Acer’s Predator Helios 700 is a BEAST!. I’ll start off this review that way. I’ve done a lot of reviews for Acer’s Predator series laptops and for the most part, I always love to play around with the Predator hardware. It’s always top notch but this is way different.
Acer challenged me. How so? Normally, I tend to use the Predator series laptops that are fairly portable yet have enough power to play graphically complex games. Acer thought it would be best this time to try out a high performance laptop that is basically a desktop replacement. It’s the Acer Predator Helios 700 17″ gaming laptop.
DESIGN & PORTS
The Acer Predator Helios 700 is BIG as I’ve elaborated on in the beginning of this review. Aside from it just being big, its got a solid design with a ton of function just for gaming. This laptop is geared at being a complete desktop replacement, so Acer made sure that if you’re going to buy this laptop that you don’t miss your desktop so functionality was at the top of the order with the Helios 700.
The Helios 700 has all of the standard hardware ports one would expect from a high end gaming laptop. USB 3.0, HDMI, ethernet, etc.
The Predator Helios 700 doesn’t have a multitude of configuration options. It’s the best of the best in terms of the Predator lineup. The review version that I used was a hardware spec monster. Here’s a general spec sheet for what we used for this review, not all specs are included just the most important ones as we saw it.
- 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H processor w/ 5.10 GHz Turbo Boost (8 cores/16 threads)
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super
- 16GB of DDR4 RAM
- Two Type-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3,
- Wi-Fi 6 AX1650i wireless and E3100G Ethernet
- MagTek mechanical switches and racing keys
- Predator Sense software
- A 144Hz 17.3″ FHD IPS display with G-SYNC capability
GAMING WITH THE HELIOS 700
Now, the reason why it would make sense to have this beast of a laptop at all… Gaming. I played a lot of games on the Helios 700 for the sake of playing games but normally I’m limited to playing just a few games in my normal life. For the sake of this review I waited a little bit because of the release of Cyberpunk 2077 and I wanted to use that game to really put the Helios 700 through it’s paces. Cyberpunk was a particularly controversial game in that it’s riddled with problems albeit on the console end more so than the PC end BUT there were problems nonetheless. This was not my experience and the Helios 700 at 1080p played this game flawlessly with no hiccups, frame skips or frame tearing. Any problems that I experienced at any time were related to the games’ development and not the Helios 700. That aside, I’ll get to how my experience was overall on this laptop.
Once you’re ready to get your game on just pull down on the HyperDrift keyboard (as it’s called) and the Helios 700 goes into an overclock configuration which of course you can customize but if you don’t you get a default configuration . You’ll hear the fans flare up immediately and you’re ready to go.
Sliding down on the keyboard shows off some clean aesthetics and exposes the additional cooling fans for better cooling and an RGB panel that hides the cooling pipes underneath. It all looks really cool and it’s not gimmickry. It’s functional. The keyboard itself incredibly sturdy with almost no flex when I rested my wrist on the drop down portion where the trackpad is. It makes the gaming experience a lot more comfortable especially for the hours of gaming you intend to spend in front of this machine. The touchpad is smooth and remarkably accurate when typically on gaming laptops the trackpad tends to be a negative but it wasn’t bad at all on the Helios 700 but you probably won’t use it much to game anyway. Using the HyperDrift keyboard takes an hour or two to get fully used to and of course you don’t have to game this way but why wouldn’t you?
The Helios 700 came with a set of MagForce Keys for the W,A,S and D keys that uses a linear spring that give you very accurate control based on the pressure applied to the keys as you press them. While I personally don’t always game with the keyboard and mouse, for the sake of this review I swapped out those keys for the MagForce keys. With the Predator sense app you can configure these keys to your desired sensitivity and depending on what games you play there is serious upside to having these keys. It’s a great addition to the Helios 700 whose keyboard is already pretty good. Don’t use it for typing though
Since the Helios 700 has a max resolution of 1080p, the 2070 Super that’s built into this machine has NO problem allowing you to max out all settings in 1080p no matter what game your playing which works out perfectly. It’s also less taxing on the GPU so it’ll give it’s best over a longer period of time, plus, I’m a frame rates over resolution gamer personally so I’m ok with the Helios 700 being fixed at 1080p. If you’re looking to game at a higher res, sorry. There are always going to be tradeoffs. What you “lose” in resolution you gain in a screen refresh rate of 144Hz and Nvidia G-Sync. You also get the benefit of a fairly bright screen with good color adaptation, solid blacks and an anti-glare coating if you play your games in a room with a lot of natural light. The screen, despite the bezels being rather chunky is very good and your games will look very crisp and sharp because chances are you’ll be able to max out all of your graphics settings for most if not all of the games you play.
Battery life for gaming laptops has always been a contentious topic for me. It’s one of those things that for me as a tech reviewer is more trivial of an issue than the tech community would make it appear. Battery life on gaming laptops are never really any good. In the case of the Helios 700 it’s particularly bad averaging about 2 hours even in power save mode. If you’re buying this laptop for portability and the ability to play on battery, you’ll be pretty pissed off. At just 4,670mAh the battery in the Helios 700 could be bigger and allow the gamer at least double the time on a full charge. Not being able to watch a Marvel movie in full without having to rush to find your charger is not fun.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE PREDATOR HELIOS 700
The Predator Helios 700 is not your average gaming laptop. It’s a desktop replacement and with that comes a machine that’s going to be packed with the best hardware to allow you play the best games available today. Yes, it’s expensive but if you were to build a desktop with basically the same components you wouldn’t be too far off in overall cost but at least you can take this machine with you wherever you go, not easily but you can.
There are some things that someone considering buying this may not like about this machine. What are those things? First, the cost. This version of the Helios 700 we have retails at $2400. Not cheap. The max resolution on the Helios 700 is just 1080p and for some they’d want to play their games in at least 1440p for $2400. The thick bezels on the Helios 700 may be a turn off to some especially since we’re kind of in an anti-bezel gaming society now. The portability really isn’t there even though you have backpacks you can buy nowadays to carry around your laptop but the Helios 700 is 17.3″ and heavy, weighing just over 10 pounds. Battery life isn’t great either and those are the negatives.
Overall, drawbacks aside, this is a fantastic machine if it’s within your budget for a true desktop replacement. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are more powerful versions of this laptop but know it’ll cost you. The version that we used is the happy medium, it’s the middle child of Helios 700 series and it did everything I needed it to and my gaming experience was enjoyable every time. I left out benchmarks and things like that for this machine because for what the hardware is and the resolution being fixed at 1080p, ALL of your games will play flawlessly.
Gaming performance was excellent on this machine. The consumers I deal with via email and DM mostly want to know if can they play the games they want to play on this machine with relative ease and get a couple of solid years out of it. The answer is a resounding YES. The Helios 700 is a beast of a machine and one of the best out there. Of all the gaming laptops I’ve used and reviewed this past year, this machine is in my top three. If you’re interested in snatching up one of these you can get it direct from Acer HERE