One problem with Acer’s Nitro marque is that it’s hard to shake the perception it’s the scrawny kid brother of its brawny Predator range. You know, the gaming laptop you buy when money’s tight but you need something newer than what you’re rocking at the given time. It’s an issue Acer itself is trying to address by trying to give the Nitro more of its own identity, and pushing it to be more distinct from its bigger, more attention-hogging sibling.
As with Acer’s other rebrands, the Nitro loses the odd-number coding in favor of being described by display sizes. So, at CES, you’ll find the Nitro 16 and Nitro 17, each one packing a 16- and 17.3-inch display, respectively. What hasn’t changed much is the styling, which keeps that, uh, Razer-esque minimalism (bar the rear exhaust vents) from the previous generation. That’s not a bad thing, I should add, since there’s little need for curling arcs of faux-chrome plastic to make it look butch in front of your friends at the LAN party.
Naturally, both machines come with the pick of a 13th-generation Intel Core i5 / i7 processors paired with up to 32GB RAM. You’ll be able to marry up both with a 40-series NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPU, which will enable you to switch from integrated to discrete graphics without rebooting. And both will come with a four-zone RGB backlit keyboard, to let you mark out your individuality in lighting choices as much as you can manage.
Acer is also swinging big about the promises that these machines can handle a far longer load than its predecessors. And users will be able to access the NitroSense UI from a dedicated key, letting them keep an eye on the temperatures when things are getting intense. Connectivity wise, you’ll get the expected ports (HDMI 2.1, microSD, two Thunderbolt 4 with PD and three USB 3.2 Gen 2. But the overall vibe here is a machine that you shouldn’t feel second-class while gaming with it.
Both machines are coming to the US in May, with prices starting from $1,200, although you can expect that figure to climb as soon as you start speccing it up properly.
Now, for the Predators, with two new Helios models available with either 16- or an 18-inch display. Both have had their own muted, more professional redesign, and come with the choice of a 13th-generation Intel Core i7 or i9 processor, paired with a 40-series GeForce RTX GPU. Naturally, you can pair that with up to 32GB RAM and up to 2TB in storage, with other, less expensive spec options in the mix.
If theres a major shift in the components, it’s in the mini-LED backlit keyboard, which the company promises will offer less halo effect and smoother lighting effects. You will also be able to spot some gaps in the keyboard, as the laptop draws cool air in from between your fingers to help keep those beefy components working at the right temperature.
And speaking of which, one neat little addition is a pair of spare cowls for the laptop’s rear deck exhaust fans. These, we’re told, can be painted or customized in any way that you desire, letting you add a small touch of yourself to what’s otherwise the most anonymous part of the machine.
The 16-inch Helios will be making its way to these shores in March, with prices starting at $1,650, while the 18-incher won’t arrive until April, with a vanilla model costing you $1,700.