Acer Predator Helios 500 evaluation
Lots of at the moment’s standard gaming laptops, just like the Razer Blade, appear virtually ashamed of their heritage. Yea, they will recreation, however they search to mix in with a glossy, elegant exterior and skinny profile. Acer’s Predator Helios 500, although, lets its freak flag fly. It’s unapologetic as a gaming laptop computer, each in look and capabilities.
Acer is aware of its target market and gives two configurations of this 17-inch behemoth, beginning on the $2,000 base mannequin. Our $2,500 evaluation unit got here with an Intel Core i9-8950HK processor, a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. In the event you can’t spend that a lot, the Helios 300 has a GTX 1060 and begins at simply $1,500.
No matter configuration you go for, Acer has introduced collectively the proper components to prepare dinner a meaty gut-bomb of a gaming feast.
For the unapologetic gamer
Excessive-end gaming has trended in the direction of delicate designs as of late, however not everybody needs or wants a glossy, nondescript laptop computer to play video games. Some players need a laptop computer that screams its gaming credentials. Others are superb paying much less for a thicker, bigger laptop computer with equal (or higher efficiency). Regardless of the purpose, Predator Helios 500 is definitely reduce from a unique fabric than lots of its friends.
This 17-inch laptop computer has the angular panels, flashing lights, and layers of chrome we’ve come to anticipate of the Predator model. It takes a cautious eye to tell apart the Helios 500 from the likes of the Predator 17, 17X and Helios 300. There are a few small variations between the fashions, however the important thing to decoding Acer’s messy glut of manufacturers and names is to know that the Helios laptops are the one fashions which have been up to date in 2018 to date.
That mentioned, we just like the admittedly small adjustments Acer has made for the Helios 500. The purple LEDs have been changed by blue, and silver has been (virtually) fully faraway from the chassis. Would we desire a much less ostentatious brand, smaller bezels, and sleeker panels? Undoubtedly. The Predator Helios 500 isn’t a looker. Nonetheless, for individuals who need a in-your-face gaming laptop computer, the Helios 500 matches the invoice.
The Helios 500 isn’t a skinny or mild laptop computer, and it doesn’t faux to be.
Equally, the Helios 500 doesn’t faux to be skinny or mild in any sense of the phrase. Weighing in at eight.eight kilos, don’t anticipate to throw this in your backpack and never discover. In comparison with the competitors although, it’s truly a bit lighter than the Alienware 17, the king of bulk.
The Helios 500 measures in at 1.5 inches tall with the lid closed, which is thicker than two Razer Blades stacked up. In different phrases, the Helios 500 isn’t moveable within the slightest, so look elsewhere if portability is a deciding issue for you. The excellent news is that in case you do must lug it round, you possibly can just about assure it’ll deal with the transportation due to its cumbersome chassis. We did discover some flex in bend within the lid, however every little thing is as sturdy as a $2,500 laptop computer needs to be.
Acer has well moved a few of the video output ports, like HDMI and DisplayPort, making them each simpler to seek out and out of the best way. On the edges, the Helios 500 has a regular array of three USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, and an ethernet jack. It’s all of the connections a gamer would ever want, full with choices for futureproofing equipment and powering exterior GPUs by means of Thunderbolt three.
Able to mash some keys? That is the keyboard for you
Predator’s unchanged design over time means the nice elements have hung round as nicely — and the keyboard is a kind of. The keyboard gives first rate journey for quick typing, and the structure is snug. Fast controls are hidden within the operate row that players will recognize, akin to on/off toggles for Wi-Fi, the display screen, and touchpad. You additionally get six programmable buttons above the operate row that open up PredatorSense, Acer’s proprietary thermal management software program, by default.
Animations and response occasions really feel extremely easy.
The keyboard is backlit with RGB lighting, although it’s lit in zones slightly than particular person keys, like on the Razer Blade. As well as, Acer nonetheless hasn’t included a number of ranges of brightness for the backlighting. It’s on or off. That’ll be an annoyance for players who play at nighttime and must see their keys with out being blinded.
Beneath the keyboard you’ll discover a high-quality touchpad that’s adequate for basic use (players usually don’t use touchpads in video games). It’s manufactured from glass, although monitoring isn’t as easy as many different laptops. We additionally discovered the tap-to-click performance to be overly delicate, leading to skips down the web page whereas scrolling or by accident dragging browser tabs. Luckily, it makes use of Home windows Precision drivers, so two-finger scrolling and four-finger swiping labored as anticipated.
Lightning quick refresh charges
The Predator Helios 500’s show places it forward of laptops just like the Alienware 17 R5, which lacks the distinction and coloration accuracy of the Helios 500 has. The inky blacks of the Predator’s show make the intense colours of a recreation like Fortnite pop.
The Helios 500 has a 144Hz show, which implies it could actually show framerates of as much as 144 frames per second. A recreation like Fortnite, which the Helios 500 can play at as much as 144 FPS, will look ludicrously fluid. The animations and response occasions really feel so easy you’ll swear you’ve change into extra expert. This isn’t the one gaming laptop computer with a 144Hz show, nevertheless it surpasses the Alienware 17 R5’s 120Hz refresh fee. Throw in G-Sync to maintain these frames freed from tearing or stutter, and you’ve got a show that does every little thing players ask.
