With a grievous Predator 21 X and neat Predator Triton 700, Acer staked a constrained explain on a high-end market, loading a notebooks with impracticable facilities and a many absolute unstable gaming hardware available. The Acer Predator Helios 300 doesn’t regard itself with illusory bells and whistles. It’s a straightforward, no-nonsense gaming laptop that delivers a lovely volume of crash for your buck, starting during $1,100 on Amazon with a Core i7-7700HQ processor and a GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 isn’t utterly perfect. The arrangement runs dimmer than a rivals, and a storage is cramped. But over those teenager grumbles, this appurtenance checks all a boxes we could ask for in an affordable gaming laptop. It’s even easy to repair!
Acer Predator Helios 300 specs, features, and price
Acer offers a Predator Helios 300 in several configurations travelling both 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch arrangement sizes. We’re reviewing a entry-level 15-inch version. Here’s what’s inside:
- CPU: Core i7-7700HQ
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
- RAM: 16GB DDR4/2400
- Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD
- Wireless: 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Display: 15.6-inch 1920×1080 60Hz IPS
- Ports: 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI, SD label reader, ethernet, headphone jack, close slot
- Weight: 5 pounds, 7.9 ounces, or 7 pounds with appetite brick
- Dimensions: 15.4 x 10.5 x 1.1 inches
- Webcam: 720p
- Price: $1,100
Around this cost range, you’ll routinely find gaming laptops versed with a lesser-powered GeForce GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, or a intermediate Core i5 CPU. Not here: The Predator packs a same quad-core Core i7-7700HQ processor found in laptops that cost dual or 3 times more, along with a full-fat 6GB GeForce GTX 1060—no dialed-back Max-Q version here. Despite a affordable price, Acer didn’t skimp on a memory, stocking a Helios 300 with 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
The usually ho-hum hardware? Storage. This entry-level pattern includes an SSD with a meagre 256GB ability that’ll fill adult quick in this epoch of plus-sized games. It’s good and quick in practice, though. Acer offers another pattern that supplements a SSD with a 1TB automatic tough drive, yet during a steep $300 premium. Given how easy it is to moment open a Predator Helios 300—the dull tough expostulate brook is cumulative close by a singular Phillips screw—I’d suggest going a DIY track to supplement some-more storage to a laptop.
The laptop framework includes copiousness of plastic, as you’d design in a gaming cover in this cost range, yet Acer augments it with a sleek, brushed-metal lid and keyboard deck. Two pointed red stripes side a Predator trademark on a lid, ensuring everybody in a coffee emporium knows you’re regulating an Acer. It’s a fingerprint magnet, though. With 5 pounds, 7.9 ounces of heft and a 1.1-inch thickness, a Helios 300 is sincerely compress for a gaming rig. You’ll feel it in your trek yet won’t mangle your spine lugging it around.
The inputs feel gentle and responsive, too. The chiclet-style keys have copiousness of transport and aren’t overly shrill in use. Fetching red backlights enlarge a keyboard and demeanour good opposite a black keys. They can be incited on or off manually, yet not dimmed or customized on a per-key basis. The clickpad-style touchpad handles really uniformly and accurately. I’d have elite dedicated left- and right-click buttons, yet hey, I’m a purist. The Helios 300’s keyboard and touchpad surpass overall.
I wish we could contend a same for a 1920×1080 IPS display. It’s good and pointy with far-reaching observation angles, yet distant too dim. In fact, during 230 nits maximum, it doesn’t even strike a smallest liughtness spin we use for a battery run-down tests, that run during a standardised 250 to 260 nits to copy gentle indoor viewing. Some colors miss cocktail and feel washed-out as a result, generally colourful hues. Don’t get me wrong: The Predator Helios 300’s arrangement is workable overall. It’s usually muted compared to opposition screens.
Here’s a demeanour during a laptop’s pier selection. The USB 3.1 Type-C pier is a good hold that we routinely don’t see in this cost bracket.
Acer Predator Helios 300 performance
The Acer Predator Helios 300 packs an awful lot of punch for a price. We’ll be comparing it opposite several matching systems in a tests, including a $950, GTX 1060 Max-Q-equipped Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming, a thin-and-light, $2,200 Gigabyte Aero 15X with a GTX 1070 Max-Q, and a $1,250 Microcenter PowerSpec 1510 with a full-fat GTX 1070.
