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Acer Predator Triton 17 X: a premium gaming laptop that packs a punch
2:59 pm | June 4, 2024

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

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Two-minute review

There's an argument to be made for packing in as much power as possible when it comes to the best gaming laptops, and that's the space the Acer Predator Triton 17 X occupies. For the most part, it forgoes being the sleekest and smallest of its kind to go all-in on pushing boundaries for those with deep enough pockets to take the plunge. 

Priced at $3,599.99 / £3,299.99 / AU$7,999, the Acer Predator Triton 17 X isn't a budget pick by any means, but that's the cost of packing in enough horsepower to give even the best gaming PCs a run for their money. While the mobile RTX 4090 doesn't exactly rival what its desktop counterpart can do, the performance margin is within an acceptable ballpark range; you can think of it as similar to an RTX 4080 desktop GPU.  

Where this rig stands out from competitors is with its display. The Triton 17 X features a staggering 250Hz refresh rate with a 1600p resolution screen. That 16:10 aspect ratio means you get more real-estate for gaming, and the results are impressive. Fortunately, the components inside this Predator laptop mean you'll be able to push even the latest and most demanding games to superfast frame rates. 

No corners have been cut with the quality-of-life features here, either. This laptop is armed with a six-speaker setup, an excellent keyboard, and a healthy port selection, so even when you're not gaming, you'll have a good experience. Just keep in mind that the Triton 17 X is not the most practical notebook with its 3kg / 6.6lbs heft, so it might not be your daily runner to work or school on the side. 

Compounding this is the majorly disappointing battery life. The Acer Predator Triton 17 X lasts around two hours at best when enjoying media playback or browsing the web, and about an hour when getting stuck into one of the latest games. You'll want the charger nearby, but if you can overlook these issues then there's a stellar machine underneath it all. 

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Price and availability

MSI Triton 17 X screen

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? $3,599.99 / £3,299.99 / AU$7,999
  • When is it available? It's out now
  • Where can you get it? In the US, UK and Australia

The Acer Predator Triton 17 X is one of the pricier gaming laptops on the market, coming in above the $3,000 / £3,000 mark (and at AU$8,000). Considering the hardware inside, that shouldn't come as a huge surprise, though. Acer isn't pulling any punches from the choice of CPU and GPU, through to the display, RAM, and storage. Simply put, it's far from a cheap gaming laptop, but if you want to be on the bleeding edge and have the cash to splash then it could be worthwhile. 

As a frame of reference, the price of entry for the Predator Triton 17 X puts it in league with other top-end offerings such as the Origin EON 16SL when fully specced out, or the Alienware M16 and Razer Blade 16 (2023) in higher configurations. You aren't getting the best value for money on the market, nor the strongest price-to-performance ratio, but in terms of sheer raw power, the Triton 17 X has it in spades. 

  • Price: 3 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Design

Design of the MSI Triton 17 X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Stunning 250Hz mini-LED display 
  • Packed with ports 
  • A bit heavy at 3kg / 6.6lbs
Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Specs

Here's what's inside the Acer Predator Triton 17 X supplied to TechRadar. 

CPU: Intel Core i9-13900HX
GPU: Nvidia RTX 4090
RAM: 64GB LPDDR5
Storage: 2TB NVMe Gen 4.0
Display: WQXGA (2560 x 1600) 16:10 IPS 250Hz
Ports: 2x USB 3.2, 2x USB-C, 2.5Gb Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack, microSD card slot
Wireless: Wi-Fi 6E; Bluetooth 5.1
Weight: 3kg / 6.6lbs
Dimensions: ‎‎28 x 38.04 x 2.19cm (LxWxH)

The most notable thing about the Acer Predator Triton 17 X at first glance is the display which is certainly a leading model as far as gaming laptops go. This portable powerhouse packs in a 16:10 WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600 resolution) screen meaning more real-estate is available for gaming than 16:9 can offer. It's bolstered by a 250Hz refresh rate and is Nvidia G-sync compatible, so there's no screen tearing. 

It's not the first laptop to feature a mini-LED display, but it is an excellent example of the panel tech in action. While not quite as vivid as OLED, it is considerably brighter, and the 1,000 local dimming zones do a solid job of standing in with similar black levels. Considering the hardware inside, an RTX 4090 mobile GPU backed up by an Intel 13th-gen Core i9 processor, you'll be able to take advantage of that high refresh rate, too. 

Acer's design philosophy for this machine is "excellent in excess" and that's clearly demonstrated with the hardware packed into a portable form factor. Mind you, this rig weighs in at 3kg / 6.6lbs making it one of the heavier models on the market. With a 17-inch screen, it's fairly large as well, and while technically portable, the 17 X is unlikely to be something you'll commonly be slinging into a bag. It's more of an out-and-out desktop replacement. 

While you're likely to plug in one of the best gaming keyboards and best gaming mice, the Acer Predator Triton 17 X features a solid keyboard and trackpad for casual web browsing and typing. It offers pleasant multi-zone RGB lighting which looks the part when playing in darker environments. The trackpad isn't as nice as some of the glass ones you'll find on a similarly priced Razer Blade, but it gets the job done. Again, a dedicated mouse will do the trick better.

No expense was spared on the connectivity front here, either. There are two USB-C ports, two USB 3.2 ports, 2.5Gb Ethernet, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. You'll have no shortage of options for either work or play, and it's good that the manufacturer chose function over form in this respect, as some thinner laptops can sacrifice port selection to achieve their svelte nature. 

  • Design: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Performance

Keyboad of the Triton 17 X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Unparalleled 1080p and 1440p gaming performance 
  • Silky smooth refresh rate 
  • Gets very hot and loud

You won't be surprised to learn that a gaming laptop powered by the Intel Core i9-13900HX and Nvidia RTX 4090 with 64GB of LPDDR5 RAM absolutely mowed through our suite of benchmarks and games. The display for the laptop tops out at 250Hz, and you'll have all the horsepower necessary to achieve those kind of frame rates in 1080p, and drive very smooth gameplay at 1440p as well.

Acer Predator Triton 17 X benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Predator Triton 17 X got on in our game testing. 

Total War: Three Kingdoms (1080p) - 364fps (Low); 140fps (Ultra)
Total War: Three Kingdoms (1440p) - 290fps (Low) ; 92fps (Ultra)
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p) - 118fps (Low); 107fps (Ultra)
Cyberpunk 2077 (1440p) - 129fps (Low); 89fps (Ultra)
Cyberpunk 2077 RT Ultra - 85fps (1080p); 83fps (1440p)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (1080p) - 147fps (Low) ; 128fps (Ultra)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (1440p) - 108fps (Low); 86fps (Ultra)
Geekbench 6:
Single - 2,720
Multi - 17,308
3DMark:
Night Raid - 72,575
Fire Strike - 31,498
Time Spy - 16,866
Port Royal - 11,261
PCMark10: 8,069
CrystalDiskMark: Read - 6,441.97; Write - 4,872.65
Cinebench R23:
Single - 1,941
Multi - 25,624
TechRadar battery test: 1 hour 8 minutes

It's comparable to what the MSI Titan 18 HX can do, albeit without the 4K resolution, not that you'll necessarily need 4K in such a small display anyway. It wasn't uncommon for the demanding games tested, such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Red Dead Redemption 2, to exceed 100fps when maxed out in 1440p. Even CPU-bound titles such as Total War: Three Kingdoms were no sweat for the 13900HX, as this game could exceed a lightning-fast 300fps.

Synthetic figures are equally strong as evidenced by 3DMark's range of GPU benchmarks alongside PCMark 10. Acer hasn't skimped on the choice of Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD either, with a strong performance of 6,441MB/s for reads and 4,872MB/s for writes. All told it's a very encouraging package showcasing the prowess of the hardware, but not without a few drawbacks.

While the RTX 4090M is roughly equivalent to the desktop RTX 4080 with its 16GB GDDR6 VRAM and lower power draw, the combination of CPU and GPU here does result in excess heat and loudness. It wasn't uncommon for the rig to reach upwards of 90 degrees when under stress, with the fans drowning out the otherwise impressive six-speaker surround setup. This could be counteracted by employing the use of one of the best gaming headsets, but it's worth noting all the same.

Using the HDMI 2.1 port, you'll be able to hook up the Acer Predator Triton 17 X to one of the best gaming monitors for that big screen experience should the 17-inch display not be enough for you. You may also want to invest in a dedicated laptop riser to keep the fans of the machine elevated to aid cooling, too. 

  • Performance: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Battery life

Closed lid of the MSI Triton 17 X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Lasts around two hours when web browsing or for media playback
  • About an hour of gaming on battery power  

What's most disappointing about the Acer Predator Triton 17 X is the battery life which just about manages two hours on a single charge with media playback or casual browsing. When gaming, you can expect about an hour or so, give or take, so you'll need to keep a charger handy if you want to have a full session of gaming for the evening.

