CES 2022: Acer Predator Helios 300 2022 gaming laptop hands-on preview
Will this predator kill the competition?
If you’ve been strung out assembling all of the parts for a gaming PC, or if you’ve been waiting for the new generation of Intel chips and DDR5 RAM to hit gaming laptops, you’re in luck, as the brand-new Acer Predator Helios 300 2022 gaming laptop might just be what you’re after. Packed to the brim with top-of-the-line specs alongside either a 15-inch or 17-inch panel, this laptop is sure to bring you the performance you demand out of even the most taxing of gaming scenarios.
Recently announced at CES, the Acer Predator Helios 300 isn’t the smallest 15-inch gaming laptop we’ve ever seen, but it more than makes up for this in its fantastic thermal solutions. With Liquid Metal thermal grease applied, alongside a dual-fan layout, this thicker gaming laptop is absolutely intended to be more of a desktop replacement solution, rather than a thin and light that you can pop in your backpack. It’s a traditional gaming laptop design, and while the thermal solutions do indeed boast top-range performance, we were unable to test the actual performance of the system due to embargo restrictions on the pre-production unit we received to check out the system.
With that said, we are able to comment on the Predator Helios 300’s design, which features a huge exhaust at the back, slathered with all of the IO that you could possibly want out of a laptop in 2022. With HDMI 2.1, a Thunderbolt Type-C port, in addition to two additional USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, you’ll be able to do almost anything on this laptop, short of upgrading the whole system yourself. The advantages of having such a fully-featured IO suite on the back of the laptop means that you are able to manage all your cables at the back of the system, without cables sticking out everywhere, though you do still have three USB-A ports located on the left and right-hand sides of the chassis, alongside a ‘Killer E2600 Pro’ Gigabit Ethernet controller. For those of you who fancy a wireless solution, you’re also going to be getting cutting-edge WiFi 6e support right out of the box.
So, this system has all of the premium trimmings that the specs allow for, including a 12th Gen Intel i7-12700H processor and either an RTX 3070 or 3080 Mobile chipset, as well as our unit coming with 32GB of DDR5 memory. Luckily, the premium feeling of this system doesn’t end there. The chassis is a split between metal and plastic, with metal on the top of the system, and inside, where the keyboard and trackpad live. This makes it cool to the touch, and feel premium, even if the underside is made from plastic.
This is accented through tasteful usage of RGB, with lights adorning the predator logo on the top of the system, per-key RGB for the keyboard and a blink and a small light bar on the underside of the chassis. This culminates to make for a fantastic-looking gaming laptop, that isn’t too egregious when it comes to how it looks on your desk, supercar-like exhaust vents be damned.
Acer Predator Helios 300 keeps delivering with a serviceable keyboard, which has a sci-fi looking legend, which we don’t hate, as the kerning of these keys can sometimes look awkward with thin fonts, but we just wish it looked a bit more professional. Additionally, the trackpad could stand to be slightly bigger but otherwise feels fantastic. With your usual usage, we think that you’d expect to be using a gaming mouse alongside this system, anyway.
We decided to plop a film on the Acer Predator Helios 300, and its speaker array isn’t anything to write homes bout, and you will almost certainly have a worse time with the majority of other laptops on the market. With enough room to pack in a decent audio solution, we’re glad that the Acer Predator Helios 300 actually manages to deliver here, where so many other laptops manage to fail.
However, one of the crowning jewels of this laptop is its fantastic display. Our 15-inch unit shipped with a 1440p, 165Hz IPS screen, which both looked and felt great in general use. While it won’t be winning any awards for its color accuracy, it certainly does the job well, and will make for a great solution for anyone looking for a gaming laptop in 2022, especially when paired with the sheer amount of horsepower available under the hood to actually make use of a high refresh rate and resolution offered. According to Acer, the 17-inch model will also be available at 1440p with a 165Hz screen or 1080p 144Hz display.
Running out of the box with Windows 11, you are almost certainly going to be able to play every high-end game on the market with this machine and even be able to do content creation while on the go. For anyone looking to purchase a new, high-end gaming laptop in 2022, the Acer Predator Helios jumps up to the top of our list, just because of the sheer amount of horsepower under the hood, in addition to the great build quality of the system itself, too.
We were, unfortunately, unable to benchmark and test this system in-game, so we can’t give you any detailed benchmarks or thermal details of this system quite yet, but with all of that power under the hood, combined with an impressive thermal solution for the system, we can’t imagine that this system will be letting you down any time soon, especially when it is combined with an inbuilt ‘Turbo’ button (remember those?) which allows you to bump up your fan speeds to allow the system to get enough thermal headroom to push the clocks of these components further than you’d normally be able to without it.
Regardless, the Acer Predator 300 gaming laptop is shaping up to be one of the most impressive laptops of 2022. We can’t wait to get our hands on the finished product to put it through its paces more thoroughly.
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