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MSI Titan 18 HX review: a gaming colossus
8:52 pm | May 2, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

MSI Titan 18 HX: Two minute review

The MSI Titan 18 HX returns in 2024, reclaiming its title as the best gaming laptop for those looking to splurge on the most over-the-top desktop replacement money can buy.

The Titan 18 HX, like its 2023 predecessor, the MSI GT77 Titan HX, is a $5,000 desktop PC masquerading as a gaming laptop. Clocking in at just under 8 lbs/4kg, you're going to feel this one if you ever have to actually carry it anywhere, and most backpacks out there won't even fit it. This laptop, then, will be relegated to your desk with the occasional trip to another room at most.

While it sacrifices portability, it does come with some absolutely bonkers hardware, including a 175W RTX 4090 mobile GPU, a 95W Intel Core i9-14900HX processor, up to 128GB DDR5 RAM, and up to 4TB SSD storage, with one of its three M.2 SSDs slots being a PCIe 5.0 interface for the best SSD speeds possible (though it doesn't come with a PCIe 5.0 drive, you'll have to provide that yourself). Throw in the world's first 18-inch 120Hz 4K+ mini LED display with 120Hz refresh and HDR1000 certification, and you have the most decadently specced gaming laptops I've ever tested.

And before you say it, mini LED isn't an OLED, I know, but I honestly prefer mini LED displays on gaming laptops, and this one can get you 112% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, so video editors and other creative pros might want to take note of this one as well.

Design-wise, this laptop is an improvement over its predecessor in a number of ways, not the least of which is that it does introduce some grey into the chassis to help break up the super-aggressive gamer black styling of the GT77 Titan HX (and even adds some light blue accent touches to the rear), as well as introducing a seamless trackpad and more refined curves into the keydeck.

The Titan 18 HX's mechanical keyboard, meanwhile, features Cherry MX ultra low-profile switches that are a dream to type on, and the seamless trackpad is adequate for basic use; but as with any gaming laptop, you'll probably want to use the best gaming mouse you have handy while actually gaming.

Given the laptop's size, MSI was able to pack in some powerful speakers that provide a much more immersive audio experience than you'll find on a lot of other laptops. Of course, you'll have to turn the volume up to drown out the whine of the laptop's cooling system, which can get noticeably loud under strain. You can adjust this in the MSI Center, though it will come at the cost of performance.

Speaking of performance, gaming on this laptop is an absolute joy. The very best PC games run buttery smooth at max settings, and while enabling ray tracing at the laptop's native 3840x2400p resolution on some titles will require you to use DLSS upscaling to get a playable framerate at 4K, that's the case with even the best graphics card in a desktop PC.

Still, for the amount of money this laptop will cost you, you could also be forgiven for asking if it's really worth the price. If you're the type to ask such a question, don't worry, it's an easy question to answer: this laptop isn't for you. If you want the absolute best gaming performance in a theoretically portable form factor and money isn't an object for you? Well, you are exactly the person this laptop is designed to cater to, and you won't find many, if any, better gaming laptops on the market than the MSI Titan 18 HX.

MSI Titan 18 HX: Price and availability

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • How much is it? Starting at $4,999.99 / £4,379.98 / AU$6,999
  • When is it available? It is available now.
  • Where can you get it? You can get it in the US, UK, and Australia

The MSI Titan 18 HX is available now in the US, UK, and Australia, starting at $4,999.99 / £4,379.98 / AU$6,999. All configurations come with an Intel Core i9-14900HX processor and 4K+ mini LED display, and the US has two configurations on sale right now. They both feature an Nvidia RTX 4090 mobile GPU and 4TB storage, with the only difference being a choice between 64GB or 128GB RAM.

In the UK, the Titan 18 HX starts with an Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU, 64GB DDR5 RAM, and 2TB PCIe 4.0 storage, and goes up as high as an RTX 4090 with 128GB RAM and 4TB storage. In Australia, the Titan 18 HX starts with an RTX 4080 GPU, 32GB RAM, and 2TB storage, and goes up to an RTX 4090, 128GB RAM, and 4TB storage.

In no universe is this a cheap gaming laptop, and it's challenging to think of another 18-inch laptop that goes quite this hard on the specs. Even the Alienware m18 R2 pulls back from a full 4K display, much less 4K+, and tops out at 64GB RAM. Even upping the m18 R2's storage to 8TB with everything else maxed out doesn't even bring you up to the MSI Titan 18 HX's starting price.

Again, I can't stress this enough, only those with the deepest pockets need consider this one.

  • Value: 2.5 / 5

MSI Titan 18 HX: Specs

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

This is easily the most obscenely configured gaming laptop I've ever laid hands on, and I wouldn't be surprised if you could still play the latest AAA games at max settings at 4K for the rest of the decade. The hardware will likely physically fail on you before this thing is rendered obsolete when it comes to gaming or high-end performance.

  • Specs: 5 / 5

MSI Titan 18 HX: Design

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Gorgeous mini LED display
  • Improved chassis aesthetics
  • Ports galore
  • Low-profile mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches

The MSI Titan 18 HX introduces several improvements over last year's Titan, while generally keeping the fairly Decepticon-like aesthetic that the Titan is known for.

Starting with the sheer size of the thing, it's slightly bigger than its predecessor, a feat I didn't think possible. It also adds about 0.5 lbs to its weight, making it by far the heaviest laptop I've used in at least a decade or more.

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An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Opening it up, you'll find a low-profile mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches for some seriously smooth typing. The trackpad has gone seamless, as well, offering a glassy but responsive surface for your palms and fingertips to glide over. The trackpad itself is responsive, with good feedback, though a gaming mouse or controller is recommended for higher-level precision.

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

The Titan 18 HX comes loaded with 4x2W up-firing speakers on either side of the keyboard, as well as 2x2W subwoofers for extra bass, all of which work together to create some very rich sound, at least as far as laptop speakers go.

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

The IR webcam also gets an upgrade over last year's model, now at full HD as opposed to 720p, and features a physical privacy shutter, which you always love to see on a laptop.

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

The display though is the big feature here with a speedy 120Hz refresh rate on a 3840x2400p mini LED panel that is bright and vibrant. It also has VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification for a fantastic color contrast with deep blacks, and covers 112% of the DCI-P3 color gamut according to our tests.

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

In terms of ports, having a chassis this big means you can cram in a lot of ports, and the Titan 18 HX does not disappoint. You get three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports with DP output (with one featuring PD3.1 certification for fast charging devices), one HDMI 2.1 port that can push 120Hz video at 4K, an SDCard slot, an RJ45 ethernet port, and a 3.5mm combo jack. You even get a Kensington lock slot for good measure.

Overall, this is one of the best-looking MSI gaming laptops I've seen this year, and its wealth of features, ports, and more make it a standout device before we even get to its performance.

  • Design: 4.5 / 5

MSI Titan 18 HX: Performance

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Best-in-class performance
  • Able to hit 60 FPS at 2400p on most games without upscaling
  • Upscaling can get you 60 FPS or better in games with ray tracing turned on

This gaming laptop absolutely puts some of the best gaming PCs to shame with its performance. Its 2400p resolution understandably taxes the hardware when playing high-end games at its native resolution at max settings, but in titles like Assassin's Creed Mirage, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Far Cry 6, the Titan 18 HX is easily able to clear 60 FPS at 4K on its highest settings, and that's not even factoring in any graphics upscaling.

Turn upscaling on, where available, and you can push the limits of the display's refresh rate on most games. If you factor in ray tracing, though, you can get in the neighborhood of 60 FPS or higher with appropriate upscaling, and on games like Cyberpunk 2077, it's an absolute necessity if you want to max everything out and get a better-than-just-playable frame rate. 

Looking at its competitors, though, among the other 18-inch gaming laptops we've tested in our labs so far this year, none can match what the MSI Titan 18 HX brings to the table in terms of performance. The fact its competitors are all limited to 1600p QHD+ displays means that if you want the absolute bleeding edge of what laptop gaming can deliver in terms of 4K visual spectacle, the Titan 18 HX is really your only option.

  • Performance: 5 / 5

MSI Titan 18 HX: Battery life

An MSI Titan 18 HX on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Terrible battery life, but it'll rarely be on battery power anyway
  • Charging to full will take you a couple of hours

Understandably, battery life is not this laptop's greatest strength, but to call it a weakness is a bit unfair. This is not the kind of laptop you'll use unplugged for any length of time, as you would one of the best ultrabooks or a MacBook Pro.

This is a desktop replacement, so even though its two hours and 40 minutes of battery life while surfing the web is a pretty funny data point for a $5,000 laptop, you'll never actually use the Titan 18 HX this way outside of extremely rare instances. Its bulk will make it difficult to bring it anywhere period, much less somewhere that doesn't have an available wall outlet.

Still, compared to other 18-inch gaming laptops, the Titan 18 HX's battery performance still falls about 20% below the class average of three hours and 27 minutes. That means it doesn't get a total pass from me on battery life, but it is hardly a factor anyone should realistically consider for a laptop like this.

  • Battery Life: 2.5 / 5

Should you buy the MSI Titan 18 HX?

Buy the MSI Titan 18 HX if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If my MSI Titan 18 HX review has you considering other options, here are three other laptops to consider:

How I tested the MSI Titan 18 HX

  • I spent about a month testing the Titan 18 HX
  • I used our standard suite of benchmark tests
  • I primarily played games on the Titan 18 HX, though I also used it for general computing and content creation

I spent about a month with the MSI Titan 18 HX, using it as an everyday work machine at home while gaming at night once work was done. I also used it for content creation work with Adobe Photoshop.

This is a gaming laptop, first and foremost, so I tested it with our standard battery of gaming benchmarks and other benchmarks that check for CPU, GPU, and overall system performance.

I've been reviewing laptops for TechRadar for nearly half a decade now, and as a lifelong PC gamer, I know how games should run on given hardware, and how much that hardware should cost you to maximize the value to the consumer. I also have a Master's Degree in Computer Science, so I'm able to really dig in and analyze the nitty-gritty of the hardware in a way many other reviews can't.

  • First reviewed May 2024
Acer Predator Helios 18 review: massive power in a massive package
12:00 pm | May 1, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Comments: Off

Acer Predator Helios 18: One-minute review

The Acer Predator Helios 18 is massive. If you’re looking for a light, slim, and ready-to-hit-the-road gaming laptop, this is not it. This is a desktop replacement in every sense of the word, from its 18-inch screen to its seven-ish pound weight. And, the battery life is not going to hold up for nomadic use.

But, desktop replacements have their place. The Acer Predator Helios 18 has the power, after all, to hang with the best gaming laptops thanks to some robust internals. And, while it’s out of range of the best budget gaming laptops, it’s reasonably priced for what you get, especially when you think about getting a desktop with a similar level of performance and a display that’s just as fast or sharp.