Keeping the Acer Predator Triton 17 X plugged in at all times isn't ideal in terms of its portability factor, obviously, but as we already observed, it's a little too large and bulky for that anyway. The battery life is a shame considering there's a 99.98Wh four-cell power pack inside, but it's not too big a shock when factoring in that there's 175W of power drawn by the RTX 4090M GPU alone.

Simply put, if you're after excellent battery life for a portable machine then the Acer Predator 17 X won't be for you. Instead, we recommend considering one of the best Ultrabooks, even if you won't get anywhere near the same level of processing power.

  • Battery: 2 / 5

Should you buy the Acer Predator Triton 17 X?

Buy it if... 

You want a no-compromise gaming experience 

The Acer Predator Triton 17 X packs a punch with its RTX 4090 GPU and 13th-gen Core i9 CPU backed with a staggering 64GB of RAM. All that power translates to commonly getting over 100fps in 1440p with maxed out details. 

You want an out-and-out desktop replacement 

With its powerful hardware and generous port selection, you'll be able to hook up the Triton 17 X to an external monitor for a big screen gaming experience. 

You're in the market for a productivity powerhouse 

While the Acer Predator Triton 17 X is geared towards gamers, its 250Hz refresh rate and cutting-edge hardware make it a good choice for creatives who need all the VRAM and raw performance grunt they can get.

Don't buy it if... 

You want the best value for money 

There's no getting around the eye-watering MSRP of the Acer Predator Triton 17 X at $3,599.99 / £3,299.99 / AU$7,999. If you're on a tighter budget, you'll clearly want to consider a more mid-range model instead.

You want a laptop with a good battery life 

Despite its 99.98Wh battery, you can expect only around an hour of gaming when not plugged in. Media playback doubles that to around two hours based on our battery test (conducted at 50% battery with half max brightness). Whatever the case, don't expect much longevity with the Triton 17 X.

Also consider

  • First reviewed June 2024
Sony INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset review
9:00 pm | April 5, 2024

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

Sony INZONE H9: One-minute review

Sony, without a doubt, has a reputation as an exceptional manufacturer of products. It’s a company that’s seriously made a name for itself, building one of the most successful console series we’ve seen in the last two decades.

Its DualSense controllers, PlayStation handhelds, and general hardware ecosystem over the years have been nothing short of outstanding, so, going into testing the $250 plus Inzone H9 wireless noise-canceling headset, a blend of both that PS5 design and ecosystem, combined with Sony’s legendary audio and noise-canceling prowess, I had high hopes that it was going to be an absolute killer piece of kit, easily making its way onto our best PC gaming headsets list and beyond.

After all, as I’ve mentioned, this is a company that already has an impressive audio subsection of its brand. Just grab some of those engineers, give them a design IP and a bit of budget, chuck a full-fledged microphone on the beating heart of a unit like the Sony WH1000XM5 or its predecessors and they’d be off to the races.

So, is that the case? Is the Sony Inzone H9 wireless noise-cancelling gaming headset, a pair of WH1000XM5s disguised as a PS5 headset? Well, no, not quite. They're expensive, stylish, and well-designed - but the audio performance doesn't really line up with the price tag.

Sony INZONE H9: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $300 / £269 / AU$450 - but now available cheaper
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available worldwide
Sony INZONE H9: SPECS

Interface: 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth, USB-C
Compatibility: Windows, Mac, PS4/5, mobile devices
Mic: Bidirectional noise-cancelling
Surround sound: Sony 360 Spatial Sound for Gaming
Weight: 330g

So let’s talk price: what are we looking at here? Well, the Inzone H9 wireless clocks in at a fairly steep $300 in the US, £269 in the UK, and AU$450 for our friends down under. However, you can pick it up cheaper from most major retailers - the best bet for stateside shoppers is Amazon or Bestbuy, for the UK, Currys or Amazon are the best picks here too. Likewise, you’ll also find these floating around in Europe at Amazon.de, and Australia as well, although stock there is far more limited.

The Inzone H9 Wireless is a costly piece of kit, and slapping that kind of price tag on a headset of this caliber makes it fair game for comparison against a whole swathe of top-tier competition from the likes of Logitech, Razer, Corsair, and more.

In fact, its retail price in the US actually did sit at $300 until fairly recently, and even at its reduced price, that puts it in spitting distance of the excellent Logitech Pro X 2 Lightspeed headset, or even the likes of the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro. In other words, the competition is fierce. Both those sets of cans do miss out on one key feature, namely the ANC, but more on that later.

  • Value: 2 / 5

The Sony INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset.

(Image credit: Future)

Sony INZONE H9: Design

  • Stylish aesthetic
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Multiple on-headset controls

One quick look at the Inzone H9 Wireless and you’ll immediately fall under its spell. Particularly if you’re already heavily invested in the Sony PS5 ecosystem, and pick up a white version of this little beauty. It’s got an incredibly clean style to it, complete with that sandblasted white plastic we’ve come to expect, paired with a high contrast black shiny plastic mixed with matt touches, along with perhaps not-so-subtle Sony branding on the ear-cups.  

The Sony INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset.

(Image credit: Future)

The microphone in particular looks exceptionally clean, with its swivel mechanism, and the overall ergonomic inclusions Sony has integrated into the Inzone H9 are nothing to be smirked at. The earcups are big circumaural affairs that easily coffer your entire ear, and it has a similar feel to a helicopter pilot’s cans. Perhaps not something you’d want to wear around town, but it does lend itself to a classy overall look, and some top-tier comfort.

Speaking of, the headband is much improved over the more affordable Inzone H5 wireless, and the earcups equally feature a softer faux leather finish (although it does feel a little “crisp” which is weird for a headset). The padding is a lot more plush than its cheaper siblings too. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it's memory foam (and that’s not something Sony has in its marketing materials either), but it’s comfortable for long-term use, and that’s what’s important here.

The Sony INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset.

(Image credit: Future)

Aside from the physicality of the thing, the Inzone H9 features only two connection standards, Bluetooth 5.0 and your standard Wireless 2.4 GHz dongle affair. Unlike the Inzone H5, the H9 doesn’t feature an analog connection, although it does have USB-C connectivity.

There are a number of buttons integrated into the headset as well, including power, Bluetooth, game/chat volume adjustments, a volume wheel, and a noise-canceling button, allowing you to swap between different presets on the fly.

  • Design: 4.5 / 5

The Sony INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset.

(Image credit: Future)

Sony INZONE H9: Performance

  • Sound quality is only middling
  • Mic doesn't perform well
  • Good battery life

The one thing that will make or break a good gaming headset is the quality of its audio. It doesn’t matter what extra features it comes with, what noise-canceling it has, or what spatial audio AI sound control gimmickry is baked into its marketing language: if it can’t produce good audio, comparatively to the products in its price bracket, it’s going to get hammered.

So then. Sony’s Inzone H9 wireless noise cancelling headset. Audio? Not great. Nope, sadly, these are the exact same drivers found in the far cheaper Inzone H5 wireless gaming headset, the same 5 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, and to cap it off the same confused EQ tuning has been applied straight out of the gate. The bass, although potent, seems muted and muffled, there’s no punch to it, the mids seem to be lacking their top-end, and overall clarity re-inforced by the treble, like its H5 cousin, is just absent, which is a really sad thing to report given the high price of this headset.

I tested the Inzone H9 wireless for a few weeks, comparing it to several cheaper and more expensive headsets, and it just fails to make an impact in contrast to the likes of offerings from Audiotechnica, Corsair, and Razer. This is sad, because Sony is a company that already has such a prestigious audio pedigree behind it. Music is just okay; it’s an okay headset. In-game it’s enjoyable enough, sure, but again: you don’t just want “okay” when you’re spending this much cash on a gaming headset.

The Sony INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset.

(Image credit: Future)

Then we get to the microphone. Now this is different compared to the likes of the Inzone H5 - by which I mean it’s somehow more muffled and less clear, and again, when you consider products like Corsair’s HS80 or HyperX’s Cloud Alpha, and how potent they are in that department, it’s just not a good feeling.

The noise-cancelling however is somewhat of a saving grace. It’s there, it’s powerful, and it’s good at cutting out hum and vibrations, fan noise from your PC, or the drone of a washer-dryer, although it’s not capable of cutting out all noise in the vicinity. If someone’s playing loud music in the next room, or shouting your name, you're still going to hear them. Similarly, there are very few ANC gaming headsets out there at this price point (after all, it’s a lot easier to control the ambient sound of your gaming environment than it is outside your home). That said, the real killer piece of tech is (somewhat ironically) the ambient sound mode. It’s generally quite a nice touch, and performs well, giving the Inzone H9 wireless an impressive open-backed feeling to it.

The Sony INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset.

(Image credit: Future)

Connectivity is fine. 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth, and USB-C are enough in this day and age, and the USB dongle included has a switch allowing you to swap between PS5 and PC mode depending on what you’re plugging it into. I found that the battery life was solid; Sony advertises up to 32 hours of playback with ANC turned off, and while I don't think it lasts quite that long in practice, it certainly holds charge well enough to not need plugging every other day. There's quick charge via USB-C too, giving you an hour of game time after 10 minutes of charging.

