Last year Acer put out two very solid and affordable gaming laptops. One was the Acer Nitro 5 and the other was the Acer Predator Helios 300 (2018). Both were tailored for the gamer but not only that, they were tailored for the gamer who wanted to play the better games on the market but they didn’t have big money to spend.

We here at GStyle reviewed both of those machines and while neither one of those machines blew us away per se with mindblowing spec sheet power, they did blow us away with what you got for the money and for us, that matters more.

This year, Acer refreshed not only the Nitro but the Acer Predator series but the one we requested to review the most was the Acer Predator Helios 300. Why? It’s simple, it’s a mid-range priced machine that came standard with Nvidia’s upgraded version of the 1060 in the GTX 1660ti. We wanted to try and play some games with that new GPU and see if it really offers better performance than the Nitro 5’s GTX 1650 to warrant the extra couple of hundred dollars price difference. What did we think? Yes, it does but for a bunch of different reasons.

WHAT’S NEW?

When buying a new device or upgrading, the first thing that comes to mind is “What’s new?”. In the case of the 2019 edition of the Predator Helios 300, you can figure it out right away. It’s the size. When you look at the overall design of the new Helios 300 you can see right away that it’s reminiscent of the prior year and even the Nitro 5 but once you actually grab and open it up you’ll see how completely different it is. I was actually surprised, pleasantly by how the new Helios 300 is. Acer made the form factor so much smaller, sleeker and more durable and premium. The previous years’ model was premium in terms of specs but this new Helios 300 feels premium and there isn’t as much plastic as there was before.

The size difference between the Predator Helios 300 2018 & 2019 versions

The new Helios 300 is significantly slimmer and lighter. Weighing in at just 5.1 lbs which is lighter than the 5.95 pounds of its predecessor. Aside from the weight, the new Helios 300 is smaller than the 2018 model. Stacking them on top of one another shows you how much work Acer put into improving on form factor while making no compromises for power.

Screen size is still the same at 15.6″ but Acer shaved off most of the bezel to give you what appears to be much more screen real estate while making it look seamless and you can really see this when they’re side by side.

The Predator logo lights up blue in the back giving the Helios 300 some cool factor and making it standout as a laptop for a gamer. The keyboard is also a bit wider and and the keys have nice travel though at times they can feel a little mushy, but for the most part they feel good to type and game with. The keyboard backlight is a nice bright blue which again, gives this new Helios 300 cool factor. If teal blue isn’t your cup of tea, there is a red variant as well and that looks just as good. Thankfully, I got the teal version and it’s just nice to look at when you’re playing a game or just using it generally to see those keys lit up. It feels like your using a laptop that’s way more expensive than it is. I would have liked to see some RGB options with the keyboard but it’s unavailable on this base model version but that’s okay though. The variants with the 512GB SSD, RTX GPUs, and the 17″ Helios 300 offer you RGB color customization within Predator Sense but there is an almost $300 price difference so that teal blue is more than fine for us.

SPECS

If you’ve ever read any of my reviews before then you know I’m not a spec cultist. I don’t always buy into them. I do however understand their significance. So, for those who love specs and have to their appetite satisfied. I’ll feed the beast. Here is the spec rundown of the 2019 Acer Predator Helios 300. Prepare to be impressed. This machine is packin.

Screen15.6 or 17.3 inch,
1920 x 1080 px, IPS, 144 Hz with 3 ms response (Overdrive), non-touch, matte
ProcessorIntel Coffee Core i7-9750H CPU
VideoNvidia GTX 1660ti
Memory16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz (2x DIMMs)
Storage2x M.2 PCI x4 slots, with RAID 0 support + 2.5? bay
ConnectivityGigabit LAN (Killer E2500), Gigabit Wi-Fi 5 (2×2 MU-MIMO), Bluetooth 5.0
Ports2 x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-A 2.0, 1x USB-C, HDMI 2.0, minDP, LAN, mic/headphone, Kensington Lock
Battery58 Wh, 180 W power brick
Size361 mm or 14.21” (w) x 254 mm or 10.00 (d) x 22.9 mm or .9” (h)
Weight5.1 lbs (2.3 kg)
Extras4-zone RGB backlit keyboard, webcam, stereo speakers

PORTS

If ports are your thing then the new Predator Helios 300 has em. You get all of the stuff you would expect to see on a modern laptop nowadays but the SD card slot was excluded which I can only assume that Acer removed to help nail down the smaller form factor and keep it nice and slim. Exceptions had to be made but they did swap out the SD card slot for a USB-type-C port so I’m ok with that trade off.

