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The Acer Predator Helios 300 is our top pick under 1000 bucks. No other machine came close in terms of performance, largely due to it shipping with a NVidia GeForce GTX 1060, the best graphics card out of all the machines reviewed. At this price point, it offers the best value over other competing machines that come with GTX 1050 Ti GPUs' at a similar price. Additionally, it's possible to upgrade to a better graphics card later on if the need ever arises, providing some future proofing.
TLDR: Arguably the best gaming laptop under 1000 dollars on the planet, With the exception of the overheating, the rest of the caveats are minor at best. For a kick ass gaming experience at 1080p - check out the amazon reviews here.
Intel 6-Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
256GB NVMe SSD
PROS & CONS
Designed for those with a need to speed, the Predator Helios 300 gaming notebook combines powerful 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with high-performance NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics driven by the new NVIDIA Pascal architecture that is VR Ready. Two all-metal AeroBlade 3D Fans and stellar audio capabilities support intense gaming sessions while the sporting red accents and black chassis with geometric lines adds to the drama.
Issues: Things to consider
The Predator Helios features a plastic-and-aluminium external finish. The lid is black and metallic with two red stripes running beside a Predator logo. On top of the lid, you will find a small bumper made of plastic surrounding the aluminium, making the Predator feel slightly less premium. Beneath the lid is a 15.6-inch 1080p full HD screen, surrounded by a bezel with both Acer and Predator logos. It also features a full keyboard that includes a number pad and backlit red WASD keys. The deck is black and metallic.
The Acer Predator weighs in at around 2.5 Kg with dimensions of 15.4x10.5x1.5 inches, making it slightly larger than the other machines we reviewed. Despite being more substantial, it is somewhat lighter than most of its competitors. Like any other machine, the Predator Helios has several different ports. It has an Ethernet jack, Thunderbolt 3 port, an SD card slot, HDMI output, and a USB 3.0 port on the left side. The other side houses a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack.
The keyboard is quite comfortable and works well, albeit for a small problem in the response department. Vertical travel of the keys measures 1.6mm, which is quite good for any keyboard. For the keys to work, they require a pressure of about 79 grams, meaning they feel a bit hard, but it is something that you will barely notice once you are familiar with it.
The Shift and the Up arrow keys are oddly close to each other, and the Right arrow keys eat some space into the number pad – something that is not usual in keyboards. Regarding lighting, the Helios’ keyboard doesn’t have RGB lighting, meaning you will have to stick with the single red Predator colour. The touchpad has lots of real estate and works seamlessly with the latest Windows 10 gestures. It needs some extra force to press, but that shouldn’t be an issue in game as you'll probably be using a proper gaming mouse.
The full HD display on the Predator Helios is good but could do a lot better. It falls short when it comes to brightness, though it is still something you can live with and enjoy your gaming. Dark scenes may prove challenging as you play, but lighter areas appear just fine with satisfactory colour accuracy. Brightness clocks in at 226 nits on average, which is far dimmer than most of the other products in this class.
The Predator Helios features a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 seventh-generation processor working alongside a memory of 16GB and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD). With these specs, this Helios can handle multitasking at the highest levels. It scores above the mainstream average (10675) on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test scoring 13587, which is also more than its closest competitors. Copying speeds clock in at 188.5 Mbps, which is slightly below the category average of 207.6 Mbps.
In graphics card performance, the Predator Helios scores pretty well with its NVidia GeForce GTX 1060 that has a graphical memory of 6GB. It can run demanding games, like GTA V and Mass Effect: Andromeda, at high settings and still deliver reasonable refresh rates. For GTA V, you should expect around 49 fps, which is more than the average of 47 fps. Mass Effect: Andromeda will run at frames rates of between 70 – 80 fps, with occasional drops outside this range.
The Predator Helios has an impressive battery, you can expect to get around six and a half hours while consistently browsing the Internet. The mainstream average is around seven hours, but very few gaming machines achieve this. Most struggle to last for more than four hours. When playing a game, the whole system may heat up to around 46 degrees Celsius at the bottom with the track pad remaining cool at 28 degrees Celsius. Audio is excellent on the Predator, thanks to inbuilt Dolby technology emphasizing on clarity and loudness.