Introduction, Design Features
The gaming laptops in Acer’s Predator lineup have utterly a bit going for them already, including glorious keyboards, plain build quality, and splendid IPS screens. But starting during about $1,400 and ramping adult above $2,500 for a top-end 17-incher with a GeForce GTX 1080, they’re not accurately bill models. And that’s to contend zero of that goliath among gamers, Acer’s Predator 21 X, with a winding 21-inch display, dual GeForce GTX 1080 chips, and desktop-class automatic keyboard. That model, luggable mega-luxury appurtenance that it is, sells for a towering $8,999.
On a other finish of a expanding Predator spectrum sits Acer’s new Predator Helios 300. Available in 15.6- and 17.3-inch models, both of them with 1080p IPS displays, they sell for between $1,099 and $1,399. We perceived a low-end indication for examination (it’s some-more privately famous as “G3-571-77Q”), a 15-incher with VR-ready Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, a absolute Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, and 256GB of solid-state storage. It’s a plain pattern for mainstream gaming with firm build quality, interjection to a intelligent brew of steel and plastic.
But maybe a many considerable underline of a Acer Predator Helios 300, during slightest for a entrance indication we tested, is a price. With a $1,099 MSRP, a Helios 300 is labelled some-more in line with obtuse GeForce GTX 1050 Ti laptops (like Dell’s likewise configured Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (7567)), which, as we’ll see in a comparison testing, are considerably reduction able on a gaming grid.
Note, though, that pricing on a section we tested was vacillating dramatically while we wrote this review. At one point, it was offered for $1,049 on Amazon; afterwards it was, briefly, a Prime understanding during $899 (at that price, it’s roughly a Prime steal), and as we wrapped adult a review, it was offered for $1,249. Those prices were all during Amazon, that seemed to be a usually big-name tradesman in a U.S. offered a laptop when we wrote this in mid-July 2017, nonetheless Acer told us others would be removing batch soon. We assume, once that happens, pricing will trip behind to (or below) a $1,099 MSRP.
Of course, some sacrifices contingency be finished for a some-more affordable price. For starters, 256GB of storage is a tad tighten for any gaming system. There is no delegate tough expostulate on this model, nonetheless it’s flattering easy to supplement one yourself around a removable row on a bottom of a laptop. And a screen—while it is IPS, ensuing in glorious observation angles—doesn’t get as splendid as we’d like. Also, a red-backlit keyboard isn’t utterly as good as a one found in Acer’s pricier Predators, for a few reasons we’ll fact after on.
Still, these quibbles are comparatively teenager given a cost and performance. If you’re looking for a unstable gamer in a $1,000-to-$1,100 cost range, a Predator Helios 300 is among a best options out there. Just note that some of a upticked Helios models pull tighten adequate to a cost of a Predator 15 that a latter models (with improved screens and keyboards) are roughly positively a improved choice.
The Helios 300 is inexpensive as midrange-price gaming laptops go, nonetheless we wouldn’t consider so to demeanour during it. Even when we collect it up, it feels well-built. Most of a framework is plastic, with a keyboard rug and lid embellished out in brushed aluminum. But a laptop as a whole feels firm and prepared for gaming on a go.
At 1.5 inches thick and 5.95 pounds, a Helios 300 is distant from a slimmest or lightest gaming laptop. But it also doesn’t feel overly massive or heavy.
We’d adore to see slimmer bezels and a smaller footprint, nonetheless those are vast asks for a laptop that apparently emphasizes opening and value over all else. And a Helios 300 feels some-more solidly built than many pricier machines that rest on mostly steel for their framework materials. (We’re looking during you, MSI GS73VR Stealth Pro.)
The use of cosmetic on a bottom also means that a Helios 300 is surprisingly easy to upgrade. A span of doors on a bottom cocktail off once we mislay a screw on any one, divulgence a 2.5-inch tough expostulate brook (empty in a model) and a span of SO-DIMM RAM slots (populated by dual 8GB sticks in a unit). While a 16GB of RAM here will sufficient for many users (it’s some-more than adequate for gaming), we’d unequivocally advise popping a tough drive, or even a 2.5-inch solid-state drive, into a dull bay, since a 256GB foot expostulate (which can’t be accessed around these doors) is flattering tighten for a gaming PC. Unless we play only a few games during a time and have a unequivocally rapid Internet tie that creates discerning work of re-downloading games, you’ll wish some-more storage for your Steam library.
Also on a bottom, nearby a front on any side, are a laptop’s downward-firing speakers. As speakers in mainstream laptops go, they aren’t bad. But they don’t get all that loud, even in an ideal conditions with a laptop sitting on a table, reflecting a sound behind adult into a room. And there’s tiny to zero in a approach of low-end thump. If you’re looking for a kind of punchy audio that we mostly find in higher-end gaming laptops, that mostly have a tiny subwoofer in further to dual or 4 speakers, we won’t find that here. But then, many critical gamers are substantially going to use a headset, anyway.
