Comments about Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6" Full HD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display, Intel i7-9750H, GTX 1660 Ti 6GB, 16GB DDR4, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Backlit Keyboard, PH315-52-78VL

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6 Full HD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display, Intel i7-9750H, GTX 1660 Ti 6GB, 16GB DDR4, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Backlit Keyboard, PH315-52-78VL

Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL Gaming Laptop comes with these high level specs: 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H 6-Core Processor 2.6GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 4.5GHz, 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS display, 144Hz Refresh Rate, 16:9 aspect ratio, 3ms Overdrive Response Time, 300nit Brightness, 72% NTSC, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with 6GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM, 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 Slots | 1 Slot Available), 1 - Available Hard Drive Bay, Waves MaxxAudio sound technology, featuring MaxxBass, MaxxVolume, MaxxDialog and hyper-realistic 3D Audio using Waves Nx, Acer True Harmony Technology, Two Built-in Stereo Speakers, Acer Purified.Voice technology with two built-in microphones, Killer Double Shot Pro Wireless-AC 1550 802.11ac WiFi featuring 2x2 MU-MIMO technology (Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Killer Ethernet E2500 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN, HD Webcam (1280 x 720) supporting Super High Dynamic Range (SHDR), 1 - USB 3.1 Type C Gen 2 port (up to 10 Gbps), 3 - USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports (One with Power-off Charging), 1 - HDMI 2.0 Port with HDCP Support, 1 - Mini Display Port 1.4, Backlit Keyboard, Lithium Ion Battery, Up to 6-hours Battery Life, 5.07 lbs. | 2.3 kg (system unit only) (NH.Q5MAA.001)


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Overview:
This machine does a pretty good job living up to its advertised capabilities. This review is based on my impressions after a couple of days with the unit - I may update it later if anything relevant occurs long-term.

Testing Methodology:
I don't have a lot of sophistocated instruments for measuring the actual brightness, color gamut etc... In general I stuck to sofware based tests and my somewhat subjective eyeballs.

Construction:
The top (back of the screen) is metal, as is keyboard and palm-rest area, the screen bezel and bottom are plastic. This was a pretty good design decision as it keeps the bottom from turning into a hotplate in your lap. The hinge feels solid and moves very smoothly.

Screen:
The screen is rated about 300 nits. Just based on comparisions with others with similar ratings this screen seems like it might actually be a little brighter than it's rated. It's perfectly visible outside in daylight as long as there isn't direct sunlight on the screen. The 144hz refresh rate is a really nice feature and allows for some rock-solid motion. The contrast and color gamut are very effective and pleasing to the eye. I don't have a tool for measuring the colors so this could just be clever engineering, but nothing here feels like a compromise. The screen does suffer from uneven backlight blooming so on a completely dark image, there are bright splotches around the margin, but this is pretty typical for an IPS LCD.

GPU:
The GPU seems to be able to take just about everything I've thrown at it on the most insane settings and I haven't noticed any performance problems. The Witcher 3 and Darksiders Warmastered Edition look amazing in motion, with the latter running at a V-sync'd 144hz with no problems at all. It pulled a very respectable score of 14,000+ on the Final Fantasy XIV Stormbringer Benchmark with everything turned up to maximum and every optimization turned off. The laptop comes pre-configured with an overclock setting called "Turbo" mode which is activated by a button to the upper-left of the keyboard. You can, of course, create your own overclocking profiles.

In order to more efficiently use power, conserve battery, and cut down on fan noise, as with most contemporary gaming laptops, the Predator Helios 300 uses Intel Optimus. In a nutshell, Intel Optimus switches dynammically between the considerably less powerful and less power-hungry integrated Intel GPU and the GTX-1660ti. The system will attempt to guess which GPU should be used for a given process, but you can deliberately control this in a couple of different ways. From the Nvidia Control Panel, you can set the GPU to use for a given application so that whenever that program (i.e. your games) are launched it automatically does so under the Nvidia card. Alternatively you can tell the system to favor the Nvidia card for everything (not a great idea unless you want to listen to the fan all the time and watch your battery level drop before your eyes). And Lastly, there's a context menu item called "run with graphics processor" that lets you select which to use by right-clicking on an application before you launch it. So Optimus is pretty useful for balancing performance, but it somes with a couple of unfortunate tradeoffs. There is no "Display" option in the Nvidia control panel because Optimus dynamically manages those settings, and G-Sync and Fast Sync options are not possible though technically the GPU is capable of using them.

