The Acer Predator Helios 700 is a combat station. When the Helios 700’s comfortable HyperDrift keyboard falls into position, the super effective cooling comes on, and the system overclocks its powerful Intel’s 9th Gen Core i9 CPU and RTX 2080 GPU. But even for as much as $3,999, the Helios 700 can’t adequately perform with its dull display and speakers. Either way, this is still one of the best gaming laptops you can buy. This is our Acer Predator Helios 700 Review.
Acer Predator Helios 700 Review – Design
Although the price of an old car is charged, the Predator Helios 700 is equipped with a plastic top cover. This laptop has two shiny blue curves on either side of the lid. In the middle is the Predator logo, with blue backlighting. The laptop is thick and sturdy, but when I ran my fingers over the top, it was bent. The outside is a bit boring, but the magic happens on the inside. The inside is fitted with Acer’s HyperDrift keyboard, which offers two modes: coupled and uncoupled.
When attached, the keyboard is in its usual position, providing normal speed. However, you can disconnect the keyboard by sliding it towards you, revealing a glass panel with RGB lighting and heat pipes underneath. This not only creates overclocking but also increases airflow as it exposes two inlets on either side of the pipes. This might be a little too pretentious for some, as our lab tester Jorge Jimenez said: “It looks like a Transformer stuck in the middle of the transformation – my wife would divorce me if I took that home.”
When you slide the keyboard down, the part with the palm rests and touchpad bends into an angle, doubling like an ergonomic wrist rest. The edges of the display are also mighty thick. This monster has a variety of ports. On the left are an RJ45 Ethernet port, two USB 3.1 ports, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack. The right side features a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB Type-C port, and a USB 3.1 port. The back has the power connector, a DisplayPort and an HDMI 2.0 port. If you are interested in expanding the ports, you can always pick up a docking station or a USB Type-C hub.
Keyboard and TouchPad
With the Predator Helios 700, you can type in two ways: moored and not moored. In the docked mode, you get a pleasantly clicking keyboard with RGB lighting, but when the machine is in the undocked mode, you benefit from an ergonomic palm rest. The Predator Helios 700 includes five replacement keys, supported by springs instead of a membrane cap. They are specially designed for WASD keys and are intended to give a smooth feel to the character movement.
I tested these with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and the movement felt more natural. But when I typed with those replacement keys, it felt a bit shocking. Profiles in PredatorSense allow the keys to play or type, and you can adjust the controls within those settings from 1.0mm to 2.8mm. There are three macro keys just above the keyboard, and with the P-key, you can change three sets of profiles, so that makes nine macro keys in total. Technically, one of them is assigned permanently to change the key profiles mentioned above, leaving you with eight assignable macros.
For RGB lighting, there are three zones: the keyboard, the touchpad, and the heat pipe. The keyboard has key illumination and light effects such as wave, breathing, and raindrop. Meanwhile, the touchpad is equipped with static, blue lighting and the heat pipe as a statically adjustable RGB. You can configure all these settings via PredatorSense. The 4.1 x 2.3-inch touchpad has a decent size and offers satisfying clicks. Windows 10 gestures, such as three-finger tap and two-finger scrolling, worked as intended. Still, you’ll probably want to pick up a game mouse anyway.
Acer Predator Helios 700 Review – Display
The Predator Helios 700’s 17.3-inch, Full-HD (1920 x 1080) display is bright and features a smooth 144-Hz refresh rate driven by Nvidia G-Sync technology. But the panel is relatively dull for a gaming laptop. You might want a gaming monitor. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I could see the details on the surrounding walls in a dark, underwater cave. Every lock of hair of Lara Croft was sharp, but her shirt, hair, and eyes weren’t as vivid as they could have been. After I turned the settings down a notch, it felt like exploring and swimming underwater moisture.
In the trailer of Jumanji: The Next Level, I was able to make a lamp and the torn window in the background of Danny DeVito’s dimly lit basement. The Acer Predator Helios 700’s panel detailed DeVito’s sharp beard and the hair strands on his head. But while the greenery that surrounded Karen Gillan was satisfying, it didn’t pop.
As per our colorimeter, the Predator Helios 700 covered only 95% of the sRGB color gamut, far from the average of 143% for premium gaming laptops. While the Alienware Area-51m (118%) and the Origin PC Eon17-X (120%) were below average, they made it at least above 100%. Meanwhile, the MSI GT75 Titan dominated by 178%. With 287 nits, the Predator Helios 700 came close to the 296 nits average. Acer’s machine even beat the Alienware Area-51m (284 nits), MSI GT75 Titan (271 nits), and Origin’s Eon17-X (211 nits).
Acer Predator Helios 700 Review – Graphics and Gaming
Under the glass panel of this beast, enveloped in heat pipes, is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB VRAM. The Predator Helios 700 tore through the Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Highest, 1080p) at 91 frames per second as I jumped from tree to tree in front of a group of enemies.
On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark test (Very High settings, 1080p), the Predator Helios 700 hit 91 fps while not in the dock (85 fps docked), dropping the average of the premium gaming laptop average (67 fps). Acer’s machine went past the MSI GT75 Titan (76 fps) and the Origin PC Eon17-X (81 fps) with their Nvidia RTX 2080 chips but fell just one frame behind the Alienware Area-51m (92 fps).
The Predator Helios 700 came on top of the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), averaging 149 fps (disconnected) and 140 fps (attached), crushing the average of 109 fps. The Alienware Area-51m (143 fps), MSI GT75 Titan (140 fps), and the Origin PC Eon17-X (125 fps) were behind the Helios 700.
