Acer Predator Helios 300: Review Summary
Acer's Predator Helios 300 delivers a performance punch that is seemingly above its pay grade, particularly in gaming, which is precisely what it's hired to do. Armed with a Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and a 256GB PCIe SSD, it has no problem playing games at its native 1920x1080 resolution. That's to be expected. What's interesting, though, is that our testing showed it consistently coming out ahead of other laptops with similar specs in gaming and graphics tests. In both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, for example, it bested every other laptop with the same class GPU. We're talking about minor victories, but a win is a win.
Time and again, we're reminded that buying a gaming laptop doesn't require taking out a second mortgage. Sure, there are ultra high-end laptops that will set you back two grand or more, but the Predator Helios 300 is not one of them. The configuration we evaluated can be bought from Amazon for $1,199, which is a reasonable price tag for a gaming laptop. The bang-for-back factor is also what made the Predator Helios 300 a popular option when it first arrived last year.
Things have changed since then, and the Predator Helios 300 value proposition is no longer unique—there are other options with similar specs in the same price range. However, there are still some standout features here, namely the easy overclocking of the GPU, and an IPS display panel with a 144Hz refresh rate.
Should you care about a 144Hz refresh rate when wielding a GeForce GTX 1060? That depends on what games you play. At this laptop's native resolution, we saw framerates creep into the triple digits on some titles. So yes, there is a benefit there. It won't always present itself as a perk depending on the game you're playing and the visual quality settings, but there are titles out there that will top 60 fps on this hardware, and the display on the Predator Helios 300 is able to keep up.
We'd like this feature even better if Acer offered burlier GPU options, like a GeForce GTX 1070 or 1080. Pricing would obviously be higher, but we imagine there would be gamers interested in paying a few hundred bucks to pair a faster GPU with a 144Hz display. Maybe in the next refresh.
Overall, we think the Helios Predator 300 is an excellent gaming laptop. We did experience some buggy behavior out of the box, probably due to a driver issue, and that is certainly annoying. However, those issues disappeared and never returned after updating all the drivers, as we do on all systems before bombarding them with benchmarks.
Summed up, the Predator Helios 300 is a fast gaming laptop at a fair price, with some unique features to boot. It may not be the same exceptional value it was a year ago, but with the addition of a 144Hz display, it still stands out against other similarly equipped configurations.