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Acer Predator Helios 700 review [Core i9-9980HK + RTX 2080] – a desktop in a laptop disguise

Every now and then we lay our hands on a special device in our office. Between the ultrabooks, the thin and light gaming laptops and the 2-in-1s we are able to enjoy a great amount of sheer power. It was about that time, last year, we got the Acer Predator Helios 500. It was (and still is) a monstrous piece of machinery. Equipped with a Core i9-8950HK and a GTX 1070 it was one of the best gaming laptops we’ve tested.

And now, the time has come for the Acer Predator Helios 700 to be tested. It is bigger, scarier and once again, full with all of the latest and greatest in the laptop gaming industry. You’re going to see a laptop that embodies a Core i9-9980HK – 8-core overclockable laptop processor. This comes in cooperation with the GeForce RTX 2080 to result in a real behemoth of a machine, that is going to stand for the title King of the gaming laptops. That’s not all, however. Acer made this laptop with thought for Overclocking. Let’s not make the mistake of telling the book by its cover, though – it’s time to check if the expectations can be met.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-predator-helios-700-ph717-71/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Predator Helios 700 (PH717-71) technical specifications table

Acer
Not available
Display
17.3”, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 144 Hz, IPS
HDD/SSD
512GB SSD + 2TB HDD
M.2 Slot
2x M.2 PCIe x4 NVMe slots, with RAID 0 support
RAM
64GB DDR4, 2666 MHz
Dimensions
430 x 299 x 41.7 mm (16.93" x 11.77" x 1.64")
Weight
4.90 kg (10.8 lbs)
Ports and connectivity
  • 3x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, HDMI
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Displayport full
  • Ethernet lan Gigabit LAN (Killer E3000)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack 1x Headset port + 1x Microphone port
Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Digital-array microphones
  • Speakers 5x speakers + subwoofer
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

In the box, you’ll find the absolute behemoth of a laptop and a 330W power brick that is roughly the size of a scooter battery. Additionally, Acer provides you with a WASD key covers, that you may enjoy or just throw it somewhere in the abyss (beneath your bed).


Design and construction

What we see in front of us is 4.50 kilos of aluminum and plastic blend. It stands high at 41.7mm and is by no means your portable assistant. Its bulky nature has a reason behind it. And it is Overclocking. Check out what does the Predator Helios 700 have for you. Its entire keyboard and touchpad assembly goes downwards to give even more breathing space for the fans.

By doing that, the laptop automatically goes into OC Mode, the effects of which can be seen later in the review. Additionally, Acer has made the palm-rest area to drop to a certain angle, making sure you are all comfortable when playing.

Additionally, the laptop includes the button that is courtesy to the Predator brand – TURBO. It boosts the fans to the maximum and it basically sounds the same as your hair drier, washing machine and blender working at the same time.

Let’s talk about the keyboard, shall we? It has an extremely long travel – almost as a mechanical switch and has tactile feedback, making it excellent for both typing and gaming. In addition to that, it comes with a per-key RGB backlight that can be controlled from the dedicated app. Further below is the touchpad, that pairs very well with the 144Hz display. It is super fast and accurate and has a backlight surrounding it.

On the bottom, you can see some ventilation grills as well as the subwoofer. Speakers are moved to the front of the device, while the exhaust air is coming from the back and the sides.


Ports

This laptop has basically everything you need in terms of I/O. On the back, there are the charging plug, a full-sized DisplayPort and an HDMI connector. On the left, you’ll see the RJ-45 connector, two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 2) ports and two audio jacks, and on the right, there are two USB Type-C connectors – one Thunderbolt and one 3.1 (Gen. 2) as well as another USB 3.1 (Gen. 2) port.

Disassembly and upgrade options

Display quality

Acer Predator Helios 700 is equipped with a 144Hz Full HD IPS screen, model number AUO B173HAN03.1 (AUO319D). Its diagonal is 17.3″ (43.94 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 127 ppi, their pitch – 0.1995 x 0.1995 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 69 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Its viewing angles are comfortable. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is pretty high – 304 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 290 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 9%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 7560K (average) – colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 7400K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 40% Brightness (White level = 138 cd/m2, Black level = 0.12 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1130:1 (1050:1 after profiling).

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Acer Predator Helios 700’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 93% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, which provides a vibrant and punchy image.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Predator Helios 700 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 9 ms.


Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Its display backlight doesn’t use PWM to adjust the level of its brightness. This makes it comfortable for longer gaming sessions without being extra harmful to your eyes in this aspect.


Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusions

Acer Predator Helios 700 has a Full HD IPS panel that has a wide field of view, reasonably high maximum brightness, and a good contrast ratio. On top of that, it can reproduce almost all of the colors in sRGB and it doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness level. As a 144Hz monitor, it has super quick response times that result in a very fluent image.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Predator Helios 700 configurations with 17.3″ AUO B173HAN03.1 (AUO319D) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Acer Predator Helios 700’s speakers sound loud and deep. The low, mid and high frequencies are free of deviations.


Drivers

As of the moment of writing this review, we couldn’t find any drivers for the Predator Helios 700.

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. For its size, the Acer Predator Helios 700 comes equipped with a pretty small battery – a 70Wh unit.

We were only able to get around two hours and a half of web browsing and video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.


CPU options

Currently, the Predator Helios 700 comes equipped with the octa-core Intel Core i9-9980HK. It has a 45W TDP, Base frequency of 2.40 GHz and can Turbo up to 5.00 GHz.


GPU options

GPU-wise there are two options – the RTX 2070 and the RTX 2080 as both of them come with 8GB of GDDR6 memory.


Gaming tests

Absolutely desktop-like performance from the Predator Helios 700.

Far Cry 5Full HD, Normal (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
RTX 2080130 fps123 fps115 fps
RTX 2080 OC Mode134 fps125 fps117 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
RTX 2080177 fps112 fps74 fps
RTX 2080 OC Mode177 fps119 fps80 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
RTX 2080121 fps106 fps71 fps
RTX 2080 OC Mode125 fps110 fps74 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
RTX 2080131 fps125 fps85 fps
RTX 2080 OC Mode134 fps129 fps91 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core temperature (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Core i9-9980HK (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Predator Helios 7003.31 GHz (B+38%)@ 69°C3.33 GHz (B+39%)@ 73°C3.20 GHz (B+33%)@ 70°C

We rarely see a laptop being able to stay above 3 GHz for the entire 15 minutes of the stress test. However, the Helios 700 was able to do it and moreover – do it with an octa-core processor. Additionally, the temperature at the end was only 70C. Well… we should have expected that from a device that fat.

Real gameplay

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
Acer Predator Helios 7001647 MHz @ 65°C1632 MHz @ 69°C
Acer Predator Helios 700 OC Mode1791 MHz @ 61°C1783 MHz @ 62°C

What was more interesting, though, was how the Predator Helios 700 handled the RTX 2080. When it is in a regular mode, it finished at 1632 MHz without dropping too much of MHz from the beginning, while the temperature was 69C. When you pull the keyboard assembly downwards, though, you are going to get a good 150 MHz more on the GPU and 7C lower temperature. We should consider this as a portable desktop, rather than a gaming laptop.

Gaming comfort

Expectedly, the rather low internal temperatures resulted in a not so warm outer body.


Verdict

Acer Predator Helios 700 is one of the greatest gaming devices we’ve ever tested. It is interesting to see the HyperDrift technology actually works. Not only works, but it does also help the Helios 700 perform on a similar level as a desktop RTX 2080-equipped machine. It makes it extra intriguing to see it compared against other behemoths that we shall review. Perhaps it is safe to say that this laptop is truly capable of delivering 4K/ultra settings gaming.

This helps it extract the maximum of its Full HD 144Hz monitor (AUO B173HAN03.1 (AUO319D)). Speaking of which, the display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness and has decent brightness and viewing angles. Moreover, it covers 93% of sRGB and the 144Hz refresh rate results in a very fluent picture.

Nevertheless, a laptop is not only what its performance is. So, as a such, Predator Helios 700 should offer a decent I/O, upgradeability and keyboard. First, the port selection on this laptop is very wide – you get basically everything you may need except for… an SD card reader. Well, surely, you can always go for a dongle, but it would be awesome to see one here.

Then, in terms of upgrade options, the Helios 700 is one of the last devices you’re going to see with a service lid. After unscrewing only two screws, you are presented with two RAM DIMMs that support up to 64GB of DDR4 memory and two M.2 SSD slots that support RAID 0 and there is the mandatory SATA drive slot.

Last but not least – the keyboard, it has a very long travel and we found it comfortable for gaming and typing. Interestingly, when you switch to OC Mode (by pulling the keyboard towards you), the laptop manages to handle a frequency of the RTX 2080 that is 200 MHz above the stated maximum Boost one, while at the same time staying reasonably cool. On the downside is the fan noise, however, but this is the way to go.

Pros

  • Desktop-like performance
  • 144Hz IPS panel option (AUO B173HAN03.1 (AUO319D))
  • Comfortable keyboard – both for typing and for gaming
  • Doesn’t use PWM to adjust screen brightness (AUO B173HAN03.1 (AUO319D))
  • Very efficient cooling
  • Overclockable hardware
  • Supports RAID 0 and Thunderbolt


Cons

  • Very loud in OC Mode
  • No SD card reader
  • Mediocre battery life

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-predator-helios-700-ph717-71/