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

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Gaming

The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Mobile

Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.
Mobile

OpenTable points can now be used to whittle down cost of a hotel stay

Have some OpenTable Dining Points built up? Now those points can also be used to make your own hotel discounts. OpenTable is teaming up with Kayak to use points as discounts on participating hotels.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Mobile

Get $100 discount on the Razer Phone 2 for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Deals

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.
Social Media

Twitter suffers privacy scare as bug reveals tweets of protected accounts

If you set your Twitter account to private and you have an Android device, you'd better check your settings now. Twitter says it's just fixed a four-year-old bug that flipped the privacy switch to make the account public.
Wearables

Check out the four cool Swatch watches you can use for mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.
Mobile

How to jailbreak your iPhone on iOS 12: A beginner’s guide

The latest jailbreaking tools for iOS 12 make freeing your iOS device easier than ever. This guide will teach you how to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad, and explain what jailbreaking will do for you.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.