REVIEW: Acer Predator Helios 300
The gaming industry continues to flourish, and despite the fact that mobile and the cloud are giving traditional playing methods a good run for their money, nothing beats the way the game is played on the latter.
Acer recently introduced some of its latest gaming gizmos; among them is the Predator Helios 300, a really imposing machine that can be considered a 'budget' higher-end laptop.
Now there are quite a number of Predator Helios 300 models, so we want to be specific: the model we have for review is the PH315-52-700L.
Ports are littered throughout the sides. On the left are crevices for two USBs, an RJ-45 and 3.5mm audio, while on the right are one each of USB-C, MiniDisplay and HDMI, plus an additional USB that doubles as a power-off charging port. On either side is a ventilation and cooling fan. Two mics are on either side of the webcam on top.
Going to the keyboard, I can say it's quite imposing when you look at it - though I find the number pad on the right a little bit cramped. The trackpad is placed further to the left, which would force users to adjust, especially those who are used to having it at dead-centre. On the upper-left area is a turbo button, which will allow you to switch overclocking and fan speed levels.
Within the number pad is the PredatorSense button, which launches the app and allows you to monitor your CPU and GPU use, plus do some customisation, including defining hotkeys, user profiles and turning your keyboard backlight into a rainbow of your choice.
In our standard test, the Predator Helios 300 lost 18 per cent of life in its battery saver mode. That's quite a lot, but considering it's listed up to six-hour battery life, you may choose to keep its charger always on standby.
That's because when you start gaming, you may lose track of time; the graphics are solid and the flow is smooth. However, this machine does heat up quite quickly - and a lot. Though there are lots of fans everywhere, they're also a bit on the noisy side. PredatorSense fixes some things up - controlling the fan, chiefly - but that still won't completely eliminate the heat. Consequently, if you decide to go all-out, know that it may affect gameplay.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 looks good, feels good and performs well. Its biggest issue is its heating, even if there's a cooling system and software to deal with it. It's also a bit heavy for carrying around when you want to duke it out with your friends. In any case - especially to those dedicated gamers - this laptop is a fairly good deal, given its specs and price point.
Chipset: Intel Core i7-9750H, 2.60GHz hexa-core
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti, up to 6GB dedicated
Platform: Windows 10 Home
Display: 15.6" LCD IPS, 1920 x 1080, 144Hz refresh
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
I/O: USB (3), USB-C, MiniDisplay, HDMI, RJ-45, 3.5mm audio
Battery: 4-cell 3815mAh, up to 6h
Pros: Solid build, lots of customisation options, good specs
up a lot and
affects gameplay, short battery life