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

This powerful, versatile and affordable laptop is rugged enough for a high school esports program.

When I told some of my middle school students I would be reviewing the Acer Predator Helios 300, their eyes lit up. 

They all agreed the laptop has a great reputation within the gaming community. 

The Helios 300 is a gaming laptop designed to be not only affordable but also powerful enough to handle the rigors of a high school esports program

With a gunmetal finish, black with red accents — even the WASD keys are outlined in red — and geometric tapered edges, the aggressive styling of the Helios 300 is a real head turner. 

Red backlighting on the keyboard adds a splash of color while greatly enhancing the device’s overall aesthetic. The keys are comfortably spaced and feel great.

MORE FROM EDTECH: Check out how esports programs are popping up in K–12 schools.

Predator Helios Offers Easily Customizable Features

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 device is outfitted with 16 gigabytes of DDR4 memory and a 256GB solid-state drive, which accelerate boot-up times and data transmissions. 

Rounding out the package is Intel’s 8th Generation Core i7 8750H 2.2-gigahertz processor, providing outstanding game play with six cores using hyperthreading. 

Garwood

The Helios 300 features PredatorSense, Acer’s gaming control panel, which allows gamers to monitor their CPU and GPU use and customize the system for optimal gaming performance. For example, there are three fan settings: auto, max and custom. 

Auto, the default setting, allows sensors to set the fans’ speeds. The max setting forces both fans to rotate at about 6000 rpm. The custom setting provides manual control over each fan.

The all-metal AeroBlade 3D fans offer advanced aerodynamics and adequate airflow. IT pros will appreciate how quick and easy it is to upgrade the RAM as well as the hard drive, both of which are located behind compartment doors on the underside of the chassis — simply remove the covers and exchange the parts. 

A Gaming Laptop with Software Options Galore

An added benefit of choosing a laptop with such a fast processor and powerful graphics card is the ability to run other demanding software applications, such as Adobe Creative Cloud apps. 

For example, Adobe Premiere Pro video editing software requires 8GB of RAM and recommends 16GB, so the Helios 300 is more than up to the task.

The Helios 300’s connectivity checks another box for versatility. The right side of the device has two USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack. 

On the left side is a dedicated charging port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, one USB 3.1 Type-C (5 gigabits per second), one USB 3.0 Type-A and an SD card reader.

Holds Up Well Under Pressure

While testing the Helios 300, I downloaded Steam, a platform that distributes digital games. From Steam, I downloaded Smite, a free-to-play, third-person multiplayer online arena-battle video game. 

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

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 just felt warm to the touch. I also did not experience any lag or dropped frames, which can occur due to thermal throttling.

The Helios 300 can arguably be considered a desktop replacement — when connected by an AC adapter. 

While testing, I unplugged the AC 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.”

Other similarly priced laptops offer comparable specs for CPU, GPU and RAM, but not many boast a 144-hertz IPS display, which means this laptop can render 144 frames per second. That’s fast. 

Some competitors offer 60Hz, while some raise the stakes to 120Hz, which is impressive — but 144Hz is remarkable. 

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

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Processor: Core i7 8th Gen
OS: Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
Display: 17.3-inch IPS 1920x1080 (Full HD 144Hz)
Weight: 6.6 pounds
Dimensions: 11.4x17x1.1 inches

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Oct 12 2019

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