Sony’s Inzone hub software suite is pretty slick too, and impressively easy to use - which is good, because you'll want to adjust the wonky factory EQ settings. You’ll still be handicapped by those audio drivers though, sadly.

The Sony Inzone H9 isn’t a bad headset, not at its heart. In isolation, it’s a decent experience. If you pick one of these up, you’ll have an alright time with it. But really, you’re going to be buying this headset if you want that “Sony” badge clout, and for your cans to match your PS5 DualSense controller, and in that regard, it’s highly difficult for me to recommend it. The audio just isn’t up to scratch compared to the competition (and Sony's own cheaper Inzone cans), and that’s a real problem.

  • Performance: 2.5 / 5

Should I buy the Sony INZONE H9?

The Sony INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset.

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Sony INZONE H9: Report card

  • First reviewed April 2024

How we test

I spent four weeks testing the Inzone H9 wireless noise-canceling gaming headset, along with its H5 cousin, while comparing it to some competitor headsets at the same price point. I was testing mostly on PC but also used my PS5 to check the software and to see if there were any major changes to audio quality. I’ve used it playing Dark Souls III, Elden Ring, Total War: Warhammer III, and World of Warcraft -really taking advantage of a multitude of high-quality soundstages to get the most out of those audio drivers.

I also used the Inzone H9 wireless extensively while listening to music on Spotify Premium and while consuming endless content on YouTube Premium as well, listening and watching a vast array of different videos from multiple genres. For microphone testing, I cranked it up in Windows 11’s in-built sound recorder program for my own internal comparison tests and passively used it in Discord calls as well.

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

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
Asus ROG G22CH review: the Intel NUC Extreme lives on, at least in spirit
7:00 pm | March 1, 2024

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

Asus ROG G22CH: One-minute review

As chipsets get smaller and more efficient, the past handful of years have seen a rise in smaller-form gaming PCs like the Asus ROG G22CH. 

Not only are they non-intrusive compared to the biggest and best gaming PCs, but they have a nice amount of portability as well. Most importantly, clever cooling and component management allow them to pack a nice performance punch at the cost of real upgradability. 

In the case of the ROG G22CH, the rig looks like a horizontally wider version of the Xbox Series X. There’s a sleek all-black look that’s accented by some nice angles with customizable RGB lighting. With that said, the performance specs are also miles ahead of a similar console. 

The ROG G22CH has an Intel i9-13900K CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, 32GB DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB SSD. That’s more than enough for some solid native 1440p gaming with the ability for 4K through DLSS upscaling. 

Starting at 1,399.99 in the US (about £1,120/AU$1,960), it can get expensive pretty quickly as you increase the specs, with UK and Australian buyers more restricted in the kinds of configurations they can buy. 

This is a bit of an issue since upgradability down the line is likely going to be a problem due to the extremely tight chassis. When packing so much performance within such a small rig, efficient cooling is a must. There are two different options including fans and liquid but both are loud during intensive tasks.  

That said, potential buyers looking for a small-form gaming desktop should definitely keep the Asus ROG G22CH in mind, since it's one of the few available on the market now that Intel has retired its NUC Extreme line. Beyond its pretty aggressive styling, its performance prowess is where it matters the most, and it excels in this regard. The gaming desktop can run all of the most popular esports games at high frame rates such as Fortnite and Valorant while handling more visually demanding games like Alan Wake 2 without much fuss. If cost and upgradability are a problem, it might be best to go with a gaming rig that has a bigger case

An Asus ROG G22CH on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Asus ROG G22CH: Price & availability

  •  How much does it cost? Cost range between $1,399 and $2,499  
  •  When is it available? It is available now in U.S., UK and AU  
  •  Where can you get it? From various stories depending on territory  

The Asus ROG G22CH is relatively expensive regardless of what configuration one has. For gamers looking for some solid 1080p gaming, the $1,399 option comes with an Intel Core i5-13400F, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 16GB DDR5 RAM, and a 512GB SSD. 

That’s definitely a solid choice for anyone looking to play some of the bigger esports games like Fortnite, Rocket League, Call of Duty, or Valorant. Our review configuration came to about $2,299 and for $200 more users can pump up to the Intel Core i9-14900KF, though this isn't necessarily a huge jump in CPU power. 

When it comes to the UK, there’s only one option available which includes an Intel Core i7, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070, 16GB RAM, and 2TB SSD for £2,099. Australian buyers have two configurations they can buy. Both have an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070, 32GB DDR5, and a1TB SSD, but for AU$4,699 you can get an Intel Core i7-14700F configuration, or for $4,999 you can get an Intel Core i9-14900KF system. 

For good measure, there’s even an included mouse and keyboard that comes packed in with all configurations. Serious gamers will probably want to check out the best gaming keyboard and best gaming mouse options though, as the stock peripherals aren't spectacular.

Small-form PC Gaming rigs are usually expensive and naturally face issues when it comes to upgrading. However, the Acer Predator Orion 3000 is the most approachable price-wise and the lowest configuration is a bit more powerful than the ROG G22CH. Meanwhile, if performance is a main concern regardless of money the Origin Chronos V3 with a little bit of upgradable wiggly room and the Corsair One i300 has the best form-factor.

An Asus ROG G22CH on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Asus ROG G22CH: Specs

 The Asus ROG G22CH currently comes in a variety of customizable configurations.  

An Asus ROG G22CH on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Asus ROG G22CH: Design

  • The case is 4.53" x 12.72" x 11.30" inches and weights 18.52Lbs 
  • An all-black design is accented with two strips of RGB lighting    
  • There's not much room for GPU upgrading

Balancing form and functionality are the most important attributes of a small-sized gaming PC, and the Asus ROG G22CH does a solid job with both. When it comes to design, there’s much to appreciate in terms of the all-black chassis. Having two vertical strips of customizable RGB lighting on the front panel does lend the rig some personality. 

There’s one small stripe on the upper left side and a longer one on the lower right side. Between them is an angular cut alongside the ROG logo. When it comes to ventilation, there’s some form of it on all sides of the ROG G22CH.  Just looking from the front panel, the overall design is really sleek and could give the Xbox Series X a run for its money.

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An Asus ROG G22CH on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An Asus ROG G22CH on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An Asus ROG G22CH on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

There are plenty of ports available as well. The top IO panel features two USB-A ports alongside a singular USB-C, a 3.5mm combo jack, and a power button. Unfortunately, that USB-C port is the only one available on this PC. On the back are four USB-A split between 2.0 and 3.2, three audio jacks, and a gigabit Ethernet port. That should be more than enough for most PC gamers and creatives though.

Though upgradability will be tough, the ROG G22CH does somewhat make the process easier. Featuring a tool-free design, there’s a sliding latch that allows both sides and upper portions to be lifted to access to its inside. Having that ability without using screws does help a lot, outside of possibly RAM and SSD, getting a large GPU or attempting to swap out motherboards in the future is going to be difficult, if not impossible. 

An Asus ROG G22CH on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Asus ROG G22CH: Performance

  • 1440p performance is spectacular  
  • DLSS can do 4K when needed  
  • Fans will run at full volume   
Benchmarks

Here's how the Asus ROG G22CH performed in our series of benchmarks:

3DMark Speed Way: 4,404; Fire Strike: 34,340; Time Spy: 17,500
GeekBench 6 (single-core): 2,866; (multi-core): 17,650
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 137 fps; (1080p, Low): 343 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 123 fps; (1080p, Low): 162 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 173 fps; (1080p, Low): 283 fps

Outside of gaming, the Asus ROG G22CH is a phenomenal workhorse for various general and creative tasks. Using Google Chrome in addition to listening to high-fidelity music through Tidal are fine working experiences. 

Using Adobe Suite worked totally fine on the G22CH as well. Photoshop was able to handle multiple-layer projects with incredibly high-resolution photos without issue. Editing videos through Premiere Pro allowed easy editing of 4K videos with speedy export times. 

That said, this is a gaming desktop, and it's its gaming performance where the G22CH really shines.

When it comes to handling the top tier of high-fidelity visuals in gaming, the G22CH can handle Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption II, Alan Wake II, and the like at native 1440p at high frame rates without breaking a sweat. Our Cyberpunk 2077 tests produced an average 123 fps on Ultra settings at 1080p. Bumping to 1440p with path tracing placed frame rates in the high 90s. Having everything turned to the max in settings allowed Alan Wake II to run in the high 60s. 

If wanting to go up to 4K, users are definitely going to have to rely on Nvidia’s DLSS technology, but it's possible with the right settings tweaks.

When it comes to high esports-level performance, users right now can enjoy a serious edge over the competition. Games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Valorant, Country Strike 2, and Fortnite were able to pump out frame rates well over 100 fps on high settings which is more than enough for the best gaming monitors. For more competitive settings, it’s easy enough to reach past 200 fps. 

Just understand that users will know when the G22CH is being pushed to the limit. When playing rounds of Helldivers 2 and Alan Wake II, the noise from the PC's fans reached around the low 80-decibel mark. This means that headsets are going to be necessary when gaming. 

