The G9-793, a second-generation Predator from Acer, debuted this year and maintains many similarities with its predecessor while adding a Thunderbolt 3 port, a significantly faster Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics chip, and a few other small upgrades. I’ve had the new Predator 17 for about two weeks, and I’ll tell you all about it below.
In a nutshell, I anticipate this to be a success, especially if Acer keeps the pricing below that of the competitors, as it did with the previous iteration. The laptop is still clumsy, hefty, and covered in red accents and LEDs that will make experts roll their eyes, but it is also more faster and slightly cooler while under load, giving you the option to overclock the internal graphics and get even more performance out of it. So the Predator 17 might be a good choice if you’re searching for a gaming laptop but don’t give a rat’s ass about portability.
Acer Predator G9-793
|Processor:||Intel Core i7-6700HQ|
|GPU:||Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB|
|Display:||17.3 inch, UHD 3840 x 2160|
|RAM:||32 GB DDR4 2133Mhz|
|Hard Drive:||512 GB NVMe SSD + 2 TB 2.5″ HDD|
|Dimensions:||16.65 x 12.66 x 1.64 inches|
|Colors:||Red & Black|
pros and cons
- Nice Built Quality
- Well Display with G-sync integration
- Powerful Performance
- Decent Volume and Sound Quality
- Heavy & big in size
- Wifi works slow
- The issue of screen bleeding
- Because of G-Sync the battery life is short
Acer Predator G9-793 Review
For the Predator G9-793, Acer offers two different 17.3-inch matte IPS screens, one with a standard gamut and FHD resolution and the other with a wide-gamut panel and UHD resolution. The former is on display here and is very impressive. The G9-screen 793 supports GSync and has a 60 Hz refresh rate as a novelty feature.
Those of you wishing for a higher refresh rate screen would have to go elsewhere. The FHD variant should support GSync as well, and I believe it also has a 60 Hz panel.
The display has enough brightness and richness, deep blacks, strong contrast, outstanding color coverage, hues that are true to color right out of the box, and stable viewing angles. Another justification for using the calibrated profile is that the gamma is slightly shifted by default.
The bezel on my test unit, however, is poorly made and touches the display at several locations, which results in substantial light leakage in the lower corners. Although I can’t say for sure if it will be a problem with the finished retail products, it’s something to keep in mind, especially as I’ve seen it highlighted in other reviews as well.
Design & Built
To put it simply, the Acer Predator 17 is a large, thick laptop with a soft plastic finish. It is comparable to the earlier Asus ROG laptops from 2013 to 2015, which you may have seen around because they were quite well-liked at the time and are still popular now. Good luck keeping that portion clean since while the finishing feels lovely to the touch and is pretty dependable over time, it also reveals smudges and finger grease quite easily, especially on the palm rest that will come in contact with your hands.
The laptop has a predominantly black design with lots of red accents. I can’t tell if the improvements are merely aesthetic or also have a functional purpose because the back of the unit has been somewhat altered and appears more sophisticated.
The large logo on the hood and the light bars, which typically cannot be turned off, is still my pet peeves when it comes to appearance. There is a way to do that because the LEDs on the lid will also be killed if you choose to turn off the keyboard’s backlighting, but that is obviously not the best course of action. There is also the nearly constant lighting of the macro keys and the power button. When trying to watch a movie in a dark room, these are really unpleasant, and the lights on the cover pretty much render the Predator unusable for anyone attempting to wear it in a professional setting. This significantly reduces the number of possible customers.
On the other hand, the laptop is solidly constructed and generally comfortable to use every day, despite the somewhat tall profile that causes the front edges to leave scars on my wrists, a problem I had with the previous version as well.
The IO is strong, with all the required ports and a Thunderbolt 3 connector as an upgrade for this newer model, making the laptop more future-proof and a wise choice for those planning to keep it for a couple of years and use an external graphics option later on, when the internal graphics will have deteriorated.
Although the two subwoofers (located on the belly, behind that red metallic plate) don’t actually push out a lot of basses, the overall sound coming out of the Predator is far nicer than most other laptops can produce. Acer chose a 4.2 system here with a total output of 12W. The remaining four speakers are arranged in two pairs and project sound downward, toward the table, as well as through the red grills on the front edge.
The gold-plated 3.5 mm jack offers reliable audio output with no hiss or other interference if you intend to use headphones or external speakers.
which, on this test sample, I thought was somewhat washed-up and lacking in detail. I had a better experience with the prior Predator, I thought.
Keypad & Touchpad
The G9-keyboard 793 appears to be similar to that of the previous generation at first glance, but for some reason, my typing performance with the G9-793 sample wasn’t as good as that of the G9-791. I wasn’t happy with the keys’ resistance, despite the fact that they still have a pleasant feel and travel 2 mm deep inside the frame. On this test sample, they were simply too simple to push and actuate, thus I frequently pressed the erroneous buttons, which resulted in a substantial number of errors.
However, the low resistance made it possible for me to type quickly on this machine, and I liked the general rattling. However, bear aware that this is not a silent typist. The arrangement is also rather good, with a NumPad area and the arrow keys visually and physically separated from the others by their red framing.
Even yet, the experience seemed fairly underwhelming after typing hundreds of words on this keyboard.
The layout is divided into four distinct portions that may each be backlit independently, and the keys are backlit with RGB lights. However, there is still only one brightness intensity level, and there is only a modest amount of brightness present overall.
The big trackpad works nicely with standard swipes, taps, and gestures. Mechanical click buttons are included, as well as a quirky red illuminated LED frame. There is no method to simply kill it separately; it can only be turned off by deactivating the trackpad or the keyboard’s lighting. Although I think it is rather silly, let’s just assume that is not a deal-breaker because this is a gaming laptop and most of you will likely have a mouse connected nevertheless.
