Acer Predator Helios 300 Review in 2019 | Best Budget Gaming Laptop?
In our Acer Predator Helios 300 Review, we have found a gaming laptop capable of running the latest market titles. But is it enough?
The gaming market has suddenly become one of the most important for all manufacturers; not in vain, is the only sector that is enjoying growth in a market that is going through a mess since the crisis began a few years ago.
We are witnessing a new era of portable gaming
To this we must add a remarkable performance increase in hardware designed for portable devices; the “mobile” versions of the CPUs and GPUs no longer have that much distance from their “big brothers”.
They are capable of offering great performance, but more importantly, they achieve it without spending too much energy or heat; and that’s why the portable gaming sector is changing in a way that we have not seen in generations.
And in that context we have received an Acer Predator Helios 300; the bet of Acer that is planted in what we might call a “range of entry”, for those who want portable gaming that allows them to play the latest, but without overdoing it. With an Intel Core i5-7200HQ, and a GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB graphics, we should have the power to run all the current games, but is it worth it?
A more mature design, but has not yet passed adolescence
Close your eyes, and think of “portable gaming.” Surely you’re thinking of daring colors (preferably red), absurd shapes, demonic themes, and generous dimensions. You are thinking of a monster that you can only teach those who are part of your same sect.
But the concept that we have of portable gaming is changing. There are more and more models that do not seem “gaming” at a glance; They look like devices that we could use in an office without receiving accusatory glances. Can we say that the Acer Predator Helios 300 belongs to this trend? Almost But no.
We are facing portable gaming, and it shows. However, there are certain details that reveal some maturation in the Acer design team . Peculiarities that by themselves do not dramatically change the overall design, but that point to a different direction than usual.
A cover that reveals the style of the laptop
For example, the metal lid, with a very elegant finish … which is broken by several elements that are only there to get attention. The Predator logo is perhaps the most scandalous item: large and metallic, it also appears smaller just below the screen. It seems more like the logo of a metalcore band than of a brand of computers, but as always, there is nothing written in tastes.
In what I am very grateful is that Acer has been content with the lights; As soon as I saw the two red lines on either side of the screen lid, I was afraid that they would light up as soon as I turned on the computer. Fortunately, they do not do it, and they are just an aesthetic detail more than, as it is, it does not bother.
I only have the worst: the top, where resides a plastic with a horrible texture and a touch of low quality. I imagine that it is there to be able to better grasp the screen when opening the laptop; but as we will check later, that was not necessary. Honestly, if they had fused that plastic to create small spikes that would get stuck in my skin every time I opened the laptop, they would not have bothered me so much.
A rear that draws attention unnecessarily
It is at the back of the laptop where we find the point at which our eyes will be directed the first time: the hot air outlet openings. These are necessary when dealing with hardware as powerful as this laptop; and if they are well implemented, they can give a very aggressive and high-performance image.
The problem is that I think Acer has gone over with aggressiveness, with a very striking red color that is not used in any other part of the design. It is assumed that the “aerodynamic” shape is designed to expel air better, but every time I picked up the laptop I felt like a Formula 1 driver.
As you can see in the images, through the slots in the left we can see the heat dissipation fins; It is a very good detail, the best in the back of the laptop. Now direct your gaze to the right side, and you’ll see … plastic.
It is understandable that this part is not open, because Acer’s engineers will have considered that opening the left is sufficient; It is a pity that they did not take into account the effect it would have on the design. The opening breaks the symmetry of the laptop, and the plastic used to cover the right side is gray and does not give good feelings.
Do you know of the fashion in modern cars to put pieces of plastic that is more powerful cars would be exits or entrances of air? That’s what this plastic has reminded me in the back of the Acer Predator Helios 300.
An elegant gaming laptop, once you open it
We have finally opened the laptop, and I have to say that this process is very rewarding. It is very easy to open and close the laptop with just one hand, thanks to a hinge design that is beautiful as well as functional. And all that, without losing a bit of stability; we can move the laptop with the screen open from one side to the other, and it will not even shake.
But perhaps what is most surprising is that, with the laptop open, all my complaints about the outside disappear. It’s as if they never existed. While the rest of the laptop is out of my sight, I have to admit that it’s nice to sit in front of the Helios 300.
We can even find subtle details, like those silver bands that surround the edges of the laptop and the trackpad; this last one is also a red line that enhances this sensation.
Red also appears on the keyboard, which has a backlight (which can be deactivated with a combination of keys). This is another section that does not bother thanks to its subtlety; the lighting is just enough that we need and nothing more, and at no time bothers or seems excessive.
Of course, it’s the keyboard of a gaming laptop, so the WASD keys are highlighted in red; if you did not know, those are the typical keys to move our character in video games, so by highlighting them you get an immediate reference.
A correct keyboard with an annoying trackpad
Of course, if we talk about keys, the big question is how they will behave while we play; We can not say that it is a bad keyboard, once we start playing.
