We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Acer’s New Gaming Laptop Line Has Something for Everyone

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE and Helios 300

Acer always comes to CES with a ton of new product announcements, and this year’s digital-only show is no exception. The company is showing off no less than five new notebooks, all of which can handle gaming to one degree or another. They range from the sleek Predator Triton 300 SE to an update for the humble Aspire 5.

Aspire 5

Let’s start at the most obtainable, shall we?  The newest version of the 15.6-inch Aspire 5 runs on AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors, with discrete GPU options for up to a Radeon RX 640 (a mid-range card). The Aspire 5 can be configured with up to 24GB of memory and up to a terabyte of SSD storage plus a 2TB hard drive.

Acer Aspire 5 2021

The .7-inch laptop has an aluminum cover that comes in black or silver. The left side is stacked with ports, including one USB-C, two USB-A, HDMI, and a fold-out Ethernet port, plus a proprietary charger. The right side is oddly spare, with with only one USB-A port and a headphone jack. Note the full keyboard with ten key area, which is not a given at this size. The Aspire 5 will start at just $550 when it launches in March, though the base model won’t have those massive RAM and storage upgrades.

Aspire 7

The 15.6-inch Aspire 7 sticks with AMD Ryzen 5000 for the processor platform but goes with NVIDIA for its discrete GTX 1650 graphics card. RAM options go up to  32GB, but the option to add hard drive storage is dropped, to fit into a slimmer 4.75-pound body.

Acer Aspire 7 2021

Port options match the Aspire 5, though oddly, the proprietary charger jack is on the right side. There’s an interesting manual fan control option, something you don’t often see in this range: Press Funtion+F to switch between silent, normal, and performance settings. The Aspire 7 will go on sale in March, starting at $750.

Nitro 5

The Nitro series is Acer’s budget gaming brand. The new Nitro 5 packs in a shocking amount of value for its hardware, in either 15.6-inch or 17-inch bodies. It’s still using the Ryzen 5000 series for CPU, topping out a the Ryzen 9 5900 HX. There are Intel options, too, topping out at an 11th-gen Core H. But on top of that you can get the very latest NVIDIA RTX mobile graphics cards, all the way up to an RTX 3080.

Acer Nitro 5

RAM goes up to 32GB, storage up to two terabytes of of M.2 SSD and a two terabyte hard drive, with licensed Killer E2600 networking handling ethernet and Wi-Fi. Displays offer a choice between QHD resolution at 165Hz or 1080p at an eye-searing 360Hz. I’d go for the former, since the newest high-end games will never run that fast anyway. One compromise is the keyboard, which has “only” four zones of RGB lighting.

On the left side the Nitro 5 gets a fold-out Ethernet jack and two USB-A ports, with another USB-A, USB-C, and HDMI on the right. Oversized twin exhausts expel heat from the rear, though the body design is less flamboyant than other gaming laptops. The Nitro 5 starts at  just $750 with a February release, but there’s no word on when the Intel-powered version will be available.

Predator Helios 300 (refresh)

Acer Predator Helios 300

Stepping up to the flagship Predator series: The Helios 300 has been on the market for some time, but is getting a refresh with new options for the incoming RTX 30XX series of cards and up to 32GB of storage. Tellingly, there’s no mention of 11th-gen Intel processors, so presumably these 15.6-inch and 17-inch models will still be using early 2020 processors. The refreshed Predator Helios will start at $1,250 and maxing out at $2,000 when it launches in February.

Predator Triton 300 SE

The big daddy of Acer’s CES lineup is the Predator Triton 300 SE. Well, “big” is a relative term, since this 14-inch laptop is only .7 inches thick—an impressive achievement given its 11th-gen Core i7 processor and NVIDIA RTX 3060 graphics card. The telltale exhaust on the sides and rear (and perhaps Acer’s Transformers-style Predator badge) are the only signs that this sleek design is meant for gaming. Otherwise it looks like a premium ultraportable.

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE (front)

Acer boasts of an all-metal fan design and heat pipes that let the metal chassis stay cool under load. Screen options top out at 1080p and 144hz, with appealingly thin bezels for a gaming laptop. A three-zone RGB keyboard with manual fan control sits on top of the main body, flanked by USB-A and USB-C on the left plus USB-A and HDMI on the right. The laptop has a proprietary charger, but also accepts power over USB-C.

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE (rear)

I have to say, this machine is looking tight. If you want something that can handle Cyberpunk 2077 but doesn’t actually look like a movie prop, this is it. The Predator Triton 300 SE will be available in February, with prices starting at $1,400.

Michael Crider Michael Crider
Michael Crider has been writing about computers, phones, video games, and general nerdy things on the internet for ten years. He’s never happier than when he’s tinkering with his home-built desktop or soldering a new keyboard. Read Full Bio »