The trend to equip gaming laptops with fast IPS matrices is gradually gaining popularity. More and more manufacturers are announcing their own line of gaming laptops that are ready to offer gamers a fast response and maximum smoothness of the picture. As part of today’s material, we will get acquainted with the 15-inch model PH315-52 from the updated Acer Predator Helios 300 series, which is among such solutions.
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52
In terms of technical specifications, the hero of the review is a balanced mid-range gaming laptop. It has a 9th generation 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card with support for RTX rays, 16 gigabytes of RAM and a combined storage system consisting of a fast SSD and a classic hard drive. The main innovation relative to its predecessor was the fast IPS screen matrix. Acer claims a pixel response time of 3ms (GtG) and a maximum image refresh rate of 144Hz. Considering the level of performance of the installed video card, we can expect that the Predator Helios 300 PH315-52 (NH.Q54EU.035) will be able to provide high fps in most online games, where a higher screen refresh rate can be one of the advantages over opponents.
|Model||Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52 (NH.Q54EU.035)|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9750H 6 cores (12 threads) 2600 MHz (up to 4500 MHz with Turbo Boost)|
|RAM||16 GB, DDR4-2666|
|Display||15.6″, 1920×1080, 144Hz, semi-matte, IPS (AUO B156HAN08.2), 3ms|
|Video card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6ГБ|
|Disk subsystem||SSD 256 ГБ, WDC SN720 SDAPNTW-256G-1014 (NVMe 1.3)|
|HDD 1000 GB, Seagate Barracuda Pro ST1000LM049 (SATA 6 Gb/s)|
|I/O ports||HDMI, miniDisplayPort, USB 3.1 Type C, 3x USB 3.0 Type A, LAN RJ-45, audio output|
|Communications||Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Multimedia||Audio system 2.0, web camera|
|Power adapter, W||180|
|Dimensions, mm||361,4 x 254,2 x 23,2|
The equipment provided for testing is estimated in Ukrainian retail at about $ 1900 (official models), which puts the Predator Helios 300 PH315-52 on a par with such competitors as ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502, ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II, ASUS ROG Strix SCAR III , Gigabyte AERO 15-X9, MSI GL63 8SE and HP OMEN 15.
Contents of delivery
The delivery set of the laptop is standard and does not contain any bonuses. The laptop is securely housed in a small black box with the Predator logo. Inside the package, in addition to the main device, the user will find only a power adapter and a set of paper documentation.
The complete power supply is manufactured by Delta Electronics. Its output power is 180W.
The external design of the device is designed in a moderately aggressive style. A rich gray shade was chosen as the main color of the case, which complements a number of decorative elements in bright blue.
The top cover, like most of the external panels of the laptop, is made of metal alloy. The Predator logo is engraved in the center of the lid, whose outline is slightly illuminated during the active operation of the laptop.
As for the weight and size indicators, then, subjectively, the hero of the review is located in the optimal range between ultra-portable and top superheavy playful models. Its dimensions are 361.4×254.2×23.2, with a mass of 2.4 kg. Thus, the stock of thickness and mass will be enough to install an effective cooling system inside the case, and, at the same time, the indicated weight will not become an unbearable burden when transporting a laptop in a regular backpack or bag.
The lower part of the body is made of plastic. At its base there are a large number of perforations, which should facilitate the free capture of cool air by CO fans. There are no compartments for quick access to RAM slots or drives, so in order to replace components or complete the laptop with new components, the user will need to completely dismantle the bottom cover.
The back end also received massive perforations. A significant part of it is occupied by a pair of blue radiators. It is worth noting that the radiators are covered with only a few small protective plastic inserts. This once again suggests that when designing a laptop chassis, the manufacturer was primarily focused on maximizing the efficiency of the cooling system and only then worried about design frills.
The front edge of the laptop does not carry any functional elements. The overall build quality of the case is at a high level. The design feels solid, monolithic, there are no significant deflections or gaps between the panels. The transition from the black and red color scheme, which was used in the Predator Helios 300 line of past years, to gray-blue, as well as the refinement of the design and the choice of less easily soiled case materials, definitely benefited the hero of the review.
The internal space of the laptop has also changed. The side bezels of the screen bezel are now just 8mm wide, resulting in a screen-to-body ratio of up to 79%.
The maximum tilt angle of the display is 140 degrees, which will allow you to work with a laptop by placing it on your lap. The standard design of two loops is responsible for repeating the screen.
The set of interfaces for connecting peripherals contains almost all the necessary ports, with the exception of a slot for a memory card reader. On the right side of the laptop, there is a connector for connecting the power adapter, LAN, a pair of USB 3.0 Type A ports and a headphone output.
The right side is reserved for a USB 3.0 Type C port, another USB 3.0 Type A, HDMI and miniDisplayPort video outputs.
A standard webcam and two microphones have taken their place in the center of the top frame of the screen.
The standard audio system consists of a pair of speakers with a total power of 4 watts. In general, their sound quality is higher than that of the recently reviewed Nitro 5 AN515-54. The speakers have enough volume to watch movies or games, wheezing at maximum volume is minimal.
Four rubberized feet are responsible for the stability of the laptop, located along the perimeter of the case.
The laptop uses an island-style keyboard with a dedicated numeric keypad. Keys for gamers, such as the left Shift, the spacebar and the arrow block, have retained their full sizes. Workspace optimizations include combining a number of F1–F12 keys with function buttons, as well as duplicating the Home/Pg Up/Pg Dn/End keys into the NumPad block.