An Asus ROG G22CH on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Should you buy the Asus ROG G22CH?

Buy the Asus ROG G22CH if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Asus ROG G22CH

I tested the Asus ROG G22CH over two weeks. During the day, many general computing tasks were done including Google Chrome and Tidal. Having multiple Google Chrome tabs allowed me to use Asana, Google Docs, and Hootsuite. For creating graphics alongside short-form social media video content, I used Adobe Premiere and Photoshop. 

Testing out high frame rate possibilities, games played included Call of Duty: Warzone, Valorant, and Fortnite. To see how hard we could push visual fidelity, we tried games including Cyberpunk 2077, Alan Wake 2 and Forza Motorsport (2023).

I’ve spent the past several years covering monitors alongside other PC components for Techradar. Outside of gaming, I’ve been proficient in Adobe Suite for over a decade as well. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition review: A new dimension of discomfort
10:00 pm | December 3, 2023

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

Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition: Two-minute review

This SpatialLabs variant of the Acer Predator Helios 300 is by far one of the strangest recent additions to Acer’s popular Predator line of high-end gaming hardware. 

Taking a good all-round gaming laptop and slapping on an expensive glasses-free 3D SpatialLabs display is certainly one way to make a machine that stands out from the crowd, but it's hard to not wonder whether such a device was really necessary.

This is one of the very first glasses-free 3D gaming laptops on the market, a fact that sadly seems to be the root cause of many of its shortcomings. As is the case with being an early adopter of almost any new tech, you’re paying a prohibitively high price to get in on the action first while it's in its most unpolished state. 

Acer Predator Helios 300 Spatiallabs Edition

(Image credit: Future)

As you’ll see below, the glasses-free 3D is impressive when it works, but there are a raft of obvious teething issues to contend with. This includes a strange matrix of visible dots that spoil an otherwise excellent display in 2D mode, utterly atrocious battery life, and poor gaming performance whenever the 3D is turned on. 

These problems will surely be ironed out with future iterations but, for the moment, it's disappointing to see consumers being sold a product that feels a little too much like a prototype.

In spite of this, sharing a lot of characteristics with the design of the regular Acer Predator Helios 300 means that there is still a solid gaming laptop beneath it all. The materials are sturdy and the specs, while unimpressive for the price, are perfectly adequate for playing most modern games in 2D.

Will these strong foundations save the Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition from becoming nothing more than an amusing novelty? If not, what options should you consider instead? Let’s take a look.

Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition: Price & Availability

  • How much does it cost? $3,499.99 / £3,299.00 / around AU$4,300
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition is available for $3,499.99 in the US, £3,299.00 in the UK, and roughly AU$4,300 in Australia. These prices, however, seem to vary dramatically between retailers - so it's well worth taking the time to shop around to make sure that you are getting the very best deal.

There appears to be only one configuration on the market which, like our review unit, sports an RTX 3080 and a 12th-gen Intel i9 processor. These specs are enough to comfortably tackle most recent games at 1080p, but do seem rather outdated for the price

Obviously, it's reasonable to expect the unique SpatialLabs display to comprise a fair chunk of the cost here, but these specs sting when you can easily find laptops with the slightly more powerful RTX 4070 and comparable 13th-gen Intel processors being sold for significantly less.

  • Price score: 2 / 5

Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition: Specs

As I mentioned above, the Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition we tested came packing an RTX 3080 and 12th-gen Intel i9 processor. Here’s the lowdown on everything else under the hood:

Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition: Design

Acer Predator Helios 300 Spatiallabs edition

(Image credit: Future)
  • Great keyboard
  • Sturdy construction
  • Impressive glasses-free 3D effect

My first impressions of the Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition were positive, not too unexpected given that it shares a lot in common with the excellent design of the preexisting Acer Predator Helios 300.

Taking it out of the box, I was immediately struck by just how sturdy everything felt. The laptop’s body is constructed with a pleasant matte plastic and the lid has been fitted with a robust metal cover. This cover not only looks suitably premium but should help prevent any unfortunate scratches when the laptop is inevitably chucked in a bag without a case - at least, if you’re anything like me.

The keyboard is a highlight too, with good spacing and bright RGB lighting that can be fully customized with the included PredatorSense software. There is no noticeable flex when typing and I found the smooth travel of each key to be satisfying and efficient. The trackpad, on the other hand, is not quite as strong thanks to its slightly mushy clicks.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Spatiallabs Edition

(Image credit: Future)

This is by no means the thinnest laptop on the market, but this bulk does allow for a fantastic selection of ports. You have easy access to three USB 3.2 Type-A ports for any gaming peripherals and one additional USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port on the rear - perfect for hooking the laptop up to an external monitor or dock.

In terms of video output, there’s also an HDMI 2.1 port and a Mini DisplayPort 1.4. The Kensington Lock is also a welcome inclusion at this price, adding some additional physical security should you need it.

The built-in speakers are one area for definite improvement, though, as they lack bass. This can detract from the enjoyment of some games, especially first-person shooters where I found that more powerful weapons like DOOM’s BFG 9000 just didn’t feel quite the same without that added oomph.

Acer Predator 300 Spatiallabs Edition

(Image credit: Future)

Where things really start to take a turn, however, is with the display. This is a 15.6” IPS 4K UHD screen which, thanks to its 3D features, lacks some expected niceties like a high refresh rate, G-Sync, or HDR.

While the picture is perfectly crisp and its colors very vivid, the entire screen is covered in an array of tiny dots. This is, presumably, something that is necessary to accomplish the 3D effect but it makes the display unpleasant to use for the vast majority of 2D applications. If you spend a lot of time word processing or browsing the internet, you’re probably going to want to plug in an external monitor as soon as possible.

Thankfully these dots become invisible when you enable the 3D mode, your first introduction to which is likely to be the pre-installed 3D model viewer. Although the resolution takes a noticeable hit when you start the program, the results were striking enough to elicit an audible “wow” from me, a handful of colleagues, and several family members. 

The full effect is most easily compared to watching a 3D movie at the cinema, with a real sense of depth but without the need for any awkward plastic glasses. Better yet, the full eye-tracking allows the 3D image to convincingly follow your gaze. It can feel a tad uncomfortable, though, straining your eyes over periods of extended use.

  • Design score: 3 / 5

Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition: Performance

  • Excellent gaming performance… in 2D
  • Handy Turbo button to boost frames
  • Fans are loud but efficient
Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition: Benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Night Raid: 32,311; Fire Strike: 17,546; Time Spy: 10,128
GeekBench 6: 2,422 (single-core); 11,191 (multi-core)
Total War: Warhammer III: 1080p Ultra: 96.5 fps 1080p Low: 227.6 fps
Dirt 5: 1080p Ultra: 50.5 fps 1080p Low: 126 fps
Cyberpunk: 1080p Ultra RT: 36.6 fps 1080p Low: 57.7
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 2hr 37m
TechRadar Movie Battery Life: 2hr 6m

The performance of the Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition is best approached in two distinct halves: 2D performance and 3D performance. With the formidable power of the RTX 3080 and i9-12900H, it’s no surprise that the 2D performance is impressive.

Although our 3DMark benchmark results were on the lower end of the expected range, this was likely due to interference from the SpatialLabs software (necessary for the function of the 3D screen) which cannot be disabled easily and runs in the background at all times. Performance was excellent in the games themselves, however, with Cyberpunk 2077 running consistently above 30 fps on its Ultra Raytracing preset at 1080p. 

Likewise, Dirt 5 on its Ultra preset could achieve an admirable 50 fps, while the less intensive strategy title Total War: Warhammer III was comfortably in the 90s. With specs this powerful, you’re unlikely to run into any major issues playing most recent games at 1080p and, even when you crank things up to 4K, careful use of Nvidia’s DLSS allows you to achieve very smooth performance. 

Acer Predator Helios 300 Spatiallabs Edition

(Image credit: Future)

While the fans do become loud very quickly, the thermals remain impressively consistent too. A quick tap of the turbo button (located above the keyboard) can also substantially boost your overall performance by overclocking the fans, CPU, and GPU.

In Cyberpunk 2077, I was able to achieve an average 53.2 fps running the same Ultra Raytracing 1080p benchmark with turbo enabled but, as it can only be used while plugged in and raises the already loud fans to such a level that headphones become a necessity, it’s not something that you’re going to want to have switched on all of the time.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Spatiallabs Edition

(Image credit: Future)

Unfortunately, the performance absolutely tanks once you turn the 3D on. Limited software compatibility is an obvious weakness too and there are just under 100 titles that support 3D at the time of writing. The vast majority of these are older games and, jumping into a fresh playthrough of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, it quickly becomes clear why.

The use of stereoscopic 3D requires two separate 1920 x 2160 images to be rendered simultaneously - a very graphically intensive task. On its medium preset, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood hovered around 50 fps with frequent stutters. 3D performance in the small number of more recent supported games like Forza Horizon 5 is a similar story as that title specifically can barely scrape above 40 fps.