The route and the sensation are superior to those of a “normal” laptop, and we will immediately notice the difference; It is not the best gaming keyboard, but it is appreciated that at least it is something more worked than usual.
The keypad is included, something that I personally would have eliminated in favor of more amplitude for the rest of the keys; but just as it is, it is not to complain much.
But without a doubt, what has confused me most is that the power button is on the numeric keypad; It is usually a separate button on another part of the laptop. Fortunately, if we press it, nothing happens; we must keep it pressed to show the menu that allows us to turn off the computer.
The area to support the dolls is wide, so writing and playing in the Acer Predator Helios 300 are more comfortable than we might think; There is an unfortunate exception to this convenience: the trackpad.
You and I know it: you will never use the trackpad on a gaming computer, you will always connect a mouse. The trackpad is there only for emergencies, and it shows, so we’re not going to criticize much.
No, the real criticism is in the position regarding the keyboard: it is large and it is placed very far to the left. The result is that when you go to put your fingers in WASD, it is inevitable that you touch the trackpad with your hand. But since it is advisable anyway to use a mouse, it is not a problem if we deactivate the trackpad.
The screen, a smart choice
The screen of the Helios 300 is 15.6 inches and resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels. As soon as you are up to date, you will know that this is not a spectacular resolution for that size. And yet, I am convinced that it is the right choice for this laptop.
Recall the specifications: an Intel Core i5-7200HQ and a GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB; that configuration is ideal for playing current titles at 1080p, and at Acer, they know it very well. Honestly, implementing a screen with more resolution would have been a catastrophic error from my point of view; We would have to start reducing graphics too much quality to be able to execute them at native resolution.
Especially since the screen of the Helios 300 is not bad at all. The colors are correct enough, the contrast is appropriate, and at no time will we feel that we are missing anything. The anti-reflective treatment is effective, and even if we are playing next to an open window the sunlight will not bother us too much. The viewing angles are also very good.
The only negative aspect of the screen is the brightness, which is insufficient to play outside even when we put it to the maximum. Indoors it will not be too much trouble, but if you want to play outside you will have to look for the shadow.
Temperatures contained even in the worst situations
With its 2.7 kg of weight and a thickness of 26.75 mm, the Acer Predator Helios 300 will not win any record; The mere fact of lifting the laptop to put it in another position is a constant reminder of this.
But it is a sacrifice that I make gladly thanks to one of the aspects that have surprised me most about the laptop: refrigeration. The air outlet that we discussed above does not work alone; Two air inlets on the front create very effective air flow inside the notebook.
The result is that even “crushing” the laptop with very demanding games, the temperatures were maintained at all times in acceptable ranges. For example, playing Far Cry 5, one of the most demanding that have come out in recent months, processor temperatures hovered around 80-85 ° C, while the graphics stayed around 65-67 ° C.
And I know it thanks to another very grateful addition: PredatorSense. This application is installed by default, but unlike what we call “crapware”, this program will be very useful. This is where we can set the speed of the fans, or let this detail change automatically; we can also activate the CoolBoost technology, which means that the fans will go the most.
Of course, that implies an increase in noise. And the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a noisy laptop when we ask it to work, but it’s something we’ll appreciate when we notice all that hot air coming out of the back.
Play anything without problems
And that’s what we want, that works. With an Intel Core i5-7200HQ and a GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB graphics (accompanied by 32 GB of RAM in the tested model), this is a team capable of running any current game without problems.
Let’s take as an example Fornite and PUBG, the two games that have held the most headlines in recent months.
In more demanding games we may have to cut back a little to get the desired 60 fps. In the aforementioned Kingdom Come, for example, the Middle level seems the most appropriate, while in Project Cars 2 we can activate practically everything.
And of course, for games like League of Legends or Dota2, you are more than capable. No matter what games you have, with the Acer Predator Helios 300 you can play them.
Of course, they are short games. Officially the battery lasts two hours, but the truth is that depending on the game can last even half. In this case, having a nearby socket to connect the transformer (which by the way, is a brick), is nothing short of essential.
Portable gaming with feet on the ground
After spending a few days with the Acer Predator Helios 300, I understood two things. First, it is not the most powerful and capable gaming notebook on the market. And second, he is very happy without being so.
This laptop is for those who want a capable alternative, with the necessary hardware to execute what they throw, without fuss or complications. It allows you to play anything, and it does it decently. It’s enough? That will depend on each one, but from my point of view, the Acer Predator Helios 300 maintains a good balance between performance, cost and the usual sacrifices of portable gaming.
The Helios 300 is more than the sum of its parts. Separately, none of its components is the best on the market; but together, they make a decision and attractive bet for anyone who wants to play anywhere (as long as they have a plug nearby), or even as a substitute for a normal PC. Although in this case, the cost difference does not make it advisable.
Discounting this, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a good portable to play. But our recommendation will depend a lot on the price at which you can get it; and how willing you are to wait for a possible new generation.
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