Acer’s new Predator Helios laptops can pack a bright 250Hz Mini LED screen

3 weeks ago 34

The Predator Helios is at the top end of Acer’s lineup of gaming laptops, and it has some special updates in store for 2023. The Helios comes in two new sizes, including 16- and 18-inch models, just like the latest releases from Alienware and Razer. These new Helios laptops have impressive specs that I’ll dig into below, but I’m most looking forward to trying out one thing in particular: their top-of-the-line 250Hz Mini LED display option.

This is big news because Mini LED-backlit displays are still rare, usually reserved for high-end TVs, pricey tablets like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and now some beastly laptops. OLED still delivers better picture quality, but Mini LED is brighter, and it narrows the gap in quality by squeezing more contrast and brightness control out of LCD tech.

Either size of the new Helios can be configured with this display, which Acer claims has 1,000 local dimming zones and can supply over 1,000 nits at peak brightness. It has 100 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is great for creators who require accurate colors.

The GPU is typically the spec that I’m most interested in a gaming laptop, but its Nvidia RTX 40-series support takes a backseat to these screens. Acer gave both the Helios 16 and 18 more vertical space with a 16:10 aspect ratio, whether you opt for the base display configuration or go all out with the Mini LED option. The Helios 16 starts out with a QHD Plus (2,560 x 1,600) 165Hz panel, while the Helios 18 drops down to an FHD Plus (1,920 x 1,200) 165Hz screen. The starting prices are $1,649.99 for the Helios 16 and $1,699.99 for the Helios 18. Acer hasn’t locked in the cost of the priciest configuration with the 250Hz Mini LED screen, but Acer spokesperson Erin Davern shared that similar high-end models are tentatively priced at $2,799 and $2,999, respectively.

A photo showing the front and rear of the Acer Predator Helios 16 gaming laptop.

The Helios 16 and 18 feature two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a charging port and an HDMI 2.1 port on the rear, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports on the right, and an Ethernet port, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader on the left.

Image: Acer

Outside of the screens, these seem like solid contenders filled with 2023’s latest chip bumps, including Intel’s 13th Generation Core i9 or i7 HX processors. Both models support up to the RTX 4080 graphics chip with 165W of total graphics power. In terms of memory and storage, you can get up to 32GB of DDR5 4,800MHz RAM and 2TB of PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs.

Whether you opt for the Mini LED-backlit display or not, each Helios 16 and 18 has a Mini LED-backlit keyboard with a 1.8mm key travel and anti-ghosting n-key rollover so that you can hammer away on the keys during intense matches without worrying about failed keypresses. These machines have an ethernet port, Wi-Fi 6E support, and an array of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI 2.1, three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, and a microSD card reader. Its rear fan outtakes have swappable covers, so you can customize the look.

Every year brings refreshed gaming laptops with internal updates, but we prefer to celebrate the ones that seem to deliver some things differently. We won’t know if Acer’s 250Hz Mini LED display is worth the upgrade until we try it in person, but I’m just happy that the likes of Acer are experimenting a little more on ways to make its laptops stand out.

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