Post updated May 24th, 2018 at 10:22 pm
Gaming laptops almost always sport the same black colour scheme, so it was quite refreshing when Acer unveiled the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition. Sporting a white and gold colour scheme that’s only found on a handful of laptops – such as the new Dell XPS 13 – this is easily one of my favourite gaming notebooks.
It doesn’t come down to just its unique colour, of course. There are other aspects of the Helios 300 that make it a compelling gaming laptop.
First up, specifications. The new Helios 300 can be configured with an eight generation Intel Core i7+ processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, up to 16GB of RAM (further upgradeable to 32GB), fast PCIe SSD that tops at 512GB, as well as up to 2TB of hard drive storage. Basically, a respectable list of hardware.
Although the Helios 300 isn’t quite as powerful as the GTX 1070-equipped Helios 500, both laptops share one similar hardware: a 144Hz display. That’s right, the Helios 300’s 15.6-inch 1080p display has a fast 144Hz refresh rate, and it makes a lot of difference in video games that can push that many frames per second.
Conventional gaming laptops usually ship with 60Hz displays, and while this is fine in most cases, a 144Hz display like the one found on the Helios 300 makes gaming that much more enjoyable. Games will appear to run more fluid, and heck, even mouse movement is noticeably smoother.
However, Acer’s decision to pair a GTX 1060 with the 144Hz display is…well, odd. While the GPU is definitely capable, it probably won’t be able to push above 100fps in graphically demanding games like The Witcher 3 or Battlefield 1. This, in turn, almost makes the panel’s 144Hz refresh rate redundant.
That being said, the GTX 1060 should still be more than capable at running certain games well past 100fps. This is especially true for popular titles like Fortnite, Overwatch, and of course, Dota 2.
Display aside, the Helios 300’s build quality is great, thanks to the laptop’s solid aluminium chassis. I’m especially fond of the palm rest area, which has a really smooth finish. However, the plastic bezels of the Helios 300’s display don’t exactly give off a premium impression, and neither is the plastic base of the laptop. Regardless, it’s still a very well-built gaming laptop, and it’s quite hefty too.
Gaming laptops don’t typically have very good trackpads, but surprisingly enough, the Helios 300 has a pretty great one. Its smooth surface makes it easy and enjoyable to use, and it’s largely accurate as well. As for the keyboard, it’s a little bit of a mixed bag. The key travel is on the shorter side of things, but thankfully, they have good tactile feedback.
While it’s not the best laptop keyboard I’ve ever typed on, it’s definitely not the worst either. For gaming purposes, the Helios 300’s keyboard will work just fine.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 Special Edition is a sleek-looking laptop with a unique colour scheme, and its fast 144Hz display and relatively powerful GTX 1060 GPU make it quite an attractive gaming laptop. However, there is one thing that will ultimately determine how compelling it is: price.
For the time being, Acer has not released the pricing and availability of the new Helios 300. If priced right, I reckon this will be one of the most exciting gaming laptops yet from Acer, especially for those who don’t need a gaming powerhouse like the Helios 500.
And come on, look at how sleek the white and gold colour scheme is.