Sep 24 2019

Review: Power Up with the Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

This powerful and affordable gaming laptop delivers versatility to competitive gamers

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a gaming laptop designed to be not only affordable but also powerful enough to handle the rigors of a collegiate esports program.

Black with a burnished finish, geometric tapered edges and red accents (even the WASD keys are outlined in red), aggressive styling makes the Helios 300 a real head turner. 

A red-backlit keyboard adds a splash of color, and the keys are comfortably spaced and feel great to type on.

The Helios 300 stands out from standard laptops in three key areas: graphics card, processor and memory. 

By incorporating an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, the Helios 300 delivers brilliant performance in the most graphics-rich gaming environments, including virtual reality applications.

The machine is outfitted with 16 gigabytes of DDR4 memory and a 256GB solid-state drive, features that accelerate boot-up times and increase data transit. 

Rounding out the package is Intel’s powerful 8th Generation Core i7 8750H 2.2GHz processor, which provides outstanding game play using six cores with hyper­-­threading. 

MORE FROM EDTECH: When investing in esports computers, be sure to look under the hood at the CPU.

A Laptop Designed to Let Users Game Faster, for Longer

The Helios 300 features PredatorSense, Acer’s gaming control panel, which allows gamers to monitor CPU and GPU usage as well as customize the system for optimal performance

For example, it has three fan settings: Auto, the default, lets the computer sense and then set the fans’ speeds; Max forces both fans to rotate around 6,000 rpm; and Custom enables individual control over each fan.

The all-metal AeroBlade 3D fans offer advanced aerodynamics and adequate airflow. 

IT professionals will appreciate the ability to easily upgrade the RAM and the hard drive, both of which are located behind a pair of compartment doors on the underside of the chassis. 

Acer Predator Helios 300 Product Review

Simply remove the covers and exchange the parts for quick and easy upgrades.

Another important feature that highlights the versatility of the Helios 300 is its connectivity

The right side has two USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack. The left side has a dedicated charging port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (5Gbps), one USB 3.0 Type-A and an SD card reader.

As more colleges launch esports programs, students and coaches are on the lookout for equipment that won’t let them down in the heat of competition

The Predator Helios 300 would be a welcome addition to the team. 

Varcity Esports Infographic

Helios 300 Stands Up to the Task

During testing, I downloaded Steam, a video game digital distribution platform. I then downloaded Smite, a free, third-person multiplayer online battle arena video game. 

I played several arena battles over the course of a couple hours and was impressed with the Helios 300’s performance. 

To push the system, I set all the video options — world, texture, shadow, particle detail and shader quality — to maximum. As soon as the battle began, the fans turned on (and stayed on) throughout all subsequent matches. 

All gaming laptops get hot, but I found the Helios 300 dissipated heat quite well. After playing several games, the underside of the laptop only felt warm to the touch. In addition, I didn’t experience any of the lag or dropped frames that can occur due to thermal throttling.

The Helios 300 can arguably be considered a desktop replacement — that is, when plugged in to AC power. 

During testing, I unplugged the AC power adapter and was greeted by a message from Acer’s gaming control panel: “GPU overclocking has been stopped. Please plug in the AC adapter to resume overclocking.”

While similarly priced laptops offer comparable specs in CPU, GPU and RAM, few can boast a 144-hertz IPS display. At 144 frames per second, that’s fast. 

Some competitors offer 60 hertz, and others raise the stakes to an impressive 120 hertz, but 144 hertz is remarkable

With a supercharged refresh rate, the Helios 300 delivers ultra-smooth 2D motion scenes and lower input lag, which ultimately provides gamers with an amazing in-game experience.

Acer Predator Helios 300

  • Installed Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Processor: Core i7 8th Generation
  • Installed OS: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Display: 17.3-inch IPS 1920x1080 (Full HD 144 hertz)

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