Today’s definition of a powerful gaming laptop is continuously evolving. Apart from running ray-traced games, an ideal gaming laptop must have an equally capable processor, larger storage SSD, efficient RAM for smoother loading of programs and files, and a decent display for immersive gaming and casual entertainment. This year, Acer introduces the Predator Helios 16, which aims to tick all the boxes.
Like any other gaming laptop, the Acer Predator Helios 16 is a hefty rig. The smooth black chassis looks more premium than the older generation of Predator Helios laptops. On top of the lid is the iconic Predator emblem in silver. Lifting the screen reveals the per-key mini-LED RGB backlit keyboard with a number pad. The touchpad is also Its lighting can be customized using PredatorSense, Acer’s own application. On the left side are the Ethernet and USB ports, a microSD slot, and an audio jack for wired headphones. Meanwhile, two USB ports are on the left side. The power plug, an HDMI port, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports are on the rear edge of the Predator Helios 16. Apart from the edgy RGB lighting at the back, the gaming laptop’s rear fans feature replaceable covers that allow you to customize its look. Its full-high definition web camera and built-in microphones are located at the top.
On paper, the Acer Predator Helios 16 is a gamer’s dream. It comes with a 13th-generation Intel Core i9 – 13900HX processor matched with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card, ideal for running graphics-intensive games and software. It also boasts a whopping 32GB DDR5 RAM and 2 TB PCle NVMe SSD for extensive storage. This ensures smooth multi-tasking from daily web browsing, casual gaming, and running intensive software for video editing, drafting, and animation.
Out of the box, the Predator Helios 16 has a revolutionary 16-inch WQXGA IPS display with up to 240Hz of refresh rate for buttery smooth gaming. For audio, it comes with DTS audio-powered speakers out of the box. Lastly, dual 5th AeroBlade 3D fans are partnered with vector heat pipes and liquid metal thermal grease to keep the gaming laptop cool and improve its performance.
User Experience: 4.5/5
There are a number of things that I liked about the Predator Helios 16. I was able to use it for my online school in graduate school, heavy gaming, and casual video streaming. The performance has really impressed me as I was able to run Zoom, Animaze, and multiple tabs in Google Chrome in a breeze. Its built-in FHD webcam captures good audio and video for online meetings, thanks to its built-in Temporal Noise Reduction. In terms of display, colors are punchy and bright, which makes games and movies more immersive. Loading of software and games is fast, thanks to its powerful processor and graphics card. I was able to play Cyberpunk 2077 and GTA 5 in their highest video settings with no lags. Thanks to NVIDIA’s Advanced Optimus, it automatically selects the best graphics card to use, depending on which applications are running. This optimizes the Acer Predator Helios 16’s battery life and in-game latency. Refresh rates can go high as 240 Hz. However, the refresh rate can decrease with an external monitor via HDMI cable, depending on the display settings.
The laptop offers decent connectivity options, perfect for content creators and gamers. There are enough ports for gaming peripherals as well as a dedicated port for SD cards. This makes file transfers faster and more efficient. Bluetooth connections are quite fast and responsive. Gamers can also choose various audio profiles on the Predator Helios 16 through DTS Audio. You can also tinker with the frequency range and distortions of the built-in speakers through Acer TrueHarmony.
Last but not least on my list is the specialized PredatorSense 4.0 key, updated by Acer, to monitor the gaming laptop’s performance. You can overclock the graphics card, customize the lighting of the RGB keyboard, and check the status of the device. Apart from adding more aesthetics, dual 5th AeroBlade 3D fans, vector heat pipes, and liquid metal thermal grease prevent the laptop from overheating issues. I used the laptop for extensive hours, but it remained cool, unexpected for a gaming rig with powerful specifications. The only caveat I experienced is the battery pack, which I find heavier than the gaming laptop. Using it with the display brightness at 100%, volume at 50%, and Wi-Fi connection, the Predator lasted for about 8 to 8.5 hours which is pretty decent.
The latest Acer Predator Helios 16 is definitely a must-have for content creators and hardcore gamers. The latest processor, larger memory, bigger storage, and impressive audio are dealbreakers for those looking for an all-around daily driver for their home. However, its power brick could be cumbersome. Nevertheless, this is a good investment for a gaming rig that can do work and play.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card
- The processor is very reliable for multitasking and gaming
- Superb DTS Audio speakers
The hefty chassis is not ideal for people who are always on-the-go
With the Acer Predator Helios 16, you can dominate work and play without a compromise.
- Display: 16-inch 16:10 WQXGA IPS display 240Hz DCI-P3 100% / 165Hz sRGB 100%; Advanced Optimus supported
- Dimensions: 357.78 x 278.74 x 24.9~26.9mm
- Memory: 32GB DDR5 RAM; 2TB PCle NVMe SSD storage
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 GPU
- Audio: DTS Audio; two built-in microphones; two built-in stereo speakers; Acer Purified.Voice technology; Acer TrueHarmony technology
- Cooling: Dual 5th AeroBlade 3D fans; Liquid thermal grease; Vector heat pipes
- Keyboard: Mini LED Per-key RGB backlit keyboard
- Connectivity: KillerTM E2600 Ethernet, KillerTM Wireless Wi-Fi 6E 1675i
- Camera: FHD 1920×1080 webcam with Temporal Noise Reduction
- Battery: 90Wh 4-cell Li-ion battery
- Operating System: Windows 11 Home; compatible with Cortana with Voice
Reviewed by Jewel Sta. Ana; also published in GADGETS Magazine March 2023 issue