- Review Price: £1200.00
- Quad-core Intel Core i5 or i7 processor
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti or 1060
- 15.6-inch or 17.3-inch Full HD IPS display
- Up to 16GB DDR4 memory
Hands-on with Acer’s more sensible gaming laptop
Acer is expanding its range of gaming laptops, filling in every conceivable gap. The Helios 300 range, which takes the form of both 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops, is a step up from the Aspire VX 15 machine I reviewed earlier this month, but is still firmly in the mid-range.
This is a classic gaming laptop, with a classing gaming laptop design. There’s the sharp edges and red highlights you’ve come to expect from Predator machines, but it feels relatively well made. It looks very similar to the aforementioned VX 15, in fact. It’s similar in terms of weight as well; the 15.6-inch model tips the scales at 2.6kg and is 27mm thick.
The 17.3-inch model, meanwhile, weighs a mighty 3kg and is 29mm thick. This bigger model will go up against Asus’ excellent ROG Strix GL702VM.
I tried the 15-inch model at Acer’s launch event, and it ticks a lot of boxes. The keyboard feels very similar to the one found on the VX 15: it’s backlit by red LEDs – which not everybody will like – and has a really responsive action. It takes a bit more force to press than some other laptops, but it works really well in this case.
There are some differences between the Helios and the VX 15. The biggest – and most important – is that Acer has picked a substantially better Full HD IPS screen. The VX 15, you might recall, was serioulsly harmed by its rubbish screen, that had a slightly yellowy tint and horribly narrow viewing angles. Here, the screen has lovely clean whites, wide viewing angles and is an altogether much better piece of kit. The Helios 300 will start at $1299 or €1199 (we’d expect around £1200), which equates to a £100 price bump over the VX 15. That’s a price worth paying for a better screen.
There’s a mix of specifications available on the Helios 300. The cheapest models will come with a quad-core Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory and a 128GB SSD alongside a 1TB hard disk. The lowest-specification graphics card you can pick is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, which will run all of the latest games at Full HD resolutions at Medium of High settings.
More expensive models get more powerful Core i7 chips alongside Nvidia’s GTX 1060, which is a proven 1440p gaming card and will happily play the latest games at Full at HD at High settings and beyond.
The model I tried was loaded up with Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and was happily handling High graphics settings at Full HD without too much fuss.
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Acer’s already tried and tested this formula with the its VX line, and with a higher-spec graphics and a better screen, I’m optimistic this is another solid addition to its gaming laptop range.