Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6" FHD IPS w/ 144Hz Refresh, Intel i7-8750H, GTX 1060 6GB, 16GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Aeroblade Metal Fans PH315-51-78NP
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- 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H 6-Core Processor (Up to 4.1GHz) with Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Overclockable Graphics with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
- 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS display (144Hz Refresh Rate, 300nit Brightness & 72% NTSC )
- 16GB DDR4 2666MHz DRAM Memory & 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD | Extra empty accessible slot for 2.5 inch hard drive or SSD
- Gigabit Wi-Fi |Backlit Keyboard | USB 3.1 (Type C) | Dual All-Metal AeroBlade 3D Fan Cooling | Metal Chassis.Battery Capacity:3320 mAh
- Up to 7-hours of battery life
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Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-51-78NP Gaming Laptop comes with these high level specs: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor 2.2GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 4.1GHz (9MB Smart cache), Windows 10 Home, 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS display, 144Hz Refresh Rate, 300nit Brightness, 16:9 aspect ratio, 72% NTSC, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Overclockable Graphics with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM, 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Secure Digital (SD) card reader, Optimized Dolby Audio Premium sound enhancement, Acer True Harmony Plus Technology, Two Built-in Stereo Speakers, Intel Wireless-AC 9560 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi which can deliver up to 1.73Gbps throughput when using 160Mhz channels (Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, HD Webcam (1280 x 720) supporting Super High Dynamic Range (SHDR), 1 - USB 3.1 (Type-C) port (Gen 1 up to 5 Gbps), 1 - USB 3.0 port (featuring power-off charging), 2 - USB 2.0 ports, 1 - HDMI 2.0 with HDCP support, 4-cell Li-Ion Battery (3220 mAh), Up to 7-hours Battery Life, 5.51 lbs. 2.5 kg (system unit only) (NH.Q3FAA.001).
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For the new guys, here's the breakdown:
SCREEN: 144hz IPS 1080p display. 144hz means you get 144 frames per second. Most laptop screens are going to get 60hz or nicer ones get 120hz. 144hz is fast. IPS displays are good for wide viewing angles and color production. I am surprised to see a 144hz IPS display on a gaming laptop because in the past, IPS were only used for graphic design. 1080p is Full HD, and is more than adequate for gaming on a 15 inch screen. 4k is kind of overkill especially for a budget. A 27inch 144hz IPS 1080p display goes for up to $300. I would estimate the value of this laptop's display at ~$150
GRAPHICS: Nvidia gtx1060. I wouldn't buy a laptop without a graphics card, and it has to be NVidia. The 1060 is a great value and is perfectly capable of handling games at 1080p. The 1070 and 1080 are more for 4k gaming and make them kind of overkill and not as budget friendly. The 1060 should be able to connect to a 4k tv and play games in 4k, but they would probably look better in higher settings in 1080p on that same 4k tv. A desktop gtx 1060 still goes for about $300.
CPU: Intel i7-8750h. This is a beast. 6 cores with hyperthreading. It supports ultra HD resolutions without a graphics card. I won't bore you with all of the details about how beastly this is. Bottom line, it is a top of the line CPU. the desktop's i7-8700 goes for just over $300.
RAM: 16GB of ddr4 should suffice for just about anything. Leave a hundred screens open on your browser and play games while using photoshop. Who cares right?? You could get more but it would be overkill for a budget gaming machine. This much ram for a laptop sells for around $150
Storage: 256gb M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. A lot of letters right? This is probably the fastest type of drive in the consumer market. Rather than a giant block in your laptop, this is a small card that goes in the motherboard. It is fast!!! No more PTSD every time you restart your computer. 256GB is enough for windows and several large programs like photoshop. I don't recommend this as a storage drive, only as an operating system/large program drive. That's where the problem lies. This is the only drive in the laptop. You can easily install a second drive in the bay on the bottom of the laptop. It takes 3 minutes. I would recommend a hard drive from western digital.
The installed 256gb m.2 drive goes for $120.
