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Acer Predator Helios 300 (2022) Review: Competitively Priced Middle Ground

A well-priced gaming laptop with some caveats.

Acer Predator Helios 300
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

The Acer Predator Helios 300 has great components and a nice display at a competitive price, but that required a few sacrifices.

Pros

  • +

    Great QHD display

  • +

    Competitive price

  • +

    Solid build quality

Cons

  • -

    Speakers should be louder

  • -

    Webcam is oversensitive to brightness and color

  • -

    Lots of preinstalleed software

Although there’s an endless sea of laptops with similar specs, that doesn’t mean they all have the same price tag. The Acer Predator Helios 300 ($1,549.99 to start, $2,099.99, as configured) is a sleek gaming laptop with a 12th generation Intel Core processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX GPU, and a 15-inch 2560 x 1440 resolution display. Acer has refreshed the Predator Helios 300 to be more streamlined, including a simplified chassis, straight corners and most of its ports moved to the back of the notebook. 

But similarly specced laptops don’t always perform the same, either. The Predator has a few caveats,  like a less-than-favorable webcam and mediocre speakers issues that we don't often find with the best gaming laptops. You’ll have to decide if the cheaper price tag is worth those drawbacks.

Design of the Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 has a sleek design with a two-tone black exterior and aluminum on the lid. There’s a small Predator logo on the top center of the lid and a well-placed light bar on the front edge of its bottom that ups the gaming aesthetic. When you open the laptop, the per-key RGB keyboard is revealed. 

The 15.6-inch display has a rather thick plastic bezel underneath it with a Predator logo at its center. The palm rest utilizes aluminum, and the borders around the touchpad have a pretty polish. Above the keyboard, there's a grille for ventilation as well as a turbo button for instant overclocking.

On the left side of the laptop are a Kensington lock slot, Ethernet port, USB Type-A port, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and on the right are two more Type-A ports, one with power-off charging capabilities. Although there are ports on the left and right of the Predator, most of them are housed in the back, between two vents. The back holds a port for the power adapter, a Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI 2.1 connector and a Mini DisplayPort.

The Acer Predator Helios 300’s weight and measurements come in at 5.73 pounds, the heaviest among its direct competitors, and 14.15 x 10.88 x 0.98 inches. Meanwhile, the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro are 5.49 pounds with dimensions of 14.17 x 10.4 x 1.05 inches. The Razer Blade 15 is 4.4 pounds and 13.98 x 9.25 x 0.67 inches, and the Gigabyte Aero 16 weighs 5.07 pounds at 4.02 x 9.78 x 0.88 inches.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Specifications

CPUIntel Core i7-12700H
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU (8GB GDDR6) 1,410 MHz Boost Clock, 150W Max Graphics Power
Memory16GB DDR5 4800MHz
Storage1TB
Display15.6-inch (2560 x 1440), IPS, 240Hz
NetworkingIntel Killer Wi-Fi 6E AX1675i
Ports2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, 3.5mm headphone jack, Mini DisplayPort, lock slot
Camera1080p
Battery90 Wh
Power Adapter280 W
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
Dimensions (WxDxH)14.15 x 10.88 x 0.9 inches
Weight5.73 pounds
Price (as configured)$2,099.99

Gaming and Graphics on the Acer Predator Helios 300

Our configuration of the Acer Predator Helios 300 came with an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, alongside an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti that has 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, a 150W max graphics power, and a 1,410 MHz boost clock. Even though its competitors have the same GPU, the Helios didn't top our tests.

While playing Monster Hunter Rise (high setting) with unlocked frame rates at the Helios’ native resolution, the game ran at 139 frames per second. As I stalked a Tigrex, exhausted after the beating I gave it with my Hunting Horn, the game fluctuated between 119 and 129 fps. With DLSS and V-Sync turned on, the game jumped to a more consistent 145 fps.

When we ran Grand Theft Auto V’s benchmark at very high settings, the Acer Predator Helios 300 played at 117 fps at 1080p and 77 fps in native 1440p. The Legion 5i Pro outperformed the Helios with 131 fps at 1080p and 78 fps at 1440p, while the Razer Blade 15 reached 104 fps at 1080p and 67 fps in its native resolution. However, the Gigabyte Aero 16 and its RTX 3070 Ti (with 16 GB VRAM) underperformed with 101 fps at 1080p and 28 fps in its native 4K resolution.

During the Far Cry 6 (ultra settings) benchmark, the Predator reached 82 fps at 1080p and 67 fps at 1440p. The Legion 5i Pro hit 88 fps at 1080p and 70 fps at 1440p, and the Razer Blade 15 was just a few frames behind it. However, the Gigabyte Aero 16 had a higher 89 fps at 1080p.

On the Red Dead Redemption 2 benchmark (medium settings), we saw the Predator output 72 fps at 1080p and 50 fps at 1440p. As usual, the Legion had slightly better performance, while the Razer and Aero underperformed.

When we ran the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (highest settings), the Predator achieved 98 fps at 1080p and 65 fps at 1440p. Once again, the Legion 5i Pro had the best results by a slim margin (110 and 69 fps, respectively), with the Razer Blade and Gigabyte Aero not too far behind the Predator.

