Most of you who know me, know that I’m predominantly a console gamer who is technically challenged when it comes to more complicated technology, like computers. However, that’s slowly starting to change thanks to Acer, who gave me the opportunity to test out their Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop.
My experience with PCs and PC gaming is minimal due to not owning a PC that was capable enough to handle the graphically heavy new games that come out each year. The Helios 300 is the first gaming laptop I’ve experienced, which could actually handle AAA gaming titles, making me realise just how much power there now is in today’s suite of laptops and notebooks. Below is my review from a brand new PC gamer/ technology enthusiast’s point of view.
Straight out of the box, the Helios 300 certainly looked the part of a gaming laptop, with mostly black colouring, red accents and a lid made of a smooth aluminium-plastic finish. On the lid, there are also two red stripes which accentuate the standout Predator logo. Furthermore, the exhaust vents on the back of the laptop are highlighted by another two red lines which offer an attractive design.
Considering it’s 15.6” screen size, the laptop is slightly larger yet lighter (2.5kg) than other gaming laptops I’ve seen, which made portability possible, something I definitely look for when it comes to my technology devices.
The keyboard also features some red accents, with a red border surrounding the trackpad and red WASD keys, which had a different texture to the other keys, making it far easier for my fingers to recognise. The keyboard also comes with red back-lighting, which was a nice touch as well.
While the design of the Helios 300 was appealing, caught my attention and certainly looks good on camera, I was just a tad disappointed by the aluminium lid catching fingerprints. Though it isn’t a deal breaker, it would have been rather cool to have the Predator logo light up as well, much like the Apple logo on Macs.
Considering I’m someone who uses a standard, rather basic laptop for work, the Helios 300’s 1080 display was incredibly sharp, with colours that popped, making graphics and visuals stand out.
With such a visually striking display, the graphics in each video, photo and even game seemed to be brought to life, something that made my experience all the more mesmerising.
With an Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, 16GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD + 1TB HDD, the Helios 300 is a beast of a machine, which allows for some high-end gaming, as well as serious multitasking. It also comes VR ready.
I was surprised and incredibly impressed with just how powerful the laptop was, especially when it came to gaming. I had purchased PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (“PUBG”), Broforce and a number of other games with the intention of playing them on my own personal laptop but found that my laptop just couldn’t handle graphically heavy titles. It was almost like a dream come true when I was able to actually play PUBG on the Helios 300.
The graphics on all the games I tried were incredible and with there being almost no lag, gaming on the Helios 300 was comparable to playing games on a console. It was almost as easy as plug and play.
Not only that, the different colour and texture to the WASD keys made playing with a keyboard and mouse so much easier than normal. I’ve always played games with a controller and get incredibly nervous whenever I’m offered an opportunity to play games with a keyboard and mouse. It’s the one thing that I knew, without a doubt, that I’d be awful at.
Playing on the Helios 300 though gave me the boost in confidence that I needed, being able to use the laptop’s keyboard and my own gaming mouse to play games surprisingly well. It was an amazing feeling, coming in the Top 10 in PUBG during my first attempt playing without a controller.
Moreover, games loaded up super quickly as well, which completely blew my mind as someone who’s used to relatively long load times. It’s incredible how much of a different a powerful machine makes, especially for someone with not a lot of patience.
It was also equally impressive that I could have multiple apps and windows open, working on a number of things without there being any issue. My own personal laptop tends to get rather warm, with its fans working overtime to keep it cool, when I attempt to do too much. The Helios 300’s cooling system is exceptional. Even after several hours of use, I didn’t feel it get warm to the touch at all.
The performance of the laptop wasn’t the only impressive feature which I enjoyed. The Helios 300’s battery life was rather unbelievable as well. Unlike my laptop, which lasts about 2.5 hours on battery, the Helios 300 lasted almost 6+ hours doing standard activities (and not gaming), which for a laptop is pretty impressive.
It’s pretty clear that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Acer Predator Helios 300. It redefined what PC gaming meant for me and has now set me up on a path to convert from a console to PC gamer.
From being portable to having the graphical power to play some great gaming titles, the Helios 300 certainly was impressive. I’m a little sad that the laptop I received was only a review kit and therefore needs to be returned. I’ve become quite attached to it, to be completely honest.
Despite being an incredible beast of a machine all around, the Helios 300 is surprisingly affordable, retailing for around $2000AUD. Most gaming laptops I’ve been eyeing up have all been in the $2500-$4000 range, which is simply far too expensive for me, so the fact that the Helios 300 is affordable makes it an even more worthy contender. Sadly, it doesn’t look to be available in New Zealand just yet.
For those who are looking for an affordable gaming laptop that packs one heck of a punch, I can’t recommend the Helios 300 enough. The added benefit to the laptop? It’s easily upgradable, meaning that there’s decent value in the laptop as well.
For more on the Helios 300 and its full specifications, check out the Acer website here.