In the upper right corner of the keyboard, typical for Acer laptops, there is a power button, as well as a PredatorSense key, which is responsible for launching the proprietary utility of the same name.
The second non-standard key, designated as Turbo, is located in the upper left corner above the keyboard block. It is designed to accelerate the fans of the cooling system to maximum speed and fix their rotation speed in this mode.
The developers did not disregard the lovers of bright illumination. The laptop has four keyboard zones at once, for each of which the user can set an individual shade and glow effect. In addition, additional settings for the illumination of the WASD block and the arrow block are available.
As for print quality, thanks to the short key travel and readable feedback when they are triggered, typing with the Predator Helios 300 PH315-52 can be done quickly and comfortably. Acceptable sizes of the buttons themselves and a sufficient amount of space between them contribute to the absence of misses or false clicks during fierce gaming battles.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the screen is based on a fast matrix with a maximum refresh rate of 144 Hz and a response time of 3 ms. To be more precise, we are talking about the B156HAN08.2 IPS panel from AU Optronics, which is familiar to us from the Acer Predator Triton 500 (PT515-51) review. The diagonal of the matrix is 15.6 inches, the maximum screen resolution is 1920×1080 pixels.
From above, the screen is covered with a semi-matte film without a pronounced crystalline effect.
The brightness adjustment range is available over a wide range from 18 to 323 cd/m². The contrast ratio is stable and averaged 1091:1.
Color accuracy is not perfect, but it is at a very good level for gaming solutions. The color gamut covers 85.4% of the sRGB color space and 62.5% of the AdobeRGB space. The color temperature is slightly too high and tends to 7000K at backlight intensity from 20% to 90%. The gamma curves are a bit scattered, but close to the reference curve.
According to the Argyll utility, the maximum color deviation was 8.43 units, the average — 3.21 units, which can be considered good indicators.
Working viewing angles are more than 170 degrees. When the viewpoint is shifted, there is a slight burn-in of colors. There are no signs of SHI modulation, or the pulse frequency is at such a high level that the camera is not able to catch it.
The high performance of the matrix was confirmed during practical testing. As you can see from the photo below, trails behind fast-moving objects are minimal, and there are no image artifacts.
In total, the screen of the Predator Helios 300 PH315-52 is devoid of any critical flaws and is well suited for active gaming or viewing multimedia content. The matrix is able to provide natural colors and wide viewing angles, and thanks to the high refresh rate and low pixel response time, the user will be able to enjoy a smooth picture without image artifacts.
The internal layout of the laptop leaves the future owner the opportunity to further upgrade a number of system components. If desired, the user can easily replace a hard drive, a solid state drive (two seats for an M.2 2280 SSD), RAM sticks or a Wi-Fi module. Also, it is worth noting a completely redesigned cooling system. Now it includes four radiators, two heat sink plates, three heat pipes and a pair of radial fans.
Separate heatsinks are also provided for the two M.2 SSDs that the system can accommodate. Modern fast PCI-E drives are prone to overheating during intensive work, which can be exacerbated by the lack of direct airflow inside the closed laptop case.
The laptop’s wireless communications are handled by a fresh Killer 1150i network adapter based on the Intel Wireless-AC 9560NGW.
The complete lithium-ion battery has a total of four cells with a total capacity of 57 Wh.
The “heart” of the laptop is the Intel Core i7-9750H central processor, which belongs to the ninth generation of the Intel Core (Coffee Lake) architecture and is made using the permanent 14-nm process technology. The prefix H in the name of the CPU indicates that the maximum TDP level has been increased to 45 watts. The processor has six cores with a base clock speed of 2.6 GHz and a maximum frequency of 4.5 GHz Turbo Boost. The processor supports Hyper-Threading technology and can process data in 12 threads.
16 gigabytes of DDR4-2666 RAM are equipped with two Kingston sticks.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card is responsible for gaming performance. The mobile version of this adapter uses a full-fledged TU106 graphics chip, identical to the one installed on the desktop version of the GeForce RTX 2060, but in order to fit the heat dissipation within acceptable limits for a laptop, the frequency scheme of the graphics core was reduced from 1365/1680 MHz to 960/1200 MHz. Six gigabytes of GDDR6 video memory operate at an effective frequency of 14000 MHz. Provides hardware ray tracing in real time. In terms of performance, this video card is at the level of the GeForce GTX 1070 from the previous generation.
The storage system is based on a 256 GB Western Digital PC SN720 NVMe SSD and a 1 TB Seagate Barracuda Pro ST1000LM049 hard drive. The SSD in question is based on a controller of WD’s own design, 64-layer TLC NAND flash memory from SanDisk, uses a PCI Express 3.0 x4 (NVMe 1.3) connection interface and can reach data transfer rates up to 3000/1600 MB / s.
The Seagate Barracuda Pro series hard drive supports a 7200 rpm spindle speed, which will speed up its work in most household tasks (compared to energy-efficient models with a spindle speed of 5400 rpm).
From the preinstalled software on board the laptop, the PredatorSense utility is available (the one that runs from the dedicated button on the laptop keyboard). Its functionality includes: the ability to monitor the status of key system components, keyboard backlight control, automatic overclocking of the graphics core, and manual adjustment of the cooling fan speed.