Finally, on the Borderlands 3 benchmark (badass settings), the Predator managed 87 fps in 1080p and 60 fps at 1440p. The Legion 5i Pro earned 99 fps at 1080p and 67 fps at 1440p, the Razer Blade got 76 and 58 fps, and the Aero hit 78 fps and 28 fps.

We stress-test gaming laptops by running the Metro Exodus benchmark on RTX settings 15 times, simulating about half an hour of gameplay. The game ran at an average of 68 frames per second, starting out at 72 fps before settling into the high 60s.

During the stress test, CPU speeds came in at an average of 2.8 GHz on the performance cores and 2.3 GHz on the efficiency cores. The temperature of the CPU averaged 73.6 degrees Celsius (164.48 degrees Fahrenheit) while the GPU ran at an average of 1,231 MHz and a temperature of 78.89 degrees Celsius (172 degrees Fahrenheit).

Productivity Performance on the Acer Predator Helios 300

We tested the Acer Predator Helios 300 with an Intel Core i7-12700H, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. Although the Predator shares the same processor as the competition in most cases, it didn't perform as well on benchmarks.

On Geekbench 5, an overall performance test focused on the CPU, the Predator earned a single-core score of 1,727 and a multi-core score of 10,164. Meanwhile, the Lenovo Legion 5i (i7-12500H) had the lowest single-core performance and the highest multi-core score, with 1,595 and 13,008, respectively. The Gigabyte Aero 16 (i7-12500H) achieved 1,751 / 11,819, and the Razer Blade with its i7-12800H had the lowest results at 1,765 / 9,263, respectively.

When we tested video transcoding with our Handbrake test, the Acer Predator Helios 300 was the second fastest to convert a 4K video to 1080p at 4 minutes and 42 seconds. The Legion 5i Pro was just a few seconds faster at 4:29. The Razer Blade 15 once again had the lowest performance, taking 7:25 to get the job done.

The Predator copied 25GB of test files at an average speed of 731.84 MBps, the slowest of the bunch. The Legion 5i Pro and the Razer Blade 15 shared similar results, with the Aero 16 coming delivering a strong 1,037.52 MBps.

Display on the Acer Predator Helios 300

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Acer Predator Helios 300 has a 15.6-inch display with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, Nvidia G-Sync support and a 240 Hz refresh rate.

When I watched One Piece on Netflix, I was taken aback by how vibrant the colors were. As I watched Fire Fist Ace battle Blackbeard and his darkness abilities, the reds were vivid and stood out against the shadowy black. When I played Monster Hunter Rise; the natural greens of the forest were deep, and the light reflections from the sun were bright. The only thing that takes away from the otherwise great display is the distractingly thick bezel underneath it.

According to our tests, the Predator Helios panel covers 112.1% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and 158% of the sRGB color gamut. The Razer Blade 15’s panel covered a narrower 87.1% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and 123% of the sRGB Color Gamut. However, In terms of brightness, the Helios has a middling 273 nits when compared to the Gigabyte Aero’s 366 nits and the Legion 5i Pro’s 474 nits.

Keyboard and Touchpad on the Acer Predator Helios 300

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

I had a decent typing experience with the Acer Predator Helios’ keyboard. My keystrokes were responsive and snappy.Although the number pad slightly skews the keys to the left, I felt comfortable clacking away on the laptop. I scored 60 words per minute on 10fastfingers with two wrong words and 94.03% accuracy. The Predator key on the Numpad launches the PredatorSense app.

I enjoyed the touchpad’s polished lining and smooth surface. It handled all my gestures well and felt great against my fingertips. But at 4.2 x 3.1 inches, it’s a little on the small side. For gaming, however, most people should check out the best gaming mice.

Audio on the Acer Predator Helios 300

The two cutout speakers on the bottom of the Acer Predator Helios 300 are subpar. Originally, I thought the grill above the keyboard where the DTSX logo appears was a speaker, and I wish it were because it would help bring the laptop’s sound to life. The volume wasn't as loud as most gaming laptops, though it sounds good when you're sitting right in front of it. When I listened to Lost and Found Freestyle 2019 by A$AP Rocky & Tyler, The Creator, the treble was high, the kicks were audible, but the bass was effectively nonexistent.

When I checked the DTSX software, it was automatically active with the Music preset on. Without the software, the sound quality and volume get significantly worse. The speakers are better suited for watching quick YouTube videos than jamming out. You may want to consider one of the best gaming headsets.

Upgradeability of the Acer Predator Helios 300

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

There are 11 Phillips head screws on the bottom of the Acer Predator Helios 300, and after unscrewing them, I was easily able to pry open the lid with a tool. Once open, I noticed an accessible 90 Wh battery and two SSD slots, one of which was already filled. The is compatible with 2280 length M.2 SSDs. The two slots of DDR5 RAM under the silver shield can also be accessed and upgraded.