A six-core speedster
You might have learn controversies involving Core i9s in MacBooks, however relaxation assured the ultra-fast, six-core processor was made for laptops just like the Helios 500. These are the quickest processors we’ve examined in a laptop computer, and that’s not wasted on the Helios 500. Geekbench scores are off the chart in comparison with Core i7-powered gaming laptops just like the Razer Blade or Digital Storm Equinox. The identical is true in additional sensible testing akin to 4K video encoding. This Acer zips by means of any process you throw at it.
Luckily, Acer bundles that with some equally quick and plentiful storage. There are two configuration choices out there. You should buy a SATA HDD with both one or two terabytes of area, paired with both 256GB or 512GB of PCIe NVMe strong state storage. Each the RAM and storage are accessible and expandable, guaranteeing you possibly can improve this machine down the street.
Extra graphics energy than you in all probability want
The Helios 500 comes with an overclockable Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, a robust and easy graphics card. It’s a lot sufficient to deal with the 1080p show and spits out fantastically easy gameplay. Sadly, the Helios 500 doesn’t provide an non-compulsory GTX 1080. You’ll must go for final yr’s Predator 17X if you’d like that. Nonetheless, in our testing, there weren’t many instances the place we felt restricted by the 1070. That’s due to the laptop computer’s superior thermal system, which incorporates 5 heatpipes and a few giant followers.
Its benefit is demonstrated in our 3DMark benchmarking, the place it scored 10 p.c greater than the Razer Blade or Digital Storm Equinox (each of which use the Max-Q model of the identical GTX 1070).
The Helios 500 shines in 1080p gaming, taking advantage of its elements. The Helios 500 even matched the Alienware 17 R5’s framerates throughout the board, regardless of its lesser graphics card. With settings maxed, the Helios 500 earned 139 frames per second (FPS) in Battlefield 1, making nice use of the high-refresh show. Civilization VI and Deux Ex: Mankind Divided didn’t run fairly as nicely, however nonetheless appeared and performed fantastically on the Helios 500.
You received’t need to go away residence with out the facility adapter.
The one state of affairs the place you might need to splurge for a gaming laptop computer with the GTX 1080 is in case you’re hooking it as much as a high-resolution monitor. The video games we examined look nice at 1440p, nevertheless it’s right here the place the Alienware 17 R5 and Razer Blade Professional begin to take a noticeable lead in framerates
Excessive decision gaming isn’t out of the query, nevertheless. If you wish to plug right into a 4K monitor, you’ll see respectable framerates in Fortnite or Battlefield 1 — and wow, do these visuals come alive. With settings maxed, the video games have been playable at round 30 FPS. Even 60 FPS is feasible in case you’re keen to play with element settings a number of notches under the utmost.
The Helios 500 doesn’t make any strides in battery life. As with most gaming laptops, not to mention 17-inchers, you received’t need to go away residence with out the facility adapter.
In our testing, the Helios 500 lasted slightly below 5 and a half hours in video playback and two hours and eleven minutes in net shopping. That’s like different gaming laptops, until you’re evaluating it to the Razer Blade, which proved significantly better. A part of the issue is little question the inclusion of G-Sync, which fixes display screen tearing, however prevents the laptop computer from switching GPUs to save lots of battery.
The Predator Helios 500 is a compelling mid-range gaming laptop computer that delivers quick framerates to justify the high-refresh show. Although it’s not probably the most extravagant, and positively not probably the most moveable, the Predator Helios 500 sits at implausible stability of worth and efficiency. It’s the 17-inch gaming laptop computer to beat.
Is there a greater various?
The very best various we’ve examined is the Alienware 17 R5. Each are top-of-the-line gaming laptops, however until you propose on gaming in 1440p or 4K, the Predator Helios 500 gives a greater worth and a higher-refresh display screen.
Acer Predator Helios 500 In contrast To
In the event you’re trying to spend a bit much less cash however just like the vibe of Predator, Acer additionally gives a 17-inch Helios 300, which contains a GTX 1060 and begins at $1,500. Dell additionally has a 17-inch model of the reasonably priced G3 Gaming Laptop computer, which makes use of the identical six-core processor, together with a GTX 1060.
How lengthy will it final?
Regardless of the upcoming launch of Nvidia’s new RTX 2000 GPUs, the cellular variations haven’t but been introduced. Even when they have been, the elements within the Predator Helios 500 ought to final you a few years in gameplay, given how lengthy it would take for builders to start using the brand new tech. The identical can’t be mentioned concerning the thick bezels and barely outdated design, however that received’t have a tangible impact on longevity.
Luckily, Acer gives a two-year elements and labor guarantee for its Predator laptops. It is a enormous bonus on condition that one-year warranties have change into the norm for laptops.
Must you purchase it?
Sure. If you need a gaming laptop computer that makes implausible use of its elements, the Predator Helios 500 is a superb selection.