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Acer Predator Helios 700 hands-on review: The high-end gaming laptop with a sliding keyboard

Price when reviewed : £1464
(converted from €1,699)

Acer’s new gaming behemoth has a sliding keyboard and Nvidia’s latest RTX graphics cards

If there was one thing to take away from this year’s Acer technology conference in New York, it’s that the firm has its sights on the hardcore gamer. From beefy desktops to high-refresh gaming monitors, Acer is strengthening its high-end gaming offering, with the new Helios 700 laptop waving the flag.

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Falling under the well-established Predator brand, the Helios 700 is a feature-packed gaming laptop with a massive 144Hz refresh screen, Nvidia RTX graphics, Intel’s new high clock speed Core i9 processors and up to 64GB of DDR4 memory.

Acer Predator Helios 700 review: Key specifications, price and release date

  • 17.3in Full HD (144Hz) IPS display
  • Intel ninth-gen Core i9 processors
  • Up to 64GB of RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 or 2080 graphics
  • 1TB SSD and 1TB HDD
  • From £2,499
  • July 2019

This chunky gaming laptop won’t be winning any awards for looks, with its matte black plasticky chassis, chunky screen bezels and back-breaking weight. What’s most special, however, is what Acer has managed to squeeze inside.

Powering the thing is Intel’s latest ninth-generation six-core Core i9 processors, complete with up to 64GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD and Nvidia RTX 2070 or 2080 graphics. With those kind of top-shelf credentials, there’s no doubt that this is a laptop that will be just as well-suited to handle future game releases as it would your backdated games catalogue.

The Helios 700 is fitted with a Full HD IPS display (there is no 4K variant), boasting a silky-smooth 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. The backlit “Hyperdrift” keyboard uses analogue-like linear switches, rather than the typical on/off system. This should allow for a greater degree of control when pressing each key, while Acer’s anti-ghosting tech should be well-suited for your frantic WASD strafing. There are also five dedicated programmable macro keys situated above the keyboard.

Oddly, the keyboard can also slide forward to reveal a further set of dual intake cooling fans. According to Acer, this allows for greater thermal management when running more high-level applications, and should help when overclocking the laptop’s CPU. Not only is this a practical setup, but it also looks nice, showing off the laptop’s internal components.

The Helios is equipped with two Thunderbolt 3-powered USB Type-C ports, flanked by a full-fat USB Type-A port on the right edge. A further two USB ports are on the laptop’s left side, sitting next to dedicated microphone and headphone jacks, while a DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0 port and charging connector are found on the rear.

Lastly, the Helios 700 stays cool with four of Acer’s proprietary fourth-gen “AeroBlade 3D” metal fans and five heat pipes that distribute cool air to the machine’s key components while simultaneously releasing hot air. Fan speeds can also be controlled and customised via Acer’s PredatorSense app.

Acer Predator Helios 700 review: Early verdict

Acer’s new Predator Helios 700 is impressive. While it may not look as swish as Razer’s Blade lineup, this laptop is perfectly poised to sit among the very best of gaming laptops.

My only concern is the price. We know how much the basic configuration costs (£2,499) but it’s anyone’s guess as to how much cash the top-end variant will rip from our wallets. I expect that the price tag won’t be for the faint-hearted.

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First Look