Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) Overview


Can a metal-clad gaming laptop computer be had with out dropping some critical coin? You wager: Acer’s Predator Helios 300 has been making that attainable since 2018. Now two generations matured, this 2020 model (begins at $1,199; $1,499 as examined) is basically a {hardware} refresh of final yr’s mannequin with Intel’s “Comet Lake” silicon and as much as a 240Hz display screen. It put each to good use in our gaming benchmarks, the place it produced best-in-class gaming body charges whereas nearly doubling the battery lifetime of its predecessor. Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G14 stays an impressive alternative for a extra transportable gamer, however the Predator Helios 300 checks nearly each field after which some in case you’re after a bigger display screen. It’s our new Editor’s Alternative holder for mid-range 15-inch gaming notebooks.

Higher Entry Stage…Or Decrease Excessive-Finish?

The Predator Helios 300 sits between Acer’s entry-level gamer, the Nitro 5 (2020), and its top-shelf Predator Triton 500 (2020). It does a classier job of being on this center tier than the Lenovo Legion 5i and the Dell G5 15 SE (2020), whose all-plastic designs aren’t as stylish because the Predator’s aluminum prime and lid.

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Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) angle view

The metallic design is not with out compromises. Though it is very sturdy, the entrance and rear corners of the chassis are sharp. Moreover, the metallic that extends down the perimeters has squared-off edges on the backside that I discovered uncomfortable once I used the Predator Helios 300 in my lap.

A minor change for 2020 is that the lid now not has the Predator lettering, leaving simply the backlit teal emblem and non-backlit stripes. It is a cleaner look.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) rear view

The Predator lettering beneath the lid is the one different branding on this laptop computer. Measurement-wise, the Helios 300’s 0.9 by 14.3 by 10-inch (HWD) measurements are on the right track for a 15-inch gaming pocket book on this class. Increased-end gaming notebooks, such because the Predator Triton 500, often have much less depth as a result of they’ve trimmer show bezels.

Regardless of Acer’s specs itemizing 5.51 kilos, I weighed my Predator Helios 300 at 4.8 kilos, a traditional weight for this class. The pricier (albeit all plastic) Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 (GU502LW) is simply 4.19 kilos.

An Extremely-Clean Operator

The IPS display screen on my overview mannequin has a 240Hz refresh charge, the unspoken customary for premium gaming notebooks in mid-2020. Mixed with a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel decision and an marketed 3ms response time, it is a successful combo for high-speed fragging.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) front view

In reality, the show is so {smooth} that it is simple to understand exterior of gaming. Merely clicking and dragging or minimizing a window is a brand new expertise. A sensible anti-glare floor, ample brightness, and good colour spherical it out. There isn’t any Nvidia G-Sync assist (hit that hyperlink for a primer on the know-how), nevertheless it’s exhausting to search out that with out spending a couple of hundred extra.

The gaming theme continues with a colourful four-zone RGB backlit keyboard.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) keyboard

All zones are the identical colour in our photographs. The preinstalled Predator app enables you to change them and save profiles.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) PredatorSense

The keyboard’s suggestions is on the mushy facet for my preferences, however its quick and fast key throws allow some quick typing. A refined bump on the W key helps your fingers discover it. I additionally like that the WASD and arrow key clusters have thicker borders to look brighter, which is considerably seen within the photograph under. (The impact is less complicated to see from above.)

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) keyboard backlighting

Transferring down, the buttonless touchpad sits left within the palm relaxation to align with the keyboard.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) touchpad

My left thumb tended to relaxation on it whereas I used to be gaming, however the pad’s palm rejection ensured that that by no means triggered undesirable enter. The matte floor is simple to glide throughout. Bodily clicks, achieved by urgent down on the pad, really feel a tad stiff although they make little noise.

Loads of Storage Growth

Hid beneath the entrance of the chassis are a pair of clear-sounding audio system that will not make you completely remorse misplacing your headphones. The true shock beneath there, nonetheless, requires a Philips screwdriver: upgradeable storage.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) underside

The Predator Helios 300 helps as much as three drives by way of two M.2 slots, certainly one of which is crammed in my unit by a 512GB solid-state drive, plus a standard 2.5-inch bay. It will be easy so as to add a 1TB or perhaps a 2TB exhausting drive for cheap storage, which might prevent from continually needing to swap video games off the included drive since you ran out of house. This type of upgradeability is a good function that plenty of thinner notebooks cannot match.

