The best Acer laptop for gaming

Best Acer laptop for gaming 2019

Acer is subverting the notion that 'cheap' always means 'bad'. Sometimes intelligent trade-offs are made for the sake of affordability, and oftentimes those concessions result in the contrivance of the best Acer laptop for gaming.

When you think of the best Acer laptop for gaming, chances are, the word Predator comes to mind. And regardless of how you feel about slapping the word 'Predator' on the lid of your laptop, you have to admit the amount of power you're getting for the price is pretty much unparalleled in the portable gaming space. The amount you'd otherwise pay for an Alienware or the Razer laptop far exceeds that of a Predator. 

Not to mention Acer has an extensive list of notebooks in its catalog. As a result, however, it is difficult to pin down exactly which of its products constitutes the best Acer laptop for gaming 2019 has to offer. Because of the sheer breadth of specs, styles and price points in its portfolio, finding the specs to match your needs isn't as effortless as it sounds. Sometimes it's necessary for an expert to intervene.

In order to identify the best Acer laptop for gaming—Helios, Triton or otherwise—I've benchmarked every model and submodel configuration I could get my hands on. That said, by no means was there an irrefutable winner amid my assessment of the best Acer laptop for gaming, which is why I've included a pair of honorable mentions as well, in case my top pick, for whatever reason, just doesn't do it for you. 

Acer Predator Triton 500

The best Acer laptop for gaming 2019


CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 — 2080 Max-Q
RAM: 16GB — 32GB
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 144Hz
Storage: 512GB — 1TB SSD
Battery: 84Wh
Dimensions: 10 x 14.1 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 4.41 lbs

Reasons to buy

Appetizing range of prices
Top of the line performance

Reasons to avoid

Lackluster battery life
Awful boot-up sound

Once you get past the initial dread of its god-awful startup sound, the Acer Predator Triton 500 is hands down one of the best I've ever used. Small enough to fit in a backpack and light enough not to weigh you down, it stuffs a 15-inch screen into a 14-inch frame for an RTX gaming experience that is, against all odds, both portable and potent. It doesn't have the strongest battery life, having conked out at less than three hours in our in-house battery test, however its power brick is somewhat compact, perhaps negating the need for a battery altogether. You can't expect to play graphics intensive triple-A games off the charger anyway. 

What you can expect from the Acer Predator Triton 500 is a blissful, quieted high-performance gaming laptop capable of outpacing the latest consoles exponentially. You can get it in RTX 2060 and 2080 flavors, and while the latter can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, I recommend the middle of the road option for the best value: Intel Core i7 processor, RTX 2080 graphics, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of NVMe PCIe SSD storage. If it weren't for a handful of glaring design oversights, and a notable lack of screen resolution choices above 1080p, the Triton 500 would be a perfect machine. Still, it's a relatively inexpensive gateway to ray traced graphics rendered in real-time, deserving of its place on the best Acer laptop for gaming throne.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (15-inch)

The best Acer laptop for gaming on a budget


CPU: Intel Core i5-8300H — i7-8750H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
RAM: 8GB — 16GB
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 144Hz
Storage: 256GB SSD — 1TB HDD, 256GB SSD
Battery: 48Wh
Dimensions: 10.5 x 15.4 x 1.1 inches
Weight: 5.95 lbs

Reasons to buy

Good performance for the price
Respectable build quality

Reasons to avoid

Weak battery life
Hackneyed design

Though it's comes in 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch flavors, I prefer the 15-inch Acer Predator Helios 300, a budget-minded clamshell made for gaming in each of its many forms. Despite being available in ten different configurations, it is consistent in  a couple of regards. For one, it leverages Intel's 8th-generation Core i7-8750H processor, a six-core chip clocked at 2.6GHz out of the box. Boot up one of your favorite CPU-heavy game and you'll see clock speeds of up to 4.1GHz. On the graphics end, the Helios 300 relies on Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1060 mobile chip across the board. 

Aesthetically, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is almost indistinguishable from its competitors. It is a black and red midrange gaming laptop festooned with angular embellishments that fail to distract from the threatening aura of its ominous Predator branding. Nevertheless, given its diverse assortment of prices, there's bound to be one or two that suit your financial needs. By skimping on inconsequential components (for gaming, at least), like storage and RAM, you can save yourself a hefty chunk of change. Especially if it's meant to complement your existing desktop rig, the Helios 300 is a solid, lower-cost alternative to the RTX-equipped Triton 500. 

Acer Predator Helios 500

The best Acer laptop for gaming on a big screen


CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H — i9-8950HK; AMD Ryzen 7 2700
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070; AMD Radeon RX 56
Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
Storage: 256GB SSD — 2TB HDD, 512GB SSD
Battery: 74Wh
Dimensions: 11.7 x 16.9 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 8.82 lbs

Reasons to buy

144Hz native G-Sync display
AMD and Nvidia configs

Reasons to avoid

Chintzy chassis
Poor battery life

While it's sure to be ousted by the Decepticonian Acer Predator Helios 700 slated for July, the Acer Predator Helios 500 is a compelling 17-inch gaming laptop you can buy right now. Boasting up to an overclockable, desktop-class Intel Core i9 processor paired with a powerful, non-Max-Q Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, the Helios 500 is as close as you'll come to its full-size PC tower equivalent. Alternatively, should you fancy red over green, it's one of the few gaming laptops on the market you can outfit with an AMD Ryzen CPU and Radeon RX Vega graphics. Of course, in doing so, you'd miss out on the opulent convenience of native G-Sync support. 

Much as I like the Acer Predator Helios 500, when I tested it out for myself almost a year ago, it lasted just under a mere three hours off the charger. And although you can find it at a steep discount nowadays, I still think it's priced a little high considering its shell is made entirely out of plastic. Otherwise, it's the best Acer laptop for gaming on a 17.3-inch display. Not the most powerful for the price, but not prohibitively expensive either, the Helios 500 is unique, insofar as it gives you the keys to overclock its CPU and GPU at the click of a button. Well, assuming you opt for the Intel Core i9-8950HK version. 

Gabe Carey
Gabe has been writing about the intersection of games and technology since the tender age of 16. Previously seen on TechRadar, Digital Trends and PC Magazine, he currently serves as a Senior Writer on the central hardware team spanning PC Gamer and GamesRadar. In his leisure time, you can find him amassing Razer products, playing games and watching superhero movies ranging from bad to mediocre in his cramped Manhattan apartment.