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    This slimmed-down, value-packed gaming laptop surprised us with its fast performance

    Acer’s Predator Helios 300 has energy to spare for avid gamers on a funds. 
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    At the highest left of the Acer Predator Helios 300’s keyboard is a tiny button labeled Turbo. Not totally realizing what it did, I pressed it once I booted up for the primary time. Almost immediately the system’s twin followers got here to life as every of their 59 blades helped blast a shocking quantity of air by means of the rear vents with the sound of a jet engine spinning up. Turns out, I had simply overclocked the laptop computer’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics chip to eke a bit extra energy, and the followers have been going full throttle to maintain it cool. 

    LikeExcellent 1080p gaming for the cash.Turbo and PredatorSense buttons offer you direct management over efficiency.Storage and reminiscence simply accessed for upgrades.

    Don’t LikeSingle 256GB SSD will not be sufficient storage.Display has seen backlight bleed.

    An overclockable GPU will not be one thing you usually discover on a $1,100 gaming laptop computer, particularly not one as skinny because the Helios 300. But, if you happen to’re on the lookout for a laptop computer that over-delivers for the cash, Acer’s often place to begin, and the Turbo button is barely one of many causes to think about this mannequin (though there are a pair causes to maintain trying, too). Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52-78VL)

    Price as reviewed

    $1,100

    Display dimension/decision

    15.6-inch 1,920×1,080 144Hz show

    CPU

    2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H

    Memory

    16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz

    Graphics

    6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

    Storage

    256GB NVMe PCIe SSD

    Networking

    802.11ac wi-fi, Bluetooth 5.0

    Operating system

    Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

    The Helios 300 is out there in a number of configurations, however my evaluate system hit a price-to-performance candy spot at $1,100. It’s additionally obtainable within the UK for £1,199 and Australia for AU$2,107. The solely spec difficulty I had was its single 256GB SSD, which is just too small. That quantity is okay for an ultraportable, however it is not going to go very far with fashionable PC video games operating 50GB or extra. There’s an empty M.2 SSD slot and a 2.5-inch drive bay, so you possibly can simply add extra, however you may need to consider that price. Two different issues which may flip you off: The laptop computer’s USB-C port is not Thunderbolt 3, and the Wi-Fi is 802.11ac, not the newest 802.11ax.

    Speed comes normalStorage criticism apart, the Helios 300’s efficiency is spectacular for its value. It can attain greater than 60 frames per second on present titles with high quality settings on excessive on the laptop computer’s native 1,920×1,080-pixel decision. Games like Need for Speed Heat, Battlefield V and Far Cry 5 regarded nice and performed with none slowdowns. With an older title like Titanfall 2 I used to be capable of max out the graphics settings and nonetheless hit 144fps. And sure, enjoying Fortnite on the sport’s Epic graphics degree wasn’t an issue, both. The system’s excessive efficiency does not lead to nice battery life, although. On our streaming video check it made it solely 4 hours, 37 minutes. That’s typical for a gaming laptop computer, although, so do not be fooled by this mannequin’s skinny chassis and five-pound weight. It’s not supreme if it’s good to preserve working away from an outlet for lengthy intervals. The laptop computer’s full-HD show has a quick 144Hz refresh charge as nicely, which helped make motion look smoother in comparison with opponents I’ve examined with 60Hz shows, that are extra typical on gaming laptops below $1,000. Color, distinction and brightness have been respectable on the show, too, however there was noticeable backlight bleeding on the prime of the display screen on my check laptop computer. It was most seen and distracting in darkish scenes in video games and video.  

    The Helios 300’s keyboard is out there with a four-zone RGB backlight, however mine was blue solely.
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    A devoted key to launch Acer’s NitroSense software program helps you retain tabs on system efficiency. Located the place the quantity pad’s number-lock key would usually be, the button and software program offer you direct entry to fan controls and energy plans in addition to system monitoring. You also can open it as much as modify audio profiles for various sport sorts, music or motion pictures.  The keyboard itself is comfy for gaming and typing and the markings are literally simple to learn with or with out its blue backlight on — one thing that may’t be mentioned about a few of its competitors. Other configurations supply four-zone RGB lighting, however I just like the icy blue coloration Acer used right here, in addition to the see-through key caps on the WASD, arrow and PredatorSense keys. The precision touchpad is easy, responsive and correct, too, however not one thing you may use in gaming. Ready to play?
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    As talked about earlier, Acer’s often place to begin if you happen to’re trying to get extra in your laptop computer greenback, whether or not that is for productiveness or for gaming. The Predator Helios 300 is a step up from the corporate’s Nitro 5 line, and it exhibits within the extras like 144Hz show, overclockable GPU and sturdier really feel (although the lid may stand to be stiffer). Even with its few shortcomings, that is nonetheless a value-packed gaming laptop computer, even when it does cross my magic $999 line within the sand. Geekbench 4 (multicore)

    Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581G

    Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52)

    Note:
    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

    Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581G

    Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52)

    Note:
    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    Streaming video playback battery-drain check

    Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52)

    Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581G

    Note:
    Longer bars point out higher efficiency (in minutes)

    3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

    Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581G

    Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52)

    Note:
    Longer bars point out higher efficiency

    Far Cry 5 (FPS)

    Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52)

    Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581G

    Note:
    Longer bars point out higher efficiency (FPS)

    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (FPS)

    Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52)

    Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581G

    Note:
    Longer bars point out higher efficiency (FPS)

    System configurations

    Dell G7 15

    Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

    Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-52)

    Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

    Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581G

    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i9-9980; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060; 1TB SSD

    Razer Blade 15

    Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Coe i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD

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