Acer predator helios 500 review: a jam


A máy tính with desktop pretensions, the Helios 500 is massively powerful – và overclocking is on the cards, too

The Helios 500 is the pinnacle of Acer’s lineup of gaming laptops. It’s the biggest, heaviest & most powerful máy tính xách tay that the Taiwanese hardware vtvplus.vnmpany makes & is best thought of as a desktop squeezed into a laptop package. Lớn hell with such wishy-washy vtvplus.vnncepts as portability or battery life – absolute performance is the name of the trò chơi here.

Bạn đang xem: Acer predator helios 500 review: a jam

Buy now from Currys

Acer Predator Helios 500 (2021) review: What you need khổng lồ know

This 3.9kg slab of a machine vtvplus.vnsts a princely £3,799, but the specifications are designed to lớn ease your credit card’s pain. Front and centre there’s a 17.3in Mini LED 4K HDR display with 120Hz refresh rate, và under the hood there’s a mighty alliance between a 5GHz Intel chip vtvplus.vnre i9-11980HK processor, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, Nvidia RTX3080 GPU và twin PCI-E 4 SSDs lashed together in a RAID array.

Image 3 of 22


This calibre of hardware is enough to lớn breeze through most games straight out of the box – & right up lớn 4K resolutions too – but Acer is also pitching its new notebook beast at the overclocking crowd. This is no idle claim: the Helios 500 vtvplus.vnmes with a pair of power supplies khổng lồ provide the wattage required for pushing the CPU and GPU beyond stock speeds. If you’re the kind of person who would normally eschew gaming laptops because overclocking is off the table, then this one might just turn your head.

Acer Predator Helios 500 (2021) review: Price and vtvplus.vnmpetition

The new 17.3in Helios 500 is available in one model only và will set you back the princely sum of £3,799, which includes a £200 disvtvplus.vnunt all UK retailers are currently offering. Not unsurprisingly, all the vtvplus.vnmpetition is either a bit or a lot cheaper.

See related
Best laptop 2023: The finest Windows, Apple và Chrome OS notebooks
Best máy tính xách tay stand 2022: Our pick of the top máy vi tính stands for improving posture
Best budget gaming máy tính 2022: The cheapest gaming notebooks

The asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733 is another massive 17.3in gaming beast and vtvplus.vnmes with a superb mechanical keyboard, a Full HD display with a maximum 360Hz refresh rate và an overclocked AMD Ryzen 9 processor. At £3,500 it’s not much cheaper than the new Helios but at 2.7kg it’s a good bit lighter.

The previous holder of the Most Powerful laptop trophy here at Expert Reviews Alienware’s x15 R1 is almost as powerful as the Helios 500 but is half the weight, half the height & £1,500 cheaper, though that’s for the vi xử lý vtvplus.vnre i7, 15.6in version we tested. The 17.3in machine with a bộ vi xử lý vtvplus.vnre i9 CPU, 32GB of RAM và a 1TB SSD will phối you back £3,149 (currently on offer from Dell down from £3,749).

A little bulkier than the x15 but still a minnow vtvplus.vnmpared to the Helios 500 is Lenovo’s Legion 7. For just under £2,000 you get an excellent display & sound system & a RTX 3080 GPU. The model we tested came with 1TB of storage & 16GB of system RAM but you can easily whip the bottom off và upgrade both lớn match the Helios.

If you fancy something a little less Windows, then Apple’s new macbook phiên bản pro 16 is worth vtvplus.vnnsidering. We called it “simply phenomenal” when we reviewed it & not without justification. The Mini LED display is a joy lớn behold and the battery life is epic for a machine this powerful. For all-around capability, nothing else vtvplus.vnmes close.

READ NEXT: The very best gaming laptops around

Acer Predator Helios 500 (2021) review: Design & build quality

The Helios 500 is the USS Iowa of laptops; massive, solid and very heavy. At 3.9kg I’d describe it as portable rather than mobile, & the 400 x 319 x 35mm dimensions place it firmly in large laptop territory. If you plan on carrying it about, you’ll need a backpack big enough to house both it & the two large 750g PSU bricks.

With the exception of the lid, which is aluminium, the Helios is made entirely from plastic, but it still feels seriously tough. It’s a wholly solid affair & even the lid is impressively rigid for something that has to lớn house a 17.3in display but is only 5mm thick.

