The Helios 300 from Acer may be best known as a god of portable gaming, with good reason. Its size is unprecedented compared to other gaming laptops, but in exchange it offers incredible power and connectivity.
With a 10th Gen Intel processor, an Nvidia RTX 3060, and a blazing fast 1080p display, this device can easily tackle even the most demanding of tasks.
For gamers on the go, the Helios 300 is the ultimate choice. Its price of $1188 might seem steep, but the sheer power and capability that comes with it are well worth the cost. If you want the best in gaming power and portability, the Helios 300 is it.
Acer Predator Helios 300 Review And Break Down
- Display: 15.6-inch IPS (3ms), 300-nits
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080, 240Hz
- Processor: Corei7-10750H
- Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
- Memory: 16 GB LPDDR5, 4800 MHz (upgradeable to 32GB)
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- Storage: 512 GB NVMe SSD
- Webcam: 1080p
- Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with PD, Thunderbolt 4 and USB charging, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 with Power Off Charging, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 , 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x HDMI 2.1 w/HDCP support, 1 x Mini Display 1.4, 1 x RJ45 Ethernet, 1 x headset combo port, 1 x Kensington Lock
- Connectivity: Killer Ethernet E2600 10/100/1000, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery: 90 wHr
- Dimensions: 14.15 x 10.88 x 0.98 (WxDxH)
- Weight: 5.51-pounds
- Price: $1188
Design Of The Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is the perfect combination of style and performance. Its two-tone black exterior and sleek aluminum lid make it stand out from the crowd. On the lid, the subtle yet iconic Predator logo adds an unmistakeable gaming aesthetic.
When you open the laptop, you are greeted with an incredible per-key RGB backlit keyboard, allowing you to customize your keyboard set up as desired. Furthermore, the light bar on the front edge of the bottom brings a modern flair to its design.
The 15.6-inch display of the Acer Predator laptop is surrounded by a thick plastic bezel, featuring the iconic Predator logo in the center.
Finished with a premium aluminum palm rest and polished edges around the touchpad, the appearance is definitely striking.
Above the keyboard there is an extra grille for ventilation, along with a turbo button, allowing you to overclock your device in an instant.
Speaking of performance, Acer has equipped the Predator with one of the most powerful hardware specs in its price range, ensuring an unparalleled gaming experience.
The Acer Predator laptop features numerous ports in several locations around the device. On the left side, you’ll find a Kensington lock slot, Ethernet port, USB Type-A port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
On the right side, two more Type-A ports can be found, one with power-off charging capabilities. Most of the ports, however, are located on the back.
There, you’ll find a port for the power adapter, a Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI 2.1 connector and a Mini DisplayPort. The back is also decorated with two vents that allow the Predator to stay well-ventilated.
Keyboard And Touchpad
The typing experience on the Acer Predator Helios’ keyboard was great! The keystrokes were incredibly responsive and fast, and even though the number pad slightly skews the keys to the left I found myself very comfortable when typing.
I was able to achieve an impressive score of 60 words per minute on 10fastfingers with only two wrong words and 94.03% accuracy.
Additionally, there’s a handy ‘Predator’ key on the Numpad to launch the PredatorSense app which provides access to a range of customization options.
I really enjoyed using the touchpad with its sleek, glossy outer coating and silky surface. It was highly responsive to my gestures and felt just right under my fingertips.
I could definitely feel the quality and precision. While the touchpad would be quite suitable for everyday use, its dimensions of 4.2 x 3.1 inches make it a bit too small for gaming.
As such, if you’re looking for a great gaming experience, it’s best to invest in a dedicated gaming mouse for optimal results.
RGB Light Keyboard
The PredatorSense utility, activated through a special key, is a powerful tool for monitoring system temperatures, customizing the backlit keyboard with multicolor animated patterns, and toggling settings such as the keyboard lighting timeout and a clashing startup sound.
Moreover, PredatorSense offers four performance modes: Quiet, Default, Extreme, and Turbo. By selecting Extreme, you can enjoy the benefits of CPU and GPU overclocking and enhanced cooling fan noise.
We used Extreme for our benchmark tests, although we did try the Quiet mode to reduce fan noise and energy consumption.
This keyboard has its pros and cons on one hand, it features dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys, a numeric keypad, Escape, and Delete.
However, the keys are rather small, and the typing feel has a soft, shallow feel that isn’t always very responsive.
As for the touchpad, its chrome-trimmed and buttonless surface provides a smooth gliding and tapping experience. However, the clicking action is difficult to do except at the very bottom.
Featuring a typical blurriness, the webcam offers a 720p resolution and no privacy shutter. The result is images that are vivid with an appropriate level of lighting and some noise or static present.
The camera also supports Acer’s Purified.Voice noise canceling technology, which helps reduce background noise during video calls.
Overall, the webcam quality is average and it’s enough for casual video calls, but not suitable for any professional use.
Sound And Screen Quality
A speaker grille located above the keyboard produces relatively soft, yet distinguished sound. Although bass may at times be difficult to make out, users can make out overlapping tracks thanks to its detailed audio composition.