Keyboard:
The keyboard is, for the most part, great. The keys are spaced reasonably, slightly convex, quiet and just have a nice feel. I'm used to pressing harder so my fingers have a tendency to bounce and I wind up typing double letters occasionally, but it's nothing I can't adjust to. (I tried using the Windows "Filter Keys" setting to help with this but it's more of an accessiblity option and is too restrictive) The width of the keyboard allows for the incorporation of a 10-key keypad on the right, however the keys are much narrower than the rest of the keyboard, and the 0 key has been shifted to the center column to accomodate the arrow keys, so it's a bit of compromise. It's only really annoying when trying to type in a large string of numbers such as when entering a license key.

Trackpad:
The trackpad is generously large and very sensitive. There are no mouse buttons, but the bottom of the pad is clickable with the right and left corners representing the right and left mouse buttons.

Sound:
The laptop comes with a pair of down-firing stereo speakers that are okay for what they are. They're tinny and can't really get loud enough to overpower the fan noise when playing games. Noise cancelling or noise isolating headphones are pretty much mandatory for gaming or anything that drives the GPU. That said, the virtual surround effect is surprisingly convincing.

Backlighting:
They changed last-year's red backlight to blue, which I think is somewhat more pleasing to the eye, but it's kind of a deal breaker in the use-it-in-bed scenario because the blue light spectrum interferes with your ability to achieve REM sleep. It's a thing, look it up.

Battery:
It runs on a 3720mAh battery which is about 25% more capacity than last year's model. Trying to give a "it lasts this many hours" number is kind of pointless in my opinion because it's affected by background processes, screen brightness, what you're doing with it, the age of the battery, etc. Let's be honest though, no one is buying this laptop for its battery life. Nvidia has several settings which seek to improve battery life while gaming, but they all involve framerate throttling. If you want to game while not connected to mains power, then you're probably playing games that would work just fine on a laptop with a fraction of the power of this thing.

Webcam/Mic
The webcam maxes out at 720p30. That resolution also holds for still images so it seems like that's the geometry of the sensor itself. It works okay in relatively low light - with the brightness gain cranked all the way up, the glow of the screen is enough to allow it to capture a usable amount of detail in a dark room. In a normally lit room the image is a bit darker than what you would see with your eyes, and as with most webcams, colors are little washed out. And like most pinhole cameras, the brighter the lighting the clearer the picture and the more faithful the colors. This would be perfectly serviceable in a well-lit office, or outdoors. The stereo microphone picks up voices clean and clear.

Network:
The "Killer" WiFi chip in this machine is amazingly fast. My Internet service tops off at around 25MB/s, and this Wi-Fi card easily hit 23MB/s (that's bytes, not bits) when downloading games from GOG Galaxy. I was pleased to see that the laptop also maintains an RJ-45 for wired ethernet connnectivity - it uses a clever hinged port to maximize space while there's nothing plugged in.

Hardware Accessibility/Upgrade difficulty:
Unlike last year's model, there are no quick access ports - if you want to get at the Wi-Fi, M.2, Memory or SSD area, you have to remove the entire bottom of the shell. Fortunately everything important is within reach after you take out the 10 philips screws and pull the bottom cover off.

Cooling:
This is by far the best vented laptop I've ever seen. The heatsink fins and fans are clearly visible through the myriad slits on the bottom, sides and back. The fans are as noisy as any laptop I've ever used, but not worse, though when you hit that Turbo button to kick in the overclocking profile and those fans crank up, it sounds like a jet preparing to take off, so if you're doing any moderate to heavy gaming, noise isolating or noise cancelling headphones are not optional.

Storage:
A 256GB PCIe M.2 drive is installed. It tops off around 1.5Gbps which is a pretty respectable speed and pretty performmant. It's not a lot of space though so it's fortunate that there's another M.2 slot to install another card later on. There's also a bay for a 2.5" drive, but the bracket and SATA connector kit comes with a warning that Acer no longer considers this a user serviceable operation and implies that your warranty may be voided by attempting to install it yourself.