So, if you’re looking for a beast that can run games like Cyberpunk 2077 on absolutely maxed out settings and don't mind that it’s a bit tough to carry around, the Acer Predator Helios 18 might be for you. 

Acer Predator Helios 18 front

(Image credit: Future)

Acer Predator Helios 18: Price & availability

Acer Predator Helios 18 closed lid

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? Starting at $1,699.99 (about £1,339 / AU$2,576) 
  • When is it available? Available now 
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US and UK 

Despite the fact that the Acer Predator Helios 18 starts at $1,699.99 (about £1,339 / AU$2,576) for its base configuration and goes to $2,499.99 (about £1,968 / AU$3,788) in the US, the price tag is actually fairly reasonable when put into context.

The base configuration is pretty powerful in its own right with an Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 as well as a 1200p screen with a 165Hz refresh rate, but the review configuration, which is also the max one in the US, might be a better deal despite being much pricier. 

The Core i9 CPU and 4080 GPU are significant upgrades, not to mention it has double the RAM, and the screen is blazing fast at 250Hz and has a higher resolution. Considering this laptop comes with an 18-inch screen, you’re probably not going to need to supplement it with one of the best gaming monitors, either. If you calculate the cost of a desktop rig with similar specs and a screen with a 250Hz refresh rate, you’ll probably end up spending even more.

Consider some other desktop replacements and the Acer Predator Helios 18 looks like a real bargain as well. The MSI Titan 18 HX that launched earlier this year may have impressed us with its 14th-Gen Intel Core i9, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, 4TB SSD, and 128GB of RAM (!), as well as a UHD+ 18-inch mini LED screen, but it also goes for $4,999.99 / £4,379.98 / AU$6,999 to start. The Acer Predator Helios 18 is a much more accessible desktop replacement for most people.

Unfortunately, this model is not available in Australia at this time.

  • Value: 3.5 / 5

Acer Predator Helios 18: Specs

Acer Predator Helios 18 underneath

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to internal specs with the Acer Predator Helios 18, you’re looking at a small range. You either get a 13th-Gen Intel Core i7 or i9, 16GB or 32 GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 – 4080 Laptop GPU, and 512 GB or 1 TB SSD, though you can upgrade to 2 TB in the UK.

There is a small range in displays as the cheapest option comes with a 1920 x 1200p resolution at 165Hz refresh rate instead of the sharper and faster 2560 x 1600p resolution at 250Hz. Interestingly enough, the more expensive configurations are lighter and ever-so-slightly thinner. 

  • Specs: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Helios 18: Design

  • Massive dimensions 
  • Sharp, speedy display with great HDR 
  • Good keyboard and trackpad 

Acer Predator Helios 18 keyboard and track pad

(Image credit: Future)

The aesthetics of the Acer Predator Helios 18 is all black, giving it a somewhat muted gamer-centric look. The matte-black finish does have a habit of picking up fingerprints, especially the lid. But, if you’re considering this laptop, that’s probably not a huge consideration.

Speaking of huge, the Acer Predator Helios 18 is massive. Measuring 15.9 x 12.3 x 1.14 inches (404 x 312 x 29mm) and weighing 6.97 lbs (3.16 kg), it’s going to take up a lot of desk space. Considering this is basically a desktop replacement for a gaming computer, it’s no surprise, especially since it houses an 18-inch display.

As far as the display is concerned, the WQXGA resolution (2560 x 1600p) is plenty sharp, not to mention its 250Hz refresh rate is going to make all your games look smooth as butter. Of course, its 3ms response time is not going to be quite the same as fast refresh monitors aimed at competitive gamers as they typically have a 1ms response time.

Acer Predator Helios 18 HDR

(Image credit: Future)

However, one thing this display has over most speedy monitors (unless you’re willing to drop a lot of cash) is the HDR. It has a VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification – the highest I’ve seen on a laptop.

Port-wise, there’s plenty of everything including an HDMI 2.1 port and USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt 4. There’s even a microSD card reader, along with 3 USB-A ports, an ethernet port, and mic/headphone combo jack.

Since there’s so much space here, the Acer Predator Helios 18 comes with a full-sized keyboard complete with a numpad. There’s even a dedicated button to switch between power profiles. The typing experience itself is perfectly fine except for the fact that the keyboard is set somewhat further back on the chassis so it can feel a little awkward if you don’t keep it right on the edge of your desk. At least it comes with brilliant RGB backlighting as expected of any premium-quality gaming laptop.

The trackpad is also pretty good, not to mention quite large. It’s fast and responsive, perfect for day-to-day use. Of course, you’ll still want to invest in an external mouse for gaming. But, for general use, I have no complaints. And, unlike other outsized trackpads, I don’t have issues with it accidentally registering my palm as an additional press even though it basically hovers right over it.

  • Design: 4.5 / 5

Acer Predator Helios 18: Performance

Acer Predator Helios 18 left ports

(Image credit: Future)
  • Awesome gaming performance 
  • Thermal efficiency is very good 
  • Decent audio quality 

Acer Predator Helios 18 right ports

(Image credit: Future)
Acer Predator Helios 18: Benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Predator Helios 18 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Night Raid: 72,381; Fire Strike: 29,957; Time Spy: 15,746
GeekBench 6.2: 2,920 (single-core); 17,941 (multi-core)
25GB File Copy Time (seconds):
22.6
Handbrake 1.6 4K to 1080p Encode: 96
CrossMark Overall: 2,217; Productivity: 2,046; Creativity: 2,477; Responsiveness: 2,020
F1 23 1080p (Ultra) 68 fps
Cyberpunk 2077: 1080p (Ultra) 108.22 fps
Web Surfing Battery Test: 4:40:50
PCMark 10 Battery Life (Gaming): 1:44 

I’ve spent my last couple of laptop reviews praising the outsized performance of gaming laptops coming with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 graphics cards. Sure, there are some compromises, but having better lighting physics thanks to Ray Tracing is not exactly a make-it-or-break-it issue when it comes to enjoying a game.

That said, if you do care about getting the absolute full experience, the internals on the Acer Predator Helios 18 can do them without breaking a sweat. Whether it’s Cyberpunk 2077 with the latest updates, Starfield, Hogwarts Legacy, or any other demanding game, I could max out the settings including ray tracing and have very few issues. 

Of course, there is still some performance boost you’ll get from a 4090 over a 4080. When running Cyberpunk 2077 on “Ray Tracing: Overdrive'' at the Acer Predator Helios 18’s native resolution of 2560 x 1600p at 250Hz, the average FPS is just 38.81. So, it’s not quite the smoothest, but that’s still plenty impressive considering the combination of the resolution, refresh rate, graphics settings, and Ray Tracing settings, not to mention the HDR is maxed out. Backing off on some of those settings just a little will give you imperceptibly smooth results. For our standardized benchmarks, for instance, running Cyberpunk 2077 on Ultra settings at 1080p gives an FPS score of 108.22.

Acer Predator Helios 18 Far Cry HDR

(Image credit: Future)

If those results are still not good enough, you’ll have to spend for a desktop with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 (desktop results are still going to top laptop ones with the same internals) or a gaming laptop with a 4090.

Just as importantly, the thermal efficiency is such that I only feel a little heat near the back of the laptop when gaming. So, even under load, the Acer Predator Helios 18 stays calm and collected so to speak.

As far as audio quality goes, no laptop is going to beat a nice pair of headphones or speakers like the Kanto Ora I still have set up. Still, the sound quality is decent enough that you’ll only really miss some rumble when gaming without any external audio solutions.

  • Performance: 4.5 / 5

Acer Predator Helios 18: Battery life

Acer Predator Helios 18 back and back ports

(Image credit: Future)
  • Battery life is okay for non-gaming 
  • Battery life is very short otherwise 

As it's a massive gaming laptop powering an Intel Core i9, 32GB of RAM, and, most importantly, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080, it’s no surprise the Acer Predator Helios 18’s battery life is pretty short.

In fact, the fact that it lasts just under five hours in the web surfing benchmark is surprisingly high, though the laptop shifts to integrated graphics when not doing graphically intensive work. Looking at its PCMark 10 battery life of just under two hours, it’s clear that this gaming laptop is more of a desktop replacement than a portable gaming machine, though it’s certainly easier to transport than a desktop. Do not expect to use this laptop for long unplugged.

  • Battery life: 3.5 / 5

Should I buy the Acer Predator Helios 18?

Buy the Acer Predator Helios 18 if... 

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If my Acer Predator Helios 18 review has you considering other options, here are two laptops to consider...   

How I tested the Acer Predator Helios 18

Acer Predator Helios 18 angled screen

(Image credit: Future)
  •  Tested for a month 
  •  Pushed it as hard as possible gaming-wise 
  •  Played with various settings 

I used the Acer Predator Helios 18 for a month, playing a number of demanding games like Starfield, Hogwarts Legacy, Battlefield 2042 and Cyberpunk 2077. While doing so, I ran the games at various settings, particularly at the highest ones with ray tracing on wherever possible as well as HDR, and took note of the results. I also tested each aspect of the laptop from the keyboard and trackpad to the webcam and speakers.

After spending time with the Acer Predator Helios 18, it’s clear that this is meant to be a desktop replacement that can handle just about anything a gamer would want it to.

I’ve spent the last few years reviewing tech gear for gaming and otherwise, where I’ve gotten a feel for what to look for and how to put a piece of kit through its paces to see whether it’s worth the recommendation.

  • First reviewed April 2024
Razer Blade 14 (2024) review: premium performance on the go
8:14 pm | April 29, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Razer Blade 14 (2024): Two minute review

The Razer Blade 14 (2024) continues to impress as a gaming powerhouse in a remarkably compact form. 

It remains largely unchanged in design from its predecessor, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, considering it has long been my top pick for the best gaming laptop going, and this latest refresh makes a compelling case for keeping that title. 

Starting with its design, the familiar all-black CNC-milled aluminum chassis is both eye-catching and sturdy, with a weight that reinforces its premium build without sacrificing portability.

Performance-wise, the Blade 14 is more formidable than ever, thanks to its updated AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS processor and the choice between Nvidia RTX 4070 and 4060 GPUs. This setup handles everything from intense gaming sessions to demanding creative workloads with ease, supported by a cooling system that, while noisy, effectively manages heat even during extended use.

The display is another highlight, boasting a 2560x1600 resolution with a 240Hz refresh rate. It delivers vibrant colors and smooth visuals, making it a delight for both gaming and multimedia consumption. However, it does fall short of some competitors when it comes to brightness and HDR support.

Keyboard and trackpad functionality are excellent, providing comfortable typing and precise control. Razer Synapse software remains a useful tool for tweaking performance settings and personalizing the RGB lighting to enhance both aesthetics and functionality.

Battery life is decent for a gaming laptop, offering about 10 hours of light use and significantly less during gaming or high-performance tasks. Port selection is adequate, though the lack of an Ethernet port might irk some users.

Overall, the Razer Blade 14 (2024) is an excellent, if expensive, choice for those who need a powerful, portable laptop that can handle almost anything thrown its way.

