If you take your gaming seriously (and we mean really seriously), your choice of laptop usually rails against convention. Where most people look for a sleek, thin and light portable, with a tectonic battery life, hardcore gamers look for raw power — and it doesn’t come more rawer or more powerful than the Acer Predator 21 X.
Announced at IFA in 2016 and now on sale, Acer’s outlandish $8999.99 device is a desktop PC squeezed into a laptop chassis. It has a curved 21-inch 2560 x 1080 pixel display, an overclocked Intel Core-i7-7820 quad-core CPU running at 2.9GHz, and dual – yes, two – GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards in an SLI configuration. It’s no wonder people are impressed.
The first laptop with a curved display
“This is the first laptop to feature a curved display that, when combined with Tobii’s eye-tracking technology, makes for a seriously immersive gaming experience,” proclaimed Laptop Magazine. “This machine is so premium that Acer is making only 300 of them.”
The system certainly looks the part, although its retro-futuristic design might not be to everyone’s taste. “It lacks subtlety and business class,” said Trusted Reviews. “But the black plastic and silver highlights give it supercar/spaceship looks that I’ve become a little bit fond of.”
But the futuristic 21 X isn’t about impressing you with its looks. It catches the eye in a multitude of other ways. There’s the price tag, for starters; the curved display (it’s the first laptop to incorporate one); and the Core i7 processor. To put its monstrous size into perspective, it weighs 8.8kg — that’s almost the same as seven Acer Switch 5 2 in 1 computers.
The location of the keyboard makes it unsuited to non-gaming tasks, commented The Verge, but added that the Acer Predator 21 X is “much more comfortable when it comes to mashing the WASD keys while running around in Overwatch. The screen, which resulted in comically-sized windows for most websites, gives a wide, almost cinematic experience in Battlefield 1.”
A portable that’s barely portable
“There is one slight internal hiccup,” adds Digital Trends. “It has an 88 watt-hour battery, which is smaller than what we’ve seen in some new gaming laptops. Like the resolution, though, it is only a deficiency at first glance. One look at the 21 X, and it’s clear this machine isn’t built to travel often. We assume the 21 X won’t live much of its life away from a power outlet.”
Measuring more than 56cm from end to end, the Predator is one of the largest laptops ever made. It’s barely portable but, as TechRadar points out: “if you do want to carry the Predator 21 X around with you, Acer does have you covered by supplying a robust carrying case built by Pelican. This is a large, solidly built, flight case that comes with four wheels on the bottom and an extendable handle for dragging along with you.”
So the Predator 21 X is a monster machine in every regard, but as The Verge suggests, it was never meant to be a practical or affordable option. “It’s the ultimate ‘what if?’ device, a glimpse at what hardware makers can accomplish when things like common sense and logic are thrown out the window.”