Acer Predator Helios 300: The best gaming laptop of 2020?

Acer Predator Helios 300 is a mid-tier gaming laptop. It is consistently placed at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list in the gaming laptop category. Let's put Acer Predator Helios 300 through 10 rounds of grueling tests and find out if this laptop is the real deal.

Round1: Overview

Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop has been highly competitive in recent years, offering a strong balance between performance and affordability. The latest model now boasts a metal chassis, a new teal color highlight, a 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, and Nvidia's GTX 1660 Ti GPU. You can also get a cheaper model with Intel Core-i5 processor if you are on a tight budget.  There are multiple skews of this laptop sporting various RAM and SSD configuration that you can buy from Amazon. But I will focus on the Core-i7 model with GTX 1660Ti GPU, because in my opinion this model gives the best bang for bucks

Round2: build quality

The Helios 300's design is visually restrained and physically solid for its price. I like the fact that this laptop is not using the overplayed red-and-black color scheme that plagues many other gaming laptops. Instead it comes in predominantly black color with bluish teal highlights which contrast nicely against the matte black body. The bluish teal flair can be found around the trackpad, on the lid, and on gaming keys on the keyboard. The Predator logo on the top lid of the laptop has a bluish backlight which looks really cool without being too loud or garish.The laptop's chassis is primarily constructed from plastic but it features a metallic plate behind the screen.

This helps in providing structural integrity to the laptop body and helps in exuding a more expensive and premium look. The keyboard deck is made from aluminum and provides good rigidity. The screen bezels and the underside are made from plastic, so you don't get a super-premium, wraparound-metal feel. But for the price-point, I would say this is a pretty good design. Helios 300 weighs around 5 pounds which is fine for a 15.6 inch gaming laptop. I think it’s light enough to throw in your backpack and carry to a friend’s house for a lan party without worry.

Round3: display

Let's talk about the display. This is an area where Helios 300 shines and outguns other gaming laptops in its price range. It comes with a 15.6" Full HD 1920 by 1080 IPS panel. This screen supports a high refresh rate of 144Hz and its response time is only 3ms. This makes it a perfect display for 1080p gaming. The high refresh rate coupled with fast response time produces very crisp and immersive gameplay. This screen is plenty bright registering 300 nits of brightness, which means you will have no trouble using this laptop in a bright lit room.

I like the fact that this screen comes with an anti glare matte coating. This helps with reducing annoying reflections and glares on the screen, something that you will appreciate during gameplay. The color reproduction is also quite good both while watching pictures and videos. It covers 93% of the sRGB color space and 60% of AdobeRGB color space. While neither is high enough for professional image or cinema work, it's pretty good for media consumption, gaming and content creation for youtube. The screen bezels on Helios 300 are pretty thin for a gaming laptop especially the side bezels. The top bezel is wide enough to house a 720p webcam which is great for video chatting and conference calling on zoom or skype.

Round4: CPU

Let's talk about the CPU which plays a central role in delivering kickass gaming experience. Helios 300 is powered by a 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor from Coffee Lake family. Specifically this is Core i7-9750H, where H denotes “High Performance” CPU. This is a 6 core 12 thread processor operating at 45 Watt TDP. It is able to automatically overclock from 2.6 Ghz to 4.5 GHz while still maintaining the 45 Watt thermal envelope.

But Acer didn't stop here, they went ahead and undervolted this CPU by 150mv. Undervolting allows the CPU to run cooler thereby extracting even more performance than factory setting. Thanks to undervolting, this CPU is able to consistently run at around 3.6GHz while never going over 75 degree celcius. This results in some truly kickass performance. In passmark CPU benchmark this CPU scored 11536 points. Compared to top 10 common laptop CPUs, Core i7-9750H is comfortably sitting in the top position.

Kudos to Acer for not just picking this CPU but also undervolting it. This has allowed ordinary gamers to extract top performance from their laptop, something which only hardcode nerds knew how to do in the past. Needless to say, you will have no trouble playing any modern game at optimal settings. Helios 300 will also handle day to day tasks like typical web surfing, watching 4k streaming videos, running office suites like word-processor, power-point presentation or spread-sheets without any issues.

Round5: GPU

Round5 is all about graphics performance. In a gaming laptop, GPU is as important if not more important than the CPU. This laptop ships with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti Graphics card. This GPU is over 50% faster than GTX 1650 and about 5% slower than RTX 2060. Considering that RTX2060 is 100s of dollars more expensive, I think 1660Ti is a great GPU choice for gaming laptops. In the G3D synthetic benchmark, GTX 1660Ti scored 10175 putting it at the top of popular gaming laptop GPUs in 2020.

So that means you will be able to play all modern games at 1080p resolution without any issues. I played Apex Legends with all graphics settings on High and got consistent 85 to 90 frames per second. I also played Fortnite with epic settings and got 110 FPS gameplay. BTW, in addition to gaming, this laptop is also an excellent content creation workstation. The 6-core 12 thread core-i7 processor paired with this powerful GPU provides a perfect machine for running photoshop and various video editing software like Adobe suite and Davinci Resolve. If you are looking for a powerful mid-tier laptop to edit your youtube videos, look no further. GTX 1650 supports hardware acceleration on all popular codecs like h264, AVC and vp9. This means smooth 4K video playback on youtube and netflix with no dropped frames.