Razer Blade 14 (2024): Price and availability

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • How much is it? Starting at $2,199.99 / £2,149.99 / AU$3,999
  • When is it available? It is available now.
  • Where can you get it? You can get it in the US, UK, and Australia

The Razer Blade 14 (2024) is available now globally, starting at $2,199.99 / £2,149.99 / AU$3,999 for the base model with an RTX 4060 GPU and 16GB RAM. You can opt for my review configuration, which gets you an RTX 4070 and 32GB of RAM for $2,699.99 / £2,699.99 / AU$5,199, and honestly, this is the configuration to get. You're already spending north of two grand, so there's no reason to settle for an RTX 4060.

Still, this pricing does put it on the higher end of the 14-inch gaming laptop market, particularly when compared to alternatives like the Asus ROG Zephyrus 14 or HP Omen Transcend 14, both of which start at a lower price point. There is also the Razer Blade 14 (2023), which is still available for a lower starting price on Razer's website right now.

Given where 14-inch laptops are right now, this is easily one of the most, if not the most, expensive 14-inch laptop that isn't called the MacBook Pro. So, if you're really concerned about your budget, then the 2023 Blade 14 is likely a better bet since other than the processor and the extra RAM, there isn't much difference between the two Blade 14 models.

  • Value: 3.5 / 5

Razer Blade 14 (2024): Specs

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Razer Blade 14 (2024): Design

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Gorgeous finish and solid build
  • Mercury silver colorway is stunning
  • Mercury silver colorway costs substantially more

Razer's commitment to premium materials and build quality continues with the Blade 14. 

Its chassis, crafted from a single block of aluminum, offers a sleek, durable feel with a weight that is reassuring yet portable. The design mimics the minimalist, professional aesthetic of modern ultrabooks, which might deceive some into underestimating its gaming capabilities.

The display, a speedy 240Hz QHD+ IPS panel, sports up to 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut with Calman verification for vivid, fluid-looking visuals, while the 3ms response time will make sure that the display is about as responsive as you'll find without going for mini LED or OLED panels.

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

The body of the Blade 14 is very reminiscent of the MacBook Pro 14-inch, though turning the laptop over, you'll find two intake fans to help keep the components cool. Of course, fans produce noise, and under load, this laptop can get rather loud. You do have some control over this though through Razer's Synapse software.

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Razer's THX audio is another standout feature of the laptop, thanks to its top firing speakers, but this does cut back on what keyboard space is available for everything else, and on a 14-inch laptop, typing space is at a premium.

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Typing on the Blade 14 is still a pleasure, and the keys are adequately spaced and have a great feel to them, even after typing for several hours.

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Finally, there are a good number of ports, including two USB-A and two USB-C ports, the latter of which allow for power delivery and features DisplayPort output for a second screen.

  • Design: 5 / 5

Razer Blade 14 (2024): Performance

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Best-in-class performance for a 14-inch laptop
  • RTX 4070 GPU is powerful enough to handle just about any game
  • For the price, there are more powerful gaming laptops out there

While the aesthetic appeal of the Razer Blade 14 is undeniable, at the end of the day, this is a gaming laptop, and so you're going to want it to perform at the highest level possible, especially considering the investment you're making in this device.

Fortunately, the Blade 14 delivers outstanding performance thanks to its Ryzen 9 8945HS processor and RTX 4070 GPU, leveraging both to get the most frames per second of any 14-inch laptop we've tested this year so far.

Despite its size, the laptop's cooling system manages heat relatively well, although it can get quite loud under load. The high-performance components do not throttle significantly, which is impressive given the limited space for air circulation and the fact that the GPU can be pushed to 140W, making this the most powerful RTX 4070 laptop you're going to find right now (something backed up by my testing data).

In the end, you're going to want this laptop to game at its best and possibly transition into a mobile workstation for high-end design work or content creation on a regular basis. It will certainly be able to swing that with ease, especially if you opt for the Mercury colorway, which gives the Blade 14 something of a distinguished look about it that won't be out of place in meetings.

  • Performance: 5 / 5

Razer Blade 14 (2024): Battery life

  • Decent enough battery life with light-use
  • The 140W GPU drains the battery quick
  • Relatively fast charging

Battery performance is solid, with Razer promising up to 10 hours of power life — under the right settings, of course. However, like most gaming laptops, intense gaming sessions will drain the battery very quickly, though the laptop does supports fast charging that'll get you up to 80% in an hour.

Unfortunately, it does seem to get less battery life than its predecessor, and it's battery performance is the only metric where this average falls below the 14-inch class average in our tests.

That said, the power brick is portable enough, and the Blade 14 itself is more than capable of hopping from power outlet to power outlet if needed thanks to its slender build and lightweight construction. 

Finally, this is a gaming laptop, after all, so if you're hoping for all-day battery life, there isn't a gaming laptop out there that will give it to you, so it's hard to knock off too many points here.

  • Battery Life: 3.5 / 5

Should you buy the Razer Blade 14 (2024)?

A Razer Blade 14 (2024) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Buy the Razer Blade 14 (2024) if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If my Razer Blade 14 (2024) review has you considering other options, here is another laptop to consider:

How I tested the Razer Blade 14 (2024)

I spent the better part of three weeks with the Razer Blade 14 (2024), using it as my everyday laptop for work, content creation, and gaming in the evenings.

In addition to its real world use, I also ran our standard battery of benchmarks on the device, including synthetic, creative, gaming, and battery benchmarks.

I've been reviewing gaming laptops for nearly half a decade, and have a Master's Degree in Computer Science. I am also a lifelong gamer, so I'm better positioned to judge the merits and value of this laptop than many in the industry.

  • First reviewed April 2024
Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 review: a monster gaming laptop that goes all out
6:58 am | April 5, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Comments: Off

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18: Two-minute review

These days, huge gaming laptops can be surprisingly thin and light, yet still offer high-end performance. The 18-inch Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 is no exception, and pushes the limits of how much high-performance hardware it can fit inside.

As it suggests in the name, the Neo 18 has a huge 18-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600) mini-LED panel with a fast 250Hz refresh rate, an excellent 3ms GTG refresh rate, but also covers 100% of the DCI-P3 gamut for vibrant, accurate colors.  

While the Neo 18 does have more affordable variants with lower-performance parts, I got hands on with one of the highest-end models. Key is the mighty Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, plus the equally high-end Intel Core i9-14900HX CPU and up to 64GB of RAM.

Wireless connectivity comes in the form of the latest Intel Killer Wi-Fi 7 chipset, as well as 2.5G Ethernet and Bluetooth 5.3. The laptop has a gaggle of USB-A ports, dual USB-C (with DisplayPort and 100W charging), HDMI 2.1, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The Neo 18 is equipped with a controllable LED lighting setup, swappable WASD keys and even customizable fan covers. While a proper headset is better for gaming, the inbuilt speakers are pretty good and well suited to casual use such as watching a movie.

As you might expect, the Neo 18 gives one of the best laptop gaming experiences possible, and can handle the latest games at very high frame rates. Running flat out with the turbo cooling mode turned on, the Neo 18 is hot and impressively noisy, but even the much more well-behaved performance mode only drops performance by about 10% to 15%. Drive speed is excellent, as the dual RAID 0 SSDs push beyond what a single PCIe connection can manage, and help get the most from asset-heavy games like Starfield.

In day-to-day productivity use, the Neo 18 fans are extremely quiet. The keyboard is large and easy to type on, and the trackpad gives good accuracy. And the screen is just as delightful when staring at spreadsheets as it is when gaming. With the RGB lighting scaled back, the Neo 18 also doesn’t look overly gaming focused, and can pass as just a (monstrous) workstation.

Despite the large 90Wh battery, this laptop is not set up for efficiency, and struggles to get past 3 hours of use away from the wall. Helpfully, the 100W USB-C charging is plenty for most productivity use, so you don’t need to carry the charger brick around.

Overall, the Neo 18 is an excellent machine, and offers a great mix of functionality that very few other laptops can compete with. 

Acer Predator 18 inch gaming laptop

(Image credit: Future - Lindsay Handmer)

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 review: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $3,100 / £3,200 / AU$7,999
  • Where is it available? Available in the US, the UK and Australia

While the US pricing is quite reasonable considering the spec, UK buyers pay a bit extra, and gamers Down Under in Australia are expected to shell out 50% more for the same hardware.

Buying the Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 means paying a premium to get the very best possible laptop gaming performance, and lower-spec models with RTX 4080 or 4070 GPUs generally give better bang for buck.

So is the high end Neo 18 actually good value? Considering all the cutting-edge hardware squeezed inside, as well as the supporting systems that stop it all catching on fire, the laptop costs about what we’d expect. It’s not the cheapest compared to similar high-end gaming laptops, but it’s also not the most expensive.

Even in Australia, the Acer is not more expensive than its closest competition, though we hope to see the pricing drop the longer it is available.

It is definitely worth checking out the lower-end variants if your budget does not stretch to the RTX 4090. The smaller Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 is also a great option, as it can offer more than 50% of the performance of the Neo 18 for less than half the price. But for those who want absolute premium portable gaming power, then the Predator Helios Neo 18 is definitely worth the hit to the wallet. 

  • Value score:  3 / 5

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 WASD keys

(Image credit: Future - Lindsay Handmer)

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 review: Specs

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 ports RHS

(Image credit: Future - Lindsay Handmer)

Variant availability varies depending on location, but overall the Neo 18 has a decent number of spec options that start from the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, and go all the way to the RTX 4090. As well as multiple CPU, RAM and SSD fitouts. 

For this review, I tested the near-to-premium model featuring a mighty Intel Core i9-14900HX CPU and an equally high-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 16GB GPU. The 32GB (2x16GB) of 5,600MHz DDR5 is upgradeable and, at this level, the Neo 18 is equipped with not one, but two 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSDs running in RAID 0 for ultimate speed and 2TB total capacity. The only higher-spec model at the time of writing has an identical CPU and GPU, but 64GB of RAM and 2x 2TB SSDs in RAID 0. 

The Neo 18 itself is big enough to need a backpack rather than a shoulder bag. The 330W power brick is a monster, with measurements of 185.0 x 85.0 x 36.0 mm (7.28 x 3.35 x 1.42 inches) and weighing 1.05 kg (g (2.31 lbs) all by itself. 

  • Specs score: 4.5 / 5

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 ports LHS

(Image credit: Future - Lindsay Handmer)

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 review: Design

  • Customizable options
  • Fantastic display
  • Robust aluminum shell

Creating a high-end gaming laptop that can get the most out of power-hungry hardware is no easy feat. At full tilt, the Neo 18 consumes over 300W, which means a lot of heat to get rid of. The large 18-inch form factor is also challenging, and there are a lot of trade-offs to end up with a laptop that is still lightweight enough to be portable. 

