A hot gaming laptop in every sense of the word.
Not too long ago, only Razer was mass producing thin and light gaming laptops, but thanks, at least in part, to the Nvidia Max-Q design philosophy, every month we’re seeing more and more machines that combine portability and power into a very appealing package. The design philosophy throttles down the GPU reducing the heat output so the laptop doesn’t require bulkier and heavier cooling to offset the extra heat. It’s a clever philosophy but one of compromise – it’s unlikely a Max-Q laptop will ever be as fast or powerful as a desktop replacement style gaming laptop, but the more powerful machines will never be as portable.
The 15.6in Triton 700 comes in two versions; one sporting a 1060 and one sporting an 8Gb 1080. We’ve reviewed the more powerful, and significantly more expensive model. Aside from the GPU, the laptop is also packed with a lot of other premium tech, with a core i7-7700HQ, 32Gb RAM, 2x256Gb SSDs in Raid 0 and a 120Hz, G-Sync, full HD IPS screen. It’s a pretty impressive beast overall and an understated but attractive one at that. In keeping with the Max-Q design philosophy, the Triton 700 is covered in vents at the rear and sides, as well as above the keyboard, but these aren’t the most striking feature of the machine. That honour belongs to the large, semi-transparent panel above the keyboard that gives a slight glimpse of the internals of the machine and serves as the touchpad. It’s not a new design choice (the Asus Rog Zephyrus, another Max-Q laptop features a similarly located touch pad), but it certainly catches the eye. All of this comes packaged in an aluminium shell and weighs 2.4Kg.
The keyboard is mechanical and has a pleasant tactile feedback to it, even with such a short throw distance, and features per-key RGB lighting. When it comes to performance, the Triton 700 is definitely no slouch as the benchmarks can attest it’s more than capable of playing games at maximum settings with easily playable framerates. While not quite as fast as the Zephyrus, the Triton 700 can also be found at a much lower street price, so the few extra frames that the Asus machine can eke out are offset quite handily by savings. The screen is stunning, and while not quite as vibrant as a glossy screen, the matte finish cuts glare and reflections down to next to zero. Battery life is sub-par, delivering around two hours of continuous use, but that is a fairly standard failing of high end gaming laptops.
The design and performance of the Acer Triton 700 may both be stunning but there are some significant problems with the laptop that make it less than perfect. The placement of the touchpad is awkward, sure, but the awkward placement pales in comparison to how hot it gets during use, rendering it not only awkward but uncomfortable. This heat problem is not isolated to the touchpad either. The base of the machine gets very hot during use, so actually using it on your lap is out of the question unless you like your eggs hard boiled. Even with the Max-Q throttling and numerous heat-pipes and cooling vents, the Triton 700 just can’t quite cool effectively enough to ensure comfort as well as performance.