A high-end Predator 17 model with a Core i7-6700HQ processor, 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, an Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card with 8 GB of video memory, dual storage with an NVMe drive for the operating system and a 2.5″ hard drive for multimedia files and other large files was available for us to test.
But since the laptop offers GSync, the Intel HD 530 chip inside the CPU is turned off, causing the Nvidia chip to always be on. As you’ll see further down, this has an adverse effect on battery life.
There are now faster gaming laptops available, with Core HK processors that can be overclocked and even Core K CPUs that are suitable for desktop use. I believe this configuration will be adequate for the majority of prospective buyers because Acer chose a mid-ground configuration that will deliver reliable performance in common tasks, demanding operations (photo/video editing, programming, etc.), and games while limiting temperatures and especially costs.
The RAM and storage can be upgraded even if you choose a lower-end model. The two M.2 slots, the 2.5″ bay, and two RAM DIMMs are all accessible through a service bay on the bottom of the laptop. The other two are located behind the motherboard and are quite challenging to access because doing so would necessitate disassembling the entire device, which is also necessary if the battery ever has to be changed.
Gaming & Graphics
The G9-793 exhibits a 30 to 70% increase in graphics-related scores when compared to last year’s Predator, which used an Nvidia 980M chip. I haven’t played many of the newest games, but some of the test games are very demanding, and you can see that the 1070 chip will deliver a fantastic 1080p experience and will handle 4K gaming rather well, but you will have to reduce details to some level to achieve 60 frames per second.
As you can see in the images below, I haven’t seen any GPU throttling while using my test device to play games or carry out other tasks. Contrarily, the CPU generally operated below its nominal speeds in games, although I don’t believe this has an effect on performance.
In the Nvidia GeForce Experience app, I also measured battery performance and set a 45 fps limit; titles like Tomb Raider, Bioshock, and Shadow of Mordor were able to match the limit flawlessly in 1080p with the highest graphical settings. The CPU and GPU both operate at slower speeds when operating on batteries, as shown in several of the images above, so don’t expect to achieve the same results when playing games at UHD quality.
As a separate note, I don’t have a second 1070 laptop to compare the results with, however, notebookcheck.com has compared the Asus G752VS and the Predator 17, and they claim that the Asus achieved 5 to 15% better results in benchmarks and games. That’s not shocking, especially considering that the G752VS model they tested has a Core HK processor and a faster Nvidia chip.
This Acer Predator also supports overclocking the Nvidia 1070 chip.
The following two images show how the Predator 17 G9-793 performed in my stress tests. But if you’re really interested in this laptop, you should look at other reviews that note GPU throttling under severe load, namely in stress testing.
On this computer, there are three different types of connectivity: Wireless AC, Bluetooth 4.1, and Gigabit LAN. I have no issues with the cable connection, and since Acer installed Killer DoubleShot Pro on this laptop, both the wired and wireless connections may be used at the same time. An application that comes preinstalled allows you to control how and when each software is permitted to access the Internet.
On the other hand, the wireless connection (using a Qualcomm Killer Wireless 1535 module) functions properly while you’re close to the router, but as you go a short distance away from it—in my case, 30 feet with two walls between—the signal strength and speeds start to decline dramatically. Since I previously complained about it with the G9-791 Predator and it still exists with this current model despite having a newer wireless chip, I would assume the issue is the result of a subpar antennae design. There are a few customers who have complained about the previous Predators’ sluggish Wi-Fi on Google, but not as many as I had anticipated, so I would guess that for most of you, this won’t be a deal-breaker.
The WiFi on this laptop worked wonderfully during my tests, with no dips, disconnections, or other concerns other than the restricted range.
This laptop has a 90 Wh battery, but because the screen supports GSync and there isn’t an Intel HD 530 chip to automatically switch to in everyday usage, the Nvidia chip is constantly running, which significantly reduces battery life.
Some games are more demanding than others since GeForce Experience records gaming results with a 45 fps cap. Therefore, you can anticipate playing the newest releases for less than an hour, and older or simpler games for up to two hours.
Despite this, the Predator 17 G9-793 has a 230 Wh power supply, which is more than the 180 Wh of the previous model. It alone weighs about 900 grams, making the laptop’s total weight while traveling 4.25 kg.
The Acer Predator 7 G9-793, like its predecessor, isn’t the sexiest, fastest, or most feature-rich 17-inch gaming laptop of its generation, but the flaws are typically made up for by its competitive pricing. However, whereas some flaws of the G9-791, Acer’s initial 17-inch gaming laptop, might have been overlooked, I was expecting them to be rectified on this new model, but they weren’t. Because of the weak Wi-Fi connection and my opinion that the keyboard is inadequate for a modern gaming laptop, the G9-final 793’s score is 3.75 out of 5.
Now, if you can find the Predator 17 G9-793 for a reasonable price, it would be a good purchase. With GSync and a ThunderBolt 3 port, this laptop is merely a hardware upgrade over the previous Predator. However, by the end of 2016, other laptops may offer options for high-refresh-rate panels, superior keyboards, quieter cooling systems, and more compact bodies, while matching or even undercutting the Predator in terms of price.
The Alienware 17, the Asus ROG G752VS, and the MSI GT72VR Dominator Pro are among the competing products, but none of them stands out as the clear winner because they all have advantages and disadvantages, as well as varied price points that must also be taken into account. Bottom line: If you can find the Predator G9-793 for a reasonable price (just contrast it with the other available options at the time you’re reading this), don’t care much about portability or the abundance of LEDs and obtrusive accents on the case, and also intend to use it primarily over a wired connection, you’ll probably be happy with the Predator 17.