Subtle and Discreet
When it comes to obscenely outrageous gaming laptops, Acer Predator is a definite contender when it introduced its pride and joy, the Predator 21x. Of course, the gargantuan gaming laptop also commands a hefty price tag of over RM39,999 and it’s already sold out as there was only one unit available in Malaysia.
While not in the same realm as the Predator 21x, the Predator Helios 300 holds its own in a more subtle and discreet way. Even at RM5,999, it doesn’t seem as bad, seeing as the Predator 21x already set the bar for sky-high pricing. Adopting a similar colour scheme to its entire line-up, the Predator Helios 300 carries a black and red colour scheme atop a brushed metallic chassis.
Stuck right on the back is the signature Predator logo for all to see; in this sense, discretion and subtlety is not its strong suit.
Stuck in a Conventional Space
Very rarely do you see a gaming laptop stand out from the crowd with its design alone. Sadly, the Predator Helios 300 falls within the conventional crowd but in no way, is that a bad thing per se. Aside from its aluminium and plastic blend, the Predator Helios 300 is pretty much a sub-standard gaming laptop with no discernible way of standing out.
Its keyboard is rather springy, soft and not overly clicky, which is great for people who can’t stand it. However, the layout of the keyboard strays away from regular external keyboards. If you’re used to laptop keyboard layouts, then you should feel right at home. The power button is located on the top right corner of the keyboard instead of being on the chassis, which is a nice change of pace.
The touchpad is smooth, accurate and responsive and will respond to Windows 10 gestures, which is a big plus. Of course, nothing beats the prowess of an actual mouse but if you’d rather stick to the touchpad, you do you.
As with most gaming laptops, the Predator Helios 300 comes with its own array of ports. On the left, you will find a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a USB 3.0 port, a HDMI 2.0 output, an Ethernet jack and an SD card reader. The right side of the laptop lies the headphone jack and a pair of USB 2.0 ports.
One thing I hate that plenty of gaming laptop brands do is place the headphone jack on its right side. Depending on which headphone you’re using, some wires are longer than others, which will inevitably cross paths with your mouse. This makes gaming a bit harder than normal, especially when there’s a loose wire in the way.
Located at the rear of the laptop is Acer Predator’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D cooling fans. It promises to keep the airflow within the hardware cool and clean and can be controlled through the pre-installed PredatorSense app.
When the CoolBoost feature is turned on through the app, it will increase the maximum fan speed during heavier usage. As the dual-fan cooling system is located beneath the CPU and GPU, you can control the fans through PredatorSense. Leaving it at auto will set the rhythm between 2,400 to 2,600 RPM on Auto while Max fires on all cylinders, topping out at 5,660 RPM.
Through PredatorSense, you can also check on the temperatures of both the CPU and GPU as well as overclock the GPU. Normally, it runs on 1,721Mhz but Turbo takes it up a notch to 1,885Mhz. Temperature-wise, the CPU can go as high as 85° while the GPU reaches 65°.
If you plan on keeping the fan speed at Max while overclocking the GPU, I’d suggest you invest in a good pair of headphones as it tends to get pretty loud.
Peaked Performance Ratings
Strictly a mid-range gaming laptop, the Predator Helios 300 runs on a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor paired with a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with dedicated 6GB VRAM. While it runs Dota 2 (90-100 fps, depending on in-game situations) and Overwatch (100+ fps) just fine, it did stutter in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). With that said, it could be due to PUBG’s erratic performance, no matter what sort of system is running it.
For a few games, everything would be running smoothly without any lag or delay. In the next few games, it would suddenly take longer than usual in the loading screen, which will then result in either me dying or running around aimlessly as none of the buildings would render.
When used to watch movies or to have your daily social media fixings, the Predator Helios 300 does its job well. While the 15.6-inch FHD display screen isn’t as bright as I would have liked it to be, it still holds its own when gaming or when streaming videos.
When it comes right down to it, the Predator Helios 300 is a reliable mid-range gaming laptop. While you shouldn’t be expecting top-tier performance ratings due to its above-average specs, the Predator Helios 300 does make up for it when you’re not gaming.
Whether it be music or movies, it can certainly keep up with your lifestyle while still being a somewhat affordable-ish gaming laptop (I say this mostly because gaming laptop prices have skyrocketed over the past year or so.)
Verdict: A consistent and reliable gaming laptop with above average specs and performance.