Overall, the Acer team has done a fairly remarkable job with the Neo 18 and created a very well-balanced laptop. It doesn’t run too hot or too loud, the battery is large, there are no obvious performance bottlenecks, and it has a gaming feel without being over the top. 

There are a few minor design niggles of course. While the webcam does Windows Hello, I would have also loved to see a fingerprint scanner in the power button. I also don’t love the overall placement of many of the ports.

One advantage of the NEO 18 is the space at the rear, which means you don’t have a mess of wiring out the side of the laptop. But the RJ45 Ethernet port is side mounted, when it would be neater at the rear. And the two USB-C Thunderbolt ports are on the rear, whereas I would rather have seen at least one on the side of the laptop. While there are USB-A ports on the side, these only support speeds up to 10Gbps, while USB-C Thunderbolt does 40Gbps. Having a USB-A port or two at the rear would also be useful. 

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 removeable vents

(Image credit: Future - Lindsay Handmer)

On the software side, the Acer control app is well featured and easy enough to use. I wish lighting control was more directly accessible and had some more options for slower fades, but overall it is quite good. The laptop has a pretty clean install of Windows, though I personally could do without the inclusion of a limited trial of McAfee that bugged me till I either paid or uninstalled it. 

The Neo 18 is very well put together overall, with little bounce in the keyboard, and smooth, flex-free action when opening the screen. The aluminum clad exterior is rather svelte but does pick up fingerprints at an alarming rate. It also tends to hang onto any marks with more than the average amount of glee, so cleaning it takes more effort than expected. 

While we do test how robust laptops are, we don’t typically go to extremes that would cause damage. The Neo 18 gave a unique opportunity for testing durability, when it was inadvertently dropped from desk height onto a hard surface. The Neo 18 survived with a dented corner but no other damage. I put it through a second round of vigorous stress testing and confirmed it was fault free, aside from the surprisingly minor cosmetic damage. While not a test I hope to repeat, I can at least report the Neo 18 is built well enough to take an unexpected drop and keep on trucking. 

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 RGB

(Image credit: Future - Lindsay Handmer)

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 review: Performance

  • High-end portable gaming performance
  • Impressive CPU capabilities
  • Glorious RAID 0 SSD speeds
Acer Predator Helios Neo 18: Benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Speed Way: 5,534; Port Royal: 13,207; Time Spy Extreme: 10,319; Fire Strike Ultra: 13,346.
Cinebench R23 Multi-core: 28,168 points; Single-core: 2,150
PCMark 10: 8,816
CrystalDiskMark 8 NVMe: 12,793 MB/s (read); 11,788MB/s (write)
Red Dead Redemption II: (Ultra 1080p) 132
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 151 fps, (QHD+) 191 fps
F1 2022:(1080P Ultra): 148 fps
Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm: 191fps
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 2 hours and 52 minutes
1080p video playback battery life: 3 hours and 2 minutes

For a laptop trying to maximize gaming performance, balance is key. If any one component creates a bottleneck, then overall frame rates can suffer. On the flip side, you don’t want any one part of the hardware to be much more powerful than the other, as the extra performance costs more but goes to waste. 

The Neo 18 does a pretty good job of getting the most from the hardware, and maximizing gaming frame rates. When running flat out, the system tends to end up limited by heat. This isn’t a huge surprise, as a GeForce RTX 4090 can use up to 175W, and the CPU not much less. This means that gaming performance is ultimately often limited by the cooling system, which itself is limited by what is physically possible in a laptop form factor. Still, how a manufacturer implements their cooling system can make a big difference. 

Maximum cooling is in turbo fan mode, which makes the Neo 18 sound like an angry stick vacuum, but gives the hardware a little more scope to push harder. In my testing, the Neo 18 nudged up against thermal limits even in ideal conditions, and even just gaming in a hot environment can slow performance in demanding games. So if you are chasing every last drop of performance, make sure you don't accidentally impede the laptops airflow, and crank up the AC in summer or open up the windows in winter. Dropping back to performance fan mode means about 10% to 15% lower frame rates (depending on the game), but it is a lot cooler and quieter. 

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 underside

(Image credit: Future - Lindsay Handmer)

The Neo 18 has plenty of grunt to get excellent frame rates from the latest games, but in very demanding titles, you will need to drop back the detail, or the resolution, if you want to hit the 200+ fps the display can handle. Generally though, 100+ fps is easily achievable in games such as Red Dead Redemption II and F1 2022 without reducing quality or resolution settings. In testing, the demanding Cyberpunk 2077 could do 91fps (DLSS 3.5 on) at the native 2560 x 1600 resolution, but stepping back to 1080p bumped that up to 151fps.

The Neo 18 runs dual 1TB drives in RAID 0, which gives outstandingly fast access speeds that's almost double the best from a single SSD setup. This can translate into slightly better gaming performance in games that load a lot of assets, but the difference is not huge. The 5600MHz DDR5 RAM is fast enough to keep up with the rest of the hardware, and any faster would not translate into much better performance.

Overall gaming performance is excellent, and on par with the competition. The Neo 18 is a bit faster than GeForce RTX 4090-equipped rivals such as the Razer Blade 18, and on par with the Asus ROG Strix Scar 18.

As expected, non-gaming performance is also top notch, and the Intel Core i9-14900HX is capable of great things when allowed to make use of the entire cooling capacity. It still runs hot though, and Turbo cooling mode is much too loud for any shared space. Still, for productivity work, there are very few laptops that can best the Neo 18.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 Power Brick

(Image credit: Future - Lindsay Handmer)

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 review: Battery life

  • Around 3 hours of productivity when unplugged
  • Don't expect to do much gaming on battery

Despite the large 90Wh battery, the power hungry hardware means it doesn’t last long, even in conservative modes. We found it easy enough to get 3 hours or so unplugged when doing moderate productivity tasks, and about the same when watching video. On the plus side, this means you can watch a movie without needing to plug in. If you really scale back the settings to the bare minimum, it is possible to eke out up to 4 hours. 

Gaming battery life depends on the settings and game, and is lower performance than when plugged in. Don’t expect much over 2 hours at best, and I could drain the battery in under an hour when gaming hard. 

On the plus side, the Neo 18 charges fast using the brick and fills up in under 2 hours. USB-C charging is at up to 100W, and I saw 90W on average. The Neo 18 warns USB-C use is a low power charger (and it is compared to the 330W brick), but on the plus side, it’s quite efficient, and I found it only took 103Wh to fully charge the 90Wh battery. This is good news for charging from a power bank, but keep in mind that even a very large capacity model won’t be able to give the Neo 18 a full charge.  

  • Battery life score: 3.5 / 5

Should you buy the Acer Predator Helios Neo 18?

Buy it if...

You crave high-end gaming performance in a portable package
The Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 has a lot to offer gamers, but it's best suited to those who are willing to pay extra to get the best frame rates possible with a laptop.

You want a big screen
The 18-inch Mini LED display on the Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 is fantastic, and just about the best option short of carrying a spare monitor around. 

You want to create your own unique gaming style
The Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 has a range of gamer-specific features such as customizable LED lighting and vents that mean the laptop is ideal for anyone looking to express themselves.

Don't buy it if...

You want bang for buck gaming
The Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 gives great performance, but in terms of FPS per dollar, it lags behind smaller gaming laptops or desktop computers.

You want a productivity laptop with good battery life
While the Neo 18 is a powerhouse desktop replacement and a great workstation, it’s not a good option for use away from a desk. 

You are worried about noise
The Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 is many things, but quiet while gaming is not one of them. 

Acer Predator Helios Neo 18: Also consider

If our Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 review has you considering other options, here are some other gaming laptops to consider...

How I tested the Acer Predator Helios Neo 18

  • I tested the Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 for two weeks
  • I used it both on a desk, and put it in a backpack for travel
  • I used it for gaming, as well as office productivity work and video editing

I ran the Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 through our usual comprehensive array of benchmarks, as well as using it for actual day to day work.

I used a range of synthetic gaming and productivity benchmarks, real-world gaming benchmarks, and battery and power testing.

I used the TechRadar movie test for assessing battery life during video playback, as well as productivity battery benchmarks. I logged power use in a variety of scenarios, including when charging from USB-C. I also tested charging the Neo 18 with a power bank. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

Asus ROG Flow X13 review: your flexible 13-inch gaming friend
9:00 pm | April 4, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Asus ROG Flow X13: Two minute review

Asus has updated its natty little 13-inch 2-in-1 convertible laptop, the Asus ROG Flow X13, with the very latest available hardware. That means AMD's fabulous Phoenix APU architecture in its full Ryzen 9 7940HS spec with eight CPU cores and a pretty powerful integrated GPU.

However, you can also opt for one of three Nvidia dedicated graphics chips, the GeForce RTX 4050, 4060, or 4070 mobile GPUs. Whichever graphics solution you go for, it outputs to a 13.4-inch display, in this case with a 2,560 by 1,600-pixel resolution and 165Hz refresh, though a 1080p option is available. It's a touch-enabled display with a 360-degree hinge that supports various modes including tent and tablet.

If that's not good enough, you can also opt for an even more powerful GPU via the Asus XG Mobile external graphics box that hooks up courtesy of a dedicated I/O port. The laptop itself is packaged into a very slick 1.3kg 13-inch chassis that's beautifully built, feels very high quality, and is absolutely rigid, including virtually no keyboard bounce. The Asus ROG Flow X13 isn't exactly cheap, but you can certainly feel where the money has gone.

If there is an obvious catch, it's that the slim proportions do put a cap on absolute proportions. Our review unit runs an RTX 4060 capped at 60W and 1,470MHz, both much lower than Nvidia normally allows for the chip. 

Add in USB4 connectivity and you have a versatile overall package and an intriguing alternative to perhaps the most obvious competition, the Razer Blade 14, which lacks 2-in-1 convertible functionality.

Asus ROG Flow X13: Price and availability

The Asus ROG Flow X13 2-in-1 gaming laptop on a white desk.

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? $1,699 / £1,699 / AU$2,699
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? US, UK, and Australia

Available as configured here for $1,699, Asus ROG Flow X13 looks like a pretty good deal for a very high-quality 13.4-inch ultraportable with AMD's Ryzen 9 7940HS and an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU, plus 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.

It doesn't look too bad in the UK, either, at £1,699. In both cases, that's less than you'll pay for a similarly specced Razer Blade 14. For the record, the Asus ROG Flow X13 as reviewed here is yours for $2,699 AUD in Australia, which again looks appealing given the quality and the spec on offer.

  • Value: 4 / 5

Asus ROG Flow X13: Specs

The Asus ROG Flow X13 2-in-1 gaming laptop on a white desk.

(Image credit: Future)

Asus ROG Flow X13: Design

The Asus ROG Flow X13 2-in-1 gaming laptop on a white desk.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Gorgeous build quality
  • Slim proportions
  • 2-in-1 convertible functionality

Asus's ROG laptops tend to be nicely put together and the Asus ROG Flow X13 (2023) is no exception. It's not the thinnest 13-inch laptop on the planet, but given it can be had with up to an RTX 4070 GPU, it is pretty slim and certainly very slick.

