Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop Review
Acer’s Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop performs creditably well on the gaming aspect, which may be enough for some users in and of itself. It does, however, throw up a few challenges which may make it an uncomfortable fit for others.
In terms of design and performance, the Predator Helios 300 offers no real surprises, in the sense that it doesn’t stray too far from what we’ve come to expect from Acer. With a GeForce RTX 3070 laptop GPU, a powerful Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a vibrant 15.6-inch, 240Hz display, the Acer Predator Helios 300 executes most gaming (and a lot of other) tasks with almost maximum efficiency.
On the flip side, the fans can get really loud, and the laptop tends to overheat when it has to do really heavy lifting. As you might expect, these issues put a heavy strain on the laptop’s battery and it consequently ranks firmly on the middle scale of the spectrum in terms of battery performance.
All things considered, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is very solidly built, and there are few complaints about its performance, making it a decent choice. Especially if you can overlook its clumsy speakers.
Acer Predator Helios 300 Design and Appearance
Acer didn’t see any need to overhaul the design of the Predator Helios 300, so it looks similar to other Predator laptops. This model reiterates the traditional partial aluminum build of Predator laptops, complete with the Predator logo at the center and a single blue bracket at each side of the logo.
Under the screen, there’s a large touchpad on the deck, along with an edge-to-edge keyboard and several vents beneath the hinge. The laptop boasts a solid build and the lid can be lifted with one hand. However, it weighs considerably more than other models in its category, which may make it a bit more difficult to carry around.
You’ll find enough ports on the sides of the Acer Predator Helios 300 to get most of your needs met. On the left side, there are two USB Type-A ports, an Ethernet port, a headphone jack, and a Kensington lock slot. Flip to the other side and you’ll find a USB Type-C port, a USB Type-A port, an HDMI port, and a Mini DisplayPort. The power jack is conveniently placed at the back of the laptop, and this design effectively eliminates the possibility of the power chord becoming entangled with your gamepad wires and disrupting gaming.
Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) Specs
|Size||14.3 x 10 x 0.9 inches|
|Display||15.6-inch, 1080p, 240Hz|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-10750H|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070|
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard of the Acer Helios 300 is just about what you’d expect from a gaming laptop. The keys are pretty solid and well-spaced, although the auditory feedback they provide when pressed isn’t very satisfying, and you’ll have to depress them completely in order to register a command.
The laptop’s keyboard also sports four-zone illumination which works pretty well. While per-key backlighting will always be more impressive, this one is just good enough to serve its purpose. If you’d like to fully customize the lighting, Acer’s PredatorSense app places control of each zone’s light configuration in your hands. There’s a dedicated button on the number pad that allows quick and easy access to the app.
As we said earlier, Acer leaves no room for doubt that this is primarily a gaming laptop, and the deeper grooves on the WASD and arrow-key clusters reinforce this. As a trade-off, typing on this laptop’s keyboard is far from a smooth experience. Moving on, the touchpad is buttonless and interprets most actions smoothly and accurately, although some users may find its surface to be ultra-sensitive and tough to work with.
Display and Audio
There can hardly be any complaints with this laptop’s 1920x1080p, 15.6-inch display. With a refresh rate of 240Hz, the Acer Predator Helios 300 provides an engaging, smooth, and colorful gaming experience. This high refresh rate means it can handle most of the more demanding games such as The Witcher 3 and Age of Empires pretty comfortably. For the less intense titles and Esport games, expect a run speed of more than 100 frames per second.
In addition to its seamless performance, the Helios 300 also delivers pretty stunning graphics. The color and image rendition are both superb, and a bright display ensures that you don’t miss out on much of the details during gameplay.
Our tests reveal that the screen has a color accuracy delta-E of 0.32 and can attain 276 nits of brightness on average. It can also display 106 percent of the sRGB color gamut. Vibrant colors and smooth gameplay are inimical to an engaging gaming experience and on those notes, the Acer Predator Helios 300 delivers.
However, this laptop’s speakers are firmly below average. Acer seems to prioritize volume over quality with them, and the results aren’t very pleasant. If this is a plot to drown out the noise from the fans (which can be unbecomingly whiny and loud in the middle of tasks), it’s not a very good one.
In any case, you don’t have to be a purist to know that the Helios 300’s speakers do not accurately reproduce sounds, especially music sounds. For gaming, headphones might be better. The webcam is also pretty unremarkable at best and really bad at worst. If you enjoy live streaming your virtual exploits, or you’re a fan of Battleground Royale games, this may be something you need to give serious thought to.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is certainly not lacking in terms of all-around performance. In most of our benchmark tests, it compares favorably with most other gaming laptops, and its Intel Core i7 – 10750H processor, coupled with 16GB of RAM leaves it with enough power to handle grunt work without breaking a sweat.
The Helios 300 scored 6,257 on the Geekbench 5.3 total performance test, above the typical mainstream gaming laptop (5,263). On our own tests, the Helios 300 was able to maintain normal levels of performance and speed while cycling between over 30 open browser tabs and more than 8 programs running in the background.
It was also able to transcode a 4k video to 1080p in a little less than 9 minutes and 20 seconds. Although this was a little slower than the benchmark of 9 minutes and 15 seconds, those are still better numbers than others in its category. You can get it to deliver slightly lower numbers with Turbo boost, but expect the fans to protest loudly.
The Helios 300’s 512GB SSD took 87 seconds to copy a folder from an external device, which translates roughly to 544 megabytes per second.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 performs creditably when it comes to gameplay, but that is hardly a surprise, with its Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU and 8GB of VRAM. The Helios 300 was able to execute all the titles we tried out at Ultra settings with 1080p resolution, yet it still managed to deliver frame rates close to 100 per second.
We tried out GTA V, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Far Cry New Dawn, and Borderlands 3 and the Predator Helios 300 delivered better benchmarks than the category averages. For Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the Predator Helios 300 ran at 68 fps, better than the average gaming laptop’s 50 fps.
The Helios 300 maxed out at 77 fps for Borderline 3, higher than the benchmark of 56 fps set by average mainstream gaming laptops. Acer’s Predator Helios 300’s benchmarks for Far Cry New Dawn and GTA V were 84 for and 71 fps respectively. Compare these to the average mainstream laptops’ benchmark of 75 and 63 fps.
For a gaming laptop, the Predator Helios 300 manages to get quite hot quickly while running games. The underside can get really heated after several minutes of gameplay, reaching temperatures of more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit in spite of the (loud) effort of the fans.
The keyboard and touchpad can also exceed 100 degrees and 80 degrees respectively. If you’re going to be playing games for sustained periods, you’ll avoid a lot of uncomfortable moments by not sticking this laptop on your lap.
That said, the Predator Helios does not struggle quite as much with tasks less energy-intensive than gaming. The fans also stay quiet.
The Acer’s Predator Helios 300’s battery life is certainly not too shabby, but it’s not remarkable either. Its 4 hours and 30 minutes of idle standby time is worse than the average for gaming laptops (6 hours and 20 minutes), while its posted gaming time of three hours and ten minutes is marginally worse than the average of three hours and sixteen minutes.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a gaming laptop that ranks firmly in the middle of the scale, reflected by its price tag. While it offers lots of good qualities – solid build and performance, good hardware, and a colorful display – it also offers some undesirable ones, like inadequate battery life, loud fans, and those shocking speakers.
For the dedicated gamer who doesn’t mind using headphones, and who does not need to move the laptop around from its dedicated power source, the Acer Predator Helios 300 laptop is a wonderful option.