Acer Predator Triton 500 (2020) review: Sensational gaming powerhouse

The Acer Predator Triton 500 has been upgraded with some subtle yet awesome enhancements – including a 300Hz screen and serious specs – to help it reach its lofty gaming goals.

When we tried 2019’s Triton 500 we had a lot of good things to say about it. We were fairly sure that if Acer had taken that foundation and built upon it with even better features and specs then the new Triton would be a winner. Sure enough, that’s exactly what the 2020 Triton achieves.

Power and punch in a compact chassis

  • Intel Core i7-10875H processor, up to 32GB of DDR4-2933 memory
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU with Max-Q design
  • Killer 2.5G E3100G Gigabit Ethernet, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking
  • Killer AX1650i Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
  • 1x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 (Thunderbolt 3)
  • 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports
  • DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0
  • DisplayPort over USB-C
  • Thickness: 17.9mm / Weight: 2.1kg

On the surface, the Acer Predator Triton 500 looks much like the previous version. With a nicely crafted chassis, comfortable backlit keyboard, a mass of ports, and stylish cooling vents.

Most of the upgrades come under the hood and out of sight. With the latest 10th generation Intel processors and options that include as much as 32GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU with Max-Q design.

The 1080p screen has been upgraded too, where last year’s model offered 144Hz refresh rate, this version now boasts a 300Hz panel. But there’s much more going on under the hood too.

The cooling system now includes Acer’s fourth-generation AeroBlade 3D fan technology, five heat pipes, CoolBoost tech and Vortex Flow too. All this means an apparent 33 per cent improvement in thermal performance compared to the previous model. In practice, that means it runs cooler and more efficiently.

We’re happy to report that it certainly ran cooler and quieter than other gaming laptops we’ve tested recently (we’re looking at you Asus) even when gaming on the lap. That’s great considering the extra powerful specs under the hood.

Of course, you need that power to make the most of the new screen. When we first heard Acer was adding a 300Hz display to the Triton 500 we wondered whether there was any point. Would any games even run at a frame rate to justify it?

The answer is yes. Even on ultra-high nightmare settings, Doom Eternal topped over 200fps and CS:Go pushed over 300fps in some instances. So the Acer Triton 500 has the power to deliver. Though, obviously, the more visually intense games won’t make the most of this panel unless you lower the graphics settings.

It’s not just the screen that pleases though. The Triton 500 is lightweight and portable too. It’s packed full of ports and connection options, with HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB-C, DisplayPort and Ethernet all easily accessible. Throw in some KillerNetworking and Wi-Fi 6 comptability and you’ve got a nifty machine.

We found this compact laptop as pleasing to use for work as it is for gaming. The main downside being the battery life, which manages a fairly paltry (if standard for gaming laptop) three hours of basic use.

The 15.6-inch screen has a much bigger presence than you’d expect for a small device. But if you need more then you can use the combination of DisplayPort, HDMI and Thunderbolt to put out to three other screens and run a total of four from this laptop at once.

Stunning visuals and fast too

The display is where the Acer Triton 500 shines. Thin bezels, 300 nits brightness ,and Acer ComfyView technology, all heps makes it easy on the eye for general use. Then in gaming it really gets to come into its own thanks to the 300Hz refresh rate.

In fast-paced frantic games, like Doom Eternal, the display really shows its value. The already smooth visuals can be enhanced further with Nvidia G-Sync which can be activated in the PredatorSense software to remove screen tearing and make things even more pleasing.

It’s rich and colourful too, with good viewing angles and frankly we found it joyful to play on. It’s easy to forget you’re playing on a laptop screen and just get lost in the game, something that can sometimes be a struggle on smaller gaming laptops.

Of course, the inclusion of the RTX graphics card means you can make the most of ray-tracing if you want. We did just that with Control. Playing with everything maxed out, including the various ray-tracing settings turned on. The result is a gorgeous game that still manages to run smoothly.

Elsewhere on ultra settings Assassin’s Creed Odysessy managed around 60fps and Far Cry: New Dawn registered around 102fps. Performance that shouldn’t be sniffed at.

Software and sound highlights

  • Predator Sense software
  • Fan control, monitoring and game sync settings
  • Turbo and overclocking modes including screen Overdrive and G-Sync

Another area Acer has got right is the software controls. A single press on the keyboard and you can launch the Predator Sense software. From there, you not only have the ability to monitor the performance of your system but also overclock the laptop with a couple of simple clicks. You can adjust fan speed, turn on Cool Boost and more from here too, meaning you can eke out some more performance if you need it.

We like how user-friendly Predator Sense is. Even for the average user the controls are simple enough to get more power out of it with just a few clicks. There are extra settings you can access via this control panel, including network optimisation with the Killer Control Center or DTS:X Ultra sound.

DTS:X gives the Triton 500 a suprisingly good sound, with convincing positional audio. We enjoyed using the speakers on this laptop, which itself speaks volumes as we usually find ourselves abandoning speakers in favour of headphones or a good gaming headset to block out the inane fan noise. Audio can be tweaked to change between modes too with strategy, RPG and shooter options making nice changes to the sound.

An upgraded keyboard with cool accents

  • Full-sized keyboard options with 100% anti-ghosting
  • New design with per key illumination, enlarged spacebar and concave design
  • Easy access control keys and turbo/Predator Sense keys
  • See-through WASD and directional keys

We thoroughly enjoyed the keyboard on the previous Triton 500 and now Acer has taken steps to improve it. One upgrade is the addition of per-key RGB illumination. On 2019’s Triton 500 the RGB backlighting could only be controlled in three zones, but now you can change every single key. The lighting modes appear more striking as well, with colourful lights dancing across the keyboard in some of the most satisfying ways we’ve seen.

Other highlights include see-through WASD and directional keys – which make them stand out at night and generally during the day. This design means it’s easier to keep your hands in the right place while gaming and see with a quick glance where the important buttons are. The Predator Sense button has a similar design logic, making the focus very much gaming centric.

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