The chassis is mostly metal and extremely rigid, with zero bounce from the keyboard. The chassis top and screen enclosure also sport appealing textured finishes that feel great in the hand. It's a seriously high-quality laptop.

The Asus ROG Flow X13 2-in-1 gaming laptop on a white desk.

(Image credit: Future)

That extends to the 360-degree hinge, which has just the right amount of stiction. Of course, if you want regular tablet functionality, then a dedicated tablet will always be a better option. But the ability to flip the screen right around is definitely handy. 

Similarly, the screen's slim bezels keep things pretty compact while allowing for a 1080p webcam in the top bezel. It's all very nicely thought out and makes for a very versatile laptop. 

The Asus ROG Flow X13 2-in-1 gaming laptop on a white desk.

(Image credit: Future)

The slim proportions do tend to limit connectivity and the Asus ROG Flow X13 (2023) probably has just enough ports, but no more. You get a USB4 port which doubles as the charging socket, a full-sized HDMI port, one USB-A, microSD, headphone jack and then Asus's XG Mobile IO port, which supports not only a powerful external GPU, but via the XG Mobile box also adds HDMI, DisplayPort, three USB-A ports and a Type-C socket. 

  • Design: 4.5 / 5

Asus ROG Flow X13: Performance

  • Impressive specs
  • Strong CPU performance
  • Slim chassis limits frame rates

The combination of an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU with an Nvidia RTX 4060 mobile GPU is quite the combo for such a compact, versatile laptop. This isn't an out-and-out gaming laptop, but more an ultraportable 2-in-1 convertible with great build quality and some gaming chops.

With that in mind, expectations need to be kept in check. That's especially true when you consider that the RTX 4060 GPU is limited to 60W of power. That means the 4060's clock frequency is capped at 1,470MHz, which is the lowest Nvidia allows and far below the maximum 2,370MHz the 4060 can achieve in some laptops.

Asus ROG Flow X13: Benchmarks

Here's how the Asus ROG Flow X13 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Night Raid: 45,567 ; Fire Strike: 16,013 ; Time Spy: 7,430
GeekBench 6: 2,603  (single-core); 11,312  (multi-core)
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra):
52 fps; (1080p, Low): 148 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 51 fps; (1080p, Low): 104 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 59 fps; (1080p, Low): 121 fps
TechRadar Battery Life Test: 6h 54m

The consequence is lower frame rates than some more purely gaming-focused laptops with the 4060, such as the Razer Blade 14, which offers the full 2,370Mhz spec. You'll still get playable frame rates of around 60fps at 1080p in the latest games at ultra settings, provided you don't run high levels of ray tracing. That said, the RTX 4060 does of course have the full suite of NVIDIA DLSS features - including upscaling from FHD to the QHD+ output of the Flow X13's display.

The Asus ROG Flow X13 2-in-1 gaming laptop on a white desk.

(Image credit: Future)

That's handy because it makes playing games at the Flow X13's 2,560 by 1,600 pixel native resolution achievable. Without DLSS, that wouldn't be very realistic with an RTX 4060, which would be a pity given that the display is a lush IPS item running at 165Hz. It's a great-looking panel, albeit one that can't compete with an OLED display for contrast and black levels.

Elsewhere, the AMD CPU provides all the performance you could reasonably ask for from this class of laptop, while the 16GB of RAM and 1TB M.2 SSD should cover most needs. There's an option to upgrade to 32GB if you need really major amounts of memory.

  • Performance: 3.5 / 5

Asus ROG Flow X13: Battery life

The Asus ROG Flow X13 2-in-1 gaming laptop on a white desk.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Efficient AMD APU
  • 165Hz display compromises battery life

An efficient AMD APU plus a 75WHr battery in a compact chassis is a promising combination. In practice, however, battery life is not a strong point with the Asus ROG Flow X13 (2023) not quite clocking up seven hours in our fairly undemanding video playback test with the screen at half brightness.

Crank up the brightness or attempt to do anything remotely intensive and that figure will only fall. In other words, the Asus ROG Flow X13 (2023) certainly doesn't come close to offering all-day battery life even for light tasks, which is a little disappointing for a laptop that prides itself on portability.

  • Battery Life: 3.5 / 5

Should you buy a Asus ROG Flow X13?

The Asus ROG Flow X13 2-in-1 gaming laptop on a white desk.

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Asus ROG Flow X13: Report card

  • First reviewed April 2024

How We Test

I ran the Asus ROG Flow X13 (2023) through my usual stress test for a gaming laptop, including everything from basic web browsing to burning through my full Steam library and slobbing out with a few movies. As a 2-in-1, I also experimented with using it as a tablet along with other modes that the 360-degree hinge allows and paid close attention to the engineering of the chassis and the hinge.

For games, I tried everything from Cyberpunk 2077 with ray-tracing running on full reheat to some more strategic Total War battles and some high-octane Counter-Strike 2 fun. I was keeping a particular eye on frame rates at both 1080p and the laptop's 2,560 by 1,600 pixel native resolution.

As for battery life, I tried both watching video and light work, including web browsing and document editing to get a feel for how the Asus ROG Flow X13 (2023) stands up to working away from the mains.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

Acer Predator Triton 14 review: lightweight and affordable with great performance
5:00 pm | April 2, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Acer Predator Triton 14: Two-minute review

“Thinner laptops imbued with the latest hardware” is an adequate mantra for Acer’s Predator Triton series of gaming laptops. From the 500 to the 300 SE, these powerful yet slim devices continuously balance from and factor, and this is nowhere more evident than the latest Acer Predator Triton 14.

Starting at just $1,499.99 in the US (£1083.05/AU$4,599) and standing less than an inch tall when closed and weighing under four lbs, the model I reviewed is packed with a 14-core Intel i7-13700H CPU, Nvidia RTX 4070 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD. Then there’s the 14-inch display that has a 2560 x 1600 resolution alongside a 250 Hz refresh rate. 

Accompanying the wonderful gaming laptop monitor are powerful DTSX-certified speakers that are loud enough when performance isn’t being pushed. Through and through, the Predator Triton 14 is also suitable for not just gaming. 

The form factor makes this great for general computing while the powerful components are more than good enough when editing photos or videos through Adobe Suite software. Portability doesn't sacrifice a respectable battery life either, with multiple ways of charging the gaming laptop as well. 

The port selection is well thought out and a wonderful keyboard features per-key RGB lighting and plenty of hotkeys. All of these can be customized beyond the performance settings that can be customized through the Predator Sense app. Even the trackpad is smooth as butter with its incorporated fingerprint scanner.  

Despite the balanced approach, some compromises come with the Predator Triton 14. As mentioned above, the cooling and fan system can get incredibly loud when playing a game like Cyberpunk 2077 or Alan Wake II, which means headphones are going to be a must. However, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem when writing a review on Google Docs while listening to music on Tidal. The underside can get uncomfortably hot when under loud as well, so make sure it's being placed on something like a desk if you intend to game on it especially hard.

Potential buyers looking for the Predator Triton 14 to be their main general-use laptop may also need to understand that this is a dedicated purchase. Unfortunately, both RAM and SSD storage aren’t upgradeable at this time. RAM-wise, 32GB is slowly becoming the top-tier standard, so having 16GB may be a bit on the lower side, but it'll still get you several years of gaming. 

Meanwhile, with modern AAA games using well over 100GB of storage, 1TB really isn’t cutting it much anymore. Right now, these specs are more than adequate, but they’re coming close to “not much longer” status. 

If that doesn’t necessarily matter, there’s so much to appreciate with the Acer Predator Triton 14. Not only does it look ready for action but it's ready for any type of game users throw at it. Gamers looking for solid 1440p performance who are content creators are going to have a blast with this, and given its decent price point, it easily makes our list of the best gaming laptops going.

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HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
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HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
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HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
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HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)

Acer Predator Triton 14: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? It’s available in 2 configurations in U.S. and UK for $1,499 ( £1083.05) and $1,999 ( £1575.38) and AU for $4,599
  • When is it available? Available now 
  • Where can you get it? From Acer’s online store in U.S., UK and AU

 

Both U.S. and UK configurations of the Acer Predator Triton 14 share the specs for their $1,499 ( £1083.05) and $1,999 ( £1575.38) price points. All configurations have identical Intel i7 CPU, 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, port selection, audio and Full HD webcam. 

At the base price, users get an Nvidia RTX 4050 with 6GB RAM, 1920X1200 resolution display at 165Hz and 512GB SSD storage. This is totally fine for anyone looking to stay in the 1080p native resolution range when gaming. The highest $1,999 configuration for 1440p performance comes with the Nvidia RTX 4070 with 8GB RAM, 2560 x 1600 resolution display at  250Hz and 1TB SSD storage.  There is only one configuration as of print for Australia which is in line with the top tier option outside of offering 32GB of RAM. 

There are two 14-inch gaming laptops that come to mind when thinking of alternatives to the Predator Triton 14. One is the more expensive Razer Blade 14 which starts at $2,399. For those who need something cheaper, the Lenovo Legion 5 Slim 14 gives up performance power for a 1,439.99 price point. With that said, the Predator Triton 14 does find a happy medium when it comes to value.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 14: Specs

The Acer Predator Triton 14 currently comes in two configurations in the United States,  two in the UK, and one in Australia. 

Acer Predator Triton 14: Design

HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
  • The design matches aggressiveness with modesty alongside a healthy port selection
  • Awesome visual/audio capabilities 
  • Outstanding keyboard layout and touchpad

The Acer Predator Triton 14 hasn’t changed its looks going as far back as the past two years and that’s totally fine. Acer’s 14-inch gaming laptop manages to have more powerful components and still manages to be lightweight and thin. Therefore, that’s an accomplishment on its own. Only coming in one color, Sparkly Silver, the Predator Triton 14 feels good enough to hold in one hand yet not fragile enough to crash if dropped. Regardless of the power packed in, there are three sets of vents on each side and rear which can turn into leaf blowers when performance is put to the max. 

Port selection is solid with the right side housing an HDMI port, USB-A port, and headphone jack. The other has a charge port for the nice-sized power adapter, a USB-A port, and a USB-C port that can also be used for charging as well. At the front of the gaming laptop is a micro-USB slot which will definitely be helpful for creators looking to offload content for use later. 

Once opened, the 14-inch display provides fantastic image quality and performance. For one, the display is Vesa Certified for DisplayHDR 600. This definitely provides great image quality with vivid colors that are the right amount of crisp in contrast, a high level of brightness, and deep blacks. 

This means outside of gaming or watching videos, color correcting on Photoshop and Premiere is easier. Though there are a handful of games that’ll be able to match its 250 Hz refresh rate output with the performance specs, the gameplay looks purposefully smooth. When the cooling fans aren’t running loudly, the DTS:X speakers work sound great as well. Having the codec also means that users can get true virtual surround sound or Spatial Audio if using some form of headphones. 

