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An unlikely romance – How I fell for the Acer Predator 21x

It’s big, bulky, expensive and I question why it exists at all. But by the same token, I’ve never had so much fun with a laptop as I am with the Acer Predator 21x.

As I sit in front of the 21-inch curved display, tapping away at my keyboard and making an absolute racket, my editorial colleague Alina Biedermann sighs. I’m working from my Acer Predator 21x, the laptop where nothing is as you expect. Let me explain why you want one too, even if you don’t know it yet.

I love this gadget.

It’s been a while since I was so excited about getting a device. Unpacking it was an experience in itself. The set-up, on the other hand, was tedious, but at the end of it, I had a piece of Acer splendour I could work on. Each keyboard stroke is an absolute pleasure. No, honestly, it is. Do you know why? Because the mechanical keyboard somehow feels so retro. It’s like how it used to be when there weren’t any flat keyboards. That may be a long time ago now, but the concept hasn’t lost an ounce of charm.

Admittedly, I’m not using the two GTX 1080 graphics cards, but that doesn’t matter. During the week I’ll probably lend my laptop to my game editor.

But before I get too carried away with specifics, let me go back to the beginning and answer the question on your lips. Why is he waxing lyrical about a laptop?

Predator 21X (21", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7820HK, 64GB, SSD)
CHF 9999.–
Acer Predator 21X (21", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7820HK, 64GB, SSD)
Master of the universe

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What is it?!

The Acer Predator 21x is a laptop that the world doesn’t really need. No one can see any benefits of it. To put it into perspective, there are faster and lighter desktop computers. The brute weighs in at eight kilograms, has a 21-inch display and a badly built mechanical keyboard. On the right-hand side next to the keyboard, there’s a reversible part that can be used as a notepad or touchpad for the mouse. Above that is a sticker with the picture of a dragon. Because dragons are cool and gamers like cool things. Through a small window the size of a man’s hand, I can see the machine lit up in blue inside. This is home to two GTX 1080 graphics cards. Naturally, only the top of the range is good enough for this device.

In terms of packaging, the laptop is delivered in a case. My suitcase for a two-week holiday is smaller. But then, I am barely 180 cm (5’9”), and the case only goes up to my hips. Along with the best laptop of all time, which is quite rightfully dubbed ‘the ruler of the universe’, you’ll find all kinds of accessories in the case. This includes two power supplies, as one isn’t enough to run the device.

The whole package comes in under 10,000 Swiss francs. What a bargain.

You do admittedly have to put up with a few flaws. For instance, each time you turn the touchpad around, the Num Lock is deactivated. The good news is Acer can correct this using software.

Erm… why?!

Right, let’s be honest. Absolutely no one in the world has a sensible use for this device. The market for Predator 21x looks a bit like this:

  • No one requested it.
  • No one can afford it.
  • No one needs it.

In spite of all of that, here I am having an unprecedented amount of fun with a laptop. So much so that I’d love to keep the one I’m testing. Predator 21x is ultimately proof that there are still engineers and nerds out there who dare to take risks. Laptop manufacturers have an easy job of it these days. The lighter and smaller the device, the more wow factor it’ll get. They take out the fans, the performance and a whole host of other things. It’s the eternal problem. C-level management in manufacturing are happy when the products get even smaller and lighter because they sell. It’s astonishing that a project like the 21x ever got the green light at all and even more surprising that it made it through the concept phase. To be fair, the device was sure to get a fair amount of media attention because it stands out.

Status: the 21x is real and is sitting on my desk.

In spite of all of that, the people at Acer set about building a device “because we can” that couldn’t be more ridiculous or amazing if they tried. After all, the Predator 21x can do everything. Everything except battery power. The battery only lasts about two hours when the device isn’t being used to its full potential.

For the price of a 21x you can build yourself three good gaming PCs. But I can already promise you that you won’t get as many quizzical looks as with the 21x. Besides, how often can you say you used your gaming rig in Starbucks? A Frappuccino Americano Venti Latte would compliment the raid quite nicely, wouldn’t it?

