The Acer Predator series stands for uncompromising gaming laptops. Now, the manufacturer has presented the Acer Predator Helios 300 - a gaming notebook that is slimmer than other models of the Predator series. The Helios has its new cooling system to thank for this slim build. The revolutionary AeroBlade-3D cooling fans are supposed to effectively transport the heat out of the case.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is available both as a 17-inch and as a 15-inch device. Our test unit has a 17-inch screen with a fast Intel Core i7-7700HQ, which belongs to the current Kaby Lake generation. The device has a dedicated graphics card, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, with its own 6 GB of video RAM (VRAM). Furthermore, our test unit has a matte IPS screen with 1920x1080 pixels as well as a 512-GB SSD and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. Acer is currently charging $1800 for the Helios 300 in our test configuration.
Alternatively, the device can also be equipped with different processors and graphics cards. If you are happy with an Intel Core i5-7300HQ and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, you can save quite a bit of money.
The relatively slim design and attractive pricing are supposed to appeal to customers - and it works. However, the competition has not been lazy either and we have chosen several up-to-date high-powered gaming laptops to act as comparison devices for our Acer Predator Helios 300. The following table will give you an overview of the devices we chose for this review. There are devices with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, but there are also some with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, as this is what the cheaper versions of the Helios 300 are equipped with.
The device is significantly wider than its competitors, but its depth is average. Only the Nexoc G739 (27 mm, ~1.06 in) is slimmer than our Helios 300 at 29 mm (~1.14 in). Our test unit weighs 2.9 kg, which is very good for a gaming laptop.
The external ports of the Acer Predator Helios 300 are divided among its two sides. Although the device is not equipped with an optical drive, the free space has not been used for further ports. The ventilation slots are positioned at the back of the device and are made to transport warm air out of the case.
Overall, the laptop has four USB ports, two of which are USB 2.0 ports. The device is also equipped with a USB 3.1 Type-C port, which is positioned between the HDMI output and the RJ-45 port. Port distribution is good, and there are no cables in the way when using a mouse. Even the cable for the power supply has an angled connector so it does not get in the way. It would have been even better, however, if the two USB ports on the right side also supported the faster 3.0 standard.
The memory-card reader is placed in the center of the left side. It can read all usual formats such as MMC, SD, SDHC and SDXC. However, the memory cards stick out of the device which is not pretty and can be dangerous. We tested the memory-card reader's performance with our reference card (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II). The Helios 300 has an average transfer rate of 79 MB/s when copying JPG files and manages a sequential read rate of 84 MB/S with AS SSD. All devices that have a memory-card reader working at USB 3.0 speeds showed similar results. Only the Acer Aspire V17 and the MSI GE72VR were considerably worse off as their card readers work at USB 2.0 speeds only.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 supports both Wi-Fi and Gigabit-Ethernet connections. The former works with the IEE 802.11 ac standard and comes from Qualcomm. During our measurements the Helios 300 reached an average data transfer rate of 696 MBit/s (downstream) and a slightly lower upstream rate of 545 MBit/s. In the comparison our test unit manages a great second place.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 does not offer many security features. It has a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM) and a Kensington lock. Unfortunately, the Helios is not equipped with a fingerprint scanner.
Our test unit is equipped with its own manufacturer's tool "PredatorSense", but its features are a lot simpler than with the Acer Predator 17 X GX-792-76D. The CPU and GPU can easily be monitored with this software and the three different modes support minimal overclocking of the dedicated graphics card. The device also comes with Acer's Care Center and offers system optimizations and other information. The Dolby audio software is installed in order to configure the speakers according to personal tastes.