Low-intensity compatible indies like Abzû, a diving exploration game that was greatly enhanced by the charming impression of fish swimming out of the screen, fare much better - but such poor performance in the library’s bigger titles is a huge shame.

The uneven frame rates even seem to exacerbate the existing feelings of discomfort generated by the display. Your mileage may vary, but I was shocked to feel a nasty headache and motion sickness coming on after only 40 minutes of use in such games.

  • Performance score: 2 / 5

Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition: Battery life

  • The battery life is just awful
  • Really heavy power brick

As noted in our review of the 2022 Acer Predator Helios 300, this model already suffered from extremely poor battery life and the addition of a new 3D display only seems to have further exacerbated this issue. 

The Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition was unable to clear 3 hours in the 3DMark office battery benchmark - an incredibly poor result. Taking the laptop out and about, I frequently found myself completely running out of juice after just a couple of hours of light browsing. If you throw some 2D gaming into the mix, you’re going to find yourself looking for a power socket considerably sooner.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Spatiallabs Edition

(Image credit: Future)

Believe it or not, this terrible battery life somehow becomes even worse when you’re doing anything with the 3D enabled. Be prepared to drag the laptop’s hefty power brick around with you at all times.

  • Battery score: 1/5

Should you buy the Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition: Also consider

This might have been one of the first glasses-free 3D gaming laptop on the market but Acer also offer a handful of machines with SpatialLabs displays geared towards content creation. If you’re solely interested in using the glasses-free 3D features for 3D modelling or video editing consider buying a specialist laptop like the Acer ConceptD 7 SpatialLabs Edition instead. 

If you want to game, however, you’re probably better off without the (literal) headache caused by a 3D screen. Here are two strictly 2D alternatives that offer more bang for your buck…

How I tested the Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition:

  • Replaced my everyday system for two weeks
  • Used for gaming and document editing

I used the Acer Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition as my main machine for just over two weeks. This included a mix of productivity tasks (including the writing of this review) and some gaming. Given the limited number of supported titles, I predominantly played older games that were compatible with the glasses-free 3D screen. This included a full playthrough of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (broken up into half hour chunks to avoid discomfort) and the opening hours of Abzû.

I also experimented with a handful of more recent additions to the glasses-free 3D catalogue like Forza Horizon 5. In terms of 2D gaming, I played a game of Total War: Warhammer III and wandered around the open-world of Cyberpunk 2077 to soak in the sights of Night City after the latest update. To test the battery life, I lugged the Predator Helios 300 SpatialLabs Edition around with me for a few days and used it in various public settings. The patrons of my local library really didn’t appreciate the loud fans.

First reviewed November 2023

Total War: Pharaoh review – sand and strife
5:42 pm | October 10, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Gaming PC Gaming | Tags: | Comments: Off

Total War: Pharaoh waxes and wanes like the Nile itself, offering a competent, yet inconsistent strategy experience. This latest offering from genre veterans Creative Assembly offers up a realistic and satisfying treatment of the end of the Bronze Age, let down by awkward intrigue, trade, and diplomacy systems. 

As with previous Total War titles, the game exists on two layers. There’s a turn-based empire management sim where you’ll manage cities, raise armies, and attempt to weather the machinations of neighboring factions. Nestled underneath comes a sophisticated real-time battle system. Though you can opt to play the battle-only skirmish mode, the campaign is where the meat of the game experience lies. Total War: Pharaoh has you act as both general and administrator. 

For the most part, the historical strategy game competently executes this task, allowing you to auto-resolve battles that would be a dull walkover while playing out engagements that might benefit from a more hands-on approach. The battles themselves are engrossing, offering plenty of chances for micromanagement and clever tactics.

Total War: Pharaoh is a game about war, rewarding you for crushing your enemies and conquering their settlements

The faction management layer, however, is more hit-and-miss. Constructing cities and directing your dynasty is often rewarding, but diplomatic interactions with neighboring factions drag. Total War: Pharaoh attempts to capture the diciness of the Bronze Age Collapse with the “Pillars of Civilization” mechanic, which offers rewards when factions build and maintain large, stable cities. Whether you’re playing as an Egyptian, Canaanite, or Hittite, maintaining these pillars is in your best interest, since the game brutally penalizes you should these lynchpin settlements fall to ruin. 

However, as the name suggests, Total War: Pharaoh is a game about war, rewarding you for crushing your enemies and conquering their settlements. The game pulls you in two separate directions, simultaneously incentivizing diplomatic play and all-out war in a way that never quite lands.

Blood on the sand 

Ramesses distinguishes himself in battle

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

The battles themselves are sophisticated affairs, boasting intuitive mechanics that gracefully unfold into complex tactical challenges. At their most basic, these engagements boil down to classic rock-paper-scissors mechanics - the sort you’d find in many of the best PC strategy games. Spears beat chariots, chariots outmaneuver shield infantry, and shield infantry outperforms spears. On top of that, you have faster, more hard-hitting squads designed to outflank enemies as well as the occasional hybrid unit that can excel in multiple roles. 

To help you navigate this maze of strengths and weaknesses, when you click on an allied unit, a handy color-coded triangle will appear above potential enemy targets, alerting you as to how effective your soldiers might be against them in battle. However, flanking and maneuvering are just as important as unit type. If you’re outnumbered, you can attempt to hold the enemy at choke points, mitigating their advantage - a strategy that saved my poorly defended frontier settlements on more than one occasion. 

Best bit

Close up of a Pharaoh

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

Gaining a court position for the first time proved to be very entertaining. As Treasurer, I could embezzle money from other members of the court, which I then used to negotiate favorable deals with other factions. It made me feel like a sneaky political puppet master, worthy of the cutthroat courts of ancient Egypt.  

Total War: Pharaoh adds a few new features to the Total War melting pot, too. Shifting weather conditions affect battlefields, changing the terrain and affecting how quickly your soldiers tire, as well as the performance of certain units. You may have the shiniest chariots, but, if rain has turned the desert into sludge, then you’ll be doomed to scowl at your foes from afar as your mount inches forward at a snail’s pace. Armor degradation also helps give engagements a sense of permanency, while ensuring that elite units aren’t quite as unassailable as they were in previous Total War titles.   

Unfortunately, the battle layer is held back by a lack of diversity among the units on offer. While Total War: Pharaoh offers regional unit variants, you’ll almost always be stuck with some combination of melee infantry, archers, and chariots. The monotony made me pine for the fantastical and varied units on offer in Total War: Warhammer 3. Getting to the top of the tech tree was a bit of a letdown when all it got me was infantry with slightly prettier swords.   

Pyramid schemes 

The court intrigue system, represented by a pyramid-themed menu

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

The faction management layer is less coherent and consistently joyful than Total War: Pharaoh’s frantic real-time battles. In an effort to accurately reflect the complex systems of politics that underpinned the government of ancient Egypt, Total War: Pharaoh introduces a court system, where factions can scheme against one another, trading favors and vying for advantage. 

On paper, it looks satisfying. Every turn you get the chance to do something at court. You could gossip with one of the holders of a court position to gain favor, or you could start a secret plot to oust one of your rivals. You can conspire with allies, trading favor with them to boost the success rate of one of your schemes. You can even flat-out assassinate your enemies if you put in the legwork. 

The pillars of civilization menu

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

However, the court system struggles due to its lack of personality. Contrary to more immersive titles like Stellaris or Crusader Kings 3, your rivals at court have little to distinguish themselves from one another, feeling more like cardboard cutouts than actual people. The gregarious Ramesses won’t visibly act differently in court to gruff and ornery Seti. What’s more, court rivals will plot with or against you with little regard for your diplomatic standing. It was weird to form a tight-knit military alliance with Ramesses, only for him to blackmail me in court several turns later. 

You’ll often find yourself entering into rapid-fire deals just to keep your economy afloat

Total War: Pharaoh also leans heavily on trade systems, having units and buildings cost a variety of resources. Food, iron, gold, stone, and wood production all need to be managed in tandem, often requiring you to barter with neighbors in the world’s bloodiest game of Settlers of Catan. You’ll quickly find yourself entering into rapid-fire deals just to keep your economy afloat, a process made more tedious by clumsy menus and the sheer frequency of trades required to keep your faction’s head above water. I easily struck twice as many trade deals as I fought battles during my time with Pharaoh. Once again the game led me away from its stronger elements at its own expense.  

Open are the double doors of the horizon 

Oasis daytime

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

As a testament to Egyptian history, Total War: Pharaoh excels, skillfully immersing you in the period. History buffs will find themselves well served here. Much like historical Egypt, the game world is affected by seasonal events and raids from external powers. Droughts and floods have considerable effects on your faction’s production beyond simply modifying the terrain in battle. Your empire will rise and fall alongside the Nile itself. The endgame event, the invasion of the Sea Peoples, makes the game less about winning outright and more about weathering the catastrophic events of the Bronze Age Collapse - the perfect storm of drought, famine, and invasion that brought civilization to its knees 3,400 years ago. 

