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Acer Predator Helios 300: the best budget gaming pc

Acer manufactures uncompromising gaming laptops. The legacy continues with the Acer Predator Helios 300. The Helios 300 is slimmer than most other Acer predator laptops, made possible by the improved cooling. Acer achieves this level of cooling by using AeroBlade-3D cooling fans which are better at transporting heat out of the case compared to older technology.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is available in different configurations. If you want to purchase this laptop, you have a choice of a 17.3-inch or a 15.6-inch display. You might also have to choose between 16 or 32Gb of RAM as well as between different storage configurations. The top of the line config comes with 32GB of memory and an Intel Core i7-7700HQ which belongs to the latest CPU generation. Going with the cheaper but very capable Intel Core i5-7300HQ paired with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti will save you some money.

Get the Acer Helios 300 on Amazon

Best Online Offers

Acer Predator Helios 300 15.6" Gaming Laptop

$1,099.99
$1,049.00
17 new from $1,049.00
Free shipping
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of May 24, 2018 12:46 am

Features

  • Latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (Up to 3.8GHz)
  • Latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory & 256GB SSD
  • Up to 7-hours of battery life

Intel Core i7 CPU, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, VR Ready, 15.6" Full HD, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Red Backlit KeyBoard, Metal Chassis

Acer Predator Helios 300 17.3" Gaming Laptop

$1,288.44
6 new from $1,288.44
1 used from $ 1,296.59
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of May 24, 2018 12:46 am

Features

  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (Up to 3.8GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 17.3" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB SSD & 1TB HDD
  • Up to 7-hours of battery life

Intel Core i7 CPU, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, VR Ready, 15.6" Full HD, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Red Backlit KeyBoard

Look and feel

The Acer Predator Helios 300 looks and feels like most other high-end Acer gaming laptops. The primary colour is black with red accents. Acer has however decided to go with a less fancy look with this laptop series. Here, you will not find any fancy lights, and the red accents around the display and the trackpad are not illuminated. In fact, for comparison, you might find the Helios 300 closely follows the Acer Predator 17 X GX-792-76DL in its looks.

Acer is not known to skimp on the use of quality material. The primary material used here is plastic although the laptop does have aluminium details on the top of the base unit. The Helios 300 is 29 mm (~1.14 in) deep in its 17.3-inch model. This makes it smaller and lighter(2.9 kg for the 17.3-inch model) than most other gaming laptops.

Performance

The Helios comes in a number of configurations. For processors, you have to choose between an Intel Core i7-7700HQ and the cheaper Intel Core i5-7300HQ. Both of these processors are excellent gaming CPUs, but for demanding games, the I7 is, of course, the better option. Both of these chips use hyperthreading technology. Unless you play the most demanding games, going with the I5 might help you save some money for other things like peripherals.

For graphics cards, you get to choose between the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. The GTX 1060 is a much better GPU, but if you are on a budget, the core I5 together with the 1050Ti will get the job done. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 has 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM available while the 1050Ti has 4GB of VRAM. Although both of these graphics cards perform below the GTX 1070, they are still capable of playing at high to very high settings in demanding games.

Of course, the base unit comes with 16GB expandable to 32GB. Although the base model comes with either 256 or 512GB of M.2 storage, remember that you have an extra 2.5-inch bay for additional storage. The provided Intel M.2 SSDs manage an average sequential reading speed of 1557 MB/s and 552 MB/s in sequential writing in different tests.

Gaming Performance

Since the Helios 300 is a gaming laptop, it would be a disservice not to mention its gaming performance. On the higher end model, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with the Intel Core i7-7700HQ will crush current games in high to ultra high settings. If you get the model with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, you might have to lower your settings to medium in the most demanding games.

Those looking to game in 4K are not in luck. Even the model with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 struggles to push 4k gaming. For that, you would be better off going with a laptop with a GTX 1070 instead.

System Noise

Under certain circumstances, gaming laptops can be quite noisy. The Helios 300 does very well in keeping the noise down by ensuring its fans do not run at idle. The noise can go up to 50 dB(A) under maximum load which is quite audible unless you use headphones in your gaming sessions.

Power Consumption

Gaming laptops are notorious for having very little battery life. Acer reports that the 48-Wh lithium-ion battery can run for up to 7 hours. Do keep in mind that this number is different depending on your CPU/GPU combo as well as screen brightness settings and what your use case is. For example, while under constant load, the device manages a standby time of about an hour. Web browsing will give you about 5 hours, and it is only in idle where you get about 10 hours of standby.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 throttles its own performance when on battery. Acer might have implemented this to try to give the laptop decent battery life when on battery.

