“Harga satu Proton Saga full spec.”
That was, I think, the funniest comment I read when I published this post about the Acer Predator 21 X arriving in Malaysia. And that’s a fair point to him because no laptop should rival the price of a car. That’s insane.
Then again, have you seen the Predator 21 X? It’s no laptop. It’s a monstrous beast that’s designed to smash every puny device out there that wants to call itself a laptop, and it probably could (quite literally).
But, since only 300 will ever be made (each one made to order), there was really only one burning question on my mind: What’s it like to unbox? Good news is, Acer Malaysia invited us down to their offices to find out.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen the Predator 21 X. I saw it the first time at IFA 2016 and then a second time at Acer’s GPC 2017. But I only ever saw it on display, neatly laid out on a pedestal, powered and ready to go, so going into the blacked out “Predator room” for my hands-on, I didn’t know what to expect.
Once I opened the door and hit the lights I was greeted with a box that was up to my waist in height and two and a half Rorys in width. I thought to myself: That’s not a laptop, that’s a fridge. But no, it was the laptop.
Eight plastic holders held the lid of the box on and under it was a hulking black Pelican case — y’know, the kind that you’d expect to find rocket launchers in. It’s an actual Pelican case too, mind you, not some cheap knock-off. And while I was quite happy to finish the unboxing right there on the floor, we decided that we should do it on the desk so I flexed my muscles, got into position and lifted.
It didn’t budge.
I should probably hit the gym more often…or at all, for that matter.
Nevertheless, I roped in some backup and eventually got the box onto the table. It was definitely an imposing sight, perched menacingly on the desk, and I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.
After unlocking several clasps, I popped the lid and was greeted by the laptop itself. Man, it looked awesome. Lifting the 8kg beast up, I found all the components and accessories that came with the laptop tucked neatly into foam cutouts underneath. There were two power bricks, two power cables, a power brick holder, a toolbox with extra keycaps (yes, user replaceable) and a screwdriver, a wrist rest, some documentation, a lanyard, and the hot-swappable trackpad.
The star of the show was, of course, the Predator 21 X and it was every bit as awesome as I remembered. Its curved top revealing the keycaps on the full sized Cherry MX Brown mechanical keyboard like a row of teeth even when the device is closed. The immersion from the Full HD 2560×1080 curved 120Hz 21-inch matte finish monitor. And the sheer size of the entire thing — it was absolutely stunning.
Hooking everything up, we fired up the beast and it started purring as all its cylinders kicked into action. An overclockable Intel Core i7-7820HK, a pair of NVIDIA GTX1080s in SLI, 64GB of 2,400 MHz DDR4 memory and two 512GB PCIe NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 meant it was time for some serious gaming.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to play around with the device and it only had Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege installed so that was pretty much all we got to play. The Predator 21 X obviously slayed that game with ease, the 5-fan AeroBlade 3D system didn’t even break a sweat, that’s no surprise. What I was surprised with was how awesome the entire gaming experience was.
The Cherry MX brown switches were definitely the right choice here because they’re so much nicer for gaming than the MX Blues; the included wrist rest was also a must-have accessory because of how thick the whole laptop was; and the 6-speaker (4 speakers, 2 woofers) sounded good and was loud enough to drown out the five fans. It really gave the thing a desktop-like gaming experience.
And that’s where you really want to keep it, because, the Predator 21 X’s overall size, weight and girth means that it won’t sit comfortably on your lap. But let’s face it, that’s probably the last place you’ll want to put this beast.
We also got to toy around with several other cool gamer-inspired quirks like the RGB LED customisation (individual for the keys and zone for the fan + macro) which was pretty easy to tweak through Acer’s Predator Sense software.
Tobii eye-tracking was also pretty fun. There are a whole bunch of games that support it but while some are free to download, you will have to purchase the triple A titles that aren’t. It does get a little tiring on your eyes after awhile, though, because you’re probably not going to be blinking a lot.
What’s more, Acer’s got plenty of ports on the 21 X too. You’ve got 4 USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type C with Thunderbolt 3 support, one HDMI 2.0 port, two DisplayPorts, an SD card reader, an Ethernet port, dedicated mic and headphone jacks, and a Kensington lock.
So I guess it’s time to reveal the piece of information you’ve probably all been waiting for: Its price. The Acer Predator 21 X will be priced at RM39,999 and you will have to order it via email. Yes, that is a very very big price tag and it’s probably the biggest one ever fitted to a laptop.
But here’s the thing, does that really matter?
After our short time with the laptop ended, I came to realise that it really isn’t fair to compare this laptop to any other laptop in the market because there’s really nothing like it. It’s a one-of-a-kind laptop that the boffins at Acer dreamt up when they decided they want to make the most powerful portable gaming device ever.
It’s truly a stunning piece of technological achievement and to think it came from Acer makes it that much more interesting. I’ve always lamented in the past that the world of smartphones lacked innovation and that everyone was making pretty much the same thing over and over again.
So it makes me really happy that the world of laptops isn’t like that. Thanks to this incredible machine, we have all the proof we need that there is someone out there insane enough to go all out and not care what the consequences were. And that’s exactly what the world of tech needs to drive itself forward. I mean, just look at what this exercise led to.
Yes, the price tag may be a bitter pill to swallow but that’s what it will take to own something this extraordinary. I’ll be frank and say that most of us probably won’t be able to afford it. But there will be the few out there who can and for the rest of us, it’s our duty to stand around them and say:
And if you’re like me and can’t afford it, you can still go check it out for yourself at Acer Malaysia’s roadshow which will be held in IOI City Mall, Putrajaya from the 17th to the 21st of May 2017. There will also be promotions and activities for attendees like a VR experience zone, personalised merchadise, and more. For more info, check out Acer Malaysia’s Facebook page.