Acer has thrown down the high refresh-rate gauntlet, unveiling its “most powerful gaming laptops to date”. Announced at this year’s consumer electronics show, CES 2023, alongside the Helios 16 (PH16-71), Acer’s monster gaming laptop: the Predator Helios 18 (PH18-71) ushers in a new era for the tech icon. Configured with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 or i7 HX processor, supporting these next-gen CPUs is the option for up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU. And to sweeten the pot even further, they’re sporting a completely redesigned chassis and improved thermals (MGP up to 165W). And for less than USD$2,500 (AUD$3,656.58), high-performance portable gaming is no longer a pipedream.
In a nutshell, the all-new Predator Helios 16 and Predator Helios 18 Windows 11 gaming laptops feature “a plethora of must-have gaming features” that aim to boost Acer’s gaming portfolio. Both variants offer a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 or i7 HX CPU and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU (MGP up to 165W) alongside a slew of essential top-of-the-line gaming capabilities.
While these “high-performing PC platforms” are based “on 13th Gen Intel Core mobile processor family,” according to Steve Long, corporate vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific & Japan at Intel, we’re far more interested in the optional Mini LED display. With this incredible display, Acer promises 1000 nits peak brightness with a 1,000,000:1 high contrast ratio and 100 per cent coverage of DCI-P3 colour gamut for rich, vivid colours, thanks to the AUO AmLED technology powering it all.
Boosting capabilities even further is the Predator Helios 18, which features a stunning 18-inch display that you can configure with AUO’s superfast 250 Hz Mini LED display that boasts a three times higher ambient contrast ratio than traditional displays. It also supports 1000 local dimming zones to give users complete usability freedom even in low lighting conditions. If that’s too much display power for you, you can always opt for the WUXGA (1920×1200) display at 165 Hz or the WQXGA (2560×1600) at 165 Hz or 240 Hz.
But what about that new chassis design? To cope with the updated display options, Acer has updated the new Predator laptops with improved thermals by adding two custom-engineered 5th Gen AeroBlade 3D metal fans and vector heat pipes alongside liquid metal thermal grease for superior thermal performance. As for the all-important gamer aesthetics, the all-new Helios series design features a more straightforward matte black chassis, clean corners, narrower bezels, plus a programmable RGB light strip that runs along the top of the back vents.
The updated construction includes a mini-LED (yup, more mini-LED) backlit keyboard with 1.8 mm key travel and anti-ghosting N-key rollover. The per-key RGB backlit keyboard has been updated to display bright, uniform colour (with less halo) and smooth dynamic lighting effects. But the best part is that the new design uses less power thanks to the specially created backlight module designed to dissipate heat. How? We’re not sure, but it sounds promising, considering the Predator Pulsar lighting for customised RGB backlighting for each key on their keyboard.
Also revamped is Acer’s gaming control panel, Predator Sense. Now updated to version 4.0, it offers a simplified control system for various settings and real-time system monitoring. It also includes the new Scenario Manager enabling customised user profiles for different gaming setups, which gamers can quickly access via the dedicated Mode key.
Moreover, the NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture in the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs offers a quantum leap in speed and AI-powered visuals. Users can take advantage of Reflex’s reduced system latency, lifelike virtual worlds, enhanced performance through ray tracing, and high-quality frames from DLSS 3. Finally, these mobile powerhouses can be configured with up to 2 TB PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD in RAID 0 and up to 32 GB DDR5-4800 MHz RAM.
If you’re not into gaming, the Predator Helios series is more than capable of handling more creative work. According to Justin, “the blazing fast performance users could experience is remarkable when compared to industry alternatives. Their labs “have shown up to 40% higher in Crossmark tests of general PC use and two times in Blender, which many content creators use for work for content creators.”
As for everything else, there’s Intel Killer E2600 Ethernet Controller, Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E AX1675 frequency band support, alongside a full range of peripherals, including USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, HDMI 2.1, two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 (with power delivery), and a Micro SD card reader. Oh, and each purchase will also include a complimentary month of Xbox Game Pass or PC Game Pass, giving customers access to a vast selection of top-notch PC titles.
The Predator Helios 16 (PH16-71) will first become available in the US in March, starting at USD$1,699.99 (AUD$2,414.10), while the 18-inch Predator Helios will arrive in April, beginning at USD$1,599 (AUD$2,485.81). As for Australia, we can expect both sometime during Q1 of 2023.