Total War: Pharaoh asks you to contest with the very same factors that tore the ancient world apart

Total War: Pharaoh asks you to contest with the very same factors that tore the ancient world apart - a challenge it conveys effectively through the use of its crisis system and increasingly brutal world events. As you play through the campaign, the world around you changes and you must either adapt or perish. Traditional Total War strategies might not serve you too well here, as aggressive expansion leaves you open for invasion by marauders or sudden economic collapse due to environmental factors.

That said, by asking you to lean away from warfare and towards diplomacy, Total War: Pharaoh pushes you towards its weaker mechanics and systems, undermining the game experience in pursuit of realism. This is not a move that will sit well with everyone. However, for those looking to really immerse themselves in the trials and tribulations of the ancient world, Total War: Pharaoh will deliver an experience that, though hit-and-miss in many respects, provides a refreshingly earnest take on the historical strategy genre.

Accessibility 

Total War: Pharaoh accessibility options menu

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

Total War: Pharaoh offers a range of accessibility features, including colorblind modes for people with Deuteranopia, Protanopia, and Tritanopia, as well as the ability to customize colors for neutral, enemy, allied, and player factions. The game also offers UI scaling, for those looking for larger print. Beyond this, players are free to heavily customize their key bindings and camera settings.   

How we reviewed Total War: Pharaoh

I spent 20 hours with Total War: Pharaoh, playing out one long-form campaign through the Sea Peoples' endgame crisis and a shorter campaign that went through to the mid-game. Both playthroughs were markedly different, with one focused on diplomacy and the other directed towards a more traditional, military-centric approach. 

I have played over a thousand hours of Total War titles over the last ten years, including the Total War: Warhammer series, the Medieval: Total War series, Napoleon: Total War, and Total War: Three Kingdoms. I also have a great deal of experience with the wider strategy genre, including Stellaris and Crusader Kings 3 - all of which proved crucial when approaching the game. 

Looking for more immersive titles? Check out our lists of the best PC games and the best single-player games.  

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D review: a fantastic premium performer, but its price holds it back
8:17 pm | September 13, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: One-minute review

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is the middle child of the current 3D V-Cache processors from Team Red alongside the 7800X3D and the 7950X3D. It launched alongside the rest of the line back in February of this year and offers heightened gaming performance, but comes at a price. 

Without a doubt, it is one of the best processors for gaming on the market. But even as gamers are going to be able to get the most out of this chip, it's productivity performance isn't too bad either. 

Armed with a significantly lower TDP than the rest of the current AMD Zen 4 lineup, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D packs in 12 cores and 24 threads on a 120W TDP with a base clock speed of 4.4 GHz out of the box, and that's honestly the core appeal of this chip. 

It's more power efficient and offers better raw gaming performance than its non-3D counterpart, but the addition of AMD's 3D V-cache means it can hold up with far pricier processors as well. 

It should be stated that overall, you're falling into one of two camps with the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D, as it is impressive for gaming, but won't necessarily set the world on fire with the creativity or productivity side of things at the higher end of the spectrum. 

The raw gaming performance at its $599 / £479.99 / AU$859.99 price point is decent, but chances are if you're spending this much on a CPU purely for gaming, you could argue that an extra $100 / £130 / AU$279 for the top-end 7950X3D could be a better bet instead. 

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: Price and availability

  • Comparable price to the Intel Core i9-13900K
  • $50 /  £50 / AU$64 more than base 7900X

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D was released on February 28, 2023, and currently retails for $599 / £479.99 / AU$859.99. 

That's around $100 / £130 / AU$279 less than the flagship AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D which features 16 cores and 32 threads. As a point of comparison, this AMD processor comes in a little cheaper than the Intel Core i9-13900K in the UK and Australia, where it currently sells at £699 / AU$929, and is just $10 more expensive in the US. 

That is only one side of the story, though. That's because the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D requires an upgrade to the latest AM5 socket, which means an entirely new motherboard as well as the exclusive use of DDR5 RAM, and the best DDR5 RAM isn't cheap (even if it has come down in price). 

Essentially, you'll be building an entirely new system around the chip as there's no more backward compatibility with AM4 as we saw with the two previous Ryzen processor generations (though the best CPU coolers for AM4 processors will still work with the new AMD chips). 

This is owing to AMD's transition from a PGA to LGA socket, which just means that the processor no longer has pins the way previous generations did, much like with the best Intel processors

  • Price score: 3.5 / 5

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: Chipset & features

Close up on the Ryzen 9 7900X3D

(Image credit: Future)
  • Improved power efficiency 
  • Zen 4 3D V-cache for under $600 / £500 / AU$900

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D features a lot of the same broad strokes as its non-3D variant. You're getting the same 12 cores and 24 threads on the AM5 socket with a total boost clock of up to 5.6GHz. The core difference here, however, is the 3D V-Cache which doubles the stock version's 64MB L3 Cache for a total of 128MB. 

The higher the L3 cache is, the better gaming or intensive processing workloads can perform, that's because it's the largest level of cache available on a processor.

Added cache aside, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is also significantly more power-efficient than any current non-3D Zen 4 processors available, as it clocks in with a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 120W, which is much lower than the substantially higher 170W of its stock variant. 

While a higher TDP usually relates to higher performance, the inclusion of the added 3D V-cache means that the processor can access a larger pool of superfast cache memory, which is even more useful when gaming than just throwing raw power at the problem. With its own dedicated extra cache, there are fewer fetch operations to the PC's main memory, so the chip runs more efficiently, and potentially cooler under load. 

This is reflected when contrasted against the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X's core clock speed of 4.7 GHz to the 3D variant's 4.4 GHz. It's a little slower out of the box despite the overclocking potential being the same, however, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is still far faster than any of the current Alder Lake or Raptor Lake processors in terms of the raw speed. 

Ultimately, the reduced memory latency means that you're getting a chip that runs cooler, draws less power, and performs better thanks to the addition of the second generation of AMD's V-cache. 

  • Design & features score: 4 / 5

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: Performance

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D up close

(Image credit: Future)

You won't be shocked to hear that the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is one of the most capable CPUs for gaming that I've ever used, holding its own against the flagship 7950X and the Intel Core i9-13900K. 

This is evidenced by some of the most impressive synthetic scores to date in industry-standard programs such as GeekBench 6, PCMark10, and Cinebench R23, among others, and you can see how the Ryzen 9 7900X3D compares to competing high-end processors below. 

Where the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D falls behind the Intel Core i9-13900K and the 7950X3D in terms of the productivity benchmarks, the gap is greatly closed with the raw gaming performance. Turning to the gaming benchmarks, this chip's 3D V-cache makes all the difference in demanding titles such as F1 2022, Returnal, and Total War: Warhammer 3

As with our other CPU reviews, the games tested in the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D review are tested at 1080p at the lowest graphics settings in order to isolate the processor's contribution to gaming performance. Below, you can see how this chipset compares to the best AMD processor and best Intel processor respectively. 

Compared to the more expensive chipsets, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D absolutely holds its own with the 7950X3D and the 13900K, with the largest gap visible seen with how AMD's flagship handles Returnal. This is likely due to the fact that the 7950X3D utilizes an additional four cores and eight threads, and Total War series has always been Intel's strongest gaming benchmark, which remains the case here. 

Still, with the Ryzen 9 7900X3D, we're still talking about an absolute powerhouse of a CPU, with framerates well above 100fps in demanding games, and upwards of 400fps in tamer titles. Realistically, you can expect this chip to be an absolute behemoth for 1080p, though you'll get diminishing returns at 1440p and 4K if you don't have the beefiest video card in your rig that can keep up with the processor. 

Overall, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is an impressive processor for the money which is definitely geared more toward gaming than productivity or creativity tasks. If you're purely interested in playing games then this processor offers strong price-to-performance at the $600 / £480 / AU$860 mark, but with the Ryzen 9 7950X3D so close in price, a lot of buyers out there are likely to be torn. 

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also Consider

If my AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D review has you considering other options, here are two more processors to consider.

Intel Core i9-13900K
There's very little that we can fault the Raptor Lake flagship on with its performance. That's due to the excellent Raptor Cove and Gracemont cores with its hybrid architecture that makes it a processor that's difficult to beat outside of its expensive price point. 

Read the full 5-star Intel Core i9-13900K review

How I tested the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D

  • Used in main gaming PC rig for almost a month 
  • Played a variety of titles including those benchmarked 
  • Industry standard synthetic benchmark tests 
Test system specs

CPU cooler: NZXT Kraken Elite 360
GPU: Nvidia RTX 4090
DDR5 RAM: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Kingston Fury Beast RGB @ 6,000 MHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX
SSD: Seagate FireCuda 530 2TB
PSU: Corsair RM1000x
Case: NZXT H9 Flow

I tested the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D inside of a newly built machine utilizing Kingston Fury Beast DDR5 RAM, an Nvidia RTX 4090, and a brand new RM1000X PSU. The chip was utilized heavily for gaming in the benchmarked titles as well as in games such as Mortal Kombat 11, Cyberpunk 2077, and Tekken 7.