Battery Life on the Acer Predator Helios 300

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

On our battery test, which involves streaming video, browsing the web, and running OpenGL tests over Wi-Fi with the display at 150 nits of brightness, the Helios ran for 5 hours and 2 minutes, just two minutes less than the Razer Blade 15. On the other hand, the Aorus 17 XE stayed on for 7:30, the longest battery life out of the bunch. In any case, if you plan to bring the Helios anywhere, you will have to bring its massive power adapter.

Heat on the Acer Predator Helios 300

During our Metro Exodus stress test, we take skin temperature measurements to see how hot the system gets to the touch. At the center of the keyboard, between the G and H keys, the Acer Predator Helios 300 measured 107.78 degrees Fahrenheit, while the touchpad was a cooler 85.82 degrees. At the bottom, the hottest point of the laptop, the Predator Helios, reached 143.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty hot.

Webcam on the Acer Predator Helios 300

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The 1080p webcam on the Acer Predator Helios proves resolution isn't everything. 

Everything was overexposed, from my complexion to my white t-shirt. If I told you First Form Frieza from Dragon Ball Z was front and center on my tee, you wouldn’t believe me. But he is, the camera is just too sensitive to lights and the color white for it to show. Even the white subtitles on my television are hard to see. The WWE logo next to them is almost indistinguishable.

Even in our well-lit office, it showed over-sensitivity to colors, like a colleague's red shirt, which appeared far more vibrant to the camera than it does in real life.

The camera is serviceable enough to check in during your morning meeting, but its quality is nowhere near as great as the best external webcams.

Software and Warranty on the Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 has a lot of preinstalled software. The PredatorSense app controls the keyboard's RGB lighting, switches between various performance modes (including GPU/CPU overclocking options), changes fan speeds, monitors performance specs and more.

DTS:X Ultra allows users to optimize audio by content types such as Music, Voice, Movies, Strategy games, RPGs, and Shooters. There’s also a graphic EQ for folks to toy around with. DTS Sound Unbound is a hub app for the above, with access to headphone settings and decoders.

Limited versions of PhotoDirector and PowerDirector editing software come preinstalled, as does Acer's esports social media app Planet9 for all aspiring pro gamers. Acer has also included Amazon's Alexa on the laptop, as well as Firefox and Norton Security Ultra.

There‘s also Acer Product Registration, Acer Care Center to check up on your components, and a Dropbox promotion and ExpressVPN. The laptop is a bit heavy on pre-loaded software

Acer sells the Predator Helios 300 with a 1-year warranty.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Configurations

We reviewed the $2,099 configuration of the Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-55-79SC) with an Intel Core i7-12500H processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. It also features a 15.6-inch, 2560 x 1440 display with a 240 Hz refresh rate.

However, two more versions of this model have the same CPU and various spec changes.

There’s a 17.3-inch 1080p display (70XJ) model with a 144 Hz refresh rate, 16 GB of RAM, 512GB SSD and an RTX 3060 for $1,749.99. Then there’s another (70ZV) with a 15.6-inch 165 Hz display, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage and an RTX 3060 for $1,549.99.

Bottom Line

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is an affordable, middle-of-the-road gaming laptop choice. But it’s still got well-placed gaming flair, a solid build, and is inconspicuous enough to take anywhere—so long as you’re willing to lug the hefty thing around. It’s also the cheapest option out of the bunch. While we reviewed the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro at a similar price, that model no longer seems to be available, and to get a similar CPU and GPU to what Acer is offering, you'd have to get 32GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage, bumping it to $2,599.

Perhaps the most notable part of the Helios is its fantastic display, with excellent color gamut coverage for a gaming notebook, especially one without OLED. The 1440p resolution and 240 Hz refresh rate provides a good mix for graphics intensive games and fast-moving esports games.

The Predator didn't earn top marks in either gaming or productivity, often coming in second and third place during most of our benchmarks. The audio, weight, and webcam could also use a little work. There are greater choices than the Acer Predator Helios 300, like the Legion, with similar specs, comparable components, extra USB-C ports, and most importantly, improved performance. But with all the competitors performing in the same ballpark, the Predator is still a solid pick-up if you’re trying to save a few bucks.

Isaac Rouse
Staff Writer

Isaac Rouse is a staff writer at Tom's Hardware. He reviews laptops and various gaming peripherals.

  • brandonjclark
    I've purchased three of the Helios 300-series laptops over the years. They offer near-excellent performance for dollar. However, with the step up to 2k, that value is kind of lost. HD is best for these specs.
    Reply
  • toooooot
    I found said device for "-8% $2,349.99"
    I searched entire first page on amazon.
    You can find this model with 3060 for about 1250.
    But Going two gpu cards higher for 2350 is not a good deal. It is a terrible deal to be honest.
    -
    Razer Blade 14 Gaming Laptop: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX 8 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080or
    CUK GP66 Leopard Gamer Notebook (Intel Core i7-11800H, 32GB RAM, 2TB NVMe SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 8GB cost just slightly more than 2100 this acer helious costs.
    Personally, if I ever need a gaming laptop, I would buy something priced aroudn $1000 with 3060 on board.
    Or if I wanted something more powerful, I would skip 3070 and 3070ti.
    Reply