15.6 and 17 inches entered the previously existing Predator series and were presented to the public at the IFA exhibition in September 2015. Not similar to all previous products of the company, which received the most top-end components, which have unique design and unique "chips" – these are the novelties. Today we will consider the junior model in the middle configuration, let's get started!
Laptop Predator 15 is packed on the principle of "additional protection will not be superfluous". The main black box with the device is inside a dense cardboard package with the logo of the company printed, listing the main features of the model and a couple of photos. Inside there are also two additional sections for the items in the delivery kit. For convenience of carrying there is a plastic handle on top.
The sticker on one side of the package lists all the main technical data and various numbers (serial, lot number, etc.). The laptop is made in China in 2015, the month is not specified.
The scope of supply includes an external unit and power cable, a setup manual and a warranty card.
Separately we note an additional cooling fan, made in the form of a block, which is installed in place of the CD DVD drive and pumps cool air to the components of the system. Nothing like the other manufacturers do not.
In appearance Acer Predator 15 is noticeably different from other gaming laptops, but it is immediately clear to which segment the device is designed and to which class it belongs. Unlike some competing solutions, the novelty uses only plastic, and some parts have a "rubberized" soft-touch coating. This allowed to reduce the weight of the device and increase practicality. Nevertheless, it should be noted that fingerprints on the plastic case are very noticeable and it is not easier to erase them (rather, even vice versa) than from metal surfaces.
Predator 15 provides several areas with illumination, among them a logo and two stripes on either side of it on the cover of the screen, as well as a large power button. Of course, equipped with a backlight – three-zone – and a keyboard.
The laptop came out pretty well-nourished – 39 mm almost anywhere in the case. Thanks to this in Predator 15, it was possible to install a capacious battery and a productive, but quiet cooling system, completely coping with its tasks. In addition, in Predator 15 provides the ability to replace the CD DVD-RW-drive third cooler cooler, which pumps cool air to the hot components of the laptop.
The building itself is characterized by careful study and has a special, unique form. Predator 15 is not a simple "black coffin", but a laptop that is called "tastefully". This is emphasized by the insertion of red color on various parts of the device and the bulky "gills" of the cooling system.
We had no complaints about the quality of the assembly. The laptop is "shot down" very tightly, the gaps between the elements are minimal or completely absent, the processing of the edges is ideal, painting the details does not cause censures. Nothing crunches, does not creak and does not bend, even after disassembly and subsequent assembly of the device.
On the left side of the device are two USB 3.0, 3.5-mm audio output and audio input, power connector and a memory card reader type SD / SDHC / SDXC. On the opposite side there was a place for two more USB 3.0 connectors, one of which with a fast charging system, the newest USB 3.1 Type-C (Thunderbolt 3), full-size HDMI 1.4 and Display Port 1.2 and RJ-45 network interface. It is unlikely that someone will not accept such a set.
The notebook's status indicators are located behind a special semi-transparent plastic insert, installed at an angle of about 75 degrees to the work surface. Thus, the user sees them constantly – well, that the brightness of the glow is quite small.
By the sticker at the bottom of the case, the buyer can find out a more accurate production date. Our copy of Predator 15 was manufactured on December 4, 2015 in China.
Acer engineers managed to place in their 15.6-inch Predator 15 full-size island-type keyboard with a digital block. It was even possible to do without reducing the width of the extreme keys, they remained the standard size of 15 × 15 mm. But the height of the upper control buttons has been slightly reduced.
Above them, on the left, are six more buttons with their own three-color illumination, they are programmable, the functions they perform can be selected using the pre-installed PredatorSense application. One of the keys switches the mode of operation of the five remaining ones. As a result, you can configure up to 15 actions / macros.
Backlighting of the main keyboard keys – three-zone. But the color can not be changed – the right area with the digital block uses blue LEDs for backlighting, the other two uses red LEDs. According to the promises of company representatives, in the future versions of the notebook the illumination along the entire perimeter will be replaced by a customizable RGB-LED.
