With the monstrous Predator 21 X and modern Predator Triton 700, Acer staked a compelling declare on the high-end market, loading its notebooks with extravagant options and essentially the most highly effective transportable gaming obtainable. The Acer Predator Helios 300 doesn’t concern itself with fanciful bells and whistles. It’s an easy, no-nonsense gaming laptop computer that delivers a refreshing quantity of bang to your buck, beginning at $1,100 on Amazon with a Core i7-7700HQ processor and a GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 isn’t fairly excellent. The show runs dimmer than its rivals, and the storage is cramped. However past these minor grumbles, this machine checks all of the bins you could possibly ask for in an inexpensive gaming laptop computer. It’s even straightforward to restore!
Acer Predator Helios 300 specs, options, and worth
Acer presents the Predator Helios 300 in several configurations spanning each 15.6-inch and 17.Three-inch show sizes. We’re reviewing the entry-level 15-inch model. Right here’s what’s inside:
- CPU: Core i7-7700HQ
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
- RAM: 16GB DDR4/2400
- Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD
- Wi-fi: 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Show: 15.6-inch 1920×1080 60Hz IPS
- Ports: 2x USB 2.zero, 1x USB Three.zero, 1x USB Three.1 Sort-C, HDMI, SD card reader, ethernet, headphone jack, lock slot
- Weight: 5 kilos, 7.9 ounces, or 7 kilos with energy brick
- Dimensions: 15.four x 10.5 x 1.1 inches
- Webcam: 720p
- Worth: $1,100
Round this worth vary, you’ll usually discover gaming laptops outfitted with a lesser-powered GeForce GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, or a middling Core i5 CPU. Not right here: The Predator packs the identical quad-core Core i7-7700HQ processor present in laptops that price two or thrice extra, together with a full-fat 6GB GeForce GTX 1060—no dialed-back Max-Q version right here. Regardless of the inexpensive worth, Acer didn’t skimp on the reminiscence, stocking the Helios 300 with 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
The one ho-hum ? Storage. This entry-level configuration consists of an SSD with a scant 256GB capability that’ll refill quick in this era of plus-sized games. It’s good and quick in observe, although. Acer presents one other configuration that dietary supplements the SSD with a 1TB mechanical laborious drive, however at a steep $300 premium. Given how straightforward it’s to crack open the Predator Helios 300—the empty laborious drive bay is secured shut by a single Phillips screw—I’d suggest going the DIY route so as to add extra storage to the laptop computer.
The laptop computer chassis consists of loads of plastic, as you’d count on in a gaming pocket book on this worth vary, however Acer augments it with a modern, brushed-metal lid and keyboard deck. Two angled crimson stripes flank the Predator brand on the lid, guaranteeing everybody within the espresso store is aware of you’re utilizing an Acer. It’s a fingerprint magnet, although. With 5 kilos, 7.9 ounces of heft and a 1.1-inch thickness, the Helios 300 is pretty compact for a gaming rig. You’ll really feel it in your backpack however received’t break your backbone lugging it round.
The inputs really feel snug and responsive, too. The chiclet-style keys have loads of journey and aren’t overly loud in use. Fetching crimson backlights increase the keyboard and look good towards the black keys. They are often turned on or off manually, however not dimmed or custom-made on a per-key foundation. The clickpad-style touchpad handles very easily and precisely. I’d have most well-liked devoted left- and right-click buttons, however hey, I’m a purist. The Helios 300’s keyboard and touchpad excel total.
I want I might say the identical for the 1920×1080 IPS show. It’s good and sharp with extensive viewing angles, however far too dim. In actual fact, at 230 nits most, it doesn’t even hit the minimal brightness stage we use for our battery run-down checks, which run at a standardized 250 to 260 nits to simulate snug indoor viewing. Some colours lack pop and really feel washed-out in consequence, particularly vibrant hues. Don’t get me fallacious: The Predator Helios 300’s show is serviceable total. It’s simply lackluster in comparison with rival screens.
This is a take a look at the laptop computer’s port choice. The USB Three.1 Sort-C port is a pleasant contact that you just usually do not see on this worth bracket.
Acer Predator Helios 300 efficiency
The Acer Predator Helios 300 packs an terrible lot of punch for its worth. We’ll be evaluating it towards a number of related methods in our checks, together with the $950, GTX 1060 Max-Q-equipped Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming, the thin-and-light, $2,200 Gigabyte Aero 15X with a GTX 1070 Max-Q, and the $1,250 Microcenter PowerSpec 1510 with a full-fat GTX 1070.
