The Acer Predator Helios 300 receives its customary refresh for the year 2021, so it seems like people would already know what to expect. Without further ado, let’s check in on what the latest model has to offer.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
The overall looks has not changed much from the previous year, retaining its black chassis with white and blue trim that you can find on the rear ventilation vents, or on the lid which also has the Predator logo placed squarely on the middle. The logo lights up when the laptop is turned on, though not the blue stripes, which is a shame.
At 255mm (L) x 363mm (W) x 22.90mm (H) and 2.5kg, the laptop is on the heftier side, making it more cumbersome for those looking for more portable machines. If you do decide to take it along, you’ll have quite the array of I/O ports to suit your needs with 3 USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-C that can support charging and display output, 3.5mm audio jack, LAN port, HDMI and mini DisplayPort.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 comes with a 15.6″ display that supports up to 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution, boasting a 165Hz refresh rate on an IPS-level panel. The anti-glare gives it a better shot for being an outdoor-use machine, with vibrant, buttery smooth visuals.
KEYBOARD AND TRACKPAD
If you prefer a quieter keyboard, you’re in luck. The Acer Predator Helios 300’s keys are on the quiet side, with actually good feedback. It’ll work quite well for either typing or gaming, though the distance between keystrokes is quite close and the numpad squashed in together might mean you’ll need some time to get used to it before you fat-finger anything.
The arrow keys, WASD keys and PredatorSense shortcut keys have a slightly different design from the rest, with this border around the keys making the backlight easier to see. These caps have a light blue hue on them, turning different shades accordingly depending on the backlight you choose e.g. green if you opted for a yellow backlight with the blending colours. Speaking of which, the keyboard is a 4-zone RGB keyboard, boasting a number of effects to suit your liking. There’s a dedicated Turbo button for you to press to enter Turbo mode, with a white LED light indicator to make it easier to tell if it’s on or off.
The trackpad is standard stuff, besides a positioning that may be awkward for some. Your palm may be making contact with it more often than you like as you type or game, so you might need to turn it off. It does at least feel nice to use if you ever need it.
As a note, PredatorSense is the standard companion software for these laptops, where you can make tweaks to your hardware, swap to various performance modes, adjust fan speed and of course, customize your RGB lighting. It’s also a general hub for a selection of apps and software.
Unfortunately, the battery life is not the reason you’ll get this laptop for. 3 hours for regular usage is hardly anything. Fortunately, the 250W AC adapter charger allows for some quick charging, taking the laptop from 17% to 83% in about an hour.
When you do game, the temperature can push 90 degrees Celsius a lot of the time, which could be quite alarming. The effects are less apparent on you despite that, as you won’t feel the heat from the keyboard and palm rest areas, so it can still be used quite comfortably. As mentioned, there is Turbo mode for max performance: as all cylinders fire away, you will have to make do with the increased noise for this to happen.
Without all the noise factor from Turbo, the audio quality is actually great. While the speaker may be on the bottom of the machine, this ‘slope’ design allows the sound to ‘bounce’ off the surface you’ve placed the laptop on, making for clear, loud sounds, with great stereo.
Peruse the benchmarks below for 3DMark (7627 points) and PCMark 10 (6315 points).
The long and short of it is that the Acer Predator Helios 300 performs excellently in running your games, concerning temperature levels aside.
TALES OF ARISE (MAX SETTINGS)
The performance is consistent throughout, with a slight drop from 100 FPS as time goes by. Nonetheless, at QHD max settings, an average of 95 – 110 FPS is pretty stunning, maintaining this range even as skill effects fly all over the place in combat.
COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE (MAX SETTINGS)
While still maintaining a high FPS range between 120 – 150 FPS, it’s not as consistent as you would like especially when it comes to competitive settings. Good, but not as good as you’d like.
FAR CRY 6 (MAX SETTINGS, HDR)
For a new title like this, the laptop can’t quite manage a stable frame rate, ranging between 30 – 50 FPS. It’s nonetheless a smooth experience.
As a whole, the Acer Predator Helios 300’s 2021 refresh is still a very good laptop, with a more futuristic-leaning design for those who like it. The 4-zone RGB keyboard is customizable for extra pizzazz. When you think about the laptop running all the games on a QHD display – double the pixels of the more standard 1080p – its consistent performance should be seen as incredibly impressive.
The drawbacks are mostly its tendency for high temperatures while running – even if you don’t feel it – and a poor battery life, but if that’s something you can live with, 2021’s Acer Predator Helios 300 is a solid option. You can get your own at RM7699.
Review unit provided by Acer Malaysia.