For those looking to make their audio experience even more immersive, DTS:X Ultra software offers an equalizer and various preset options for music, movies, voice, and gaming genres such as RPG and shooter.
Other preinstalled utilities include PhotoDirector and PowerDirector for photo and video editing, Dropbox and ExpressVPN for increased privacy and security online, and Planet9, Acer’s gaming community, which offers exclusive promotions.
Our test unit comes preinstalled with Windows 10 Home, however Acer is now offering the system upgraded with Windows 11 so you can enjoy the most current Windows version.
The Predator’s display offers remarkable visuals, boasting vivid and highly saturated colors, excellent contrast, and clear details.
The viewing angles are incredibly broad and whites on the screen appear bright and not grayish, providing a true-to-life experience.
In comparison, the Nitro 5’s 1080p screen is more average and underwhelming, though it can be purchased at a much lower cost than the Predator’s.
Graphics And Gaming Tests
We use two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark – Night Raid and Time Spy – to comprehensively evaluate the graphical performance of Windows PCs.
Night Raid is specifically designed to be less demanding, perfect for laptops with integrated graphics. On the other hand, Time Spy requires more robust hardware and is designed for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs.
We also run two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which is designed to test the performance of both low-level graphics routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering.
The Aztec Ruins and Car Chase tests are rendered offscreen and are designed to push the boundaries of graphics and compute shaders as they both use the OpenGL programming interface as well as hardware tessellation.
Ultimately, the more frames per second (fps) are achieved in GFXBench 5, the better it is in terms of performance.
The different display resolutions that are tested in the benchmarks give an accurate representation of how the GPU will handle a variety of different graphics-intensive scenarios.
To further assess the performance of the gaming cards we tested, we ran three actual games- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Rainbow Six Siege, and F1 2021.
We used the built-in 1080p benchmarks for each game and then ran each benchmark twice- with different image quality presets applied to Valhalla and Rainbow. We also ran F1 2021 with and without Nvidia’s DLSS anti-aliasing technology.
Through this, we were able to test how well each card handled each game at a variety of settings to ensure the best gaming experience possible.
The Predator’s GeForce RTX 3070 emerged as the clear winner in this GPU showdown. While the XPG Xenia didn’t offer a stellar performance in real-world gaming, the three RTX 3060 laptops the Predator, HP Victus, and the Nitro 5 all performed admirably.
The Predator in particular led the way, taking the top spot in the less demanding 3DMark Night Raid subtest and competing neck to neck with the HP Victus in other events.
On the other hand, the more budget-friendly Nitro 5 rounded out the pack, providing great value for budget-minded gamers.
All in all, the GeForce RTX 3070 has proven itself to be a powerful rival in the gaming GPU market.
For video editing and podcasting tasks, even the Predator’s quad-core AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor and 16GB of RAM churned through our tasks with ease.
The laptop completed our 4K HEVC video editing benchmark in 159 seconds, outpacing the competition by a noticeable margin. And it rendered an 8-minute podcast in just over two minutes as well.
Battery And Display
Once our battery tests are initiated, we ensure that the laptop under examination has been fully charged and set the display brightness to 50%, audio volume to 100%, and the power mode to Default rather than Extreme.
We make sure to switch off Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting as well. To measure battery life, we play the open-source Blender movie ‘Tears of Steel’ with a locally stored 720p resolution video file. This test accurately reflects the laptop’s battery life in a real-world scenario.
In addition to our in-house color-matching expertise, we rely on Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and software to measure a laptop screen’s color saturation.
We use these tools to accurately check for a display’s conpersion of sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts, as well as its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per square meter). By using state-of-the-art technology, we ensure that our customers get the highest quality of prints.
With a battery life that is decent if not remarkable, the Helios 300 stands out from its peers due to its superb color range and brightness. It has one of the two or three best screens among laptops in this category.
Heat On Acer Predator Helios 300
Our rigorous stress test on the Metro Exodus game revealed some interesting results – the Acer Predator Helios 300 laptop quickly became quite toasty!
Our thermometer readings near the center of the keyboard between G and H keys registered 107.78 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the touchpad reading was slightly cooler at 85.82 degrees.
Unsurprisingly, the hottest point on the laptop was observed to be at the bottom, where the thermometer registered a scorching 143.6 degrees Fahrenheit!
Considering that human body temperature is normally around 98°F, this is indeed a very hot spot to be touching particularly when gaming for extended periods of time.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is an affordable yet stylish gaming laptop that offers great value for money. Not only is this laptop packed with gaming features, it is also constructed with quality materials, making it surprisingly robust.
You can even take it anywhere you like, although its hefty weight can prove to be quite an inconvenience. With a price tag that’s lower than most gaming laptops, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is definitely the best option for anyone on a tight budget.
Although the Predator placed second and third in a majority of our testing benchmarks, it did not take top honors for gaming or productivity. Additionally, its audio quality, weight distribution, and webcam performance could benefit from some improvements.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a good choice if you’re looking to save some money, but there are even better alternatives such as the Legion. It’s similarly equipped with similar components and additional USB-C ports so that it can deliver improved performance for an unbeatable price! All in all, despite its competitors performing close by, the Predator remains a solid pick.