How on earth do you use the thing?

While I sit here annoying Alina with my typing, I think about what else I could do with the beast. Although at the outset I had promised to let Phil Rüegg play on the 21x, I start to rethink what I’d said. What if I played on the thing instead? I’m not a big gamer but if I installed a game, then I’d buy myself a few more minutes with the ruler of the universe.

So I download Steam and the one game that I bought there, Mad Max. Why that game? Because Mad Max is the only one that I’ve played intensively since Unreal Tournament 99.

Mad Max (ESD, PC, de, fr, it, en, Spanish)
Mad Max (ESD, PC, de, fr, it, en, Spanish)

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I don’t know what I was expecting. I just went ahead, put all the graphics settings at maximum and got stuck in. I plough through the wasteland and my Magnum Opus is still pretty rubbish. But it’s fun. You can forget a game review, though, because I’m too busy battling the War Boys now. And frankly, you should be doing the same.

When marketing manager Anadi Singh and product manager Manuel Benz told me my time with Predator 21x was up, I asked tentatively whether I could keep the beast. I mean, it’s one of the few models in the world with a Swiss keyboard. Anadi said there was a chance I could keep the device if I explained we would have it on an exclusive basis until 16 August 2017.

In the end, he still took my Predator 21x away.

What I discovered through this project was how much I miss the Predator 21x. It embodies everything that more fashionable laptops don’t. Of course it’s big, bulky and chunky. It’s also expensive and ridiculously strong as far as specs go. But in spite of all of that, it’s fantastic. So even if you don’t know it, you do want one, too.

Video by Stephanie Tresch.

User

Dominik Bärlocher

Journalist. Author. Hacker. My subjects generally revolve around Android or Apple’s iOS. I also feel strongly about IT security. In this day and age, privacy is no longer a minor matter but a strategy for survival.

30 comments

User eoleonz

Why not.? Ich lese den Artikel und es zaubert mir ein riesen Schmunzeln ins Gesicht. Einfach erfrischend anders und mein Alienware mit 17 Zoll wird neidisch :-)

22.07.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

Danke für die netten Worte. Ich geb mir Mühe, immer mal wieder was Lustiges für euch zu bauen und/oder zu schreiben.

24.07.2017
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User nexusdroid

Einer der besten Artikel, den ich auf Digitec je lesen durfte, danke Dominik :-)

24.07.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

Gern geschehen. Und danke fürs Lesen!

24.07.2017
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User jiangx

Ain't nobody got money fo dat.
And btw, how do I get a job like yours? like... forever?

22.07.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

How I got my job is actually the most boring story: I wrote a letter of application, showed up for an interview and then got the gig. That said, I am really, really happy here. So this was probably the most luck I've ever had in my life. :)

24.07.2017
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User Anonymous

Machbar. Aber ich kaufe davon lieber ein Auto 😅 trotzdem pornöses Teil. Genauso sinnlos wie bei der mfk Auktion 20000 für ein kontrollschild zu bieten, aber Dekadenz ist geil😜

23.07.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

20k? Pah! Probier mal 31000: tagblatt.ch/ostschweiz/31-0... und dazu dann ein neues Auto. Weil, wenn du schon was machst, dann richtig.

24.07.2017
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User kovacs

es geht anscheinend noch schlimmer - für AG 1000 wurde noch mehr hingeblättert :-)

24.07.2017
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User MoMenTuM

Ich nehm die alle! ^^ --> blick.ch/news/160100-franke...

24.07.2017
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User Spl4tt

Eh, SG-1 war 135k. Hab die Nummer letztens an einem Lamborghini Huracan gesehn.