Energy Round Again, Please

The Predator Helios 300’s port choice is unchanged for the 2020 mannequin. A pair of USB 3.2 Gen 1 Kind-A ports (5Gbps), an audio combo jack, and a Killer E2600 Ethernet port grace the left edge. On the proper, you will discover a USB Kind-C port (10Gbps), one other Kind-A port, plus HDMI and mini-DisplayPort video outputs. Thunderbolt 3 is not current, nevertheless it’s not anticipated on this tier.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) left ports

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) right ports

All that is really lacking is a media card reader. The Kensington-style cable lock slot on the left rear nook is useful for public areas. The facility jack’s location round again is handy because it’s one much less twine protruding from the facet.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) rear power port

The included adapter’s right-angle connector would not stick out removed from the again, both. Inside, a Killer AX1650i card supplies Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5. The preinstalled Killer Management Middle app enables you to monitor and management the community efficiency of different apps.

The Predator Helios 300 would not have built-in biometric options akin to a fingerprint reader, one thing that is not unusual amongst gaming notebooks. Its 720p webcam, although correctly positioned above the show, has no higher or worse picture high quality than the cams we see on most laptop computer PCs on this value vary. (It will be refreshing to see a high-quality 1080p mannequin certainly one of as of late.)

Midrange Parts, Prime-Shelf Efficiency

The Predator Helios 300 on this overview (mannequin PH315-53-71QX) is the most costly U.S. configuration. In comparison with the $1,199 base mannequin on Amazon (PH315-53-72XD), this one ups the GPU from a 6GB GeForce RTX 2060 to a Max-Q version of the 8GB GeForce RTX 2070, and bumps the display screen refresh charge from 144Hz to 240Hz. In any other case, the 2 share Intel’s mainstay six-core, 12-thread Core i7-10750H processor, 16GB of reminiscence, and a 512GB solid-state drive with Home windows 10 Dwelling. Acer’s customary guarantee is one yr.

The competitors on this market phase is fierce. Dell’s G5 15 went for $1,429 outfitted like my Predator once I typed this, however with only a 144Hz display screen; Lenovo’s Legion 5i was $1,599 with solely a 6GB GeForce RTX 2060 and a 144Hz display screen; and the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 (GU502LW) was $1,579 with twice the solid-state storage (1TB) however simply single-zone keyboard backlighting and no webcam. Acer’s pricing is correct the place it ought to be.

However let’s revisit the Predator Helios 300 base mannequin. Until you are relying on higher than 144 frames per second (fps) in esports titles, it is a significantly better worth than my overview mannequin. The efficiency hole between a 6GB GeForce RTX 2060 and an 8GB GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q actually isn’t definitely worth the $300 further by itself, and most eyes may have bother telling the distinction between 144Hz and 240Hz. In reality, exterior of esports, each GPUs might be spending their time effectively beneath 144fps for titles like Demise Stranding, so the upper refresh charge might be a moot level.

Now onto the efficiency testing, the place I in contrast the Predator Helios 300 to the gaming notebooks whose primary specs are listed under.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) comparison chart

The MSI Bravo 15 is identical value as the bottom Predator Helios 300. Its eight-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 CPU is an actual monster, although it packs simply an entry-level GPU. The Dell G5 15 SE pairs the identical Ryzen chip with a 6GB Radeon RX 5600M that’s in keeping with the 6GB GeForce RTX 2060 within the Lenovo Legion 5i. In the meantime, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M15 goes half for half with the Predator Helios 300. Let’s get testing.

Storage, Media, and CPU Exams

The Predator Helios 300 began with a trailing rating in PCMark 10, our common system evaluation that simulates real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows. It is nonetheless quick, although, hitting above our inside 4,000-point mark for high-performance PCs. The beefier CPUs within the Dell and MSI models likely contributed to their prime spots. That apart, the Predator Helios 300’s quick storage drive helped it just do superb in PCMark 8.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) PCMark

Subsequent up is a pair of CPU-crunching exams: Cinebench R15 stresses all out there processor cores and threads whereas rendering a posh picture, whereas in our Handbrake take a look at, we transcode a 12-minute 4K video right down to 1080p.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) Cinebench

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) Handbrake

The Predator Helios 300’s Core i7-10750H scored low in Cinebench R15, the place it ought to have scored at the very least 1,300 factors just like the Asus. It was additionally barely behind in Handbrake. Both method, the AMD-chipped Dell and MSI models had been leagues forward. Intel’s closest comparability to the Ryzen 7 4800H is its Core i7-10875H, discovered solely in a lot pricier gaming notebooks just like the Aorus 15G.

