The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a portable PC dedicated to the video game which has many advantages: a reasonable price (between 1000 and 1,500 euros in France according to the configurations), a patented AeroBlade cooling system with an ultrafine fan (blades are 0.1mm thick), a Nvidia GeForce 1060 graphics card and overclocking software.
For all that, we do not make it our reference model in terms of video games on a laptop. Its mid-metal plastic case does not emit a very qualitative impression and it does not overflow of features. Also be aware that overclocking software and Aeroblade cooling are only available on the 17-inch model. But it is still one of the most affordable portable gaming pc in this screen diagonal.
Game on big screen
A majority of the portable gaming PCs we tested this year were 15 inches for the reason that processors and graphics cards gain in power and energy efficiency, which allows to combine top performance and compact formats.
But the Helios 300 is there for those who want a big screen. It has an IPS panel that ensures a good viewing angle. The definition of 1.920×1.080 pixels is standard, but it offers the best compromise between performance and battery life. The matte finish of the screen is appreciable because it reduces reflections. On the other hand, it is not particularly bright.
The keyboard has a specific red backlight on the ZQSD buttons, but it is not possible to adjust the volume of the speakers in the lower part of the case. color and intensity as is the case on the models of Razer and other brands.
The connector consists of a port USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 ports, USB-C, Ethernet, HDMI, a headphone jack and an SD card reader. This may seem generous, but if you install a virtual reality helmet type Oculus Rift that only holds the 3 USB ports, you can not connect a mouse or a joystick unless you use a USB-C / USB-A adapter
In the middle of the melee
But the big question is how this Helios 300 behaves with video games. In a comparison with portable PCs equipped with chips Nvidia 1050, 1060, 1070 and 1080, it is placed in the middle, a little better than what we expected.
During our tests, the current games were fluid in maximum resolution. We also tested an Oculus Rift with Lone Echo and Superhot VR, again successfully. The overclocking software proposed by Acer is useful for extracting some extra performance from the GeForce 1060. But in practice we only earn a few frames per second.
The battery life is surprisingly good for a laptop with a screen of this size: 5:12 minutes to our endurance test (streaming video). Note however that the autonomy will be significantly less with video games.
Although the Helios 300 is affordable for a 17-inch laptop, we can find machines with equivalent performance with GeForce 1060 chips for less than 1,000 euros. There are also 17-inch gaming notebooks with a GeForce 1070 like the Omen 17 at HP.
That said, the Helios 300 offers a solid configuration with a Core i7-7700HQ, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of SSD and 1 TB of hard drive. Its AeroBlade cooling system is very efficient, it offers good performances on the games and a satisfactory autonomy. In short, it is an intermediate option, not affordable enough to make it a first rate game machine and not muscular enough to make it a high-flying system.