24.07.2017
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User kovacs

uaaahhh, krass :-) schlimmer geht immer :-)

24.07.2017
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User Fixed-Bearing

Das Ding ist jeden Franken wert!!! Hat nen 3,5 Klinken, die sind teuer, hat Apfel nicht mehr.
Und hey, bei Digitec gibt's nen schon mal Ausgepackten für fast nichts.
Ach übrigens, Diebstahlschutz ist auch integriert oder habt ihr schon mal jemanden mit 8 kg auf 21" verteilt rennen sehen?
Danke Domi

23.09.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

Der Ausgepackte könnte unter Umständen der 21x sein, den ich getestet habe. Und mit 8kg rennen ist easy. Noch easier: mit 30kg rennen. Denn so viel wiegt das ganze Setup, so zirka, mit Koffer und allen Netzteilen und alles. Und das hat dann Rollen!

yesterday 17:35
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User JTR.ch

Noch lustiger wäre gewesen wenn wie beim Surface Pro der Monitor als "Tablett" (einfach 2.5kg schwer oder noch mehr) umgesetzt wäre. Acer... manchmal zweifle ich ja da am Entwicklungschef. Ich frage mich gerade wie die das vor den Bossen durch bekommen haben. Ok, ja als Marketing für die Marke.

02.08.2017
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User Dmark_One

JAAAA!!! DAS ist jetzt ein Laptop-Review. Ich will jetzt auch eins. Einfach, weil es mal weg vom Mainstream ist. Erhm - kann man den zugehörigen Transportkoffer auch als carry-on im Flugzeug mitnehmen??
Jetzt eine praktische Frage, ich hörte, dass das Teil in limitierter Stückzahl produziert wird?

06.08.2017
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User Dmark_One

Ok, habe das Video erst im Nachhinein angeschaut. Limitierte Stückzahl: Ja. (Wird das Teil etwa mal Seltenheitswert erlangen wie ein Mac 20th Anniversary Edition? ;-) ) Transportkoffer als carry-on im Flugzeug - ehm.. die Frage beantwortet sich mittlerweile von selbst...

06.08.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

Der Koffer ist viel zu gross für Handgepäck. Und zu schwer. Ich habe das Ding mal inklusive Laptop über den Kopf gestemmt (sollte irgendwo auf unserem Instagram sein) und das hat locker zwischen 25 und 30kg gewogen. Die Airlines finden das nicht so lustig. Du könntest dir aber einen Cargo-Container mieten und das Laptop so verschiffen. Das würde gehen.

07.08.2017
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User MoMenTuM

Danke für diesen Artikel! Aber zum "Notebook" selbst -> Loooool... völliger Schwachsinn, selten so geschmunzelt - Acer halt... Wer um alles in der Welt kauft sich denn so ein Ding? ^^ Die Hardware haut mich jetzt überhaupt nicht vom Hocker und das für 10k ? ^^ Dann aber mindestens 4 x 1080ti :-D

24.07.2017
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User Dominik Bärlocher

Wenn ich sage "Du willst so eins", dann mein ich das auch. Auch "du weisst es einfach noch nicht". Ehrlich, ich hatte selten so viel Spass mit einem Gerät wie mit dem Teil. Beim Gedanken an den Dreh an der ZHdK muss ich jetzt noch blöd grinsen. Aber ja, vielleicht ist 10k für einen Jux etwas übertrieben. Zum Glück sind die Specs gut und der eingebaute Atomreaktor hält dich auch nach der Apokalypse warm. :)

24.07.2017
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User MoMenTuM

haha danke! :-) der artikel ist wirklich sehr interessant und ich bin ehrlichgesagt froh, gibt es solche geräte! (wenn das nicht der fall wäre, dann hätten wir viel weniger unterhaltung im alltag!) keep goin' !

24.07.2017
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User Valie Varda

ist das der imac pro in schlecht-transportabel und hässlich? :D :D :D :D :D :D
Super Artikel Domi.

24.07.2017
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User j.elkuch

ja, aber high refreshrate und geiles keyboard. jeden cent wert

20.08.2017
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