Acer adds a new model to its gaming lineup with the entry of the Acer Predator Helios 300 that strikes a balance between price and performance. The system packs decent components such as the seventh generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, a solid state drive and a 15.6 inch display with IPS technology. This is more of an improvement to the Acer Aspire VX 15 which featured NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Graphics card. It is these features, its affordability and middle-of the road battery life that makes it a considerable choice for any gamer who is keen on getting value for the money.
Design and Features
The Acer Predator Helios comes with a similar design to the considerably affordable Acer Aspire VX 15. The laptop’s design is quite sturdy and reliable despite the fact that it does not bring anything new on board. The lid of the predator offers a brushed aluminum sheet with a plastic patterned element on the top. The material used appears to be strong without causing any ripples to the LCD screen when pressed at the middle. The material is not smudge or fingerprint resistant, having a cloth to clean your laptop with occasionally will come in handy. The interior of the laptop features rather a familiar design with a brushed aluminum surface that has chamfered edges around the track pad and sides.
The gaming laptop measures 15.4 x 10.5 x 1.5 inches and it tips the scales at 5.5 pounds. This is a little bigger but slightly lighter compared to other machines in the competition such as the Asus ROG Strix GL553VD which measures 15.1 x 10 x 1.2 inches and weighs 5.6 pounds. The 17-inch MSI GP72VR 7RFX Leopard Pro is bigger and weighs more measuring at 16.5 x 10.6 x 1.5 inches, 6.4 pounds. There is nothing much against the weight of the Predator considering the fact that is a gaming laptop that is mostly stationary or if you have to carry it, it just within the house.
The Acer Predator Helios is powered by a 7th generation Intel core i7-7700HQ quad core processor with eight threads and a 6MB cache. The processor clocks 2.8GHz but can run up to 3.8GHz with Turbo boost technology. The predator packs a massive 16GB DDR4 RAM that has greater speeds and awesome power usage. The memory in this system combined with the powerful processor is adequate for playing most of the latest gaming titles on ultra-setting and handling any task thrown at it without staggering. If you are an adventurer and season gamer who finds comfort in using the crème de la crème, then you can upgrade the RAM to a full 32 GB.
The storage in the Predator Helios is also an amazing spectacle. The system comes with a fully Solid State Drive with 256 GB of storage space. The storage space might be limited but there is room for expanding it with the free 2.5” slot inside. The SSD is however enough for the performance minded individuals who will enjoy fat boot times and loading of programs.
The Predator Helios couples the KabyLake Processor with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics with 6GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM. Now, that is the kind of GPU that you need to handle the latest high definition games and the Predator Helios delivers exactly that thus making the laptop VR ready.
Playing games like The Witcher in high and ultra-settings gives good frame rates thus making the gaming experience enjoyable. The gaming monster was able to deliver 49fps when playing Grand Theft Auto at Ultra settings and 1080p, playing the Hitman at very high settings and 1080p, the Helios played at 67 fps. Overall, the Predator Helios performs significantly well compared to other gaming systems in the competition including the Leopard Pro and the Strix. You should not be worried about heating issues since the laptop has dual fans that help in keeping the system cool thereby providing you a good gaming experience.
The Connectivity department is well staffed with the necessary ports that you could expect on this device. The predator Helios comes with two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port without Thunderbolt 3 support, an SD card slot, and HDMI output port. There is also a Kensington lock, an AC adapter jack and the headphone jack on this device.
The laptop does not come with an optical drive. This is not a problem at all considering the fact that we are in an era of downloading and streaming. Internet connectivity is available by use of an Ethernet port for cabled connection and wireless connectivity is available by use of a fast dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
The predator Helios packs a 15.6-inch with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels which is amazingly good for a laptop with GeForce GTX 1060 graphics. Acer offers an IPS panel on this system which therefore means that you will get wide viewing angles seamlessly. The screen offers clean whites and wide viewing angles making it an amazing system for gaming.
There is a 720p webcam at the top bezel of the display that is nice and sharp but lacks color accuracy. It will come in handy should you want to make video calls by chatting with friends and family via programs like Skype.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Red backlit Keyboard in the predator Helios is comfortable when typing with the keys having a 1.6 millimeters of vertical travel. The keys provide tactile clicky feedback while the keycaps are slightly concaved for extra comfort while typing. The responsiveness is good but things could have been in a different level altogether should have it been made more responsive. Notable flaws in the keyboard include the closeness of the top arrow key with shift key and the right arrow key extends into the space of the number pad. So there’s a fair chance you’ll end up pressing the wrong one of the two.
The touchpad measures 4.1×3-inches which is spacious enough. It responds to windows 10 gestures accurately with no problem when it comes to zooming or swiping Windows.
The system comes with built-in Acer TrueHarmony speakers that are clear and loud located on the belly of the laptop. Listening to Kenny Rodger’s Coward of the county, the system pumps the song wall to wall of a mid-sized room while producing clear vocals and guitar. The bass is however not as strong as one could expect. The Dolby Audio App preinstalled in the gaming laptop makes things a little better by offering a number of profiles including Game, Movie and music mode.
Gaming laptops are known to have a poor battery life and the Predator Helios is no different. Acer promises 7 hours of battery life, but the laptop ran for 6 hours and 48 minutes on continuous web browsing over the Wi-Fi. You should expect less battery life when gaming. As such, sticking closer to the Charging adapter is necessary.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a midrange gaming laptop that delivers a solid gaming performance. The inclusion of a GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card makes it a worthy competitor in the category of affordable gaming laptops. The system can push through a number of gaming titles while offering decent fps at high settings. For those who want to take gaming to the next level, systems like the HP Omen 17 is a sure bet which comes with a better graphics card, 17-inch 4K screen and doubles the storage. The Helios 300 isn’t the best off all systems since there are gaming rigs out there with powerful components including GTX 1070 and 1080 graphic cards, sleeker designs and 4K displays but they will cost you an arm and a leg. All in all, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is among the most affordable VR ready laptops around that you may want to consider thanks to its marvelous design, versatility and performance.