Keyboard input strikes a nice balance between being tactile and punchy. Typing out long-form editorial content is a comfortable and precise feeling. Playing games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III and Cyberpunk 2077 feel just as good as writing a complex email. 

Then there’s the per-key RGB lighting that adds a bit of personal flair. On top of that are several function keys including some for media and access to the Predator Sense app. There’s even a button to switch between performance modes too. Even the touchpad feels great and smooth alongside the fingerprint scanner on the top left side. However, even casual gamers will know to get a gaming mouse instead. 

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 14: Performance

HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
  • 1440p gaming at high settings are possible
  • DLSS is clutch 
  • Cooling fans get outrageously loud and lap can get hot 
Benchmarks

 

Here's how the Acer Predator Triton 14 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Speed Way: 2654  Fire Strike: 24205 Time Spy: 11147
GeekBench 6: 2633 (single-core);  (multi-core) 14626
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 83.6fps; (1080p, Low): 212.6fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra):  90.74fps; (1080p, Low): 89.15fps
F1 23 (1080p, Ultra): 43fps; (1080p, Low): 208fps
25GB File Copy Transfer Rate (Mbps): 2214.546879
Handbrake 1.6: 63 fps
CrossMark Overall: 2075; Productivity: 1980; Creativity: 2155; Responsiveness: 2132;
Web Surfing (Battery Informant):  5:17:26
PCMark 10 Battery (Gaming):  1:49 

1440p gaming performance on the Acer Predator Triton 14 successfully manages to play some of the top AAA games available without much problem. As of right now, two of the most visually demanding games on the platform are Cyberpunk 2077 and Alan Wake II. The Predator Triton 14 handles both games well at 1440p with frame rates that are usually in the 60 fps range. 

Having the 14-core Intel i7-13700H and Nvidia RTX 4070 really goes a long way in helping in-game performance. Having the RTX 4070 also means that users can do AI upscaling through DLSS which can push in-game performance even more. Due to the 2560 x 1600 resolution with a 16:10 ratio, one way to get higher performance is to play a game in native 1080p and upscale from there if playing through the display. Native 2560 x 1600 is fine on its own though. Be mindful that there won’t be too many current games that’ll even come close to hitting a 250-frame-per-second mark at native resolution. The only games that could theoretically come close are possibly Counter-Strike 2, Doom Eternal, and Fortnite if graphics settings are in a reasonable range.

Both Cyberpunk 2077 and Alan Wake 2 are also fine examples of games that’ll test a GPU’s ray tracing capabilities as well. Thankfully, both games work excellently in that regard though Alan Wake II for sure requires some tweaks to maintain a high frame rate. Of course, these games will require max power output or Turbo mode which will have the fans running incredibly loud. If playing on the lap, the heat can get uncomfortable.

Outside of gaming, Adobe Creative Suite performance is acceptable as well. We were able to use multiple layers on photos without much slowdown when using Photoshop. Through Premiere Pro, we could edit 10 minutes worth of 4K video that took less than 10 minutes to export. When it came to general use tasks like web browsing, I had a few dozen Google Chrome tabs opened without much issue. 

  • Performance score: 4.5 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 14: Battery life

HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
  • Battery life reached the halfway mark in about 4 ½ hours 
  • Can be charged through a charging port or USB
  • Recharge time is around two hours

Gaming laptops aren’t necessarily known for their battery life prowess but Eco-mode on the Acer Predator Triton 14 does lead to impressive results. It took around 4 ½ hours for the battery to reach the mid-way point. In total, we were able to get around 7 hours and some change in total. Of course, turning off features like Bluetooth alongside turning down the brightness and keyboard lighting can help reduce battery load too. Trying to play games that’ll push the laptop to the max will deliver around an hour’s worth of gaming so it’s best to keep it plugged in if one plans on doing so.

Gamers who need to get work done during a bi-coastal trip should have plenty of time before they need to charge. Users can change via the powerport which will take around two hours to get the battery to full. Meanwhile, if users forget their power brick, users can charge through the USB-C port but won’t get the same level of performance. 

  • Battery life score: 4 / 5

Should I buy the Acer Predator Triton 14?

Buy it if...

You need a slim gaming laptop with respectable performance 
Weighing under 4 lbs and as tall as a quarter, the Acer Predator Triton 14 still manages to shine when it comes to 1440p performance. 


Don't buy it if...

You would like a quieter machine when pushing specs to the max
The cooling system is incredibly loud when pushing high-quality visuals and performance. 

The Acer Predator Triton 14

How I tested the Acer Predator Triton 14

  • Tested over a two week period 
  • Split between general tasks, creative work and gaming 

My time with the Acer Predator Triton 14 lasted a little over a two-week period. During the day, I used it as my main laptop while working the office job. It was here that I was able to test general performance and speakers. During office hours, I used Google Chrome and related services like Google Docs, Tidal to listen to high fidelity music alongside creative software. 

Through Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, I was able to create graphics and short-form video clips. When away from work, I took the time to play various AAA games. These games included Cyberpunk 2077, Forza Motorsport (2023), Dead Space (2023), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Alan Wake II. 

Since 2020, I’ve been covering various gaming laptops for TechRadar. As a PC Gaming enthusiast, I can definitely help anyone who is looking for a gaming laptop that’s worth their performance measures and pocketbook. 

  • First reviewed April 2024
Acer Helios 18
9:00 pm | January 15, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Comments: Off

Hardcore gamers should be on the lookout for the Acer Helios 18, a gaming laptop that's loaded with some great specs, an excellent display, and much more. The design is a bit simpler than the Acer Helios Neo 16 or 18, but still has a nice sleek metallic look to it.

Pricing isn't bad either, starting under $2,000, somewhat reasonable for a gaming laptop of this size and class. The keyboard allows for some customization as well, another notch on the positive features belt. If the performance matches its specs once we do a more throrough review, this could be one of the best Acer laptops of the year, and a solid candidate for our best gaming laptop list.

Acer Helios 18: Price and availability

The Acer Helios 18 will be launching in the US in March 2024, with its price starting at $1,999.99 (around £1,570 / AU$2,990), while the Helios 16 is slated for a release later in January. The pricing isn't bad, a tad expensive but still cheaper than pretty much any other desktop replacement gaming laptop options with the same specs.

We don't have official information on when the Helios 18 will launch in the UK and Australia, but it'll most likely show up in other regions later down the line.

Acer Helios 18: Specs

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black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

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black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

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black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

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black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

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black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

Acer Helios 18: Design

The Acer Helios 18 is a simple black gaming laptop that uses RGB lighting to make it more visually appealing, including the logo on the lid. Unlike the Helios Neo 16 or 18, it doesn't have a coded lid or a clear plate over silver metal on the back piece. 

The back piece, however, does feature a pattern fanning out from the Neo letters in the center, all lit up in rainbow lighting, which looks gorgeous. And the lit-up Acer logo on the lid is also a nice touch that gives it a bit of aesthetic appeal.

The keyboard is similarly lit with RGB back-lighting and feels pleasant to type on. There's also a rather unique feature, with the WASD keys featuring MagKey 3.0, compared to the regular membrane switches in the rest of the keyboard. This adds in two features called MagClick and MagSpeed, with the former letting users install mechanical switches (and I felt the difference immediately when I tried it out) while the latter has a speedometer-inspired design and a more distinctive LED lighting.

Its 18-inch Mini-LED WQXGA (2560 x 1600) display is lovely and crisp with a massive 250Hz refresh rate. It also has a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, making this the perfect laptop for not just gaming but for editing and especially creative projects.

The port selection is incredible with Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports, USB Type-A ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI 2.1, a combo jack, a microSD reader, and way more. There's not anything lacking in the selection, with more than enough USB ports to go around.

Acer Helios 18: Performance

black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

The specs for the Acer Helios 18 are all current-gen CPUs and GPUs, including up to the Intel Core 9 14900HX and up to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, respectively. It also has up to 32GB LPDDR5 RAM and up to 4TB PCIe 4 SSD in RAID 0 storage, far more than enough for any gamers' needs.

We don't have any benchmark test results to determine its actual performance but judging from performance from adjacent models like the Acer Predator Helios 300 (2022) and the Acer Predator Helios Neo 16, the Helios 18 should perform extremely well. Hopefully, the ventilation system, including a fan system, liquid metal thermal paste, and vector heat pipes can keep up and keep internal temperatures down.

Acer Helios 18: Early verdict

black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

The Acer Helios 18 is a well-rounded gaming laptop with tons of upgrades that make it more than worth investing in if you're looking for a solid desktop replacement. It has an excellent display, a robust port selection, current-gen specs that promise top-of-the-line performance, and a partially customizable keyboard.

Not to mention its unique design that takes advantage of RGB lighting uniquely and beautifully, a compliment very few gaming laptops receive. If the Helios 18 checks out once reviewers get it in their hands, this could end up as a sleeper hit of a gaming laptop.

Alienware x16 R2: unchanged on the outside, overhauled on the inside
9:00 pm | January 14, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Comments: Off

One of Dell's other gaming laptop refreshes for 2024 is the Alienware x16 R2, which is meant to have superior performance over the Alienware m16 R2 since the former is more of a dedicated gaming desktop replacement. As such, both CPU and GPU options are maxed out with the best laptop specs you can get.

There's not much difference in terms of aesthetics, with the x16 R2 similar to the 2022 Alienware x15 R2 but that's not a bad thing considering how distinctive and downright cool its design is.

It also received an upgrade to its display, webcam, and updates to its ventilation system, which should help catapult it to one of the best gaming laptops on the market.

Alienware x16 R2: Price and availability

The Alienware x16 R2 will be launching in the US, according to information released during CES 2024. There hasn't been an official announcement yet revealing the release window or availability for the UK and Australia but knowing Dell, it'll be available in those regions pretty soon after the US launch.

As for pricing, it's starting at around $2,099.99 / £1,649 / AU$3,136 and will end up as high as about $2,899.99. This is a huge price difference compared to the 2022 Alienware x15 R2 at $2,910 (£2,800 / AU$5,203). It's good to see that gaming laptop prices aren't skyrocketing as I originally feared.

Alienware x16 R2: Specs

back of white gaming laptop

(Image credit: Future)

Alienware x16 R2: Design

The Alienware x16 R2's design is pretty much identical to the Alienware x15 R2 from previous years, including that bright white color with blue highlights as well as the iconic back that juts out. It looks super unique, a gaming laptop that's worth showing off.

Its 16-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600) display is all tricked out with a 240Hz refresh rate,  3ms response time, as well as having a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. Soon after launch, Dell revealed a version with an FHD+ 480Hz panel would also be released, which is incredible. As for the current version not only does it offer incredibly smooth, stutter-free gameplay that would make any hardcore gamer happy, but it can be used for creative and editing projects with ease.

