Acer Predator 8 Review - Unleashing The Gaming Tablet Beast!

There's an influx of Android-powered smartphones every month that you practically can't run out of options to choose from. However, where's the love in the tablet segment, amirite? Whelp, if you're a hard-core gamer, an enthusiast, or you just want something purely edgy and different, Acer may have the thing for you.
Predator 8 review
Acer Predator 8 gaming tablet review

The company, as we've known as one of the most reputable brands when it comes to PCs, has been beefing up its gaming line, and it's soon to change the Android scene with the Predator 8 – a supercharged tablet that features powerhouse hardware, a vibrant and immersive screen, and a straight up beastly design to boot.


Acer Predator 8 Specs

Display: 8 Inch FHD IPS LCD 1920 x 1200 resolution at 320 ppi
CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad core processor
GPU: Intel HD
RAM: 2 GB
ROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 128 GB
Back Camera: 5 MP
Selfie Camera: 2 MP
Battery: 4,420 mAh
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, GLONASS
Dimensions: 217.9 x 127 x 8.6 mm
Price: 17,990 Pesos (6,999 Pesos Sale Price)

Unboxing / Accesories

The box
The box

If there's one word to sum up the Predator 8, it would be premium. It arrives in a familiar packaging that you see in gaming products. It sports a thematic black design, and several information including specifications and whatnot are printed in its sleeve.  
Inclusions
Inclusions

Take that out and you'll be met with the Predator 8 itself, with its screen protected with a film that, again showcases what it's all about. The manuals are encased in a box of its own, and the 2.0 A wall charger with its cable are tucked underneath the platform. It's a well thought out design if I do say so myself, we're giving Acer an upvote on this one. It's just plain hard-core to look at that you'd even keep the box up top a shelf to marvel in its glorious design.  

However, if there's one thing to gripe about here, it's the absence of a headset. Why Acer ditched in, we don't really know. It should be an essential for any device, so we're scratching our heads here as to why that isn't the case for the Predator 8.

Build Quality / Design

View at the back

This is actually what I've favored over the course of the review. For Acer to differentiate its offering in the market against the competition really bodes well for them. It trails far from the standard slate form factor – it comes with four red colored speaker grills on each corner, angled to: (1) provide you with an assuring grip, (2) give it its awesome design. They're simply a blast to look at that it's an easy eye candy.
The tablet's grip
The tablet's grip

Moving forward, the front facing camera is at the top center upfront, and the volume rocker sits below the power button. The non-removable back panel isn't as busy as the front, however. There's the camera, of course, but there's also a rubbery plastic that enhances the grip, which are Grip Pads to do as its name suggests. A sticker of an Intel logo is plastered in it, and the Predator logo crowns its center.
Ports placement on this side
Ports placement on this side
Speakers highlighted here
Speakers highlighted here
Micro SD card slot
Micro SD card slot location
Volume rocker and power button
Volume rocker and power button

Moreover, it also comes with TacSense. It's Acer's name for the Predator 8's haptic feedback fine tuned for gaming, giving console gamers the feel that they are playing using a joystick, only this time it's a full-on tablet. It's a nice approach as it gives you feedback on common gaming elements such as weapon recoil, damage and such. Should there be a gripe, it's the awkward placement of the microSD card slot. It's like it's lost at the side of the tablet, and heck, it doesn't have even a flap to at least secure it.

Overall, the Predator 8 easily outshines the straightforward slates, not to mention it outclasses the iPad Mini in terms of design. Now I might be biased here because I'm a gamer and this kind of aesthetics appeal to me, but check it out yourself and you most likely won't argue.

Display Quality

Predator 8 screen view
Predator 8 screen view

The Predator 8's display is one of its key features – we're talking an 8-inch display with a full HD resolution. It's quite vivid and bright so to speak, and viewing angles are definitely topnotch that it's at the top of its game. Color reproduction really stands out, and it's so vibrant that the colors really pop out.

While it doesn't come with a QHD resolution similar to other tablets in its range, it's more than enough to deliver awesome visuals. It's impressive as heck, and we get to save more battery this way as it doesn't push too much pixels during screen time.
The MediaMaster
The MediaMaster

Word of note: the Predator 8 comes with Acer's MediaMaster. It allows you to fine tune the display quality, giving you more options in tweaking for your entertainment and comfort. Oh and hey, you can also adjust it accordingly to eliminate blue light, which would be useful during night time so you'll catch some Z's easily. We'll go more into this on the software section, so do keep reading on.  
Multi touch test result
Multi touch test result

It also has 10 points of multi-touch capabilities to give you more ways of interaction.

Audio Quality

When you have four speaker grills on every corner of a tablet, it's hard not to test it out and blast away with music tracks and movies. “Quadio,” as Acer puts it, are powerful speakers designed to deliver an “audiodacious” sound quality. You get virtual surround sound for your serious gaming needs, and you'll have more entertainment goodness when watching videos. But does it deliver?

Well, the setup of the speakers really provide a unique, immersive experience when it comes to games. Playing NBA 2k15 really does put you in the crowd, and shooting enemies at FPS games definitely felt like you're blazing through the enemies one by one. There's no bass output, and it will only be an issue if you're a basshead that can't get enough of it with every device.  

Acer didn't throw in a headset in the bundle, so we're left with whatever we have here at our disposal. Results will probably vary here, and we've tried to use our own to see how it fared. The bass is adequate, but it somehow lacks the punch. Vocals are clear even with heavy metal and synthpop tracks. Its loudness is also kept leveled, even at max volumes it won't blast out your ears.

