Hands On With The Acer Predator Helios 300 Special Edition
One of the more interesting laptop designs to come out of the Computex week was from Acer: its new Predator Helios 300 Special Edition was an eclectic mix of white and gold that made it stand out from the swathe of standard black and red looking gaming machines being announced and on the market. We had a recent chance to spend some time with the unit at an Acer UK event.
So to begin, the unit in front of me was a Core i5-8300H model with a 15.6-inch 1920×1080 IPS display with a GTX 1060 inside. The unit looks great, if you like white and gold, and it will be interesting to see how the white stands up to repeated use and cleaning. We were told that the chassis is made from some composite materials (which ones were not disclosed) which should reduce fingerprints and scratches incurred during normal use.
The display, while not going all the way to the edge, can get reasonably bright, was definitely useable in a dimly lit room. Viewing angles seemed solid as well. The webcam is above the screen, and to be honest the white surround of the display did not impinge on using the device.
The keyboard is basically a full sized keyboard, using full size arrow keys which is a definite plus. The amount of key travel, compared to say the Huawei Matebook X Pro, was larger which is a plus for my use. It is easy to spot that the WASD keys have a ‘gold’ square on them. This is not a sticker, the keys themselves are colored this way. I feel like the key should be fully colored, rather than just a square (which sometimes looks off center), but I suppose it is easier to add the color after the fact. The key letters are actually cut aways from the keys as well. The function keys to adjust the brightness are in the arrow keys, with some of the F-key row for other functions. There are separate functions for music too. The downside of the keyboard though is the location of the power button – right next to the number pad. I often use the number pad for numbers and operational keys, so having the power button here is quite frustrating.
With the Core i5-8300H and the GTX 1060, there’s going to be some heat with gaming, and Acer uses their dual fan system to help remove heat through the grated rear of the laptop. The fans can also reverse direction to help shift dust and blockages, and the way the system does this can be controlled through Acer’s installed applications.
On the rear of the system, it looks like the 2.5-inch storage device and DRAM can be adjusted after purchase, due to two screwed down sections. In the device I was looking at, the system was using a 256GB Micron 1100 SSD, which is a mid-range SATA SSD, along with a Western Digital 1TB HDD.
The ports on the side seemed numerous, including an ethernet port, a HDMI port, several USB ports, and a card reader. There is also a USB Type-C, however power is supplied through a larger power brick using a circular connector.
When discussing the unit with the Acer reps here at the event, it seems like that the original Helios 300 got some good feedback however some of the retailers in the UK only got a few units of stock so there wasn’t a lot of noise. The hope is that something like this special edition will stand out from the crowd.
Also alongside the Helios 300 SE will be a series of Predator related white and gold accessories. There's the backpack, the Predator Cestus 510 mouse, and the Predator Galea 500 headset.
Acer’s Predator Helios 300 Special Edition laptop will be available later this year. The manufacturer did not disclose its estimated pricing or how many units will be produced.
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