For testing, I chose Acer Predator Helios 300 model with 4-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and SSD 512 GB for $ 1,300. The maximum resolution of the 17.3-inch screen is 1920 × 1080 pixels.
Design by Acer Predator Helios 300
At Predator Helios 300 the usual gamer design is almost entirely black body with red accents. On the cover you will find a matte plastic surface with the Predator logo and two metallic red lines.
The ventilation holes on the rear panel have an angular design, and the red stripes on the top and bottom further emphasize them. Cooling system Acer Predator Helios 300 runs through the bottom of the laptop, so during stressful games it is better not to put the laptop on your knees.
At the bottom of the laptop are screwed caps that provide quick access to two slots of RAM (expandable to 32 GB) and a compartment for a second 2.5-inch drive with SATA 3 interface.
The controls are also highlighted in red – the touchpad and WASD keys. The triangular edges along the top of the screen and on the front panel underscore the angular design of the entire gaming device.
Connectors and Ports
On the left side of the Predator Helios 300 there is an Ethernet port, one USB 3.1 3.1 Gen1 Type-C connector, one USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A and an HDMI port, and an SD card reader. On the right there is only a headphone jack and two USB 2.0 Type-A ports. Wireless connections include Wireless AC with speeds up to 867 Mbps and Bluetooth 4.1.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Around the recessed keyboard Acer Predator Helios 300 a lot of unused space. There are no separate macro keys, there are no mechanical switches, the only gaming design elements are red WASD keys and a backlight of the same color. The backlight of the keyboard is not adjustable here, it can only be turned on or off.
The thin red line around the Predator Helios 300 touchpad is not illuminated. This touchpad from Acer with Windows Precision Touchpad certification has a smooth, dark surface. The cursor moves easily and quickly, gestures are available.
Acer Predator Helios 300 screen
The panel frames here are slightly stronger than on the EVGA SC17 1080, but they are not as thick as on the Alienware 17 R4 laptop. Between the screen and the keyboard you see an ugly gap. The image quality of the laptop compensates for the design flaws. Saturated and deep colors are very impressive – especially inky black.
However, if you compare the display Acer Predator Helios 300 with the screens of other gaming laptops, Predator in some respects they are inferior. For example, the contrast ratio is 640: 1 – less than on the Razer Blade, HP Omen 15 and Acer Predator 15 G9-593. But it is more than on MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro with a contrast of 610: 1.
Covered only 71% of the Adobe RGB color space, which is too small for professional graphics. The color rendering of the Helios 300 is also not as accurate as the Origin EON15-S or HP Omen 15, although, more precisely, than the Razer Blade and Acer 15 G9-5493.
Speakers and sound
On both sides of the Acer Predator Helios 300 touchpad there is one speaker, and one is located above the keyboard. Because of their strange arrangement, the sound comes from below and goes past the ears.
The sound will always be muted if the laptop is on the surface. The effect of stereo sound is also not there, sometimes tinny notes also break through. If the acoustics were in the keyboard area, the quality would be higher.
Processor and performance in tests
The Acer Predator Helios 300 has a 4-core mobile processor Intel Core i7-7700HQ with a base frequency of 2.8 GHz, which can be overclocked to a maximum of 3.8 GHz.
In the single-core Geekbench 4 test mode, the laptop scored 4599 points and outperformed the Origin EON15-S, Razer Blade and HP Omen 15 with the same processor. But, in the multi-core – lagged behind all.
Helios 300 for 472 seconds coped with video conversion in the Handbrake test, slightly losing to Razer Blade and HP Omen 15, but ahead of Predator 15 G9-593 with the outdated Core i7-6700HQ.
The read speed of SSD-drive Acer Predator Helios 300 is 1153 MB / s, the write speed – 592 MB / s. For comparison, the speed of reading and writing SSD from Razer Blade is 1261 and 312 MB / s, respectively. Both are far from drives with PCI Express interface.
To reduce the price, Acer had to save on the volume. 512 GB of memory is not enough for a gaming laptop, but there is a special compartment for adding a 2.5-inch hard drive or a second SSD.