Maxon’s Cinebench R15 measures tender CPU performance, and will happily use as many threads as we can chuck during it. All of a gaming laptops being compared currently use a quad-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ solely a Dell Inspiron, that uses a Core i5 chip instead. Because a chip lacks hyper-threading support, Dell’s laptop brings adult a behind in Cinebench’s multi-threaded benchmark by a vast margin. The others broach probably matching opening results.
But Cinebench’s benchmark runs in a brief duration. The record we encode in a CPU-intensive HandBrake exam (which uses an comparison chronicle of a software) takes around 45 mins on a quad-core processor. The extended generation reveals how a laptop’s heat throttling affects opening over time. Once again, a Core i7-7700HQ laptops spin in matching results, with a Core i5-equipped Dell Inspiron lagging distant behind.
Gaming laptops need clever graphics capabilities, of course. We exam their visible chops regulating a Graphics sub-score in 3DMark’s Fire Strike Extreme benchmark, a fake benchmark that focuses on pristine GPU performance. This exam illustrates how Nvidia’s fit Max-Q GPUs grasp their appetite assets in partial by dialing behind performance. Again: The Inspiron has a GTX 1060 Max-Q, a Predator Helios 300 being reviewed packs a full GTX 1060, a Gigabyte Aero 15X binds a GTX 1070 Max-Q, and a corpulent PowerSpec laptop keeps a pedal to a award with a full-fat GTX 1070.
But adequate fake benchmarks. Let’s get to a games! We review laptop gaming opening during 1080p fortitude to order formula opposite a board, regulating a in-game benchmarks enclosed with any title.
The GTX 1060 inside a Predator Helios 300 excels during this resolution, with support rates leading display’s 60Hz speed opposite a board. These gaming formula once again uncover a disproportion with Max-Q versions of Nvidia’s GPUs. The full-blown GTX 1060 is solidly forward of a Max-Q various in a Dell Inspiron. Moving adult to a GTX 1070 provides a large burst in opening as you’d expect, with a GTX 1070 Max-Q bursting a difference.
We also ran a Rise of a Tomb Raider benchmark invariably for an hour, and a usually opening drop-off celebrated fell within a domain of error—around a support per second. The Acer Predator Helios 300’s cooling does a job, and it does so yet being overly loud. This is a gaming laptop, though. Expect to still hear a fans when we glow adult games or differently put a Predator underneath load.
Acer’s cover offers clever continuation for a gaming laptop, clocking in during scarcely 7 hours in PCWorld’s battery run-down test, that consists of looping a 4K video in a Windows 10 Movies and TV actor with audio during 50 percent until a appurtenance gives adult a ghost. That’s allied with a Gigabyte Aero 15X, a laptop we praised for a battery life.
Two factors play strongly into a result. First, a Helios 300 does not embody a G-Sync display, so it’s means to switch to a integrated graphics in a Intel CPU to save appetite when you’re not gaming. The screen’s low compared to a rivals, too. We order a battery life formula by environment laptop liughtness to 250 nits, a gentle spin for indoor viewing. Acer’s laptop maxes out during 230 nits. That skews a formula in this benchmark—though it also means that a Predator honestly lasts longer out in a genuine world.
Should we buy a Helios 300?
The shade isn’t dim adequate to dissuade, though, and it’s a usually semi-issue of note in a Acer Predator Helios 300. This is a good notebook.
You don’t see gaming laptops this well-rounded going during such a rival cost really often. Acer installed a Helios 300 with some-more manly hardware than common for this cost tier, interconnected it with a gentle keyboard and touchpad combo, afterwards pulled it all together into a sincerely unstable package that won’t mangle your back.
As distant as alternatives go, a PowerSpec 15 moves adult to a full-fat GTX 1070, a G-Sync display, and a extra 1TB tough expostulate for usually $200 more. That’s a ruin of a understanding too, yet it creates some compromises to strike that price. It’s a big, heavy, nauseous laptop that’s only accessible in-store during Micro Center, and we need to burst by keen hoops to activate G-Sync (which nukes a laptop’s battery life). The $900 Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is another option, yet it uses a lesser-powered CPU and GPU to strike a sub-$1,000 cost point. The GTX 1050 Ti inside will run many games during 1080p, yet not during maxed-out graphics options, and it’s not really future-proof.
This comfy-to-carry cover delivers a glorious 1080p gaming knowledge and positively oozes value. If we indispensable to buy a gaming laptop today, a Acer Predator Helios 300 would get my income (though I’d enlarge a insignificant 256GB of storage with another SSD or external drive). Highly recommended.