However, adding another drive adds $100, upping the price of the laptop to $1300 (its currently at $1200)
Bells and whistles:
1 USB 3.1(type c), 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI 2.0, SD Card reader. (no thundercat port)
HIgher end laptops have more bells and whistles like extra ports and fun other things. This comes with the basics, and most people won't need more than that.
Keyboard: red backlight, side numpad. Can't change the colors. Kind of basic keyboard. This saves on overall cost of the laptop and its a bell or whistle I can live without.
Adding up the assumed monetary value of the Display ($150), GPU($300), CPU($300), RAM($150), and Storage($120), We have a base value of $1020. I can't easily estimate the motherboard, battery, laptop shell, power cord, and other small parts, but assuming all those other parts add up to ~$300, that makes the value of this laptop around $1300. It sells for $1200 so it is a good value.
Biggest selling point in price range: Other similarly priced laptops offer similar specs, but not many can boast of having that 144hz IPS display. Some competitors are at 120hz which isn't anything to scoff at. The M.2 NVMe is a must if you are considering other competitors. Other than that, most laptops in this pool offer the same general specs (CPU, GPU, RAM)
Audio: Audio kind of sucks. If you hold the speakers towards you, they sound fine, but they aren't even close to ear level so all the sound is getting muffled by your lap. I usually use my headphones, but there are also a lot of bluetooth speaker options nowadays.
Materials: The case is solid. Parts of it are metal and other parts are plastic. Oils from your fingers show up very well all over the laptop. Wear vinyl gloves when playing games (jk don't). You may have to clean it often.
Overheating: All gaming laptops will get hot. In fact most other laptops I considered buying were criticized heavily for getting too darn hot. The ones that weren't criticized for that were criticized for breaking at the hinges. I purchased this one because it was reviewed as being sturdy and cooler than other gaming laptops.
I haven't had any specific problems with this laptop, but others have suggested boosting the fan if in a hardcore gaming session. Invest in a cooling pad. It should be very hard to overheat this laptop to the point of failure.
Pro: Insane performance per dollar. Maxing out stuff like Diablo 3, WoW, Overwatch, DOOM, Various Source engine games (TF2, Halflife 2, black mesa, etc) will be butter smooth. This is a near-desktop replacement device.
Pro: One of the best non mechanical keyboards. Great travel distance and key responsiveness
Pro: Lighter than I expected. It's not an ultra-thin notebook, but very travel friendly.
Pro: Premium Feel
Pro: Gorgeous Display. It's a 144 Hz IPS display. It's gorgeous. There is some lightbleed when displaying almost all black screens, but that's expected. Not going to count that as a con.
Con: It can get warm, to the point of discomfort near the WSAD keys, which I assume the GPU is located internally. I turned on the coolboost feature or whatever its called and this helped.
Con: Bloatware. Took about 5 minutes to remove, but nobody likes bloatware.
Con: Drivers out of box are a joke. My network performance was horrible until several driver installs and windows updates completed. Drivers are extremely out of date (8+ months old) out of box.
Neutral: Design language is typical angsty 14 year old, red and black, stark angles, and angry looking PREDATOR logos. I personally don't care, some people might not like the loud looks.
Neutral: PredatorSense software: It lets you slightly OC the 1060, which I did. It also lets you set fan curves. There's plenty of third party software that does all this already but it's nice of them to try.
Neutral : 2 year limited warranty: I hope I don't need it.
Neutral: NO Mechanical storage hard disk: It only has a 256gig NVME. Not a big deal because I use this exclusively for a handful of games to play while at work, but this might be a turn off for some.
Overall, I am happy with this having spent $1200. I would not pay a cent more, but most laptops in this tier DO cost 1400+. If you want something to play games on the go, are cheap, but demand decent quality, there is your go-to laptop.
However, based on reading other reviews, I believe this issue is not consistent with this item, it is a manufacturing flaw, not a design problem. This will happen to you SOMETIMES if you buy this laptop. This is not a risk I'm willing to take, I'm returning it for a different laptop which will not have cooling issues.
This laptop, other than its (serious) cooling issues, was a great laptop and ran games well (for the first hour or so).
*****EDIT: I forgot to add, the left control key worked about half the time, since day 1 of buying the laptop. I had to press it really hard to get it to work right. ******