Games on the laptop
Utility Acer PredatorSense allows you to overclock only the graphics card GTX 1060, so do not expect a phenomenal increase in performance. There are three modes: Normal, Faster and Turbo.
Unfortunately, the keyboard Predator Helios 300 does not have special keys for speed control. When testing in 3DMark Fire Strike, our laptop in Turbo mode scored 10 222 points, in Faster – 10 112 points, in Normal – 10 090 points. Decent results.
In the game For Honor with a resolution of 1080p and medium detail, the Acer Predator Helios 300 outperformed the Razer Blade, HP Omen 15 and Origin EON15-S. Domination remained at extreme settings – in Turbo mode the average frequency was 73.42 frames per second (fps).
In Battlefield 1 on medium settings, in Full HD format and with Turbo enabled, Helios 300 lost only MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro. In Normal mode, the laptop showed a frame rate higher than the Acer Predator 15 G9-593, but below the HP Omen 15 with the GTX 1060 Max-Q. At the ultra-adjustments in this game, the tested equipment with a frequency of 85 fps outstripped all competitors.
Game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided loads the system harder. With a resolution of 1080p and high detail, the monitored laptop in Turbo mode showed only 54 fps, losing to Acer Predator 15 G9-593 and MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro. If you increase the detail to the maximum, in the same mode Predator Helios 300 will give 36 frames per second and will yield to most competitors.
In Civilization VI with medium settings, the frame rate was maintained at around 52 fps in all modes – less than HP Omen 15, Razer Blade, MSI GS63VR and Acer Predator 15. At ultra frame rate, it dropped to 46 fps.
The Display and Video items are not displayed on the NVIDIA control panel, which means that the GTX 1060 is not the default video card. In the BIOS, you can not select a GPU either, users will not be able to change the resolution settings or create their own. In general, the BIOS on the Helios 300 is clearly not made for gamers – the mouse is not supported, and there is no overclocking possibility for the processor or video cards.
Portability of equipment
Despite the performance, the gaming laptop should always remain compact. At Acer Predator Helios 300 with it everything is all right – it weighs 3 kg, and its thickness is only 29 mm.
For comparison, the weight of Alienware 17 R4 is 4.5 kg, the thickness is 30 mm. Razer Blade is 7 mm thinner, but almost 0.6 kg heavier than the laptop I’m testing from Acer.
In the iMacro test on Chrome, the Predator Helios 300 was discharged in 327 minutes. This is less than the result of Razer Blade, but more MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, Acer Predator 15 G9-593 or HP Omen 15.
When playing a looped video, the Helios 300 lasted 381 minutes, the Razer Blade – 412 minutes, when the rest – much less.
Software Acer Predator Helios 300
The PredatorSense application allows you to control the processor and graphics chip, as well as adjust the fan speed and overclock the Acer Predator Helios 300 video card.
The rest of the preinstalled programs on the laptop are less useful, and to increase performance it is necessary to remove them from the autorun. Microsoft Office 2016 (trial version), Acer Care Center, Acer Documents, Acer Recovery Management, Acer Collection and many other applications are frankly superfluous.
In addition to the four Windows 10 gaming utilities, XSplit Gamecaster and World of Warships are installed here.
The top components, overclocking capability of GTX 1060, stylish design, compactness and durable battery make Acer Predator Helios 300 an excellent gaming laptop for $ 1,300. The GeForce GTX 1060 is a decent graphics card for running games with a resolution of 1080p.
However, the entire Nvidia GeForce GTX 10 series will be replaced in 2018 by a new generation. The processor is relatively new, so it will remain relevant for several more years.
Are there alternatives?
Razer Blade by some parameters is better than the tested laptop from Acer, but it has a small 14-inch screen, and the price is $1900.
In notebooks with Core i7-7700HQ and GTX 1060, the screen diagonal is generally 15.6-inches. Acer offers a larger display and the same components at a lower price, so it outperforms competitors.
Advantages of Acer Predator Helios 300
- Gamer Design
- Hardy Battery
- High performance
Disadvantages of Predator Helios 300
- The gap between the screen and the base
- Incorrect speaker placement
- Gaming laptop