The color of the buttons is black, the surface of the keys is matte, all letters and symbols are white. The brightness level of the backlight is not adjustable, it can only be turned on or off. Important for many gamers WASD buttons and arrows are distinguished by a red outline that distinguishes them on the general background.
The distance between the main buttons is 3.5 mm. The stroke of the keys is equal to their height – 2 mm. Pressing is clear, with a muffled, average sound level and good tactile feedback. The keyboard does not bend in any of the areas. The layout is standard, you will not have to get used to it for a long time. All control keys by default work by pressing the modifier button Fn.
The working area of the middle-sized touch panel is 106 × 65 mm – and is shifted to the left of the center. It has a semi-plastic surface. There are two physical keys with a soft stroke, a quiet click sound and good tactile feedback. The touchpad is characterized by high sensitivity and adequacy of work when using gestures. Nearby is the button for deactivating the touchpad – in case you use a separate gamer mouse.
The laptop has a standard 1.3 megapixel webcam with a resolution of 720p, located at the top of the screen. The quality of the picture is only good with good external lighting.
Predator 15 allows unhindered access to two free slots of RAM, SSD and HDD-drive.
To do this, unscrew only two screws, after which the central cover is easily removed. The hard drive is in a special silicone "case", which reduces the level of noise and vibrations transmitted to the body of the device. Two occupied RAM slots are probably located on the back of the motherboard.
After unscrewing 10 more screws with a conventional cross screwdriver, you can remove the upper cover that closes the access to the screen hinges and the plastic grille of the cooling system. Slowly and neatly the bottom of the case is removed.
After the opening, a thick, but small in width and depth battery, a wireless network adapter, a cooling system, two main speakers and a subwoofer located next to one of the CO fans
Separately note that there are more affordable modifications to the novelty, without an SDD-drive. Is it possible to independently install the SSD format M.2 in them – we do not know. But we know for sure that in the modification we obtained, it is possible to install a second solid-state drive, however, a slightly longer length or through a special fastener.
| The processor
|Intel Core i7-6700HQ Skylake (Quad-Core), 2.6 GHz|
|Chipset||Intel HM170 (Sunrise Point)|
|Graphics adapter||Intel HD Graphics 530 + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 3 GB GDDR5|
|Display||IPS, 15.6 inches, 1920 × 1080 pixels (Full HD), 60 Hz, ComfyView, Semi-matched|
|Operative memory||16 GB DDR4-2133 (1066 MHz), dual-channel mode, two 8 GB Hyundai memory modules|
|The data storage system|| 1x SSD Toshiba THNSNJ128G8NU, 128 GB, M.2 SATA3;
1x HDD Western Digital WD10JPVX-22JC3T0, 1 TB, SATA3, 5400 rpm;
|The optical drive||CD / DVD-RW|
|The connector of flash cards||SD / SDHC / SDXC|
|Interfaces|| 4 × USB 3.0;
1 × USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C | Thunderbolt 3 (4K @ 60 Hz);
1 × HDMI 1.4;
1 × DisplayPort 1.2;
1 × jack 3,5 mm (audio input);
1 × jack 3,5 mm (audio output);
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a / b / g / n / ac (Atheros Killer 1535)|
|Bluetooth||4.1 LE + HS|
|The network adapter||Atheros Killer e2400|
|The sound of the||Realtek ALC255 + 2.1 Speakers|
|Additionally||Web camera (HD 720p) 1.3 megapixel|
|Power Supply||The battery is non-removable 88.8 W · h (6000 mAh, 14.8 V)|
|The external power adapter is 180 W (9.23 A, 19.5 V)|
|The size, mm|
|Weight, kg||3,4 + 0,58 ( BP )|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home x64|
|Official manufacturer's warranty, months||12|
|The official price, rubles||159990|
Predator notebooks, introduced to the public in September 2015, are equipped with the sixth-generation Intel processors (Skylake core), DDR4 memory and discrete NVIDIA GPUs, starting with the GeForce GTX 970M and ending with the GTX 980M with 4 GB of video memory.