You get three USB 3.0 Ports, a USB Type-C port, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, Ethernet and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

GAMING

The big question. Can this laptop play my favorite games? The answer is a resounding hell yes. The version of the Helios 300 that I have comes with an Intel i7-9750H and a the newer Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti which is meant to replace the GTX 1060. It’s a powerful new “budget” so if they’re offering it why not use the latest and greatest?

As far gaming goes, this laptop gives you the essentials for the best possible gaming experience with its built in hardware. The screen has a max resolution of 1080p and a screen refresh rate of 144hz. As a geek I would have liked to see the Helios 300 be available at 1440p. Maybe in the future if it will keep the cost relatively the same, but 1080p is a great resolution to get the most out of your games in terms of frame rates and stability. No complaints. On top of the resolution, the screen on this laptop has a max refresh rate of 144hz w/ 3ms response time so playing your games especially first person shooters will result in close to real time response as you move your mouse or controller. So, you’ll get those kills faster and have them be more precise. That’s a big plus for any gamer on PC to have a screen with a high refresh rate. If you’re a Destiny, COD, Rainbow Six or CS:GO player, this is huge.

Playing games was as simple as just starting up your game and making changes in the graphics options of the game you’re playing to get the best experience if you so choose. There is literally no game you can’t play on this machine but some games will play better than others but that’s just the ebb and flow of PC gaming. I personally tested this machine out with games I’m playing now. Monster Hunter World, Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, Destiny 2, and as of recently Gears 5 and Borderlands 3. As I said before, playing games at 1080p ensures that you’ll get a smooth experience most of the time and it also allows you some headroom to tweak your settings to make your games look and play better. So if you want to push your games up to ultra or max settings you can. That 1660 Ti is no slouch and you’ll see it when you’re playing your games.

To help along with some of that tweaking, you have Predator Sense. It’s Acer’s built in software that allows you overclock and boost up your fan speed to help with cooling when you’re under load during gaming on the Helios 300. If you don’t want to deal with manually trying to do this Predator Sense has a preset overclock that makes sure that you don’t potentially fry your machine if you don’t understand how to properly overclock and attempt to. That performance boost you get from using Predator Sense gives you greater control over how you want to game without making it a science project. Just open up the software on the laptop or simply press the turbo button and you’ll hear those fans kick it up a notch which do get very loud but you’ll know you’re ready to go. Simple. Ease of use for the gamer.

Acer managed to do all this and keep the Helios 300 fairly cool and it doesn’t get too hot, so if you’re playing with a keyboard and mouse you won’t feel as if the laptop is on fire over extended periods of play. Acer did a great job with thermals by updating the fan design and undervolting the Helios 300. You’ll get about 3 hrs or more on battery depending on how you run your games which isn’t great but about average so make sure that if you’re gonna travel and get your game on. Be fully charged.

THE BEST GAMING LAPTOP FOR THE MONEY, HANDS DOWN

The 2019 Predator Helios 300 is the best gaming laptop for the money. It’s not up for debate as I see it. At a price point of just $1200 you get a shitload of gaming laptop. Pardon my French. Last year’s model was pretty kick ass and this year is even better. There is no game you can’t play on this machine. It’s smaller, lighter, prettier and better made. To top it all off, it’s very upgradable with dual DIMM slots that you can max out to 64GB of RAM, you can also add an extra M.2 SSD or an extra HDD for more storage. You could really have a ton of games on deck on a machine that is a pleasure to game on. There is no other machine for the money I would recommend at the moment if you asked me.

This thing is a beast and the good thing about this machine being so good is that it will hopefully put every other manufacturer of gaming laptops on notice about how to make a powerful gaming laptop that won’t kill your wallet. Head over to Acer HERE and take a look at the new Predator Helios 300. Order one now or if you wanna wait until Black Friday you can, Acer will probably have a good deal on one of these bad boys. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Shout out to Acer for letting us check this machine out.

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Mike Bitter is a born gadget head and true lover of technology. It all started with computer classes at age 10 and his first PC the Tandy 1000. From then on he found his love and he became a gamer and a PC builder and has not stopped since. He specializes in hardware, troubleshooting and custom PC building. He’s known as the “fixer” amongst his friends whenever there is a problem with a PC or a Mac. He’s also fully immersed in all things that pertain to the world of computers and gaming. He's an 80's baby and he grew up watching technology evolve from the NES to PS4 and from the Commodore 64 to the iMac. He has a unique and minimalist perspective on technology and is here to help the average person to understand technology today.