The microphone on the other hand, is somewhat of a mixed bag. Clarity is a bit on the downlow, so you'll probably have to opt with a headset for your let's play sessions or anything else for that matter. It's audible enough to be heard, it's just not clear enough if you want to recognize every word you record that you have to rewind it.

Battery

Battery test result
Battery test result

Geekbench rated it with a 4:55 screentime, 5 minutes short of the 5:00 mark. This is actually pretty good, considering that it has about 4,420mAh of juice and a display with 1920 x 1200 resolution to power through. Mixed usage could easily get me to a day, and that's Wi-Fi on and a couple of hours playing some demanding games as well as watching full HD movies.

Camera

Honestly, when it comes to a gaming tablet, or even a tablet per se, the camera would probably one of the last things to come into mind. Our expectations were indeed met, and it's as doable as we believed it to be. It's equipped with a 5 MP primary shooter and a 2 MP selfie shooter. We're not really sure what sensors Acer used for both sides, but it probably wouldn't matter for what purpose it serves.  

Camera software is pretty loaded, too. You can customize your shots and add filters accordingly, and you can tweak some settings directly in it.  

Still, if you're very much interested in the quality, color production is accurate enough, but some details are somewhat washed out. You're getting 4MP stills on a 16:9 scale, and it's good enough even if it's not what it really should be doing. Although, the 2MP selfie camera can be your cup of tea – colors are definitely rich, but again, detail capture could be better. Oh, and if you're interested, you can also capture time lapse videos using the recording feature. It's nice and all, but we bet gaming will be on your mind when you get this one.

Camera Samples

Rear camera sample
Rear camera sample
Selfie camera sample

Performance

Benchmarks
Benchmarks

Acer equipped the Predator 8 with a rocking 1.6 GHz Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad-core processor with an Intel HD Graphics GPU and 2GB of RAM, and it stands in competition with NVIDIA's SHIELD tablet with the Tegra K1 chipset. As it stands, this is one of the beefiest setups you can have on an Android device, and we've managed to put it to the test by unleashing several demanding games on it. After all, it wouldn't earn the Predator moniker if it wasn't up to par to a gamer's standards, amirite?

Easily, the Predator 8 handles everything we throw at it without breaking a sweat. Think of the most graphic intensive games such as NBA 2k16, WWE, Mortal Kombat X, Modern Combat 5, Hitman Sniper, Vainglory, Need For Speed: No Limits and so forth. There's some stutter at some point, albeit they come very rarely, and most of them come from the loadout during first launches of the said games. If there's a problem, though, it's the lack of apps (despite the fact that Android has a massive app selection) that can take advantage of its ridiculous power. 

Moving to the software part, the Predator 8 features Acer's heavy skinning of Android Lollipop, and there are loads of bloatware both useful and unnecessary. You'll love fine-tuning its display and audio via MediaMaster, and Acer's array of EZ and BYOC (Build Your Own Cloud) apps. They're quite useful and all, and it makes usage much more efficient and entertaining so to speak.
Acer's UI
Acer's UI

Gestures in here also come in handy. There's a 5-finger gesture, a 3-finger pinch gesture (exclusive for screenshots) a 2-thumb gesture, and a double tap gesture for you to configure and customize through EZ Wake Up. Furthermore, you can even multitask through EZ Tasking that splits the screen to launch a selection of compatible apps. You can also be productive if you so wish via a couple of EZ apps such as the EZ Note and OfficeSuite. 
The app drawer
The app drawer

However, we're not sure why Acer preloaded it with bloatware, lots and lots of bloatware. This is a gaming tablet by definition and by form, so we're really scratching our heads here as to what led to the decision. Games such as Empire: Four Kingdoms, Castle Clash, Magic Rush, Asphalt 8 are installed, but their data aren't. And we're questioning why Lazada, Zalora, Freedome VPN, OfficeSuite and Grabtaxi are onboard. Let's get real here, if you're eyeing on buying a gaming tablet, we're pretty sure you're already rocking a smartphone to begin with. Overall, you're only working with 20GB of internal storage out of the 32GB it has. But of course, there's the micro SD card slot you can take advantage of.

Also, if you're familiar with blue light, it keeps you awake during at night whenever you're looking at display panels. There's Google's Night Light for Google Play Books and Apple's Night Shift for iOS 9.3 to eliminate it, and Acer also does away with it through the Bluelight Shield that can be activated via the quick access menu. The company may have expected that you'll be playing at night that it made a feature to help you go through with it. So, props to them.

One more thing, though. Since Acer tags this as a gaming tablet, they could have partnered with several developers to create, or at least port an app that would be exclusive to the Predator 8 similar as to how NVIDIA does away with the SHIELD that has Half-Life and Portal exclusive to it.

Pros - Unique, edgy form factor, topnotch performance, best-in-class IPS display, superb battery life, excellent speaker setup, preloaded gaming software
Cons - No headphones included, bloatware (lots of em), camera isn't up to par, microSD card slot awkwardly placed, no 3G option for online games

Verdict

Here's the thing - the Acer Predator 8 is heavily marketed to hardcore gamers and multimedia power users, and you're going to have to take that into great consideration if you consider buying this one. Especially if you're a Twitch star or a YouTube sensation and you need something to show off to your followers, then the Predator 8 is easily the choice with its unique, edgy design and superb performance to boot. And hey, with mobile gaming getting some love as MOBA and other action games begin hitting the platform, this also makes as the perfect gear to future-proof you for years to come. As we've said, there's a lot to be desired with other aspects outside its performance and form factor, but those really don't come into equation since gaming is all about.

GIZ Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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