Acer’s done it again with the Predator Helios 700. It’s added a completely new feature that no one has done before, and that everyone will love because it solves a problem in an elegant and fun way.
In other words, I could slide the HyperDrift keyboard back and forth all day, just to watch how it exposes two ventilation grilles for extra air intake. I just love mechanical doohickeys. Announced at Acer’s next@acer event in New York on Thursday, HyperDrift and the Predator Helios 700 that contains it will ship in April with a starting price of $2,700.
Let me obsess a bit more about the keyboard
The HyperDrift keyboard is a lot more than a gimmick. Bringing the keyboard forward, and creating a tilted wrist-rest area around the trackpad and mouse buttons, make it more comfortable to type (or mash the WASD keys). It also offers per-key RGB lighting and anti-ghosting.
The keyboard isn’t mechanical, but Acer tried to give a bit of that feel with special MagForce WASD keys. These keys provide a linear-like 0-to-100-actuation sensitivity. You can also swap them out for regular keys.
The HyperDrift keyboard is one part of the Predator Helios 700’s cooling system. The system also employs a vapor chamber, five copper heat pipes, and two of Acer’s 4th-gen AeroBlade metal fans. The Acer CoolBoost utility lets you adjust fan rpm’s manually, another bit of fun for tinkerers.
The Predator Helios 700 will offer a 9th-gen Core i9 processor with up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM (4 x soDIMM). An Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 or 2070 GPU will power the 17.3-inch FHD (1920×1080) IPS display, which offers a maximum brightness of 300 nits and 144Hz refresh support. Various HDD and SSD storage options will be available.
We haven’t had a chance yet to test the new Predator Helios 700. It has stiff competition,including MSI’s GS75 17-inch laptop, also with RTX graphics. Given that the Acer model debuts for a few hundred dollars cheaper, with that snazzy keyboard as well, it’ll be interesting to see whether it nudges the MSI off the top position.
Full disclosure: Because Acer offered hands-on access to its new products only through its next@acer event in New York, with no alternative venue in the United States, we accepted the company’s offer to pay for my hotel in order to get the story.
Melissa Riofrio spent her formative journalistic years reviewing some of the biggest iron at PCWorld--desktops, laptops, storage, printers--and she continued to focus on hardware testing during stints at Computer Currents and CNET. Currently, in addition to leading PCWorld’s content direction, she covers productivity laptops and Chromebooks.