I've also been using the machine as my main computer for both work and play and have racked up dozens of hours word processing as well as with media playback. Through the real-world testing, the benchmarking, and the stress testing, I came to my four-star conclusion on the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D as a recommended CPU for gaming.

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

First reviewed September 2023

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE review: space, space and just some more space
8:27 pm | August 29, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE: Two-minute review

A few years ago, I was a big fan of Dell’s minimalist design. It fitted the aesthetic and vibe of that time, when function didn’t necessarily take precedence over form, but the form didn’t distract from function. The thing about minimalism, though, is that it can get boring and dry after a few years. Sadly, it doesn’t look like Dell has got the memo that literally the rest of the world has moved on from it.

One look at the Dell UltraSharp U4323QE, and I was disappointed to see the same silver chassis and almost-brutalist look I’ve seen on many of the brand’s monitors. I understand this is a productivity monitor, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun at work and look good doing it, does it? At least it’s silver, not black, but that seems to make things worse.

To be fair, this 4K IPS display does what it’s designed for. For productivity, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many alternatives that offer the same functionality and features. But what about the rest of your display needs? Is this the best monitor to buy if your viewing needs extend beyond work? These are fair questions to ask, considering you’re expected to drop $824.99 / £1,014 / AU$1,450.90 for a single display, and many of the best 4K monitors on the shelves have become more accessible in price.

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

More on that later; let’s focus on its contentious design. The Dell UltraSharp U4323QE really isn't a bad-looking display. It has clean lines and curves, and small black bezels that practically look invisible during use, partly due to the panel’s 350-nit brightness. Yet the minimalist look it's sporting feels outdated, or if not outdated, just very basic.

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There are several other points for improvement here: the base is massive and takes up desk space (although it can moonlight as a surface for things like a control puck, a notepad, and your phone), the cable management solution is a literal hole on the stand, and it’s very heavy (40.9 lbs to be exact), meaning things like setup and reorganizing your desk can be tricky, especially if you’re a tiny human like me. 

And, of course, there's the fact that it's a 42.5-inch panel. I’ve got a sizable desk, and it still crowds my setup. But that’s the price you pay for a whole lot of screen real estate, I guess.

In addition, I’m quite disappointed by its physical adjustments, or lack thereof. You have tilt (5 degrees down, 10 degrees up), swivel (20 degrees to each side), and a 2.4-inch height adjustment, and that’s it. For a display poised to deliver the ultimate in productivity, it doesn’t seem very concerned about ergonomics.

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Dell UltraSharp U4323QE on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Dell UltraSharp U4323QE on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Dell UltraSharp U4323QE on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

To make up for its middling design choices, Dell loaded the UltraSharp U4323QE up with a whole lot of features, many, if not all, geared toward turning users into multitasking masters (read /mänstərs/). In its productivity features, the U4323QE shines. I appreciate the USB-C hub, with three USB-A and one USB-C, and KVM functionality, which pairs nicely with the allowance for up to four different inputs. As someone who’s always running out of USB ports on her PC (I really have to do some tech spring cleaning), these features were heaven-sent.

To answer your question, yes, there are enough ports to go around and support those aforementioned features, including three upstream USB-C ports for data and one that supports 90W PD to power your M2 Pro MacBook or other powerful laptop. And if you’ve gone rogue and given multitasking a whole new meaning, Dell throws in an Internal Multi-Stream (iMST) feature as well, which allows you to split it into four individual FHD displays, all displaying from a single source. That might be overkill for most office professionals – they’ll be better served by the Picture by Picture (PBP) and Picture in Picture (PIP) features on hand – but many power users will find it advantageous.

Lastly, there are two 8W speakers built-in, but alas, they suffer the same curse as many monitor speakers. They’re a little thin-sounding, and the volume is slightly underwhelming, especially in relation to the display’s size.

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

While we’re on the subject, the Dell UltraSharp U4323QE’s picture quality is impressive… impressive for productivity and the occasional media consumption, that is. You get sharp visuals, thanks to its 3840 x 2160 and decent 103 ppi. Our tests also yielded an average color accuracy of DeltaE < 1, which is more than you get from most monitors.

However, if you’re hoping to maximize your more-than-$800/£1,000 investment and use it for content creation and gaming, you'll be disappointed. Our colorimeter test only yielded 109.6 sRGB and 77.6 DCI-P3 coverage, which means this won't meet pro creators’ needs. And while you could technically enjoy some single-player adventures like Hogwarts Legacy on it or strategy games like Total War: Warhammer III, the fact that it lacks the curvature for deeper immersion and tops at 5ms and 60Hz means you’re limited in the type of games you can play on it. 

That’s not to mention that there’s no HDR support, and the dynamic range leaves a lot to be desired. Sadly, shows like The Witcher and Wednesday were simply not enjoyable on this, as details often got lost in dark shadows, and colors just did not pop. The Witcher looked especially anemic.

My advice? If you have the money to splurge on the ultimate productivity monitor that can serve as your dedicated work monitor, definitely get the Dell UltraSharp U4323QE. Otherwise, there are better-value propositions out there.

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $824.99 / £1,014 / AU$1,450.90
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

I will not mince my words: the Dell UltraSharp U4323QE is an expensive monitor. Admittedly, there are pricier monitors out there, and this one provides a lot of useful productivity features. However, you’re spending $824.99 / £1,014 / AU$1,450.90 purely for a  productivity monitor – one that doesn’t even have HDR support or a measly 720p webcam – that’s a lot of cash for something that’s not multifaceted in use.

If you have the money to splurge on it, then you have my full support. However, if you’re looking to invest in a display that covers all your needs – from productivity to gaming to media consumption, you’d be wise to consider other options.

  • Value: 3.5 / 5 

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE: Specs

Should you buy the Dell UltraSharp U4323QE?

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

Your work is your life
If you’re a master multitasker who spends a lot of time working, you might just be able to maximize this productivity monitor’s slew of features.

You’ve got deep pockets
For a dedicated productivity monitor, the Dell UltraSharp U4323QE is a pricey proposition. If you have the money though, don’t let me stop you.

Don't buy it if...

You don’t want to spend a lot on a monitor that’s meant for one thing
Whether you’re on a budget or you just want the best value for your money, this might be a skip.

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE: Also consider

Dell UltraSharp U4323QE on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

How I tested the Dell UltraSharp U4323QE

  • Tested it for a couple of months
  • Used it mostly for work as well as some gaming and streaming
  • We ran it through our series of benchmark tests

To properly test the Dell UltraSharp U4323QE in real-world scenarios, I used the display for a couple of months as my main work monitor, and occasionally for gaming and media consumption. On top of that, our testing team also ran it through a series of benchmarks that involved using a colorimeter to test its color coverage and accuracy.

With years of extensive experience testing and reviewing computers and peripherals, and as one of the Computing editors at TechRadar, I have all the right tools, skills, and experience to determine whether or not a display is worth your time and money. You can trust me to put them through their paces and make the right recommendations.

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

First reviewed August 2023

Razer Blade 16 (2023) review: perfect for the people who can afford one
4:32 pm | August 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Razer Blade 16 (2023): Two-minute review

The Razer Blade 16 is not for the faint of heart (or more accurately, wallet). You don’t get the hard plastic chassis or aggressive “gamer” design of budget or mid-tier gaming laptops. Instead, you end up with something elegant, while still retaining its gamer roots, and powerful.

It’s pretty limited on any flaws even in its base configuration, which is what we’ve tested here. The only thing that might hinder it from being considered among the best gaming laptops out right now is its exorbitant price tag. That’s just for the base configuration too, as any upgrades are pretty pricey including one of the more interesting features – a dual-mode display that can switch between a 3840 x 2400p resolution @ 120Hz refresh rate and a 1920 x 1200p resolution at 240Hz refresh rate so you can optimize on whether you want to do video editing or gaming with an eye towards quality or esports-level performance.

So, if you can afford it, I think it is indeed among the best laptops for gaming. But, if you’re like most of us, that might require selling an organ or two. 

Razer Blade 16 (2023): Price & availability

  • How much does it cost?  Starting at $2,699.99 (about £2,120 / AU$4,100) 
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it?  Only available in the US at the time of writing 

Considering that the base configuration of the Razer Blade 16 starts at $2,699.99 (about £2119 / AU$4111), you better have been saving your pennies for a long time. The most unattractive thing about this laptop is its price. As we’ll discuss it’s fairly compact for a laptop with a 16-inch display and sports some powerful specs including an Intel Core i9-13950HX, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, 16 GB RAM, and 1 TB SSD, not to mention that a QHD+ (2560 x 1600p) resolution at 240 Hz for that screen. Again, that’s the base configuration.

Just about any upgrade is going to cost you quite a bit. Just going from 16GB of RAM to 32GB adds $600 (about £471/ AU$914). And, going from the QHD+ display mentioned before to the dual-mode display that lets you switch between two different resolutions and refresh rates will also add $600 (about £471/ AU$914). Upgrading from just the black colorway to Mercury is $1,100 (about £863 / AU$1675). And so on.

