Acer Predator 8 review: Quad speakers and advanced haptic feedback set Acer’s gaming tablet apart
Unless you’re Apple, there’s only so much you can do to make your tablet stand out from the crowd. A tablet is, essentially, a rectangular piece of glass with a computer attached to the back – no more, no less. And yet, Acer has achieved the seemingly impossible with its Predator 8 Android tablet, its distinctive red “quad-speakers” and brutish game-tech styling ensuring it stands out from the crowd.
Whether or not that’s a good thing will be down to personal taste, but at least you can’t accuse it of being boring.
As with Acer’s Predator range of gaming PCs and laptops, the Predator 8 has a “hyper-aggressive” design that plays to the stereotypical (but not necessarily the genuine) tastes of gamers. There are flashes of red contrasting with the predominantly silver and black case, and the back has a faux-brushed-metal finish. It feels solid and well constructed and, at 8.7mm thick and 350g, it’s reasonably thin and light.
When held in landscape orientation, there are soft-grip rubberised pads on either end, designed to give you a firmer hold of the tablet during intense gaming sessions. In reality, these are compromised by the shape of the speakers, which jut out at awkward angles and have sharp, uncomfortable corners that dig into your hands.
I’m assuming Acer’s plan was for users to hold the tablet with their hands placed between each vertical pair of speakers, but in practice this puts your thumbs above where most games would place onscreen controls. This means you’re far more likely to hold the tablet lower down, where the sharp corners become a problem, and you’re less able to actually use the soft-grip pads. It would have been better if the corners had been rounded off.
I’d also prefer a different grille design, as the tiny perforations in these have a habit of collecting dust that becomes trapped and difficult to remove.
Acer Predator 8: Quadio Speakers
Acer calls its distinctive red, front-facing speakers “Predator Quadio” (there are four of them – get it?), and they’re cleverer than they look. They’re able to detect the orientation of the tablet, meaning you get correct left and right stereo channels regardless of whether the tablet is held in portrait or landscape.
Although there’s a slight pause in the audio when you change the tablet’s orientation – as it adapts the speaker configuration to match –this is no longer than it takes for Android’s screen-rotation animation to complete, so it doesn’t feel too jarring.
The best part, though, is that they sound great. They’re among the loudest I’ve heard on any tablet, and there is genuine, pleasing stereo separation. There’s very little in the way of any bass presence when using the Standard sound profile, but using the Acer Media Master app, you can change the audio to Rich or Focussed. Set to the latter there’s a considerably warmer sound, which was my preferred mode.
Acer Predator 8: Display
The Predator 8’s 8in display is particularly lovely. It has a 1,920 x 1,200 screen that’s vibrant and bright. It covers 100% of the sRGB colour gamut, which explains why it looks so good despite the less impressive contrast ratio of 949:1.
Colours pop, text and images look crisp and sharp, and the zero air gap between the glass and the touch panel keeps glare to a minimum. The backlight is even across the panel, too, with good viewing angles to boot.
It’s an excellent screen, and even if you find the colours aren’t to your taste, there are a number of different profiles available in the Media Master app that enable you to adjust saturation and colour temperature to your liking.