This year, Acer has padded out the Triton range with a new Triton 300 SE. This new Special Edition gaming laptop is Acer dipper their toes into the sub-15″ category which has far fewer options than the saturated 15″ market.
Currently, there are just two competing options, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, which would be the closest competitor, or the Razer Blade Stealth 13, which drops the dimensions down a little further sacrificing a higher specced RTX GPU in favour of its petite footprint.
- Display: 14-inch, Full HD 1920 x 1080p IPS 144 Hz display
- CPU: Intel Core i7-11370H Processor – Quad-core 3.3 GHz / 4.8 GHz
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6 GB GDDR6
- RAM: 16 GB DDR4 (2133 MHz)
- Storage: 1 TB PCIe SSD
- USB Type-C x 1
- USB 3.1 x 3
- Video Connections: HDMI 2.0 & Mini DisplayPort 1.4
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 – Killer Gigabit Ethernet – Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery: 4-cell Lithium-ion
- Dimensions: 17.9 x 323 x 228 mm (H x W x D)
- Weight: 1.7 kg
- RRP: £1399
How small is it?
The Triton 300 SE is the first sub-15-inch Acer has done that I am aware of. It is a niche with limited direct competition, and it is likely the main reason why you would buy it.
Comparing to other laptops, the Acer offer similar dimensions to the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, which I would class as the direct competitor.
The Acer is 7% smaller by volume than the Asus; however, the Asus occupies a 3% smaller footprint being 71280mm2 vs 73644mm2
Similarly, the Razer doesn’t seem that much smaller, but the overall volume is 25% smaller than the Acer and 13% smaller in width x depth.
- Acer Predator Triton 300 SE – 323 x 17.9 x 228 mm
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 – 324 x 19.9 x 220 mm
- Razer Blade Stealth 13.3″ – 304.6 x 15.3 x x 210 mm
- MSI Stealth 15M – 358 x 15.95 x 248 mm
The Acer and Asus both weigh the same 1.7kg, but the Razer is 220g lighter at 1.48 kg.
It is worth noting that 15-inch gaming laptops can be incredibly portable nowadays. The MSI Stealth 15M weighs 100g less than the Acer and Asus. It is only 7.5% bigger than the Acer by volume but 20% larger footprint, so it is not significantly larger, and this is something you need to consider. However, that 20% difference could be significant if you carry the laptop around in a bad a lot.
Design & Display
Moving past its dimensions, the overall design and build quality are excellent. This is the first Acer gaming laptop I have used that has a silver chassis, and the overall design is quite subdued. This will work perfectly well as a work laptop in a professional environment, it is not quite as stylish as the ConceptD designs, but it is better value.
The display itself features 1920 x 1080p resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate which is plenty for a laptop this size. My eyesight is decent enough, and I have no issues with 1080P on a 14-inch display.
You get enough ports for your needs, in particular, there are three USB-A ports allowing you to connect peripherals such as a mouse and keyboard.
While the keyboard does have a configurable LED, it is not the in your face RGB you get on some higher-end gaming laptops, such as the Gigabyte Aorus 15G.
Even though this is a smaller than normal laptop, the keyboard doesn’t feel too cramped, and the keys offer a good level of travel.
The touchpad is central to the chassis, so this makes it offset against the space bar. I prefer this placement as I find I often miss tap the left mouse button when the touchpad is too far to the left.
Like many recent Acer laptops, this includes a hander fingerprint scanner. It is not as accurate as the ones on your phone, but it does an OK job.
The laptop also includes Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, and a 720p webcam on the top bezel.
In Use & Performance
Overall performance has been superb, as you would expect from a laptop with this specification. I have mostly used this on my lap and haven’t noticed it getting too hot while gaming.
It is also worth noting that the 1TB drive is larger than standard compared to other laptops. This shouldn’t cost Acer much more than a 512GB drive, but it should make a significant difference to the user if you plan on installing a few games.
I ran the usual set of benchmarks, but the important thing is that this will happily play all the AAA games I enjoy without having to sacrifice quality too much.
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 3312 (Graphics: 3111 , CPU:5239)
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy Extreme: 1495 (Graphics: 1393, CPU: 2557)
- 3DMark – Port Royal: 1758
- PCMark 10: 5618 (Essentials: 8525, Productivity: 8661, Digital Content Creation: 6518)
- CystalDisk: 3540MB/s read 3023MB/s write
- Far Cry 5 New Dawn Benchmark (Ultra): 43fps average, 69fps max, 43fps minimum
- Final Fantasy XV Benchmark (High Quality): 3865
- Assasins Creed Valhalla Benchmark (Ultra): 41fps avg, 11 min, 91max
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 71 fps
The battery life is decent enough, for none gaming use, I could squeeze out a day in the office on it, but of course, for gaming, you will want to be plugged in.
I don’t have an accurate sound meter, but subjectively, I’d say the Triton 300 SE is much better than expected for fan noise.
It doesn’t take much for the spans to spin up, but with light gaming (Civilisation VI) and the TV on, I can only just hear them. In particular, they have a lower pitch than a lot of small laptops, so the overall noise is less grating.
Heavier loads, they ramp up more, but again, the overall sound profile doesn’t seem to irritate me as much as normal. You can also use the turbo button which ramps everything up fully, with this enabled the fan noise is quite bad but I experience no significant benefit to gaming or benchmarks.
The software experience is the standard Acer affair. They continue to install more bloatware than some competing brands. It is not ideal, but it is less of a problem than bloatware on phones. You can easily uninstall anything you don’t want to bother you.
Price and Alternative Options
The Acer Predator Triton 300SE is available from Currys for £1399.00
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 with the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, RTX 3060 and 1TB NVMe is £1,798.99 on Scan.
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is £1800 and uses the GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q
However, the smaller size of these laptops incurs a premium. You could opt for a regular 15″ laptop
The ASUS TUF Dash F15 15.6″ with the i7-11370H and RTX 3060 6 GB is just £999, and it only weighs 2KG vs 1.7kg that the Triton 300SE and Zephyrus G14 weigh
The MSI Stealth 15M is £1299 with £100 off, it has a better i7-11375H processor than the Acer, but less storage and is physically larger, albeit about the same weight.
Overall, I’d say the Acer is competitively priced against the 15-inch counterparts.
I have a bias to small and light gaming laptops because I predominantly use a gaming laptop on my lap on the couch while watching TV at night. I don’t want a big bulky thing weighing me down.
I view laptops like this as the perfect companion to a gaming PC. For serious gaming and long sessions, I’ll stick to the desktop. For people wanting a desktop replacement, a larger model may be more appropriate, offering a larger display, improved cooling and the potential for better value for money.
The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE achieves exactly what I want from a gaming laptop, and it does it at an attractive price. The Intel Core i7-11370H combined with the RTX 3060 suits me well, offering more than enough power to play anything without being too hot and heavy.
The laptop would be better if Acer ditched all the bloatware they install, but removing this is not a huge challenge.
The only real negative I can think of is that slightly larger and heavier laptops offer a bit better value for money, with the ASUS TUF and MSI Stealth 15M being the two notable options I found. It is not a massive difference in overall spec/price, though.
If you are looking for a sub-15-inch laptop and are considering the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, I would strongly suggest considering the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE, thanks to its more attractive pricing.
Posted by Mighty Gadget Blog: UK Technology News and Reviews