The number of officially available modifications we have, in Europe and the US is very different. In Moscow, you can buy two versions of Predator 15: both with FullHD IPS-screens and 16 GB of RAM. The difference is in the storage system (1 TB of HDD or 1 TB of HDD + 128 GB of SSD) and the installed processor: Core i5-6300HQ versus i7-6700HQ. At the time of writing, they are presented in stores at officially recommended prices of 139,990 and 159,990 rubles. To our laboratory came, as you might guess, the second option.
The use of SSDs connected via PCIe 3.0 x4 interface with NVMe protocol has so far refused in the 15.6-inch version of Acer. The move is somewhat strange. We hope that in the updated versions of Predator 15 the storage system will be executed according to the new "canons" for this class of devices.
As for the screen, in some time in the Russian Federation should appear versions with a resolution of 4K (3840 × 2160) and support for touch controls. Their cost, probably, will not be less than 180 thousand rubles. In America, prices are not much lower, and in Europe, when converted into rubles, even higher. Our opinion does not change – the optimal one is the simple FullHD IPS-display, which allows to significantly reduce the load on the system components.
The review's hero is equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, executed according to the 14-nm design standards. The nominal processor frequency is 2.6 GHz. Hyper-Threading and TurboBoost technologies are supported. When the latter is activated, the frequency can automatically be raised to 3.5 GHz with the load on one core and up to 3.1 GHz with the load on all four.
The volume of the cache memory of the third level is impressive 6 MB. The processor refers to solutions with a standard voltage – its thermal package is 45 W, and the operating voltage at a maximum frequency of 1.1 V.
As a graphic solution is a new built-in GPU Intel HD Graphics 530 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with its own dedicated GDDR5 memory of 3 GB. This is a high-performance gaming GPU, which in the case of the FullHD-screen for a long time does not think about the lack of FPS in modern games, albeit with the maximum settings and smoothing. G-Sync technology is supported, but only for an external display with the appropriate module on board.
The functions of the south bridge are performed by the Intel Sunrise Point HM170 chipset. The amount of RAM DDR4-2133 (1066 MHz) in our case is 16 GB. It operates in a two-channel mode, using two Hyundai SO-DIMMs of 8 GB each.
The review's hero is equipped with a 15.6-inch IPS display manufactured by LG Display company with a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels, a 16: 9 aspect ratio and a semi-solid screen. For such a diagonal, the resolution is more than sufficient. In addition, there are no problems with scaling, which can be completely abandoned.
In the middle version of Predator 15, which came to us, the manufacturer uses the Toshiba THNSNJ128G8NU SSD-drive for 128 GB in M.2 format and Western Digital WD10JPVX-22JC3T0 HDD, 1 TByte in volume, with a spindle rotation speed of 5400 rpm. In both cases, the most modern and fast SerialATA 3 interface is used.
Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac and Bluetooth 4.0 LE wireless connections provide the Atheros Killer 1535 controller. The Atheros Killer e2400, which is familiar on MSI laptops, is responsible for the wired network. Two modules from one manufacturer allowed the use of Killer DoubleShot Pro technology, which allows simultaneous operation of two communication channels to increase the download / download speed. Naturally, this requires that you have two different Internet service providers connected.
Sound in Predator 15 is managed by Realtek ALC255 HDA codec in conjunction with SoundPound 2.1 audio system. There is a replaceable optical drive.
The review's hero is equipped with a 6-cell battery with a claimed capacity of 88.8 W * h. The opinion of utilities about the real capacity is similar to the data from the TX laptop. For the dimensions of Predator 15 and the components inside it (this is mainly an optical disc drive replaced by a third cooler), this is a very good indicator.
A small external power adapter with a power of 180 watts is used to charge the device. The laptop is charged for a long time – about 2.5-3 hours with the lid closed in the off state.
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