Acer’s flagship from its Predator gaming series is the Helios 500. And unlike any other laptop I’ve tried, this one is massive. It’s quite evident just from its box that Acer is not trying to appeal to the traditional slim and light ultrabook users with this one. But rather, its targets are core gamers not afraid to use and carry this 4kg monster around.
As for feel, the chassis of the laptop does the Predator name justice. The vents off to the sides and the refined edges give the device a mean look. You also get a fair selection of ports including HDMI, DisplayPort and two USB-C 3.1 Gen 2/Thunderbolt 3s to name a few. It would have been nice to see a SD card reader here as well but the LAN port, which online gamers will appreciate, compensates for that.
Being a gaming laptop, it makes very few compromises on that front. Its screen is a 4K resolution 17.3-inch G-Sync-enabled IPS panel, which makes content look sharp. With a 144Hz refresh rate and a 7ms response time, it’s ideal for first-person shooter games. The laptop’s internals also back this up with the latest eighth-generation Intel core i7 processor, Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card and 16GB of RAM.
Unlike traditional gaming laptops though, I like the colour scheme going on with the Helios 500. The blue and black combination is refreshing and makes the laptop stand out. Moreover, the laptop provides an impressive audio playback experience. With stereo speakers and a subwoofer, the Acer TrueHarmony technology is notably loud and works well especially for games.
With the time I have had with this laptop, the experience was good. Opening up files and general browsing worked well. Additionally, I managed to play a few games of Fortnite on this but that is about all the testing I have done. I did notice the laptop staying cool when stressed, which is a good sign, but that judgement won’t be set in stone until more graphically intensive games are tested.
Besides that, the laptop is the end product of a nice harmony between hardware and software. Acer provides a software suite that helps you customise macro keys or the lighting colours and zones on the laptop keyboard. But for the more demanding gamer, it even lets you overclock its internals for an added performance boost.
So for now, the Acer Predator Helios 500 is a worthy laptop for any serious gamer. It offers some powerful hardware in a package that is far from portable. But that doesn’t mean it is not possible to carry around. And I think this added flexibility is what makes it unique and may tempt the traditional PC user.