Instructions/Documentation:
The documentation for the hardware was honestly a little disappointing. It gives you a tour of the ports and the keyboard, but doesn't include anything about how to install M.2 devices, upgrade memory or install a 2.5" drive - these aren't exactly rocket surgery, but it still feels like an oversite that Acer doesn't want to show you what goes where. The SATA adapter for the 2.5" drive requires connnection to a proprietary ribbon socket which they altogether fail to tell you how to locate on the motherboard.

Other Stuff:
I had to chuckle when I saw the "Turbo" button. I'm old enough to remember when that was a thing on the Intel 386 CPUs, and unironically it does pretty much the same sort of thing here.

The BIOS is about the most bare-bones affair I've seen recently, with no options for controlling and/or disabling the integrated GPU.

The system came with Norton Ultimate installed. Thankfully that's about the only piece of garbageware installed by Acer. Microsoft's default "Windows Defender" is far superior to Norton and unlike Norton it won't waste a ton of CPU cycles for no good reason. Windows Defender is already part of Windows 10 - just uninstall Norton and reboot to activate it. It's better protection and doesn't expire and beg for more money in a year.

I've attached an image of the installed applications to this review so you can see what it comes with.

Summary:

Pros:
- Looks and feels sleek and solid
- That 144hz screen is fantastic
- 300 nits is not MacBook bright, but it's usable in daylight
- Comes with fast PCIe M.2 Storage
- Wi-Fi is incredibly fast
- Powerful GPU
- Very effective cooling - I never saw it break 46C

Cons:
- Blue backlighting is bad for bedtime use
- Fans get loud when the system is under a load
- No option to disable Optimus and enable GSync (so no GSync)
- Norton Ultimate - seriously?

Updates:
(As I encounter new things that I think are relevant, I'll update the review here)
- The USB-C socket is not wired to the video card so it's not possible to output video. The laptop provides HDMI and a mini-DPort so it's not lacking in output options, but still.

I almost cancelled my ordered when realizing the only reviews were all from Vine reviewers! I am glad I didn't. I have only owned 1 other laptop which lasted almost a decade. That and my PC's is what I have to compare it too. When I buy computer stuff I try to get the best for the money that will not be out of date for many years. In my mind I try to buy things that will be good for 8-10 years.
After looking at many laptops from top brands, and reading reviews and articles from the PC world, I realized I wanted a monitor at or above 120HZ. This one is 144HZ amazing! My old laptop became no fun when the cpu was way passed it's prime, so I wanted no less than a I7 8th gen, this one is the 9th gen! When it came to the video I wanted a 1060 or faster. This has the 1660ti, yesterdays beast card. The last on my concerns were heating up while under load. I am still concerned with heating up under load, but at this point it seems to handle everything I have put at it so far. The Predator Key pulls up the CPU, GPU,and Laptop temps, which has not gone much higher than mid 70's. The 2 games my kids and I have played on it might not be the most demanding either at this point.
I like the way the key board feels also, and I use a wireless mouse. I can not say enough about the monitor, it is just great! I have only had the laptop for a week at this point and will update my review if something great or terrible comes to light. Best of Luck!
Troy

tb
Laptop performs great. You'll be able to run pretty much any AAA title at Max - Ultra at reasonable frame rates. Cooling much better then the 2018 model and I didn't notice any thermal throttling. You are unable to upgrade the Nvidia driver manually. You must use GeForce experience. 144hrz display is good not great but for the price it's unbeatable. Average backlight bleed which is typicall for IPS. Little to no screen tearing without vsync. No GSYNC which is fine. Speakers better then expected for type of laptop. Fan is loud but not piercing under load. Keyboard is soft but deliberate, great for typing. Very intrusive junkware had to be removed so notifications weren't popping up every 20 minutes, annoying but typical. Laptop is thinner then the more expensive ASUS & MSI competition. The half metal case is confidence inspiring. The bottom is very easy to remove with a few screws and gives you quick access to all replaceable parts Normally I would not buy an Acer but their Predator line shows quality they have not shown in the past. I'm disappointed it's not RGB like it was advertised on Acers website (cross-referenced specific model #) but for the performance it's not too upsetting. Would recommend as long as the quality lasts as long as it looks good.