The pier preference is mostly good, nonetheless we would have favourite during slightest another USB 3.0 port. And a placement of connectivity could be a tiny some-more balanced. Starting on a right edge, you’ll find a energy jack, activity LEDs, a span of USB 2.0 ports, and a headphone/mic combo jack for headphones or gaming headsets…
The left corner is many busier…
Here you’ll find a tighten notch, a Ethernet jack, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 pier of a USB-C variety, a full-size HDMI port, and a USB 3.0 pier that can assign your mobile inclination even when a laptop is off. Also here is an SD label reader, and a laptop facilities dual-band 802.11ac wireless in a 2×2 MIMO (multiple-input/multiple-output) setup. This theoretically doubles a wireless-connectivity speed, nonetheless that’s mostly for transferring vast files from one device to another over Wi-Fi (provided we also have a MIMO-enabled router). Standard single-antenna 802.11ac wireless can broach some-more than 50MB per second of bandwidth on a own, that is expected faster than many Internet connections.
The good news about a Helios 300’s 15.6-inch arrangement is that it’s an IPS panel, and a 1080p (1,920×1,080-pixel) fortitude is a good fit for a laptop’s GeForce GTX 1060 graphics.
That means observation angles aren’t unequivocally an issue. Color and contrariety reason solid during all nonetheless a many impassioned off-center angles. But a shade doesn’t get overly bright. It’s excellent for indoor use underneath synthetic light, to be sure, nonetheless you’ll substantially wish to hang during or tighten to 100 percent liughtness even then. But try outdoor or even into a bright, sunlit room, and a Helios 300’s shade can be tough to see. To be fair, this is standard for a march for lower-cost laptops, and we’ve seen dimmer displays, to be sure. But if we mostly diversion (or do anything else with your laptop) in a brightly illuminated room, it might be value profitable some-more for a reward indication with a brighter screen.
As for a keyboard, it’s not bad, nonetheless not perfect. Most of a keys are full-size and spaced good detached from any other. And we like that a WASD keys are equivalent in red for first-person gaming purposes.
But a series pad area is squished, and a function-row keys are small. The fact that a energy symbol is integrated into a keyboard isn’t ideal, generally given that it’s right subsequent to a End key, that does double avocation as a media-playback control key. But Acer seems to have finished some intelligent work in software, since dire a energy symbol incidentally (or even intentionally for a brief period) doesn’t do anything by default. You indeed have to reason it down for a few seconds for anything to happen. So we shouldn’t have to worry about putting a laptop to nap or powering it down by attack a symbol by mistake.
We also skip a broken-out arrow keys found on Acer’s higher-end Predators. Also, a red backlighting of a keys lacks any kind of power adjustment; it’s possibly on or off. And there are no dedicated macro keys here, so critical gamers who rest on these kinds of facilities will wish to demeanour elsewhere or block in an outmost keyboard.
The hold pad looks good and feels good, framed by both a glossy beveled corner and a frame of red. And it generally works well, too. But note that there are no dedicated buttons. As is utterly common during this point, we subdue a hold pad itself to hoard your clicks. This would be fine, nonetheless a clicking resource is stiffer than we’d like. If that’s a problem for you, though, we can of march tap-to-click.
Components Configuration Options
As remarkable adult top, a examination pattern of a Acer Predator Helios 300 is a entry-level model, G3-571-77Q, that ships with a quad-core Core i7-7700HQ processor that can ramp between 2.8GHz and 3.8GHz, as good as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics label with 6GB of dedicated memory. These initial dual hardware specs are a same for all stream models of a Helios 300, possibly we opt for a 15-inch or 17-inch shade size. As for memory and storage, with this indication we get 16GB of DDR4 and a 256GB Serial ATA-based solid-state expostulate (SSD). The latter is cramped, as we noted, nonetheless it’s easy to implement your possess by popping a doorway off a bottom. And we’d advise we do that, since Acer charges a large reward for versions of a Helios 300 with a tough expostulate pre-installed. The DIY track is easy and approach cheaper.
Acer’s product page for a Helios 300 lists dual other models of a 15-inch version. One usually adds a 1TB tough expostulate to a 256GB SSD foot drive, and bumps adult a cost adult to $1,399, while a second—even more inexplicably—adds a 1TB tough expostulate and halves a distance of a SSD foot expostulate to 128GB. The irregular part? That model also lists for $1,399. So we could opt for a indication we’re reviewing, compensate $300 extra for an additional 1TB tough drive, or spend $300 additional for a tough expostulate and slice off half a ability from your already tighten foot drive.
We’re not certain how a latter dual models make sense, nonetheless maybe Acer doesn’t either. Because while a 3 models mentioned above are listed on Acer’s site, usually a $1,099 indication we tested indeed had a “Buy Now” symbol (which related to Amazon). Acer says additional models of a Helios 300 will arrive in Aug or September, versed with an additional fan that also allows for overclocking. But during slightest until then, we should hang with a $1,099 model, as it’s by distant a best value.
In fact, for a $1,399 list cost of a dual higher-end models, we could buy an entry-level model of a Acer Predator 15, with a improved G-Sync screen, a improved keyboard, and both a 256GB SSD and a 1TB tough drive. The Helios 300 creates a many clarity by distant around a $1,099 cost point.
In box you’re wondering, a 17-inch chronicle of a Helios 300 lists for a $1,399 MSRP with a same graphics, CPU, and shade fortitude as a 15-inch models. But we couldn’t find it for sale anywhere nonetheless when we wrote this in mid-July 2017.