The Acer Predator Helios 300 series has long enjoyed the position of being the budget king of laptops and a machine that everyone looks towards when they want a solid gaming laptop at an affordable price.
This latest generation of the predator helios however that we are reviewing here applies a little different formula than its predecessors. Acer has tried to move this laptop a little upmarket to also attract midrange buyers aswell. But has this move paid off well let’s find out?
Let’s face it Acer is often overlooked due to the brand not carrying the same recognition as MSI, Razor, or Asus. But that does not take away from the fact that Acer makes some great gaming laptops. This Predator Helios 300 is a great example as it blows everything other similarly priced laptops out of the water both in terms of performance and features.
Design and Build Quality
Acer laptops are not the most aesthetically pleasing and perhaps this is the reason for the lack of consumer interest in the brand. Still, regardless the Predator Helios has some elements that signify its gaming roots. On the lid, you have a predator logo and 2 boomerang-shaped cuts that are plastered in blue color. The logo of the laptop is also lit up in the same color.
Blue is the theme here and we also see ventilation ports anodized in blue color. Opening the lid which is very smooth by the way reveals a simple keyboard deck area with ventilation ports at the top.
The simple and purposeful approach also continues to the build quality of the laptop. The Acer Predator Helios will not blow you away with its build but the use of aluminum in key areas is quite reassuring in the long run.
These areas are the lid and the keyboard deck while the rest of the laptop is made from ABS plastic. That said the laptop still feels very robust though. Perhaps this has something to do with the in-hand feel of the product. Nevertheless, this is a well-made laptop and can certainly escape a few nicks.
Keyboard, Trackpad, and Speakers
Acer Predator Helios 300 has a great feeling keyboard. The strokes are swift and tactile while maintaining enough travel for comfortable typing. All the RGB lovers out there rejoice as Acer has also not skimped on the RGB and this laptop has per-key customization as well through the Predator Sense software. Oh, and how can we forget that the software gets its dedicated key on the keyboard.
The trackpad is big and purposeful continuing the utilitarian theme. It has a smooth surface and uses Microsoft precision drivers. There is nothing more to be said here and this trackpad will get the job done when you are not using a mouse.
The bottom-firing speakers of the Acer Predator Helios 300 are the same other laptops in the price range meaning nothing special. You are better off using headphones or speakers or gaming and only use these speakers in a pinch.
Display, Battery life, and Ports
The Display is a strong suit of this laptop. It has an IPS panel that supports a refresh rate of 144hz at 1080p. Surprisingly the panel here also has decent brightness coming in at over 350 nits. The brightness is not the only thing, and the color accuracy is also good. Most laptops at this price point do not offer many good panel figures so kudos to Acer on incorporating a nice panel for once.
From the strongest point of the laptop directly to the weakest that has to be the battery life. Acer with the latest generation refresh has not bothered to increase the battery capacity of the laptop leading to a battery backup of only 5 hours with browsing and playing YouTube videos. Gaming on this machine with fully deplete the battery in an hour. This is not great especially when the trend now has shifted towards long-lasting gaming laptops.
The port situation on this laptop is satisfactory here and the power plug is conveniently positioned in the back of the laptop so charging the laptop is no hassle. As for the other ports, you get an ethernet jack, 3.5mm combo headphone audio/mic jack, Mini Display port, HDMI, USB-C Gen 3.2 port with thunderbolt support, and 3x USB-A ports.
Gaming Performance and Thermals
With Acer Predator Helios you are getting top-notch specs, so performance is not an issue. The laptop is powered by the 11th generation Intel i7 11800h. This i7 is an 8 core and 16 thread processor.
Performing the graphical duties is Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card. This card comes from the latest generation of graphics cards Nvidia has to offer. It has a beast performer depending on the cooling of the laptop.
Having these specs in your laptop is easy but the difficulty is when it comes to cooling them. Acer has done a good job here in the cooling department and this laptop manages to contain the temperature of the graphics card and the CPU below the thermal threshold. We seldom saw any throttling which is a sign that both the components are running at their optimal configuration.
In terms of real-world performance, this laptop will not only run any game you throw at it but also offer high fps in the given game. Having a 144hz screen here really does justice to the hardware as this laptop easily pushes part the 100fps mark in most games.
As far as the other specs as concerned, the Acer Predator Helios 300 has 16GB in a dual-channel configuration. The storage you have to work with is 512GB but there is an additional M2 slot that can be easily accessed to increase storage space. One thing we really liked is that this laptop has a WIFI 6 card. If you don’t know WIFI 6 is the latest standard, and it is good to see manufacturers including this.
Should You buy the Acer Predator Helios 300
Acer Predator Helios 300 is pretty much a dependable laptop you can count on for all your gaming needs. This laptop is as purposeful as a mainstream gaming laptop will get.
The two main selling points of this laptop include its clean and simple design and powerful gaming performance. If you are tired of the more flashy-looking laptops and want a solid and reliable daily companion by your side then check this Predator Helios 300 out.