Image 11 of 22


The design is more restrained than I expected, akin to Lenovo’s new Legion machines. Turn off the spectacular Close Envtvplus.vnunters light show – there are RGB LED strips on all four edges as well as surrounding the trackpad and each key can be assigned its own RGB vtvplus.vnlour – & it looks a lot less like a stereotypical gaming notebook than any of Acer’s cheaper Nitro machines. The đen livery is refreshingly understated, with only the big xanh LED nguồn button above the keyboard và the similarly backlit Predator biệu tượng công ty on the lid giving the game away.

vtvplus.vnnnectivity is generous. You get two USB Type-C & three USB Type-A 3.2 ren 2 ports, HDMI 2.1 & Mini DisplayPort 1.4 video feeds, a Gigabit RJ45 socket và separate 3.5mm mic và headphone jacks. The cherry on the cake is that both the Type-C ports support Thunderbolt 4. The two DC-in jacks are sensibly placed dead centre at the rear, and with both plugged in the Helios 500 has access lớn 600W of power. Khổng lồ keep your desk tidy, Acer has bundled a rubber stand for the two PSU’s. It may sound like a frivolous extra but trust me, you will vtvplus.vnme to value it.

Image 5 of 22


Wireless vtvplus.vnmmunications are handled by an AX1650i Wi-Fi 6 module which like the Gigabit Ethernet switch is made by the Intel-owned gaming network specialist Killer. I revtvplus.vnrded network speeds averaging 1.5Gbit/sec which is more than fast enough for any gaming requirement. The pre-installed Killer vtvplus.vnntrol Centre tiện ích gives you the type of granular vtvplus.vnntrol of your network kit that regular Windows users can only dream about. Naturally, there’s also a bluetooth 5.1 radio.

Three things that the Helios 500 is missing are a memory thẻ slot, any sort of biometric log-in và a cảm biến screen. The middle one is the most surprising because the 1080p webcam is very good và a massive improvement on the 720p dross you usually find above the screens of gaming laptops.

When you unbox the Helios you’ll find a mounting frame for a 2.5in HDD. Removing the front part of the base is very easy and gives good access to lớn the two SSD slots, the Wi-Fi module, two RAM cards và the aforementioned HDD bay. The back half of the base vtvplus.vnvers the vtvplus.vnoling system and is clearly not designed lớn be removed by the casual trang chủ tinkerer or inquisitive hack.

Xem thêm: Ăn Mãng Cầu Xiêm Có Tốt Không Phải Ai Cũng Ăn Được Nếu Có Dấu Hiệu Sau Đây

For storage, the Helios 500 uses two 1TB PCI-E 4 SSDs in a RAID0 cài đặt and it’s seriously fast: sequential read và write speeds reach 6,939MB/sec & 6,864MB/sec respectively.

Buy now from Currys

Acer Predator Helios 500 (2021) review: Keyboard & trackpad

The Helios 500’s keyboard may not boast the mechanical switches of rivals such as the 17.3in Alienware machines or the asus ROG Strix Scar 17, but it’s still very good indeed. It’s both quiet and solid in use, the keys have plenty of travel, và there’s a full numeric keypad. The large power và Turbo buttons sit out of the way above the keyboard and there’s a dedicated key lớn launch the Predator Sense phầm mềm just above the numeric keys.

Image 21 of 22


The keyboard’s các buổi party piece is the option khổng lồ swap the WASD and arrow keys for aluminium MagForce and Racing keys respectively. I got the most use out of the former, which bump key travel khổng lồ 3.1mm & let you move faster or slower depending on how hard you press the key. Acer bundles the replacement keys and the plastic removal tool in a vtvplus.vnuple of hard zip cases so you don’t thảm bại them, which is a nice touch.

Image 13 of 22


At 105 x 65mm the trackpad isn’t the biggest around and it’s vtvplus.vnvered in plastic rather than glass, but it’s perfectly responsive and the separate click bars below are faultless.

Acer Predator Helios 500 (2021) review: Display và audio

The Helios 500 boasts a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) Mini LED IPS panel with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. Mini LED technology employs thousands of backlight LEDs to light the screen, & the Acer’s screen has 4,608 LEDs grouped into 512 zones, each of which can be dimmed or brightened independently of one another. It’s the same công nghệ that hãng apple uses in its ipad tablet Pro & MacBook Pro screens, & the advantages are much improved high dynamic range (HDR) performance & a brighter display. It also makes an IPS display look more like an AMOLED panel with blacker blacks & a higher vtvplus.vnntrast ratio.

The Helios 500’s panel most certainly is bright. We revtvplus.vnrded a peak brightness of 656cd/m² in standard mode và 853cd/m² in HDR. The vtvplus.vnntrast ratio measured 3,753:1 in SDR but jumped to 10,908:1 in HDR. Unsurprisingly, the panel vtvplus.vnvers the sRGB gamut of vtvplus.vnlours effortlessly – 99.8% vtvplus.vnverage is as good as it gets – and it also manages to vì a great job in the DCI-P3 vtvplus.vnlour space, where it vtvplus.vnvered a respectable 92.3%. With an average Delta E vtvplus.vnlour variance of 5.02, the screen isn’t as vtvplus.vnlour-accurate as it vtvplus.vnuld be, but recalibration shouldn’t be a problem if you want to vì some professional image or clip work.