One thing to note is that Acer has made the Helios 300 a power-saving laptop. They do this by ensuring the laptop renders 2D graphics using the HD Graphics 630 on the processor. For much more demanding tasks, the Nvidia Optimus software makes the switch seamlessly to the provided external GPU.

Connectivity

Ports

The main external ports are divided among its two sides. There are no ports at the front or the back. The Helios 300 has four USB ports; two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0. On the left, you will also find a USB Type-c port which is placed between the RJ-45 and HDMI ports. Also on the left, you will find an SD card reader, which can help make your work easier if you work with multimedia devices a lot.

 

SD card reader

Of course, the SD card reader supports all the standard formats including SD, MMC, SDXCcolourand SHDC. Since it uses USB 3.0 tech, you will see average transfer rates of around 79 MB/s and sequential read speeds of around 84 MB/S when using an AS SSD.

There are two things to note about the connections though. The SC card reader, when inserted into its slot sticks out of the laptop which can be annoying to some people. Luckily, the power cable is angled for easier access and insertion. Although it is not lit like on some Dell laptops, the angling of the power cord helps keep it out of the way.

On the right of the Helios 300, you will find combined audio jack (Mic-In, Line-Out), LED lights, the remaining 2x USB 2.0 ports and of course the power input.

Expansion

The Helios 300 gives you easy access to the RAM slots as well as an empty 2.5-inch slot. These are perfect for when you want to upgrade the laptop to the maximum 64 GB RAM or add an extra drive for expanded storage space. If the laptop config you choose has an M.2 SSD, expect the 2.5-inch bay to be empty.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The Helios 300 comes with a chiclet keyboard which is great for typing and gaming. The keys are well-spaced, and they make very little noise as you use them. The keyboard follows the same red and black template of the rest of the laptop and the WASD keys are a different colour. The keyboard has backlight highlighting. The only issue to contend with here is that you are stuck with only one colour and you cannot dim the keyboard; you either have the backlight on or off.

Touchpad

The touchpad, much like the keyboard, follows the red and black theme of the rest of the laptop. The smooth black touch surface is emphasised by red trims all around. The touchpad is large enough for daily use, but since most people will be using a mouse anyway, this does not matter too much. Clicks and touches register even on the edges and corners. Inputs are very satisfying as they are confirmed by a quiet click.

Display

The higher-end Acer Predator Helios 300 unit comes with a has a 17-inch, Full HD IPS display from LG. Sadly, there is no 4K display option for the Helios 3000. The screen is very bright with very little flickering. Despite the fact that there is a little clouding on a black screen, the image quality is outstanding. Therefore, your games and videos will look crisp and sharp.

The included LG display covers 86% of the sRGB colour space and 56% of the AdobeRGB colour space. This gamut coverage is good enough for simple image-processing tasks. That said, professionals might want to get an external screen for colour sensitive work.

Those who enjoy working outdoors will love this laptop. The matte screen surface prevents reflections very well. It has a maximum brightness of 373 cd/m² making it easy to use this laptop even in bright sunlight. That said, the screen will always be easier to see and read in the shade.

Is the Acer Predator Helios 300 the best budget gaming pc?

The Helios 300 is a great entry-level laptop for gamers. Its different CPU/GPU combos give stable framerates when playing at the laptop’s native resolution of 1080p. Although the base model comes with 16GB of RAM and 256 or 512GB of M.2 storage, you can expand both of these.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 gives solid gaming performance. It has a great keyboard, lots of expansion slots and an excellent IPS, 1080p display. The matte finish of the display will ensure you have no reflections and that your images and videos are crisp and sharp.

The Helios 300 is a beautiful laptop. We are happy that Acer did not go overboard with the “gamer look”. Instead, they kept the red accents to a minimum while maintaining the looks for which Predator laptops are known.

All in all, buyers of the Acer Predator Helios 300 will get a fantastic gaming laptop at a very reasonable price.

Check out the Acer Predator Helios 300 on Amazon

Best Online Offers

Acer Predator Helios 300 15.6" Gaming Laptop

$1,099.99
$1,049.00
17 new from $1,049.00
Free shipping
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of May 24, 2018 12:46 am

Features

  • Latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (Up to 3.8GHz)
  • Latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory & 256GB SSD
  • Up to 7-hours of battery life

Intel Core i7 CPU, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, VR Ready, 15.6" Full HD, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Red Backlit KeyBoard, Metal Chassis

Acer Predator Helios 300 17.3" Gaming Laptop

$1,288.44
6 new from $1,288.44
1 used from $ 1,296.59
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of May 24, 2018 12:46 am

Features

  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (Up to 3.8GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 17.3" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB SSD & 1TB HDD
  • Up to 7-hours of battery life

Intel Core i7 CPU, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, VR Ready, 15.6" Full HD, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Red Backlit KeyBoard

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