So I'll start with the fact that this laptop came with undervolted cpu which I found kinda strange. Played PUBG on ultra settings, max cpu temps were ~80°C and gpu max temps were 70°C (max fans on both).

What I like most about the Predator laptop is the wide, clear and bright screen which is not only great for gaming, but for any visuals such as art, photo editing, watching videos, etc. However, this is just one of the many features.
The charging port is on the left side – I’d have preferred it in back as to not have the cord looping around if the nearest power source is on the right. Also on the left side is a Kensington lock slot (sorry, have no idea what that is), an AC adapter jack, an ethernet port, two USB ports and the headphone jack.
The right side has a USB Type-C port, a USB port that allows power-off charging, an external display port and a HDMI port.
Speakers are angled to the rear on either side of the laptop base for stereo sound, which is crisp and clear.
Both left and right sides as well as the back edge have multiple ventilation vents for the cooling fan. The underside also has an expansive ventilation area. The fan, though not loud, appears to be powerful as I did not experience any notable heating of the laptop components.
The keyboard is brightly backlit with a bluish white light. At the top on the left side is the Turbo button, which allows you to switch the overclocking and fan level. There is also a “PredatorSense” key which launches the PredatorSense software by which you can monitor and change those settings as well as customizing your gaming profile.
The camera window above the screen has a reasonably clear picture, and there are two internal stereo microphones on either side.
The wide buttonless touchpad is quite sensitive, though you can modify this. I know that I may be old school in this but I do wish it had dedicated left and right-click buttons.
Comes with Window 10 preloaded and with Cortana personal assistant.

Bought the laptop for gaming purpose. Played on it for hours Total War 3k which heavily utlizes resources and with graphics on high setting I get a very nice fps. I didn't test the battery
The laptop feels solid thanks to the aluminum screen back cover and keyboard frame. It is well built with slim design and very smooth keyboard with classy blue color.
Thermal design of this model is better than the 2018 model. I played games on the laptop for hours in a warm room around 27°C and the CPU never exceeded 85°C while GPU was below 80°C also the keyboard never felt hot. I used stock setting without cooling pads but turned the coolboost option on ( that is different from Max fan speed)
What I don't like is the limited storage but there is one empty slot for M.2 NMVe and another one for 2.5" ssd. I saw a youtuber who further undervolted the processor to -0.17 and worked for him with a decrease of -4°C for the CPU. I'm planning to get mine done too.
One more thing I disliked was the power cord partially blocking the side vent. However, I overcome this issue by turning the cord to the other side but it might be somehow inconvenient when using the left side ports frequently

I travel a lot and go to many networking meetings. The first thing I noticed was this is MUCH heavier than my current laptop. (That being said, I paid a lot more for my lightweight 2.6 pound 15” laptop.) My current one also has an SSD drive and is 512GB, where as this is only 256 GB. But this one has an extra place to add a hard drive, so I imagine that if you put a good drive in here for all your data and it should work like a charm. (I will probably eventually do this, but I tend to work of external drives anyway.) It’s good not to have the data mixed in the same location as the programs anyway, so I don’t see this storage issue as that big a deal.

I am not a gamer, but I run a home business, do photography, graphic design, and a bit of video, so I know I always need more than what the typical sales person thinks. All of my expert graphic design friends recommended I get a GAMING machine. So, I’m super excited to have one.

I loaded 4 different Internet browsers and my Adobe software Master Collection. (I am not yet in the cloud.) All of this took up about 33% of the disc space when I look at the little pie chart. I am not a big techy, back end details type of person. But I know enough that this again proves, you will want to add another drive for storage or use an external drive. I’ve no issues running the programs so far. It is not uncommon for me to have the 4 browsers open with 20 tabs and be running Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop at the same time. The machine has not yet felt hot. I am sure the super fan included helps with this.

Camera – is in the top of the machine screen. My other laptop actually has it built into the joint, the bending part of the laptop – so lower edge of the screen. (I think this saved on some of the weight, and was a sacrifice I made when buying. No laptop ever seems to be perfect.) This is really unflattering for any live calls, so I’m excited to have the camera in a normal place.

