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Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) review: Budget price sacrifices battery life

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a decently priced RTX 3070 gaming laptop that falls short on battery life

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) review
(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Our Verdict

The Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) offers great performance and a decent display, but the short battery life and awful speakers hold it back.

For

  • Strong performance and graphics
  • Bright, colorful display
  • Punchy keyboard

Against

  • Short battery life
  • Awful audio

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) offers great performance and a decent display, but the short battery life and awful speakers hold it back.

Pros

  • + Strong performance and graphics
  • + Bright, colorful display
  • + Punchy keyboard

Cons

  • - Short battery life
  • - Awful audio
Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) specs

Price: $1,699
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p, 240Hz
Battery: 4:40
Size: 14.3 x 10 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 5.5 pounds

The Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) is like any other Predator that Acer makes. It gives you decent features and performance and is affordable, but makes some sacrifices.

For $1,699, the Helios 300 offers a powerful Intel Core i7-10750H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU as well as a colorful 15.6-inch, 240Hz display and a punchy keyboard. However, the catch is short battery life and a truly terrible pair of speakers.

While the Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) isn’t one of the best gaming laptops around, it’s a pretty good deal if you plan on staying plugged in and using one of the best gaming headsets.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) price and configuration options

The Predator Helios 300 I reviewed costs $1,699 and is packed with an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1080p, 240Hz display.

Meanwhile, the base model drops to $1,199 and trades its specs for a Core i7-11800H CPU, an RTX 3060 GPU and a 1080p, 144Hz display. If you’re looking for the maxed-out version, the $2,299 will get you a Core i7-10750H, an RTX 3080, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 1080p, 240Hz display.

If the Helios 300 is still too expensive for your budget, check out our best cheap gaming laptops page for affordable but quality picks.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) design

If you’ve seen an Acer Predator laptop before, then you’ve seen the Helios 300. The hood features that sandblasted black aluminum design with two blue brackets surrounding the silver Predator logo at the center. The only notable difference making this chassis somewhat attractive is how deep and dark the black is on the hood.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The interior of the chassis features the same dark black coating. The deck has a large touchpad, an edge-to-edge keyboard and a set of vents below the hinge. As per usual, the bezels on the display of this Predator are a bit chunky.

At 5.5 pounds and 14.3 x 10 x 0.9 inches, the Helios 300 is a bit chunkier than some of its competitors. It’s heavier than the Asus TUF Dash F15 (RTX 3070) (4.4 pounds, 14.2 x 10 x 0.8 inches), Razer Blade 15 Base Edition (2021) (4.6 pounds, 14 x 9.3 x 0.8 inches) and the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition (5.4 pounds, 14.1 x 10.8 x 1 inches).

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) ports

There are a decent number of ports onboard the Acer Predator Helios 300.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

On the left side, there’s a Kensington lock slot, an Ethernet port, two USB Type-A ports and a headphone jack, while the right side features a Mini DisplayPort, an HDMI port, one USB Type-A port and one USB Type-C port.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Meanwhile, the backside of the laptop holds room for just the power jack, which isn’t a terrible design choice, as the wire won’t be in the way while gaming. However, it can be frustrating to move the laptop around to a new spot given the difficult-to-access port location.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

If you need more ports, check out our best laptop docking stations and best USB Type-C hubs pages.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) display

The Acer Predator Helios 300’s 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display is colorful and bright for a mainstream gaming laptop. It also sports a 240Hz refresh rate panel, which makes games look silky smooth.

In the trailer for The Misfits, the blue Lamborghini that raced across the street popped on the Helios 300’s display. When Pierce Brosnan and his crew were discussing a plan in a dark room, the display was bright enough to reveal detail in the space behind them. Brosnan’s hair also looked particularly sharp.

I snuck around a set of docks in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and the greenery around me glowed as the sun set in the distance. When I dove underwater to escape my captors, the bright display revealed everything beneath the river floor. I turned some of the graphics down so I can experience the high refresh rate, and it looked so smooth when I planted my ax into some foe’s neck.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

According to our colorimeter, the Helios 300 covered 73.7% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is above the 66.3% mainstream gaming laptop average. However, it wasn’t as colorful as the TUF Dash F15 (77.9%), the Razer Blade 15 (87.3%) and Strix G15 Advantage (76.7%).

At 283 nits, the Helios 300 was brighter than the average mainstream gaming laptop (277 nits) as well as the TUF Dash F15 (265 nits), Razer Blade 15 (271 nits), Strix G15 Advantage (280 nits).

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) keyboard and touchpad

While the Acer Predator Helios 300’s keyboard doesn’t provide those satisfying clicks, the keys were still pretty punchy, offering solid feedback on every depression.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

I hit 82 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is above my typical 78-wpm. The keys are well spaced and there’s more than enough room on the deck for my palms to rest and work with.

The keyboard features four-zone RGB lighting that you can customize in the Lighting tab of the PredatorSense app. The lighting is okay, but not as impressive as a per-key RGB-lit keyboard. Also, the lighting software is barebones.

The touchpad is smooth, but can be a little sticky sometimes. It also offers a solid click, but the dip between the deck and the touchpad is too deep for my liking. However, the touchpad handled Windows 10 gestures, like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing, very well.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) audio

The Predator Helios 300’s bottom-firing speakers are some of the worst I’ve tested on a gaming laptop.

I listened to Dream State’s “I Feel It Too,” and my ears actually hurt from the wonky high-pitched electric guitar noises. The vocals sounded hollow and the percussion was muddled beneath the guitar. Also, the chorus was abrasive and noisy. I love this song, but I couldn’t stand listening to it on this laptop.