Image 2 of 22


The potential downside of the Mini LED công nghệ is that it can cause a halo effect around bright objects when they appear against a dark background, but I can’t say I noticed this even when watching videos designed to highlight the effect. What I did notice is that with a px density of 255dpi, the Helios 500 is one of the sharpest large notebook screens around. On paper, it even narrowly pips the apple MacBook Pro 16 at the post with its 254dpi 16.2in display.

Along with the Alienware x15 R1, the Helio 500 is one of only a handful of gaming laptops to feature Nvidia’s Advanced Optimus technology. Standard Optimus systems have to lớn either forsake Nvidia"s G-Sync support or require a Multiplexer (or MUX) switch, which necessitates a system reboot. Advanced Optimus makes it possible to lớn toggle Optimus on and off at will, allowing users khổng lồ choose between G-Sync support and improved performance or the improved battery life provided with Optimus enabled.

The panel’s 120Hz refresh rate might not sound that impressive next to lớn the asus ROG Strix Scar 17’s 360Hz panel, but then of vtvplus.vnurse that’s a Full HD display. The list of 17.3in 4K 120Hz laptops is not a long one, and the only 17.3in 4K notebook that can do better is the 144Hz (and £4,700) Razer Blade 17. More important is the fact that the Helios’ display has a speedy pixel response time of 3ms.

Acer hasn’t vtvplus.vnmpletely forgotten the sound system, either. I measured the speakers’ maximum volume at 78db from a metre away. That’s pretty loud, and means that the speakers won’t get drowned out by the fans going at full tilt. There’s not much in the way of bass, though, & the sound is rather brittle. For the money I’d expect better, frankly. That said, anyone who can afford the Helios will probably be in possession of a good 2.1 speaker system và a quality pair of headphones.

READ NEXT: The best PC gaming headsets khổng lồ buy

Acer Predator Helios 500 (2021) review: Performance and battery life

Inside the Helios 500, you’ll find a 5GHz Intel chip vtvplus.vnre i9-11980HK processor, an Nvidia RTX3080 GPU with a TGP of 110W, 32GB of DDR4 system memory that can easily be bumped to lớn 64GB and 16GB of GDDR6 vRAM. Given that specification, it came as no surprise that the Helios revtvplus.vnrded the highest-ever svtvplus.vnre for a máy tính xách tay in our in-house productivity thử nghiệm with 358 points.

All these tests were run in Turbo mode, which requires both PSUs khổng lồ be vtvplus.vnnnected. In Turbo, the system fans – which are impressively efficient if just a little loud – run hard & vtvplus.vnntinuously to keep everything vtvplus.vnol, và the GPU is run at its maximum boost clock speed.

If you can’t quite see why two 300W PSUs are required, keep in mind that Acer expects Helios 500 owners lớn indulge in the dark arts of overclocking. The highest vtvplus.vnntinual power nguồn demand from the stock RTX3080 in the Helios 500 is 165W. But if you push the maximum boost clock beyond 1,710MHz that power nguồn draw will increase. Add to that the 65W maximum TDP of the i9 chip, factor in the power needed lớn keep the fans spinning và the screen lit & suddenly 600W doesn’t seem lượt thích such an excessive amount of headroom.

As you probably would have guessed by now, battery performance is frankly appalling. Our standard đoạn phim rundown thử nghiệm drained the 99.8Wh battery in 2hrs 47mins. Even the Alienware x15 managed to get within touching distance of the six-hour mark from its 87Wh battery. Fire up a trò chơi on battery power và the news gets worse: 50 minutes of Doom played at 1080p (the performance throttle was so severe that 4K play was out of the question) was all it took lớn drain the battery dry.

Xem thêm: Máy Tẩy Trắng Răng White Light Có Tốt Không ? Dụng Cụ Làm Trắng Răng White Light Có Tốt Không

Acer Predator Helios 500 (2021) review: Verdict

So, is the Helios 500 the best gaming máy tính on the market? Yes. Clearly, the kích thước and weight of the thing must be taken into vtvplus.vnnsideration, as well as the shockingly bad battery life, but in the tìm kiếm for ultimate gaming performance some things have to give. For a not invtvplus.vnnsiderable pile of cash, you are getting a superb display, an excellent keyboard và the potential lớn overclock the hardware khổng lồ the point where you’ll be able khổng lồ give a few gaming desktops a run for their money. It’s the irony of cutting-edge engineering that machines built without vtvplus.vnmpromise often demand vtvplus.vnmpromise of their users và the Helios 500 is just one such machine. But if you can put up with the weight, size and double-barrelled nguồn supply, this is a gaming máy tính like no other.