For a fully upgraded model, you’ll have to spend a whopping $4,299.99 (about £3,373/ AU$6,545). The crazy thing with all this is it seems that other premium gaming laptops sporting Nvidia 4000 series GPUs also get pretty pricey. The MSI GT77 Titan (2023) starts at $4,299.99 (about £3,570 / AU$6,240), which gets you an Intel Core i9-13980HX, Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU, 64GB DDR5 RAM, and a 2TB NVMe SSD. 

If you want a great gaming laptop that’s a bit more affordable, then consider something like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15. You’ll have to compromise a tiny bit as it comes with AMD Ryzen CPUs and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 series GPUs. But, the price for one starts at a much cheaper $1,499 / £1,599 / AU$2,599.

Lastly, beyond its champagne price tag, the Razer Blade 16 is only currently available in the US.

  • Price score: 3 / 5

Razer Blade 16 (2023): Specs

The Razer Blade 16 comes in several configurations, with our review model also being the base one. 

Razer Blade 16 (2023) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Razer Blade 16 (2023): Design

  • Elegant gamer look that collects fingerprints like clues
  • Compact for such a robust laptop
  • All the ports a gamer-on-the-go could need

When it comes to aesthetics, there’s a certain subsection of gaming PCs and laptops that I would consider to have an elegant gamer look and the Razer Blade 16 fits the description. It’s not going to pass as an Ultrabook with its matte black aluminum chassis adorned with hints of green. But, it doesn’t have that in-your-face-gaming aesthetic either. So, while clearly a gaming laptop, it’s still attractive. It’s only really fault here is that the finish does tend to pick up fingerprints relatively easy.

Its form factor is a bit more interesting as Razer has managed to fit a fantastic looking 16-inch display in a chassis that’s closer to the size of a 15-inch laptop. Yet, there’s still plenty of screen real estate thanks to its 16:10 aspect ratio. Plus, even with just its base configuration, it comes with a sharp 2560 x 1600p resolution running at a 240 Hz refresh rate. There’s no way around it, this is a good looking screen.

Internally, it is just as impressive with its 13th-gen Intel Core i9, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, and 1TB SSD. Considering what’s all inside component-wise, this is a pretty thin laptop measuring at just 0.87-inches thick when closed though its 5.4 lb weight is certainly not that light.

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Razer Blade 16 (2023) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)
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Razer Blade 16 (2023) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

As far as ports go, there’s just about everything you could want from a laptop. There’s a Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C 3.2 port, both of which support power delivery. There’s a HDMI 2.1 output and three USB ports, not to mention a headphone jack. Creatives will be happy to know that there’s also a UHS-II SD card reader if you have any intention of also using this laptop for photo or video editing.

  • Design score: 5 / 5

Razer Blade 16 (2023) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Razer Blade 16 (2023): Performance

  • Performance is just about perfect
  • Keyboard and trackpad are a pleasure to use
  • Sound quality is surprisingly decent
Razer Blade 16: Laptop benchmarks

Here's how the Razer Blade 16 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Night Raid: 58,900; Fire Strike: 20,425; Time Spy: 10,547
GeekBench 6: 2492 (single-core); 12125 (multi-core)
25GB File Copy:
13.8
Handbrake 1.6: 4:37
CrossMark: Overall: 1835 Productivity: 1815 Creativity: 1861 Responsiveness: 1816
Total War: Warhammer III: 1080p (Low) 212.4 fps, 1080p (Ultra) 81.5 fps
Cyberpunk 2077: 1080p (Low) 121.45 fps, 1080p (Ultra) 76.84 fps\Web Surfing (Battery Informant): 3:13:12
PCMark 10 Battery Life (Gaming): 1:38 

The performance on the Razer Blade 16 is impressive, almost awe-inspiring. Everything works as intended, with smooth performance from just about every game that I played. I could do max settings with ray tracing on a number of games including Control, Far Cry 6 (though that has no ray tracing), and Gotham Knights. The only performance issues I noticed at all were when running Hogwarts Legacy. With settings turned up all the way but ray tracing, performance was rock solid. Once I started using ray tracing, the POV was a little less smooth with very slight stuttering becoming apparent with ray tracing on medium. With ray tracing on the highest setting, it worked well enough but had enough stuttering that it broke the immersion, even if it didn’t affect gameplay.

Razer Blade 16 (2023) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

The keyboard and trackpad were a pleasure to use for just about every task, though I would still suggest using a mouse when gaming. The trackpad is especially big, but it’s still not a substitute when playing most titles.

If you plan on streaming while gaming, the webcam offers a crisp 1080p at 30fps. It’s not the smoothest looking as you’re limited to 30 fps no matter the resolution, but it’s a detailed image.

When it comes to sound quality, I’m actually impressed with what Razer has managed to do. It’s not going to match external speakers or a pair of good headphones. But, it doesn’t sound hollow the way that most laptops do. Instead, you have decent sound quality that’s slightly boxy as the low and high ends are slightly cut off. However, it’s more than adequate. More importantly, the soundstage and sound imaging are good enough to know where everything is in a game. You could play a competitive game using the internal speakers and be ok.

Lastly, controlling the internal settings here is straightforward. Instead of multiple apps, Razer has consolidated everything into its Synapse app with the laptop appearing the same way a peripheral would. You just click on it and have easy access to a few crucial settings like turning off certain keys during gameplay automatically.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Razer Blade 16 (2023): Battery life

  • A little over 5 hours of use per charge
  • Multiple ways to charge

The Razer Blade 16’s 5 hours of use is not going to blow any minds, but, for a powerful gaming laptop such as this, it’s not bad. Sure, you can get over 10 hours with most Ultrabooks and Chromebooks these days. However, they don’t have to supply power to an Nvidia GeForce 4000 series GPU.

The slightly more impressive bit is that you can actually use either the Thunderbolt or USB-C port to charge along with the actual power supply the Razer Blade 16 comes with. As fantastic as this laptop is, Razer hasn’t yet cracked the divide in battery life between gaming laptops and everything else.

  • Battery score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Razer Blade 16 (2023)?

Razer Blade 16 (2023) on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Buy it if...

You want excellent gaming performance no matter the cost
If you can afford it, the Razer Blade 16 will give you excellent performance no matter how hard you push it.

You want a fast display
If you’re a competitive gamer, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll get a 240Hz refresh rate no matter what configuration you get, making those fast-paced games look buttery smooth.

Don't buy it if...

You’re on a budget
There’s no way around it. This thing is expensive. You can get 80% of the way there with gaming laptops that are half the price.

Razer Blade 16 (2023): Also consider

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

If the Razer Blade 16 (2023) has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider...

How I tested the Razer Blade 16 (2023)

  • Tested for a week
  • Pushed it as hard as possible gaming-wise
  • Played with various settings

I used the Razer Blade 16 for about a week, playing a number of demanding games like Hogwards Legacy, Control, Gotham Knights and Far Cry 6. While doing so, I ran the games at various settings, particularly at the highest ones with ray tracing on where possible, and took note of the results.

Having used this laptop for a week was enough to determine not only how good of a gaming laptop it is, but the fact that it could meet the needs of just about every type of gamer that can afford it.

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 August 2023

Acer Chromebook Spin 714 on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

On top of that, the 14-inch touch display is a pleasure to use. Not only does it look good with its 1920 x 1200p resolution with 100% sRGB color coverage, not to mention slightly extra screen real estate thanks to its 16:10 aspect ratio, but interacting with it is a treat. The touchscreen is accurate and responsive no matter if you’re using it in laptop or tablet mode. And, since it’s Corning Gorilla Glass, it has a soft yet solid feel.

The webcam is equally crisp with its 1440p resolution, making this a good laptop for use with video conferencing. Its refresh rate is capped at 30Hz, but the results were still relatively smooth when moving quickly in frame.

If there’s one area for complaint, it’s the speakers. It seems that very few laptop manufacturers have been able to get good audio out of their portables and that’s the case here. Not only is the volume on the quiet side, but the audio is a bit hollow sounding. There’s not a lot of low-end as well, but that’s to be expected with a laptop. I would recommend using headphones or speakers when possible.

Acer Chromebook Spin 714 on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

On top of that, the 14-inch touch display is a pleasure to use. Not only does it look good with its 1920 x 1200p resolution with 100% sRGB color coverage, not to mention slightly extra screen real estate thanks to its 16:10 aspect ratio, but interacting with it is a treat. The touchscreen is accurate and responsive no matter if you’re using it in laptop or tablet mode. And, since it’s Corning Gorilla Glass, it has a soft yet solid feel.

The webcam is equally crisp with its 1440p resolution, making this a good laptop for use with video conferencing. Its refresh rate is capped at 30Hz, but the results were still relatively smooth when moving quickly in frame.

If there’s one area for complaint, it’s the speakers. It seems that very few laptop manufacturers have been able to get good audio out of their portables and that’s the case here. Not only is the volume on the quiet side, but the audio is a bit hollow sounding. There’s not a lot of low-end as well, but that’s to be expected with a laptop. I would recommend using headphones or speakers when possible.

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