On the GTA V benchmark (Very High, 1080p), the Predator Helios 700 hit a drizzly 62 fps (moored and not moored) and fell behind the category average of the 77 fps. It could not keep up with the Alienware Area-51m (105), MSI GT75 Titan (90 fps), or Origin PC Eon17-X (97 fps).
The forward-facing speakers of the Predator Helios 700 are quite loud, but the sound is a bit too sharp and lacks the right bass. When I listened to the NF’s “Let You Down,” the vocals produced a somewhat nagging sound. The percussion and the piano didn’t pop but came across as hollow – not to mention that the vocals overshadowed them.
While playing the Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I threw one of the bad guys off a cliff; the next thud sounded shallow. When Jonah came to help me, his voice didn’t have enough bass. The surroundings, with chirping birds and croaking frogs, were more annoying than compelling because of his high pitch. You need headphones or a set of external speakers if you want to immerse yourself in the game with this machine.
The Predator Helios 700 has the Waves MaxxAudio software, which gives you settings like Gaming, Gaming FPS (first-person-shooter), Movies, and Music. The software also provides you access to the full EQ and some settings for bass and treble. I had to max the bass and the other two settings to balance the sound for Music about halfway, but I still couldn’t get the audio precisely right. For gaming, I set all levels to about 50%, but in the end, I didn’t manage to get a full sound.
Acer Predator Helios 700 Review – Performance
Powered by an Intel’s Core i9-9980HK processor and 32GB RAM, the Predator Helios 700 cuts through 40 Google Chrome tabs and five YouTube videos through Luke Skywalker’s forearm like a lightsaber. In the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance test, the Predator Helios 700 nailed down 31,587 (30,908 attached), which is above the average of 24,160 for premium gaming laptops.
The Predator Helios 700 crushed the MSI GT75 Titan and its Intel’s Core i9-8950HK (24,569), as well as the Origin PC Eon17-X with its Intel’s Core i9-9900K (27,347). While the Predator Helios 700 didn’t beat the Alienware Area-51m, the Acer machine came close to that laptop and its Intel Core i9-9900K with a score of 32,591.
Acer’s 1TB SSD copied 4.97GB of mixel multimedia files in 10 seconds, translating to a speed of 509 MBps, which is slower than the average for premium gaming laptops (781MBps). The Predator Helios 700 drive also failed to reach the 1TB SSD of the Alienware Area-51m (1,272 MBps), the 512GB SSD of the MSI GT75 Titan (848 MBps) and the 500GB SSD of the Origin PC Eon17-X (565 MBps).
The Predator Helios 700 has transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 6 minutes and 16 seconds, edging past the category average of premium gaming laptops (9:24). Once again, the Acer defeated the MSI GT75 Titan (8:00) and the Eon17-X (6:53) as it approached the Alienware Area-51m, the power-hungry throne, and that machine finished in 6 minutes.
Acer Predator Helios 700 Review – Battery Life
Don’t even think of disconnecting this machine while gaming. When I was surfing the web continuously over Wi-Fi with the screen set to 150 nits brightness, the Predator Helios 700’s battery only lasted 1 hour and 43 minutes, which is almost half the average of the premium gaming laptop (3:11). The Alienware Area-51m (2:36), MSI GT75 Titan (2:20), and the Origin PC Eon17-X (1:50) have all survived the Helios 700. A portable charger will probably not power this machine, so if a long life on a charge is your concern, consider looking at the laptops with longer battery life.
We tested the Predator Helios 700 in both docked and undocked, but both methods kept the system relatively cool. However, on the one hand, there is proper heat dispersion; on the other hand, the fans are incredibly noisy. After I had played Shadow of the Tomb Raider in dock mode for 15 minutes, the bottom hit 102 degrees Fahrenheit, which is slightly above our comfort threshold of 95 degrees. The center of the keyboard and touchpad meanwhile measured 89 and 81 degrees, respectively.
The hottest the machine got was 110 degrees, on the left bottom at the hinge. When the Helios 700 was disconnected, the overclocking kicked in, causing the fans to shoot out of the air. The bottom reached 105 degrees, the keyboard was 83 degrees, and the touchpad hit 81 degrees. But maybe you still want a lap desk, if only because this thing is gigantic.
Price and Configuration Options
I tested the max version of the Acer Predator Helios 700, which runs for $3,999 and is equipped with an Intel’s Core i9-9980HK processor, an Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB VRAM, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB of SSD storage. The midrange model costs $2,499 and takes you to a Core i7-9750H CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB of SSD storage. If you want to save the money, the base model will cost you $2,199, and that will drop you on an RTX 2070 GPU of the midrange model. If you’re looking for something cheaper, take a look at our best gaming laptops under $1000 list.
Acer Predator Helios 700 Review – Conclusion
The Acer Predator Helios 700 is an upright beast when it comes to gaming and overall performance. To top it off, this laptop has a great cooling system and a comfortable keyboard, packaged in an innovative design. Despite all this, the display and audio don’t meet the standards of the gaming laptop. Alternatively, you can pick up the MSI GT75 Titan for $4,199, and get a super-colored 4K display, a mechanical keyboard, top performance, and excellent audio.
But overall, the Acer Predator Helios 700 is a reliable premium gaming laptop if you crave performance and can settle with short battery life.
The Acer Predator Helios 700 is ridiculously powerful and has a comfortable keyboard, but its dull display and poor audio system are against it.
- Incredible overall performance
- Great graphics
- Innovative design
- Comfortable keyboard
- Relatively cool
- Dull display
- Disappointing audio