It's quite a bit on the heavy side, weighing six pounds. You won't be transporting this baby around often, but it's in line with a desktop replacement. It's a little heavier than the 2022 x16 model, so hopefully with the overhauled Alienware Cryo-tech Cooling technology it ventilates better and isn't prone to overheating.

The keyboard uses Alienware's in-house switches similar to the Alienware Pro Wireless keyboard and it has satisfying typing feedback. Not to mention the very distinctive rainbow-colored touchpad that complements the RGB-lit keyboard. The built-in camera has been upgraded, adding HDR capability on the FHD IR webcam, a plus for a gaming laptop.

The port selection, like before, is located wholly on the back and includes both HDMI and Display Port, which is a great touch. But it's bizarrely missing an ethernet port, which is an issue for a desktop replacement, as hardcore gamers would want a more stable connection.

Alienware x16 R2: Performance

gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

The Alienware x16 R2 comes with options for the current-gen Intel Core Ultra series CPUs, with choices between the 7 and 9. Paired with the RTX 4000-series GPUs up to an RTX 4090, and you have a truly tricked-out laptop made to perform at its best.

You can either upgrade the storage to 4TB using the standard single storage, or you can upgrade to a whopping 8TB using Raid 0 configurations. However, you can only configure up to 32GB LPDDR5 RAM, which is very good but not as high as the Alienware m16 R2, a strange choice.

Unfortunately, we won't have benchmark results until we can properly sit down with and test out this gaming machine. But with the specs it has, this should be an absolute beast in terms of output.

Alienware x16 R2: Early verdict

white gaming laptop

(Image credit: Future)

As a huge fan of the 2022 Alienware x15 R2 gaming laptop, I have high hopes for the Alienware x16 R2 refresh I was shown. And so far it seems like a solid upgrade from the previous gen, with better specs, an updated display, improved ventilation, an upgraded webcam and more. All wrapped up in the same sexy package this series is known for, with a few upgrades like that gorgeous rainbow-lit touchpad. Even the pricing is somewhat reasonable and much better than so many other gaming laptops in the market.

My only real concern is the lack of an ethernet port, but that's not a deal breaker. I also hope that this ventilation system can hold up better when running an extensive gaming session. Other than that, I look forward to really putting this laptop through the ringer in testing.

Acer Nitro 16 AMD review: performance on a budget
6:30 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Acer Nitro 16 AMD Two-minute review

Writing reviews on gaming laptops with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 like the Acer Nitro 16 AMD is an exercise in splitting hairs. Some are a little more expensive, some are a little cheaper. Some quality of life factors like changes in refresh rate or webcam resolution differ from laptop to laptop. The guts, however, are very similar.

The Acer Nitro 16 AMD, then, is a lot like many of the best budget gaming laptops with its surprisingly solid performance while sitting at the lower end of the gaming laptop spectrum. In its case, it does have that faster refresh rate and a good keyboard with bright RGB backlighting. However, its aesthetics are a bit more aggressively gamer-centric than many of the best gaming laptops, which have in recent times taken lessons from MacBooks and Ultrabooks.

That said, it has a lot to offer, especially for competitive gamers on a budget. You can surely go cheaper with models sporting older GPUs, but those will start to show their limitations much earlier. Because of that, the Acer Nitro 16 AMD is not a hard laptop to recommend for the right budget-conscious gamer.

Acer Nitro 16 AMD on a desk

(Image credit: Future)

Acer Nitro 16 AMD: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? Starting at $1,249.99 (about £988 / AU$1888)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US. Only older models currently available in UK, and Australia

Acer is no stranger to budget laptops and that’s certainly the case with the Acer Nitro 16 AMD. Whether you go for the most basic model with its $999.99 (about £788 / AU$1,471) price tag and its AMD Ryzen 5 7640HS CPU, 8GB RAM, RTX 4050 GPU, and 512 GB SSD or the max version that clocks in at $1,799.99 (about £1,418 / AU$2,647) and has an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU, 16GB RAM, RTX 4070 GPU, and 1 TB SSD, you’ll be dropping less than a lot of other gaming laptops.

Part of that is the fact that Acer generally runs cheaper than other brands and part of that is that AMD-equipped laptops are often cheaper than similarly specced Intel models. For comparison sake, the Lenovo LOQ 15 (AMD) I reviewed back in October starts at $1,189.99 / £1,080 / AU$2,199 for a model that is very similar with a slightly different CPU, the AMD Ryzen 5 7640S, and a slightly smaller 15.6 inch screen with a 144Hz refresh rate. Of course, it does come in a slightly more attractive package.

The one thing I will complain about here is the fairly different versions of this laptop across different territories. Those in the US have the widest selection while those in the UK have one AMD-equipped model available that’s essentially the review unit with a slightly weaker Ryzen 5 processor. Those in Australia have two – one just like the review configuration and one that’s almost identical but with a Ryzen 7 7840HS CPU.

  • Price score: 4.5 / 5

Acer Nitro 16 AMD: Specs

The Acer Nitro 16 AMD, being a budget-oriented gaming laptop, comes with a fairly limited array of options despite there being up to 11 options depending on your territory. 

The processors range from the AMD Ryzen 5 7535HS 3.30GHz chip to the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS 4.0GHz one. RAM ranges from 8GB to 32GB. And, the GPU goes from the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 to the 4070. 

Strangely, the weakest CPU is not in the cheapest model as that one has less RAM. And, the most expensive model with that AMD Ryzen 9 CPU doesn’t have the highest amount of RAM. 

Beyond the internal components, there aren't any other variables to worry about such as colorways or displays. 

Regardless of which model you get, you end up with a 16-inch 1900 x 1200p screen with a 165Hz refresh rate. 

Acer Nitro 16 AMD: Design

  • Chunkier, gamer-centric in design
  • Some ports on the back
  • 16:10 1920 x 1200 screen with 165Hz refresh rate

As far as aesthetics go, the Acer Nitro 16 AMD does not pull its punches when it comes to its gamer looks. From the angled blue and reddish lines adorning the laptop lid as well as the aggressive looking N (for “Nitro”) on the lid as well as under the screen, this laptop is not going to pass as a non-gaming laptop the way a Razer laptop can.

Of course, it doesn’t help that it is pretty bulky, not only in size but in weight, especially considering that it weighs 5.95 lbs (2.70 kg). And, it certainly looks chunky. It is over an inch thick – the same as two MacBook Airs stacked on top of each other.

Since this is a budget gaming laptop, that form factor is somewhat to be expected. At least Acer made sure to put plenty of venting underneath and on the sides. Because of the side venting though, not all the ports fit on the sides as some of them, namely the power, HDMI and USB-C ones are on the back. Some people like having ports on the back for a cleaner look. I don’t as I find them to be harder to access.

Acer Nitro 16 AMD side view showing ports

(Image credit: Future)

On the bright side, Acer included a 16:10 1920 x 1200 display with a speedy 165Hz refresh rate (and 3ms response time), which is perfect for competitive gamers. Of course, it’s basically a slightly larger 1080p screen so you’re not going to step up in resolution. However, that’s never the case with budget gaming laptops. Still, it’s a good screen. Plus, it has a 125% sRGB color gamut and at least the review unit came with a Delta-E of 0.22 so you can do some photo editing here. Its DCI-P3 coverage is 89%, so it’s not as ideal for professional video editing.

Acer Nitro 16 AMD side view showing ports

(Image credit: Future)

As far as the keyboard and trackpad go, they’re more than competent for regular use. The keyboard is easy to type on with a nice textured feel. I didn’t find that I experienced any missed presses when gaming.

More interesting is the fact that it has full-color backlighting, though only in four zones so you won’t be able to adjust key by key.

  • Design score: 4 / 5 

Acer Nitro 16 AMD keyboard lights

(Image credit: Future)

Acer Nitro 16 AMD: Performance

  • Very good 1080p (well, 1200p) performance
  • Sound quality is decent
  • Webcam is disappointing
Acer Nitro 16 AMD: Benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Nitro 16 AMD performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Port Royal: 4,682; Fire Strike: 19,390; Time Spy: 8,472
GeekBench 6.1: 2,593.7 (single-core); 10,798.3 (multi-core)
25GB File Copy:
14.1s
Handbrake 1.6: 5:25
CrossMark: Overall: 1,799 Productivity: 1,781 Creativity: 1,859 Responsiveness: 1,681
Far Cry 6 1080p (Ultra) 76 fps
Cyberpunk 2077: 1080p (Ultra) 23.44 fps
Web Surfing (Battery Informant): 9:15:40
PCMark 10 Battery Life (Gaming): 2:26 

I’ve continually been impressed by all the laptops I’ve tested with a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU. And, that continues to be true with the Acer Nitro 16 AMD. Obviously, there’s a ceiling to that performance.

For instance, this laptop can achieve a 64.7 fps on Cyberpunk 2077 on Ultra settings, but as soon as ray tracing is on, the fps drops like an anchor. Just look at the benchmark for Far Cry 6 – it also gets 76 fps on Ultra.

In more real world testing, I’ve been able to run Starfield and Hogwarts Legacy at higher than expected settings. Of course, that’s with ray tracing off and a tick or two off Ultra settings. Still, the results were very playable with just a tiny bit of screen tearing. Turning on Vsync takes care of that.

Acer Nitro 16 AMD running an app

(Image credit: Future)

It’s important to note also that the Acer Nitro 16 AMD is also running that display at a 165Hz refresh rate so getting the results is even more impressive. That means this is perfect for competitive gamers on a budget. To test, I ran Battlefield 2042 and had stable results without any issues at high settings.

As far as the sound goes, it’s not going to win any awards but it’s serviceable, just lacking some low end. The webcam is a little less impressive with its peak 720p resolution. It also gets a bit grainy.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Acer Nitro 16 AMD: Battery life

  • Decent battery life for regular use
  • Not very good when gaming

The battery life of the Acer Nitro 16 AMD is about as interesting as an episode of the Great American Baking Show (yes, it does exist). Yes, we must discuss. You’re not going to be wowed with its longevity. But, it’s ok in certain instances.

When using it in a non-gaming capacity, you can get a little over nine hours of use. For a gaming laptop, that’s pretty good. Of course, you’ll want to be plugged in to actually game as it can only get just under two and a half hours when playing titles. Other than some configurations of the Asus Rog Zephyrus, most gaming laptops have not cracked the battery code.

  • Battery life score: 3 / 5 

Should you buy the Acer Nitro 16 AMD?

Buy it if...

You’re a competitive gamer
With an RTX 4050 GPU and a screen with a 165Hz refresh rate, you’ll be able to keep up in the fastest competitive games, skill notwithstanding.

You’re on a budget
You don’t have to spend all that much relatively to get quality gaming performance. The only way to go cheaper is to go console or with an older GPU that might not keep up.

Don't buy it if...

You want a more portable gaming machine
It’s bulky and on the heavy side so the Acer Nitro 16 AMD is not an ideal grab-and-go gaming machine, not to mention that the battery life isn’t all that great either.

