Acer Predator Helios 500 (2023) review: A gaming laptop behemoth

What you need to know about the Acer Predator Helios 500 (2023)

This big machine weighs 3.9kg and costs £3,799, but its features are meant to make your credit card problems a little easier to deal with. It has a large 17.3-inch Mini LED 4K HDR monitor that can refresh at 120Hz. Under the hood, you’ll find a powerful mix of a 5GHz Intel Core i9-11980HK processor, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, an Nvidia RTX3080 GPU, and two PCI-E 4 SSDs set up in a RAID array.

With this amount of hardware, the laptop can play most games right out of the box, even at resolutions up to 4K, without any problems. But Acer Predator Helios 500 17 amd is also making this new laptop beast for people who like to overclock.

And this isn’t just a boast: the Helios 500 comes with two power sources to give the CPU and GPU the wattage they need to go faster than their stock speeds. If you usually stay away from gaming computers because you can’t speed up the processor, this one might catch your eye.

Acer Predator Helios 500 (2021) review: Price and competition

The new Helios 500 is a laptop with a 17.3-inch screen that comes in one form and costs £3,799. But right now, all UK stores are giving a £200 discount, which makes it a bit more reasonable. Not surprisingly, the competition sells computers that are the same but cost less.

The previous Most Powerful Laptop, the Alienware x15 R1, is almost as powerful as the Helios 500, but it is half as heavy, half as tall, and costs £1,500 less. Remember that the £1,500 difference in price is for the Core i7, 15.6-inch model we tried. Dell has dropped the price of the 17.3-inch computer with a Core i9 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD from £3,749 to £3,149.

Even though the Legion 7 is a bit bigger and heavier than the x15, it is still smaller and lighter than the Helios 500. It costs just under £2,000 and has a great screen, great sound, and an RTX 3080 GPU. We tried a model with 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM, but you can easily upgrade both to match the Helios.

Apple’s new MacBook Pro 16 is a good choice for people who don’t want to use Windows. In our review, we said it was “simply phenomenal” because it had a cute Mini LED display and a long battery life for how powerful it was. In terms of general ability, there is nothing else that comes close.

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

The Helios 500 is like the USS Iowa of laptops: it’s big, strong, and very heavy. It is movable rather than mobile because it weighs 3.9 kg. With measurements of 400 x 319 x 35 mm, it is definitely a big laptop. If you want to take it around, you’ll need a backpack big enough to hold the laptop and its two big 750g PSU bricks.

The Helios is made of plastic, except for the lid, which is made of aluminum. Even so, it still feels very strong. It’s a well-made machine, and even the lid, which has a 17.3-inch screen but is only 5mm thick, is surprisingly strong.

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The style is more simple than expected, like the new Legion machines from Lenovo. If you turn off the flashy RGB LED light show, which includes LED strips on all four edges, around the trackpad, and customizable RGB lighting for each key, the laptop looks less like a typical game notebook than Acer’s cheaper Nitro machines. Only the big blue LED power button above the keyboard and the backlit Predator logo on the lid give away that this is a gaming laptop.

There are many ways to connect. There are two USB Type-C and three USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, HDMI 2.1 and Mini DisplayPort 1.4 TV outputs, a Gigabit RJ45 Ethernet socket, and separate 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks. The cherry on top is that both Thunderbolt 4 ports are Type-C. The Helios 500 has two DC-in jacks in the middle of the back. When both are put in, the Helios 500 can use 600W of power. Acer has given you a plastic stand for the two PSUs so that you can keep your desk neat. You might not think it’s much, but trust me, you’ll come to like it.

An AX1650i Wi-Fi 6 module takes care of wireless connection. Like the Gigabit Ethernet switch, it is made by Killer, which is a gaming network expert owned by Intel. I measured an average network speed of 1.5 Gbit/sec, which is more than enough for games. The Killer Control Centre app that comes pre-installed gives you fine-grained control over your network equipment, which is something that most Windows users can only dream of. A Bluetooth 5.1 radio is also part of the package.

The Helios 500 doesn’t have a memory card slot, a touch screen, or any kind of digital sign-in. The middle feature not being there is especially surprising since the 1080p webcam is very good and a big step up from the 720p cameras that are usually on game laptops.

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When you take the Helios out of the box, you will find a frame for a 2.5-inch HDD. It’s easy to take off the front part of the base, which gives you easy access to the two SSD slots, the Wi-Fi module, two RAM cards, and the HDD bay I already stated. The back half of the base covers the cooling system, and it’s clear that it’s not meant for home users or people who are just curious to take it off.