The keyboard differs from both Predator 17 (labels, different keycaps) and the Helios 300 (cursor keys not offset, different keycaps).
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Upon this particular keyboard, the cursor keys are noticeably offset to underneath, and similar to the WASD keys they are visually highlighted. The Predator 17 is comparable in this regard, although its keys are highlighted in red rather than blue.
Otherwise, the German keyboard layout of our review unit was fairly like the Predator 17 with a slightly larger Return key and the backspace key right above it. Apparently, Acer has opted against the Predator 17’s somewhat unique keyboard layout.
A complete of six extra function keys can be found just above the chiclet keyboard, five of that can be highlighted and grouped by color (P = groups 1-3). Out from the box, the blue group 1 is preconfigured with graphics mode (turbo on/off), cool mode, touchpad on/off, keyboard on/off, and Windows/insert key on/off.
These buttons can be utilised for custom macros aswell, and all buttons within one group are highlighted whether or not they’re assigned a function/macro or not. The Predator 17 handled this differently.
The keyboard includes a full-sized numpad which, just like the remaining keyboard, has a non-adjustable colored backlight. The primary keyboard is split into four lighting zones (Predator 17: three zones) that can be individually configured but, as stated before, not adjusted.
Unfortunately, the topmost row with the ESC and F-keys is substantially smaller than the remaining keys, and are also labels on the keys themselves. As a result of offset cursor keys the bottommost row needed to be shortened a bit. Consequently, the CTRL key is pretty narrow.
The keycaps themselves are level and coated with a slip-resistant finish. Labels are often readable and the spacing between your individual keys is acceptable. We’d have recommended a slightly more defined and firmer accentuation point. Feedback and rigidity were decent.
Key travel was definitely bigger than of all notebooks. The keyboard has rubber dome switches rather than mechanical ones.
Given that a few of the larger keys emitted a definite clatter we’d describe the entire soundscape as average.
The touchpad is framed with a blue border and features two dedicated buttons. Their surface is quite dull and slightly rubberized, their travel is decent, and their keystroke is well defined and firm.
The touchpad itself sports a smooth surface that was sensitive to its very edges and even worked flawlessly with slightly moist fingertips. However, sweaty fingers will get stuck occasionally. Precision and feedback were immaculate, and drag & drop via double-tap worked flawlessly each time.