Acer Nitro 16 AMD: Also consider

If our Acer Nitro 16 AMD review has you considering other options, here are two laptops to consider... 

How I tested the HP Victus 16

  1. Tested for a couple weeks
  2. Pushed it as hard as possible gaming-wise
  3. Played with various settings

I used the Acer Nitro 16 AMD for a couple weeks, playing a number of demanding games like Starfield, Hogwarts Legacy, Battlefield 2042 and Cyberpunk 2077. While doing so, I ran the games at various settings, particularly at the highest ones with ray tracing on wherever possible, and took note of the results. I also tested each aspect of the laptop from the keyboard and trackpad to the webcam and speakers.

After spending time with the Acer Nitro 16 AMD, it’s clear that this is meant to be a budget-conscious model for those that care about competitive gaming or for those that want something affordable while still equipped with a current generation GPU.

I’ve spent the last few years reviewing tech gear for gaming and otherwise, where I’ve gotten a feel for what to look for and how to put a piece of kit through its paces to see whether it’s worth the recommendation. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed January 2024

HP Victus 16: a strong 1080p gaming machine
1:30 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: | Comments: Off

HP Victus 16: Two-minute review

The newest trend in some of the best gaming laptops are ones equipped with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 such as the HP Victus 16 reviewed here. These laptops are about as cheap as you can go while still getting one of Nvidia’s 4000 series GPUs. They still manage to offer some relatively powerful performance, especially when compared to the budget options from yesteryear equipped with 3000 series graphics cards.

In the case of the HP Victus 16, its pricing somewhat precludes it from the best budget gaming laptops, but it’s close. It’s more mid-range pricing and solid performance, as long as you don’t need max settings and Ray Tracing on in titles like Cyberpunk 2077, does make a good option for those looking at the best gaming laptops that want a nice balance between price and specs.

Now, there’s nothing that makes this particularly unique. But, that’s going to be the case for most of the competition as well. Whether you get this or a different 4050-equipped model like the Lenovo LOQ 15 (AMD) is going to come down to if you want to save a couple hundred bucks or want some slightly more powerful components. Or, maybe you prefer a certain brand or aesthetic.

HP Victus 16 gaming laptop on a desk playing a game

(Image credit: Future)

HP Victus 16: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? Starting at $1,249.99 (about £988 / AU$1888)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US. Only older models currently available in UK, and Australia

Let’s get the hard part out of the way first. Residents of the UK and Australia may see language on the HP site about the all new Victus 16, but they’re unfortunately stuck with the last generation equipped with Nvidia RTX 3000 series GPUs. Hopefully that will change soon, though that’s not the case at the time of writing.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to the US store, there are two customizable configurations – one for AMD and one for Intel with the AMD being slightly cheaper, starting at $1,249.99 (about £1,000 / AU$1,900). 

Maxing these configurations gives you a fairly robust laptop that’s not too expensive compared to other maxed out gaming laptops as the kitted out Intel configuration with a 13th-Gen Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070, and 1TB SSD, not to mention a 1440p screen with a 240Hz refresh rate will set you back $2,169.99 (about £1,715 / AU$3,280).

The configuration reviewed here, which is a standard non-customizable one under the model designation 16-r0097nr goes for $1449.99 (about £1,150 / AU$2,190). Not bad for a 13th-Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, and 1TB SSD.

Price-wise, you can find cheaper budget gaming laptops with similar specs. The MSI Katana 15 (2023) goes for $999 (about £785 / AU$1,550) without any upgrades and includes 13th-Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, and 1TB SSD. However, it sports a slightly weaker Intel Core i7 chip and slower speed RAM. The battery life on the MSI is much worse as is the webcam, though it is a bit lighter.

  • Price score: 4 / 5

HP Victus 16: Specs

The HP Victus comes in a few different configurations. There are a few standard configurations including the review unit, which comes with a 13th-Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, and 1TB SSD as well as a similar AMD version that comes with a Ryzen 7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060. 

However, there are customizable versions for both Intel and AMD configurations. It’s not a wide range as you’re looking at either an AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 CPU, Intel Core i5 or i7, 16 or 32GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, 4060, or 4070 GPU, and 512GB or 1TB SSD.

Beyond the internal components, you can upgrade the screen with the customizable configurations to not only a 1440p resolution, but a faster refresh rate going up to 240Hz from the standard 60Hz (there’s also an option for 144Hz). 

You can also upgrade from Wi-Fi 6 to Wi-Fi 6E as well as the battery and color. Just be aware that the standard configurations like this model, specifically referred to as 16-r0097nr, are not customizable.

HP Victus 16: Design

  • Slightly gaming-centric look
  • Plenty of venting
  • Good keyboard and trackpad

The HP Victus 16 has followed the recent trend of having an only slightly gaming-centric aesthetic. You’re not going to see it in all its matte-black glory and confuse it for an Ultrabook. But, it doesn’t have the aggressive lines and streaks of red that older gaming laptops had.

At a little over five pounds, it’s a little chunky but it’s portable enough if you need it to be. Of course, it does house a 16.1-inch 1080p screen with relatively thin bezels outlining, though unfortunately it only has a 60Hz refresh rate (unless you go the customization route). At least, it has 300 nits of brightness – no HDR on hand with this one. 

There’s quite a bit of venting around the Victus. Not only is it on the back and sides but a large section of the plastic shell underneath is vented. Because of this, I never experienced any throttling or overheating, though some intensive gaming sessions with Cyberpunk 2077 and Starfield did make the laptop warm to the touch right above the keyboard and around the back.

Underneath of the HP Victus 16 gaming laptop

(Image credit: Future)

As far as ports go, adequate is probably the best description. It comes with three USB-A ports, one USB-C, one HDMI 2.1, an ethernet port, and headphone jack. It would be nice to get a second USB-C as everything is transitioning to that standard, but that’s a very minor quibble. The port selection is about what one would expect on a current gaming laptop.

The keyboard and trackpad are solid enough. They’re not going to replace a mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse (let’s be real, you’re going to need an external mouse for any gaming anyways). But, they were comfortable enough to use while typing up this review, for example, and navigating the world wide web.

Lastly, the HP Victus comes with a 1080p webcam, which in and of itself is of a higher quality than what I usually see on budget / mid-tier gaming laptops. More impressively is the fact that HP decided to include a physical shutter for privacy.

  • Design score: 4 / 5 

HP Victus 16 gaming laptop close up of ports

(Image credit: Future)

HP Victus 16: Performance

  • Very good 1080p gaming performance
  • Refresh rate could be limitation for some gamers
  • Good-for-laptop audio
HP Victus 16: Benchmarks

Here's how the HP Victus 16 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Port Royal: N/A; Fire Strike: 20,526; Time Spy: 8,737
GeekBench 6.1: 2,671 (single-core); 14,161 (multi-core)
25GB File Copy:
14.9s
Handbrake 1.6: 5:34
CrossMark: Overall: 1,730 Productivity: 1,647 Creativity: 1,945 Responsiveness: 1,407
Far Cry 6 1080p (Ultra) 77 fps
Cyberpunk 2077: 1080p (Ultra) 23.65 fps
Web Surfing (Battery Informant): 7:03:33
PCMark 10 Battery Life (Gaming): 1:40 

The performance on the HP Victus 16 is like many of the gaming laptops with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050. It’s an exercise in compromising on settings to get good gameplay. Since this laptop comes with 16GB RAM at its lowest configuration and only has to power a 1080p screen at a 60Hz refresh rate, that 4050 GPU is more than enough, meaning you don’t have to compromise too much.

You’ll want to skip the Ray Tracing for instance. If you take a look at our benchmarks, for example, Cyberpunk 2077 managed just 24 fps. When I run the game at Ultra but with high textures and no Ray Tracing, the fps count instantly jumps to 78. This is after the most recent updates, so that’s pretty impressive.

On a similar note, I was able to run Starfield at high settings with minimal screen tearing or lag, which went away as soon as I turned on Vsync without any perceivable loss in quality. In essence, unless you need a super fast refresh rate for competitive gaming or need the ultimate gaming experience, you’re not going to feel like you’re compromising when using this computer.

While I prefer using the Kanto Ora speakers I have set up with them, the sound quality of the speakers were decent. Whether or not Bang & Olufsen were able to sprinkle magic dust on them or not, I didn’t find there to be anything too lacking with them. Of course, there’s not much in the way of low-end as is the case with most laptops. But, it doesn’t sound hollow like a lot of laptops I’ve used.

When it comes to the webcam, it offers a decently crisp image with minimal noise and can automatically focus on my face when moving around. It is capped at 30 fps, however, so it’s not going to be the smoothest looking video if that’s important to you.

  • Performance score: 4.5 / 5

HP Victus 16 gaming laptop close up of ports

(Image credit: Future)

HP Victus 16: Battery life

  • Decent battery life if not gaming
  • Mileage may vary with some configurations

While gaming laptops not named Asus Rog Zephyrus are generally terrible when it comes to battery life. For instance, the MSI Katana 15 mentioned before lasted just 40 minutes in the PCMark 10 battery life for gaming benchmark. The HP Victus 16 lasted a more respectable hour and 40 minutes. That’s still not all that great, but gaming is a pretty demanding task and requires a lot of resources.

On the bright side, if you decide to get the HP Victus 16, you can use it for a decent amount of time unplugged if you don’t run any games on it. Specifically, in our Web Surfing Battery Informant benchmark, this laptop lasted a good seven hours. That’s not too bad if you need to use it on the road. Just be aware that some upgrades such as a screen with a higher refresh rate may negatively impact the battery life.

  • Battery life score: 4 / 5 

Should you buy the HP Victus 16?

Buy it if...

You want good 1080p performance
With only a few compromises like skipping Ray Tracing, you can get some really good 1080p gaming on this machine. 

You’re trying to get the best performance without splurging
It might be among the pricier 4050-equipped gaming laptops out there, but it’s a bit more powerful than the competition, making it ideal for those wanting as much performance as possible under $1,500.

Don't buy it if...

You want excellent performance no matter the game
While you can get great performance in some games, there are already some games, as mentioned above, that you can’t play with the settings maxed out. If you want to see a game like Starfield at its full potential, you’ll need something more powerful.

HP Victus 16: Also consider

If our HP Victus 16 review has you considering other options, here are two laptops to consider... 

How I tested the HP Victus 16

  1. Tested for a couple weeks
  2. Pushed it as hard as possible gaming-wise
  3. Played with various settings

I used the HP Victus 16 for a couple of weeks, playing several demanding games like Starfield, Hogwards Legacy, Control, and Cyberpunk 2077. While doing so, I ran the games at various settings, particularly at the highest ones with ray tracing on wherever possible, and took note of the results. I also tested each aspect of the laptop from the keyboard and trackpad to the webcam and speakers.

I’ve spent the last few years reviewing tech gear for gaming and otherwise, where I’ve gotten a feel for what to look for and how to put a piece of kit through its paces to see whether it’s worth the recommendation.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed January 2024

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