The Predator Helios 300 happily redeemed itself in our photograph modifying take a look at. We use an early 2018 launch of Adobe Photoshop Artistic Cloud to use 10 complicated filters and results to an ordinary JPEG picture, timing every operation and including up the totals. This take a look at shouldn’t be as CPU-focused as Cinebench or Handbrake, bringing the efficiency of the storage subsystem, reminiscence, and GPU into play.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) Photoshop

Graphics Exams

We use two benchmark suites to gauge the gaming efficiency potential of a PC. Within the first, UL’s 3DMark, we run two DirectX 11-driven subtests, the mainstream Sky Diver and Hearth Strike, which is extra suited to gaming rigs. Our different graphics benchmark is Unigine Corp.’s Superposition, which makes use of a special rendering engine to provide a posh 3D scene.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) 3DMark

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) Superposition

Now the Predator Helios 300 is coming into its personal. It swept the others in each exams, most notably the Asus which makes use of the identical primary 8GB GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q.

This streak continued in our real-world gaming exams. We use the built-in 1080p benchmarks in Far Cry 5 (at its Regular and Extremely presets) and Rise of the Tomb Raider (at its Medium and Very Excessive presets). Far Cry 5 makes use of DirectX 11, whereas we flip Rise of the Tomb Raider to DirectX 12.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) Far Cry 5

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) Rise of the Tomb Raider

The Predator Helios 300 dominated, averaging as much as 10fps higher than the Asus which continued to carry out extra just like the Lenovo and its 6GB GeForce RTX 2060.

Battery Rundown Check

For our final benchmark, we measure a laptop computer’s unplugged runtime whereas enjoying a domestically saved video with display screen brightness at 50 % and audio quantity at one hundred pc. We use the pocket book’s energy-saving slightly than balanced or different energy profile, flip off Wi-Fi, and even disable keyboard backlighting to squeeze as a lot life as attainable out of the system.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) battery life

Although the Predator Helios 300 did not outlast the others, hitting the six-hour mark is an accomplishment for a 15-inch gaming pocket book. It is lengthy sufficient to enterprise away from the plug with out continually watching your battery proportion. Acer deserves a shout-out for massively bettering the battery life from the three hours, 19 minutes we measured from the 2019 mannequin.

One-Button Overclocking

Constructed-in overclocking is a minor promoting level for the Predator Helios 300, achieved just by urgent the Turbo button above the keyboard or utilizing the Predator app.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) Turbo button

The app would not let you know how far it pushes the GPU’s clocks, however the overclocking makes a distinction; my general 3DMark Hearth Strike rating elevated by about 3 % from 17,035 to 17,527 factors. I will take that for urgent a button, even when it isn’t prone to make a noticeable in-game distinction.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) rear vents

The facet impact of overclocking is barely elevated fan noise. Regardless, I discovered the fan noise to be tolerable at full tilt, being no louder or quieter than different gaming notebooks on this class. It is audible throughout a lounge, however the quantity of sound is not such that it could intrude on conversations.

Our Flir One Professional confirmed the Predator’s chassis stayed cool sufficient the place you’d usually place your fingers whereas gaming, however the heart of the keyboard can attain over 120 levels F. (This was taken after half-hour of gaming.) That is too scorching to the touch for various seconds.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) thermal camera

The underside of the laptop computer additionally received toasty, although that’s much less vital since this laptop computer ought to at all times be used on a stable floor, i.e., not your lap, for intense use. (The identical would maintain true for any gaming laptop computer.)

The interior element temperatures had been well-controlled in accordance with my GPU-Z logs; the Core i7-10750H stayed under 80 levels C and the 8GB GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q not often topped 75 levels C. It is not unusual to see greater than 85 levels C for the CPU or GPU in a gaming laptop computer. The Predator’s barely thicker than common chassis little doubt helps its thermal efficiency.

Upping the Midrange Commonplace

Acer’s 2020 Predator Helios 300 continues to do what this line has at all times finished effectively, providing an upscale metallic chassis and options within the face of largely plastic competitors. This time round it is higher than ever, providing a super-smooth 240Hz show and dominating the gaming efficiency charts for notebooks we have examined on this class.

Different praiseworthy factors for this Predator embrace one-button overclocking and assist for 3 storage drives. It would not have class-leading battery life, however the six-hour-plus time we recorded is nearly double what the 2019 model produced, and we ended up bestowing that mannequin with an Editors’ Alternative anyway. Subtler badging for this newest iteration helps it earn our prime honors for midrange 15-inch gaming notebooks as soon as once more.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020)

Professionals

  • Wonderful 1080p gaming efficiency

  • Tremendous {smooth} 240Hz display screen as examined

  • Room for 3 storage drives

  • Cleaner design than its predecessor

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Cons

  • Chassis can get toasty beneath load

  • Metallic chassis is powerful however has some sharp corners

  • So-so CPU efficiency

  • Base mannequin is a greater worth than our tester

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The Backside Line

The 2020 version of Acer’s Predator Helios 300 is extra compelling than ever due to its subtler badging and almost doubled battery life.

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