Hands on: Acer Predator 21 X review

Killer, or overkill?

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Hats off to Acer, which has pulled off an incredible feat of innovation. Whether or not the Predator 21 X is ridiculous or not is up for debate, but you can't deny take away from its clever display and mind-boggling power.

For

  • Twin GTX 1080 GPUs
  • Curved 21:9 display is intriguing
  • Mechanical keyboard

Against

  • Big
  • Bulky
  • Did we mention it was big?

We'd scoff if you told us about one of the Acer Predator 21 X's crazy features. A curved display? On a laptop? Twin GTX 1080 graphics cards?

And, a tiny window through which you can peer in to see the processor's cooling fan spinning around? Yeah, pull the other one.

Rear

As it happens, the Predator 21 X is very real, and it's a marvel to look at. It requires two power supplies to provide juice to its dual GTX 1080 GPUs inside.

Dual 1080

The crazy doesn't stop there: it has a mechanical keyboard that uses Cherry MX switches, with RGB backlighting under each key. An Acer spokesperson on the booth didn't know which variation of Cherry's switch was in our demo sample, but they felt like Browns. It felt just as tactile and satisfying to use as any you'll find in our best gaming keyboard guide.

Curved

Above the keyboard is a triangular window used to show off the fans inside, giving laptop lovers the sort of visual satisfaction that desktop PC gamers have enjoyed for years. There's also Intel's new 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors on the inside, in addition to up to 4TB of SSD storage. There's more than enough disk space here to store your ample Steam library.

Window

On the left-hand side of the keyboard are macro keys that can be used to fire off specialized commands in-game. Slip around the side, and you'll find a pair of full-sized USB ports alongside a microphone and headphone jack.

Macro keys

Another interesting point about the Predator 21 X – and there are many – is its removable side panel that instantly converts from a numberpad to a trackpad. It's an ingenious idea and one that we can see being done on smaller non-gaming laptops, too.

Mouse pad

At 8kg in weight, the Predator 12 X is hardly portable – quite the opposite. But, if you're looking for a desktop replacement machine with insane amounts of power, its 2,560 x 1,080-resolution curved display is a viable replacement for a regular monitor.

It even has Tobii eye-tracking built in, which allows you to peer around levels and change camera angles by focusing on certain parts of the screen with your eyes.

Lid

It's huge, loud and about as brash as can be, but it's hard to deny that the Predator 21 X is a little bit genius, too. Acer has yet to announce pricing, but there's a good chance you'll have to remortgage your house to buy one.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.