Round6: Battery

Now lets let's talk about battery life. Helios 300 comes with a 4-cell 58 Whr battery which is average capacity for a gaming laptop. It delivers about 4 & half hours of battery life which is OK but nothing great. If you open the back of the laptop and take a look at the battery layout, you will notice that Acer has made a design choice which has impacted the battery life. Acer has allocated some space for 2.5 inch SSD drive bay and this has resulted in the reduced battery size. Acer could have easily squeezed an 85 or 90Whr battery, but that would have resulted in removal of the extra SSD drive.

Now when it comes to thermal heat dissipation, Acer has put 2 heat pipes which are cooled using a dual fan setup. There is also a dedicated turbo button on the keyboard which cranks up these fans for extra cooling. So this cooling mechanism coupled with the CPU undervolting that Acer has put in, results in very good gaming performance without any overheating. The fans do get loud especially when you kick in the turbo mode, but I expect most gamers will be using a headphone, so it shouldn't be a big deal.

Round7: RAM

OK, let's talk about system RAM. Helios 300 comes with 16 GB of system RAM. The laptop has 2 DIMM slots each populated with 8GB RAM. This means the memory configuration is rocking a dual channel setup which gives best possible performance. Now 16GB should be enough for most folks, but if you also intend to use this laptop for content creation, stuff like video editing and photoshop, then you will benefit from adding more RAM. You can add 16 GB RAM in each slot thereby doubling the system RAM to 32GB.

👉 Buy recommended RAM upgrades

Round8: SSD

Let's talk about SSD storage. This laptop comes with 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD. This SSD has a fast read/write speed, which is great for snappy performance and reduced windows-10 boot times. If you want to upgrade the storage, Acer gives an extra M.2 slot and SATA3 slot. This means you can have a total of 2 PCIe NVMe SSD plus an additional 2.5” SATA3 SSD. All the cables and adapter needed to add a 2.5 inch drive in SATA3 slot is already present in the motherboard. That is really awesome and very generous of Acer, because most gaming laptops at this price point don't offer so many storage options.

👉 Buy recommended SATA3 SSD upgrades
👉 Buy recommended PCIe NVMe SSD upgrades

Round9: Keyboard

Let's talk about the keyboard. Acer has equipped Helios 300 with a 6-row chiclet keyboard that is slightly recessed into the chassis. All the keys sit firmly in their housings, and nothing rattles while typing. The main keys are 15 square mm in size, which should be large enough for most hands. The keyboard has a balanced amount of key travel with a satisfying bounce, making for a pleasant typing experience. All the keys have a dampened stop, which ensures that the keyboard remains quiet even when typing quickly. The keyboards support a blue back-lighting which gels nicely with the aesthetics of this laptop. Overall I would say that this is a really nice keyboard both for extended gameplay and long typing sessions.

Now let's talk about the trackpad which is made of plastic and measures 4.2 by 3.1 inches. It's large enough to perform multi-finger gestures and fits the overall look of the device. The trackpad is responsive and accurate over its entire surface including corners and edges, something you will not see in inferior quality trackpads. Acer has integrated two mouse buttons which deliver a soft clicking sound when pressed. Now, most gamers will be probably using a dedicated gaming mouse during their gameplay, but it's always nice to have a good quality trackpad

Round10: Ports

OK, now let's talk about the port situation. Helios 300 comes with plenty of USB ports for you to connect all of your peripheral devices. There are 3 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A Ports and one of these ports supports Power-off Charging. There is 1 USB 3.1 Type C Gen 2 port which supports data transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps. Unfortunately this USB Type C does not support thunderbolt protocol, so you cannot connect an external GPU to this laptop. There is also support for driving dual monitors via HDMI and Mini DisplayPort.

In addition to these ports you get all the usual suspects like 3.5mm headphone jack and gigbit ethernet port. One thing missing is the SD-card reader, which sucks if you are into taking photos and videos from your mirrorless or DSLR cameras. Now, let's talk about the on board speakers. These are dual bottom firing stereo speakers. They are OK, nothing to brag about. For casual youtube video watching, they will suffice, but for gaming I would recommend using a nice pair of bluetooth headphones.


So what do I think of this laptop? For the price you are getting a kickass 6-core Intel CPU with a very fast nvidia GPU. I think Acer Predator Helios 300 is a superb value for money. Not only are the build quality and design aesthetics solid, but the performance is awesome. I have also reviewed a few other gaming laptops from Acer, HP, MSI and Asus which may interest you. Some of these laptops are using weaker CPU and GPU, but they are also cheaper.

Purchase Links

👉 Buy Dell Inspiron 15 5593 with 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 & Nvidia MX230

Other awesome Gaming Laptops to consider
👉 Buy Acer Nitro 5
👉 Buy MSI GF63
👉 Buy Lenovo Ideapad L340
👉 Buy Asus TUF FX505DT
👉 Buy HP Pavilion Gaming 15
👉 Buy Acer Predator Triton 500

RAM & SSD upgrades
👉 Buy recommended RAM upgrades
👉 Buy recommended SATA3 SSD upgrades
👉 Buy recommended PCIe NVMe SSD upgrades

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