Maxon’s Cinebench R15 measures uncooked CPU efficiency, and can fortunately use as many threads as you may throw at it. All the gaming laptops being in contrast at this time use the quad-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ besides the Dell Inspiron, which makes use of a Core i5 chip as a substitute. As a result of the chip lacks hyper-threading assist, Dell’s laptop computer brings up the rear in Cinebench’s multi-threaded benchmark by a big margin. The others ship just about an identical efficiency outcomes.
However Cinebench’s benchmark runs in a brief period. The file we encode in our CPU-intensive HandBrake take a look at (which makes use of an older model of the software program) takes round 45 minutes on a quad-core processor. The prolonged period reveals how a laptop computer’s temperature throttling impacts efficiency over time. As soon as once more, the Core i7-7700HQ laptops flip in related outcomes, with the Core i5-equipped Dell Inspiron lagging far behind.
Gaming laptops want sturdy graphics capabilities, after all. We take a look at their visible chops utilizing the Graphics sub-score in 3DMark’s Hearth Strike Excessive benchmark, an artificial benchmark that focuses on pure GPU efficiency. This take a look at illustrates how Nvidia’s environment friendly Max-Q GPUs obtain their power financial savings partly by dialing again efficiency. Once more: The Inspiron has a GTX 1060 Max-Q, the Predator Helios 300 being reviewed packs a full GTX 1060, the Gigabyte Aero 15X holds a GTX 1070 Max-Q, and the chunky PowerSpec laptop computer retains the pedal to the medal with a full-fat GTX 1070.
However sufficient artificial benchmarks. Let’s get to the video games! We examine laptop computer gaming efficiency at 1080p decision to standardize outcomes throughout the board, utilizing the in-game benchmarks included with every title.
The GTX 1060 contained in the Predator Helios 300 excels at this decision, with body charges surpassing show’s 60Hz pace throughout the board. These gaming outcomes as soon as once more present the distinction with Max-Q variations of Nvidia’s GPUs. The total-blown GTX 1060 is solidly forward of the Max-Q variant within the Dell Inspiron. Transferring as much as a GTX 1070 supplies a giant bounce in efficiency as you’d count on, with the GTX 1070 Max-Q splitting the distinction.
We additionally ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark constantly for an hour, and the one efficiency drop-off noticed fell inside the margin of error—round a body per second. The Acer Predator Helios 300’s cooling does its job, and it does so with out being overly loud. This is a gaming laptop computer, although. Anticipate to nonetheless hear the followers whenever you hearth up video games or in any other case put the Predator beneath load.
Acer’s pocket book presents sturdy endurance for a gaming laptop computer, clocking in at almost 7 hours in PCWorld’s battery run-down take a look at, which consists of looping a 4K video within the Home windows 10 Films and TV participant with audio at 50 % till the machine offers up the ghost. That’s comparable with the Gigabyte Aero 15X, a laptop computer we praised for its battery life.
Two components play strongly into the consequence. First, the Helios 300 does not embrace a G-Sync show, so it’s in a position to change to the built-in graphics within the Intel CPU to avoid wasting power whenever you’re not gaming. The display screen’s dim in comparison with its rivals, too. We standardize our battery life outcomes by setting laptop computer brightness to 250 nits, a snug stage for indoor viewing. Acer’s laptop computer maxes out at 230 nits. That skews the outcomes on this benchmark—although it additionally signifies that the Predator genuinely lasts longer out in the true world.
Do you have to purchase the Helios 300?
The display screen isn’t darkish sufficient to dissuade, although, and it’s the one semi-issue of word within the Acer Predator Helios 300. This can be a nice pocket book.
You don’t see gaming laptops this well-rounded going at such a aggressive worth fairly often. Acer loaded the Helios 300 with stronger than normal for this price tier, paired it with a snug keyboard and touchpad combo, then pulled all of it collectively into a reasonably transportable bundle that received’t break your again.
So far as options go, the PowerSpec 15 strikes as much as a full-fat GTX 1070, a G-Sync show, and a supplementary 1TB laborious drive for under $200 extra. That’s a hell of a deal too, but it surely makes some compromises to hit that worth. It’s a giant, heavy, ugly laptop computer that’s only available in-store at Micro Center, plus you have to bounce by arcane hoops to activate G-Sync (which nukes the laptop computer’s battery life). The $900 Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is an alternative choice, but it surely makes use of a lesser-powered CPU and GPU to hit its sub-$1,000 worth level. The GTX 1050 Ti inside will run most video games at 1080p, however not at maxed-out graphics choices, and it is not very future-proof.
This comfy-to-carry pocket book delivers an excellent 1080p gaming expertise and completely oozes worth. If I wanted to purchase a gaming laptop computer at this time, the Acer Predator Helios 300 would get my cash (although I’d increase its paltry 256GB of storage with another SSD or external drive). Extremely really helpful.