Acer Predator 8 review: Quad speakers and advanced haptic feedback set Acer’s gaming tablet apart

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Acer Predator 8: Performance and battery life

The Acer Predator 8 isn’t the first Android tablet geared specifically towards gaming; the Nvidia Shield Tablet and the more recent Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 both took a similar approach. Where those tablets used Nvidia processors, Acer has opted for a quad-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics.

Acer Predator 8 review: Quad speakers and advanced haptic feedback set Acer's gaming tablet apart

Head to head with the Tegra K1 and Kepler SMX GPU pairing in the Shield Tablet K1, it doesn’t quite hold up. Its Peacekeeper browser score of 1,002 sits behind the K1’s 1,148. Its Geekbench scores also lag behind the K1’s, achieving 1,024 and 3,230 in the single- and multi-core tests, compared with the K1’s 1,142 and 3,554.

And when it came to gaming, it falls even further back. In the GFXBench GL Manhattan 3 tests, it returned an average frame rate of 18fps in the onscreen test and 19fps in the offscreen test. Compared with the Kepler SMX GPU’s results of 29fps and 32fps, it’s simply not at the races. In short, the Predator’s Intel processor can’t hold a candle to the Shield’s K1.

The Predator 8 pales when it comes to battery life too, lasting 9hrs 55mins to the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1’s 12hrs 39mins in our video-rundown test. At least storage is reasonably generous: there’s 32GB of internal storage, which you can supplement with a microSD card.

Acer Predator 8: TacSense feedback and Android customisations

Still, when it comes to how responsive Android 5.1 feels, the Predator isn’t bad at all. Lollipop’s animations transition smoothly and apps open with suitable haste.

Acer has packed two haptic motors into the Predator 8, which provide a good buzz of feedback when selecting items in menus, navigating Android and typing with the onscreen keyboard. However, this isn’t the primary purpose of Acer’s “TacSense” system: it’s been designed principally for gaming, to provide force feedback for games.

It’s a nice idea, but support is thin on the ground. The preinstalled Asphalt 8 works with it, generating a buzz for nitro boost and collisions, but nothing else I could find generated so much as a tickle of feedback. 


And, while I’m on the subject of preinstalled apps, there are rather too many here. There’s a whole suite of Acer apps, a host of third-party apps – including the Amazon Appstore and – and to top it all off, there’s a handful of shortcuts on the homescreen to a number of games that aren’t even installed.

There are some useful inclusions. EZ Tasking is Acer’s take on multi-window and lets you run two apps side by side, with each half resizable. Not all apps are compatible, but the core apps – Gmail, Chrome, YouTube and Hangouts, for example – do work.

Other features return from other Acer tablets including ways to wake it up from sleep with five-finger or two-thumb gestures or capture screenshots with three-finger pinches.

Acer Predator 8: Cameras

Finally, the Acer Predator 8 also has a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Neither is particularly good, however.

The rear camera takes ages to autofocus and produces very noisy images that are soft and lacking in vibrancy. I’m none too keen on the position of the rear-facing lens: it sits in the middle of one of the tablet’s short edges, and when holding the tablet in landscape orientation, I found my fingers all too often obscured it.

Acer Predator 8: Verdict

The Acer Predator 8 does many things well. It’s a good size and weight, and it feels well made. Its front-facing speakers and display are very good, making it a great tablet for watching video.

As a gaming-specific tablet, however, it comes up short, with little – aside from the speakers and aggressive design – specifically geared towards gamers.

The haptic feedback is under-utilised and, although it has double the storage for the same price as the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1, its gaming performance and features simply don’t compare.

See also: The best Android tablets of 2016 – these are our favourite slates

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