I am a mouse user. I just got a tablet. There are connections for both on the right hand side of the machine, which seems to work fine. My son helped me with some of the downloading and installation work. He is a Mac user and touchpad user. He was screaming for a mouse about 15min into using it. He said the touchpad is so sensitive if your finger goes low. So, I expect those who use touchpad will have some adjusting to do.

Keyboard: I really like the keyboard. Now, I need to find a protective cover. I like those plastic shields to protect for the unforeseen drink spill. The keys are super smooth to the touch and the blue lighting is just – COOL! I am a number pad user as well, so I love that it comes with your typical side keyboard. So many smaller laptops drop this off to save space. It was much more comfortable to use than my current one, where I occasionally hit the wrong key on the left end of the board. Something about the height of the Predator keys and the depth when pressing them – is just perfect for me. I have no issues hitting the Caps Lock, Cntl, Fn, and Shift keys, and move swiftly around and my normal pace.

My other machine is much slimmer, but I just checked, and this Predator Laptop will fit inside my current laptop case. I know how hard it is to fit laptops in all the cases offered, so look for the “Lacdo 15 Inch Water Resistant Laptop Sleeve Case” ASIN B072NRXMS5. This will fit it snug with no movement and the case is slim, so fits nicely in a backpack. Some may like more corner padding, but with a tight fit, your laptop doesn’t slide around.

SUMMARY: Very few gripes. A spec heavy, low storage, and sensitive touch pad (but I don’t use that anyway). Really no big complaints. This is a solid machine, good buy for what you get, and I look forward to using it more.

I bought this to play Planetside 2 and it is a very demanding game. This laptop delivers the performance that I’ve been wishing I had for years. I am so happy I bought it.

Awesome gaming machine , love it..!!!

First off, I'm not a gamer, but a video editor. This laptop is obviously marketed to gamers. But the same features that make a computer good for games makes it good for video editing; in other words, fast CPU (this has an awesome chip), great GPU (graphics card), yes, top-notch here as well.

Unboxed this little monster, charged it before I did anything else, as the very simple, short and sweet manual requests you do (common sense). It booted right up. I did have one glitch setting up the machine; the Cortina-voiced procedure got hung-up halfway through. I had to start over, and this time everything installed without a problem.

I loaded up my favorite screenwriting software, added Open Office and an antivirus (it comes with Norton, which is an excellent antivirus package).

Really the only problem I ran into was dealing with Windows 10 (which the machine comes with). But that's on Windows, not this very cool laptop. I did have to spend about two hours getting all of my software loaded on, but, again, it's Win 10 that made it a bit difficult.

Visually, the machine is all 'bad ass'. It's got a cool Predator logo on the screen (upside down so it looks right from the back, a bit confusing to me at first). The keys are backlit this cool blue color. The keyboard works great, very nice tactile feeling. The layout of the keyboard is the standard QWERTY with all of the standard buttons, laid out a bit different from my Acer Desktop. The track pad works fine, but I did find I had to press the pad harder than I expected to select an item. Of course, you can use the enter key, which I ended up doing most of the time.

The Predator has three 3.1 USB connectors, which is excellent, and fast. My old Lenova laptop has...one. So annoying! Those USB ports come in handy, because I hate tracking pads, so I plugged in an external mouse, which I love. (Wireless mouse would be great).

Hooking up my WiFi was a bit of a problem, took me three times, but I chalk that up to Win 10 again. Once connected, this machine is FAST. Such a joy to use.

I've not tried editing. I use Davinci Resolve, and that is a system hog. I loaded the software fine, and it works (albeit slowly) on my old desktop, so I'm excited to see how good it will be.

This is one of the reason to have a powerful laptop if you are a filmmaker. You can haul this bad boy to a film set, and download all the video cards and audio cards while on set, and give the cards back to the cinematographer and the sound mixer. Ask them pretty please not to erase the cards until you get home and save the data on a RAID or other backup system. It's going to be great to do that; my current laptop just doesn't have the input to do that (you do need a card reader for the cards.)

All in all a great machine. Fast, 16gb memory, etc. One thing, the SSD (!) is fairly small. Swapping that out will probably be necessary if I do a lot of editing on the machine.

Highly recommended.

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