When I played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the speakers aggressively highlighted the ambient noises way too much, causing a distorted bassy noise. When I attacked people with my axe, all I heard was a hollow, sharp noise as my blade clashed with theirs. Dialogue was the worst -- I couldn’t make out what anyone was saying without subtitles.

There is an audio app called DTS:X Ultra that offers presets for music, voice, movies and gaming. And while switching to any of them did change the sound, it didn't make the speakers even remotely better.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) gaming, graphics and VR

Packed with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, the Predator Helios 300 ran Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at a buttery smooth 70 frames per second on Ultra, 1080p settings as I dashed across a rainbow bridge on my way to kill a bunch of frost giants.

On the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), the Helios 300 averaged 68 fps, sliding past the average mainstream gaming laptop (50 fps). It also toppled the TUF Dash F15’s RTX 3070 (51 fps), the Razer Blade 15’s RTX 3070 (64 fps) and the Strix G15 Advantage’s AMD Radeon RX 6800M (49 fps).

The Acer Predator Helios 300 nailed 84 fps on the Far Cry New Dawn benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), soaring over the 75-fps category average. It surpassed the TUF Dash F15 (70 fps) and Strix G15 Advantage (81 fps), but had trouble catching up to the Razer Blade 15 (86 fps).

On the Borderlands 3 benchmark (Badass, 1080p), the Helios 300 scored 77 fps, once again knocking out the average mainstream gaming laptop (56 fps). This time around, it beat the TUF Dash F15 (62 fps) and Razer Blade 15 (67 fps), but not the Strix G15 Advantage (79 fps).

The Helios 300 hit a solid 60 fps on the Metro: Exodus benchmark (Ultra, RTX, 1080p), speeding past the category average (50 fps) as well as the TUF Dash F15 (49 fps), Razer Blade 15 (52 fps) and Strix G15 Advantage (54 fps).

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) performance

Tucked within its chunky chassis, the Predator Helios 300 holds room for an Intel Core i7-10750H processor with 16GB of RAM. It easily bounced around 40 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos without any real slowdowns.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

On the Geekbench 5.3 overall performance test, the Helios 300 scored 6,257, surpassing the average mainstream gaming laptop (5,263). It sped past the TUF Dash F15’s Core i7-11375H (5,166) and the Razer Blade 15’s Core i7-10750H (5,564), but couldn’t match the Strix G15 Advantage’s AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (7,746).

The Helios 300 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 9 minutes and 18 seconds, which is only slightly slower than the category average (9:15). It was still faster than the TUF Dash F15 (10:40) and the Razer Blade 15 Base Model (10:57), but it couldn’t keep up with the Strix G15 Advantage (6:57).

Acer’s 512GB SSD has a transfer rate of 544 megabytes per second, which is slower than the SSDs in the TUF Dash F15 (1,003 MBps) and the Razer Blade 15 (602 MBps).

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) battery life

Gaming laptops are getting better when it comes to battery life, but the Predator Helios 300 didn’t get the memo. On the Laptop Mag battery test, the Helios 300 lasted only 4 hours and 40 minutes, which is nearly 2 hours shorter than the 6:29 mainstream gaming laptop average. It endured only slightly longer than the Razer Blade 15 (4:36), but didn’t get anywhere close to the TUF Dash F15 (6:53) and Strix G15 Advantage (10:14).

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) webcam

Like most 720p webcams, the one on the Predator Helios 300 was crap.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

An image I snapped showed a ton of grain and couldn’t capture the text on the Fullmetal Alchemist scroll behind me. The webcam also turned my window into a white void because it couldn’t balance the contrast. I love playing D&D online, so a webcam like this simply won’t do. If you want to look good (because you should), check out our best webcams page.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) heat

The Acer Predator Helios 300 can get a little spicy while gaming. After gaming for 15 minutes, the underside capped out at 121 degrees Fahrenheit, which is above our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and touchpad hit 105 degrees and 81 degrees, respectively.

When running something more casual, the Helios 300 doesn’t get too hot. After streaming a 15-minute, 1080p video, the underside hit 100 degrees, the keyboard measured 89 degrees and the touchpad managed 78 degrees.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) software and warranty

The most important app within the Predator Helios 300 is none other than PredatorSense. Within this app you can monitor your CPU, GPU and system temperatures as well as overclock your GPU and ramp up your fans. The other important app is the Acer Care Center, which gives you insight into checkups and tuneups your components might need as well as your current warranty status.

There is also some Windows 10 bloatware like Hidden City, Roblox and Dolby Access.

The Predator Helios 300 comes with a one-year limited warranty. See how Acer performed on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands ranking.

Bottom line

The Acer Predator Helios 300 offers its user powerful performance paired with a colorful display and a comfortable keyboard. But it might be tough to hand over $1,699 when you’re getting short battery life and crappy speakers.

Our advice? Save yourself some money and go with the Strix G15 Advantage ($1,549 - $1,699), which offers over 10 hours of battery life and a more powerful CPU.

However, you’ll be missing out on the Predator’s more colorful display and slightly stronger GPU. The Predator Helios 300 is a solid gaming laptop, and is worth considering as long as you’re okay with the poor runtimes and audio.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (2021) Specs

Size14.3 x 10 x 0.9 inches
Display15.6-inch, 1080p, 240Hz
CPUIntel Core i7-10750H
Price$1,699
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3070
Battery4:40
Weight5.5 pounds
Storage512GB SSD
RAM16GB
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Rami Tabari

Rami Tabari is a Senior Writer for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.