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Hands on: Acer’s Predator 8 gaming tablet

Acer's Predator 8 is out in the UK now, looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie

Interest in mobile gaming has never been stronger, so it’s no surprise that like PCs, we’re starting to see devices launched that are aimed at hardcore mobile gamers. The latest is the Acer Predator 8 — a tablet with a futuristic design and a clever, immersive haptic feedback system. We got a chance to spend some time with it, and judge its prowess in the gaming world.

Updated on 11-04-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added news of the Predator 8’s release in the UK, plus the final price.

UK release just in time for Christmas

Acer will put the Predator 8 on sale in the UK in November, where it’ll cost £250. Retailers haven’t been confirmed. The tablet will come with Gameloft’s Asphalt 8 racing game pre-installed, which makes use of the Predator 8’s TacSense haptic feedback system, and is loaded with 320,000 credits. A range of accessories, from a stylus to a carry case, will also be sold.

At the tablet’s launch, Acer said it would release it in October, and gave it a price of 350 euros in Europe, which is just under $400. The tablet is shown on Acer’s U.S. website, but there’s no release date yet.

Hands-on with the Predator 8

Up until now, Acer has concentrated on PCs with its Predator range, but has moved on to include tablets and in the near future, a Predator phone, too. The Predator 8 has the same striking look as Acer’s Predator PCs — all sharp lines, strong accent colors, and a sci-fi inspired shape and design. It wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Aliens.

The screen measures 8-inches and has a 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, providing exactly the kind of bright, colourful, and sharp picture gamers will want. It’s surrounded by a gunmetal grey aluminium body shell, with a red speaker grill jutting out from each corner — a sound system Acer calls Predator Quadio, which comes with Dolby software for added depth and quality.

On the back of the oblong tablet is a big Predator logo, funky streaks and slashes in the shell, and a 5-megapixel camera lens. It’s slim at 8.7mm, and light at only 350 grams. That’s more than the featherweight Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, but not enough to cause fatigue, plus it feels solid and strong in the hands. There was some unfortunate flex in those sticky-out speakers on the test model we handled.

Clammy palms

Gripping the Predator 8 in both hands while playing a game will let you feel Acer’s TacSense, a directional haptic feedback system that sends vibrations to both sides of the tablet, independently, depending on what’s happening on screen. We played Asphalt 8 and definitely noticed the ‘stereo’ vibrations, but can’t claim they made the game any more immersive. It’s fun though, and the level of immersiveness may change depending on the game.

The Predator 8 has the same striking look as Acer’s Predator PCs.

Acer uses the Intel Atom X7-Z8700 processor and 2GB of RAM to power the Predator 8. We tried two tablets and had two different experiences. The first was jittery, and Asphalt 8 suffered. The second tablet was excellent, and played the game perfectly. Holding the tablet and playing a game did highlight one possible problem — my hands covered at least two of the four speakers, which may mean they won’t provide the audio extravaganza the looks promise.

The other thing was the heat. While the Atom X7 doesn’t have the same reputation as the Snapdragon 810, it still got pretty warm in the Predator 8. Ten minutes of play resulted in clammy palms — and not because of the exciting game. Whether it’s a problem that will get worse, or more uncomfortable, is something only long term use will reveal.

It’s questionable whether the Predator 8 is more suited to gaming than any other tablet, but the 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi connection — for lower lag — and haptic feedback system certainly make it intriguing. The style is cool and will grab attention.

Highs

  • Cool, sci-fi design
  • Great looking screen
  • Slim and lightweight

Lows

  • Processor gets warm
  • Design may be flawed

Article originally published on 09-06-2015