This week, with Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 just around the corner, we've selected one of the devices that was teased almost a year ago at MWC 2015, the Acer Predator 8.
Acer Predator 8
Acer have been in the mobile game since 2009 with their first offering, the Acer Liquid S1 smartphone, which also happens to be the world's first Android phone to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, now ubiquitous in mobile devices everywhere. Despite this, Acer today are still much better known for their laptop and television offerings. The company was founded 40 years ago in Taiwan and originally named Multitech before re-branding as Acer 11 years later. In 2014 Acer was the fourth-largest personal computer vendor in the world, they currently hold a controlling interest of 75% of Packard Bell and according to Gartner and IDC, Acer ranks No. 1 worldwide in notebook shipments.
Acer developed the Predator brand in an effort to keep up with Taiwanese rivals, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI, who themselves have been producing gaming solutions for laptops and desktops for a long time, each already having a developed share of the market. The Predator branding currently covers desktops with the Predator G6, Laptops with the Predator 15 and 17, monitors with the Predator X34 and the latest one, in which it may be able to finally gain an advantage over rivals, the Predator 8 tablet. Acer also claim to be working on a smartphone variation dubbed the Predator 6, but as to date only a demo model has been seen at the last IFA event.
Today we're going to focus on the latest addition to the brand, the Acer Predator 8. This is the first real challenge to the Nvidia Shield tablet, which is another aimed at the gaming market, designed by the graphics powerhouse Nvidia and current market leader for gaming focused tablets. As you might have guessed the number value in the Predator naming scheme represents the screen size. So, we get an 8 inch IPS panel with a full HD, 1920 x 1080 resolution, giving us 276ppi at 24bits per pixel. The design of the tablet is not as subtle as Nvidia's offering, with sharp edges, bright red flourishes and a unique look it shouts gaming from across the room.If nothing else, it's a head turner.
Inside the tablet there's an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 chipset with a quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU and 2GB RAM, up to 64GB internal storage and a MicroSD card slot to add a further 128GB. The Atom x7-Z8700 is the same chip used in Microsoft's Surface 3 tablet, it's by no means a slouch but it can't compete on performance with today's top of the line models. In contrast the Nvidia Shield tablet has a 2.2-GHz, quad-core Tegra K1 CPU which gives it the slight edge over the Predator 8. The juice comes from a 4550mAh battery, a lot less than the 7350mAh unit reported by Ifixit for the Nvidia Shield, real time tests also confirm the Shield takes the advantage here.
Key features include stereo speakers, which Acer claim make the device the loudest gaming tablet in the world. Rear mounted grip pads, for making those long sessions a little more comfortable and a pair of haptic motors that can deliver vibrations akin to an Xbox or Playstation controller. The Predator 8 has great potential but in my opinion the Nvidia Shield remains king of the gaming tablet hill simply because it can stream PC games, whereas the Predator 8 is restricted to Android games only - if this isn't important to you then the Predator 8 is well worth considering as a rival to the Shield. The Acer Predator 8 ships with Android Lollipop and is available now for approximately $299.
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