Acer adds two laptops and a tablet to its Predator gaming line

Acer Predator family

Acer revealed an aggressive new design for its duo of Predator gaming desktops earlier this month, but at IFA today, the company's focusing on powerful portability. Acer's been pretty open about its plan to introduce Predator laptops and a gaming-centric tablet, but details have been sparse. Now, we've got the full skinny, starting with the new Predator 15 and Predator 17 notebooks. If you hadn't guessed already, the main difference between the two is their screen sizes. The Predator 17 sports a 17.3-inch 1080p display, while the smaller model's 15.6-inch screen comes in full HD and 4K options.

Both laptops share Intel's latest Core i7 processor (i7-6700HQ), up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX980 graphics, up to 32 gigs of RAM and up to 512GB SSDs. The Windows 10 notebooks also feature keyboards with all the backlighting and programmable keys you'd expect from a gaming rig. They'll go on sale in North America and Europe in November, starting at $1,500/€1,599 for the Predator 15, and $1,600/€1,799 for the Predator 17.

Acer knows full well a laptop can be good for gaming without looking like it, but with these new Predator models, it seems the company has been paying close attention to what's been working for its competitors. In fact, the Predator 15 and 17 look like they've been built from bits and pieces of popular gaming laptops that came before them.

The angular styling, big and bare air vents and red-on-black color scheme are all alarmingly familiar, but in that sense, the laptops do give off the vibe of being serious gaming machines. The Predator 17, due to its size, would be more suited as a desktop replacement, whereas the Predator 15 has the added charm of being that bit more portable. They're thick, and a little on the heavy side, but they have to be to encase all the hardware needed to run the newest games at the highest graphics settings. And with a cool logo on the lid, what more do you need?

Joining the new laptops today is the Predator 8 tablet (boring name: GT-810), a gaming-focused slate Acer's shown off a number of times before. While its quirky design with four front-facing speakers that are said to create "virtual surround sound" might not be new, the company's ready to share a few more details. The Predator 8 runs on an Intel Atom x7 processor, includes 32GB of on-board storage and has you looking at an 8-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 display. The gaming tab will be launching on November 6th in the US for $300, and in Europe sometime in October for €349.

While we're not sold on the need for dedicated gaming tablets, since most slates are more than capable of running 3D racers and the like, the Predator 8 does look the part. It sports the Predator red and a frame of silver plastic, with some brushed metal thrown in for good measure. Hard angles and open speaker grilles complete the aggressive, futuristic design that's reminiscent of many gaming laptops.

The tethered display units feel thin and light -- the official stats are 8.7mm and 350g, respectively -- and the rumble of powerful haptic feedback motors make the on-device demos that bit more immersive. The four front-facing speakers, too, sound great even in a noisy room. Their outputs converge at a point directly in the front of the display, and within that sweet spot, you really can't pinpoint the source -- "virtual surround sound," as Acer calls it.

There's just one problem with the four speakers, though. As you can see, they jut out from all four corners of the tablet, which makes for such an irregular design that it's plain uncomfortable to hold, even for a minute or two. The Predator 8 looks like a gaming tablet, sounds like a gaming tablet, but on first impressions, it doesn't feel like a slate anyone would want to play games on for an extended period of time.

Check out all the news from Berlin at our IFA 2015 hub.