The Good The Nvidia 1060 graphics card can be overclocked and cooled by a patented ultra-thin fan. For a 17-inch VR-ready gaming laptop, the price is very reasonable.
The Bad You can find the same GPU in 15-inch systems that cost less. The screen only has a standard resolution of 1 920×180, and it does not actually appear. Part of the plastic body is yawning.
The Bottom Line You can find similar components in a smaller size, but Acer packs many unique features – and a large screen – for the average Predator Helios 300.
The Helios 300 Acer laptop included in the Predator game line is very large. It’s a quiet name at first. It’s reasonably priced, though not the least expensive laptop you can get with these parts. Inside is a patented cooling fan called AeroBlade, which Acer claims is the world’s thinnest metal fan (blades only 0.1 mm thick). And perhaps thanks to this slim, powerful fan, it includes the Nvidia GeForce 1060 default overclocking software.
This does not mean that it will become our gaming laptop. As it aims to sit closer to the budget end of the Acer’s Predator lineup (making over $ 9,000 Predator 21X), it’s not the fastest, most popular gaming laptop we’ve ever seen. The housing is semi-metal and semi-plastic and does not feel particularly high class; its appearance is aggressively understandable, at least by gaming laptop standards.
Cool extras like software overclocking and a special AeroBlade fan are only available in the 17-inch version of the Helios 300, which costs $ 1,400. This makes it one of the most affordable 17-inch gaming laptops you can buy.
There is a more conventional 15-inch version of Jane with the same CPU / GPU combo available for $ 1,100. It is a little more crowded field, p Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 while others are about the same price, or even a couple of hundred less.
Acer Predator Helios 300
|Price as reviewed||$1,399|
|Display size/resolution||17.3-inch 1,920×1,080 display|
|PC CPU||2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ|
|PC Memory||16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
So many of the gaming laptops we reviewed this year were 15-inch models, thanks in part to more powerful, more efficient processors and graphics cards, which make it much easier to bring premium performance into the mid-sized laptop body.
But sometimes you just need a big screen. Outside of a very small handful of 18-inch laptops (and that 21-inch model, also from Acer), a standard 16.3-inch 17.3-inch display is about as big as you’re about to get.
This is an IPS display, so it doesn’t wear off when you don’t look at it directly (which can happen with budget gaming laptops). Standard resolution is in full HD, 1 920×1,080, and though you might think that a 17-inch screen requires more pixels, such as a 4K display, it’s actually the perfect place for battery life and mid-range camcorder performance.
The screen itself has a matte finish that I always appreciate, even on a gaming laptop. It reduces glare and glare but does not get particularly bright. Downsizing speakers are also not particularly hefty.
The keyboard has bright red WASD key illumination and main red backlight, but no more sophisticated custom lighting that can be found on laptops from Razer and others.
Plug and play
It seems that the ports of today on many laptops are played out, even on large ones. You get more than average, including one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, one USB-C (USB 3.1), plus Ethernet, HDMI, audio, and SD cards. This may sound very similar (especially for MacBook owners that have one USB-C port), but plug in an Oculus Rift that requires all three USB ports, and you can’t connect a USB mouse or gamepad unless you’re using a USB adapter- C to USB-A
But once you get everything connected, the real question is how well Helios plays games. In the Nvidia 1050, 1060, 1070 and 1080 GPUs set, it landed right in the middle of the pack, a little better than I expected. In practical use, basic computer games are played smoothly with full resolution and eight high and medium settings, such as the capricious and detail-rich new Observer cyberpunk thriller. VR through Oculus Rift also worked well in games including Lone Echo and Superhot VR.
GPU overclocking through Acer’s own software interface is a great way to squeeze a little extra performance out of the very common GeForce 1060 GPU, but in practice it only added a couple of extra frames per second to the games we tried A / B with. The same software also contains fan controls, but it is also normal to leave them in automatic mode.
Battery life was surprisingly good for a 5:12 big-screen gaming laptop during our battery drain test in streaming video. But note that the actual playing time away from the socket will be much lower.
Stuck in the middle
Although the 17-inch Helios 300 is a laptop with low prices for a large photo, you can also get similar performance and features for much less. Laptops with Nvidia 1060 GPUs can be found for $ 999, so if the price is your main motivation, look elsewhere. There are also several gaming laptops, such as the HP Omen 17t, which offer a step up to the better Nvidia 1070 GPU for about $ 200 more.
This means that throwing a few hundred extra pounds on the heap will give you a bigger display, a decent Core i7 processor, a solid 512GB SSD plus 16GB of RAM, and a fairly efficient cooling system thanks to this AeroBlade fan. This model provides good gaming and battery time, but is also a bit stuck in the middle – not cheap enough to really be a budget gaming company, but not high enough to compete with premium systems.
|Acer Predator Helios 300||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060; 512GB SSD|
|Lenovo Legion Y720||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060; 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|Alienware 17 R4||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080; 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|HP Omen (17-inch)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD|