1 Cool Thing: Acer Predator Helios 700


(upbeat music) – Hello, and welcome to One Cool Thing, where we show you one cool thing we are testing out here
in the PC Mag labs. And today’s cool thing is, well, it’s a thing with a lot
of cooling isn’t it? – It is a literal cool thing. We don’t lie to you
here at One Cool Thing. – Okay, so what is this thing? – This is the Acer Predator Helios 700. It is quite obviously a thick, and if you give that a lift,
11-pound gaming laptop. – Okay, so wait, you’re
calling this a laptop? Like you’re supposed to
put this on your lap? – Technically a laptop; you can carry it. It has a portable charger,
which probably also adds another two pounds to your carry weight. It is a laptop; it’s a thick laptop. It looks a lot more like
the old, heavy, 17-inch, gaming laptops that we’ve gotten used to. Over the past few years, gaming
laptops really thinned out. They’ve become obsessed with thinness. We’ve seen some impressively
thin ones, and Acer’s going in the opposite
direction with this one. – So, let’s see what you can do when– Oh, here’s the power brick.
– Here’s the brick, as I said. – You could definitely club
someone to death with this. I mean I’m thinking as a gamer, you can use this as a
weapon, if necessary, in real life, to defend
your gaming laptop. (thumping) You hear that? – From theft. – But can I do the thing? – Yeah, do the thing. Why is this so thick? Why is it so heavy? There has to be a reason. (thumping) That’s the reason. This is the HyperDrift, as is
the branded name, keyboard. It slides down revealing
some cool lighting, which you can see the internals
through, and two fans. – Okay, so we’ve had this benchmark on high-quality 1080p this entire time, and it was at about 82 frames per second with the HyperDrift closed. Now it’s a little more
like 84 frames per second. – Really maximizing those returns. We saw the same numbers
roughly in our review on various real-world games. There was about a two frame
rate increase, which isn’t huge. – Yeah, okay, so other than
your two frame rate increase, and now I have to mention
we’re doing 82fps here. It’s a 144Hz screen, so we are getting the full quality of
whatever the graphics card is able to put out, right? – Yes, we have a Max-Q 2070
inside, we have Core i7 CPU, the fans, and the reveal of the fans not only adds your frame rate
slightly because of cooling, but it does keep it cooler. It’s actually, despite its
massive size and performance, a relatively cool-running laptop, even without the keyboard slid down. We’ve had it running probably
below average temperatures. With this slid down, it was in
the 60 degree Celsius range, which is really good actually. So, this is doing something. – Now, it’s definitely doing
something ergonomically. Do you find it easier to use,
with the keyboard slid down? – Yes, it’s a little
bit more desktop-like, which, again, its size, is
it really even a laptop? – Yeah, it’s kinda desktop-like. – This is the keyboard wrist
rest, desktop experience, that’s coming to you, via
this sliding keyboard. It’s cool, I mean it’s cool, right? Literally, again, but this is neat, this is an interesting
and pretty unique thing. It doesn’t just slide to reveal the fans. They went the extra step to
make it slide and collapse, so it makes it a little more comfortable, adding some unique value proposition, in a market where gaming laptops now, for a while, have been pretty “samey”. – Yeah, and now, what’s this
Christmas light situation going on here? – A customizable RGB keyboard, as always, and the particular setting,
although as you can see, when you slide it down, it does do, or at least it did before, this cool custom lighting
sort of wave, because why not? That’s what fancy toys are for. – And now, since it’s a gaming laptop, it’s a gaming keyboard. You have your macro keys,
you can program your macros. I’m gonna pull out the other thing. (zipping) And so, when we
were pulling this laptop out, this was interesting. – Yes, these special keys
for the, as you see, WASD. You can swap in and out;
they feel very different. I don’t know if you will
get used to typing on them without a lot of practice, but for gaming, they’re a little more
springy, a little more action. – It’s not just that, it’s not just that! – It’s not just that,
oh wait, there’s more. – Yeah, these are kind of analog. What I found amazing about these keys, is that obviously with your regular keys, and these are very nice keys. – Yeah, they’re perfectly good. It’s not like, “Oh, let’s put
on the good keys,” but yeah. – Yeah, nice, deep, bouncy keys. But these keys, they have
magnetic actuators in them, so that they can tell the degree to which you’re depressing them. So, for something like a driving game, it’s almost like using a joystick. – Yeah, like a pedal sort of
mimicking that experience. Again, desktop-like. These features come to you in this very not-portable package, but it is technically portable. It’s more portable than your desktop, again, 10.8 pounds I believe, add in the weight of the charger, and you have a kind of laptop. – Okay, so let’s say you’re taking the Acer Helios 700 somewhere. What is the battery life like? – Not good, again, almost
portable (laughing). Two hours on our rundown test. It might last longer or shorter, depending on what you’re doing. It’ll almost definitely last shorter if you’re playing games off the charger. So, again, this is more
of a take it with you, and settle up once
you’re there experience, because the performance will
suffer if it’s not plugged in. It’s too heavy and too big to
put on an airplane tray table. Look at the size of this thing;
it would never fit on one. So this is kind of like:
I have the option to take my almost gaming desktop with me, and use it once I get there,
but in transit not so much. – I mean, the way I was
thinking about this is, it’s for the transient gamer. It’s for somebody who is,
maybe, a college student with a dorm room, they’re
using it in their dorm room, they’re taking it back home to their parents’ house for holidays. – They’re moving it to class. – Right, they’re moving
it to the next dorm room. It’s something that you transport between places where it’s normally fixed. – Right. – Yeah, so when you
said it optimizes itself when it’s unplugged, I wanted
to point out, we have– Oh, we’re up to 93 frames per second now. – The extra cooling’s
going somewhere, yeah. – The extra cooling is gettin’ somewhere. We were at 81 with the keyboard closed. It was 30 with the power adapter. – Yeah, without the full
power going to the GPU, and going to the components
that do the cooling and make sure that everything’s
running at full power, not the same experience. – So let’s talk about some more specs and some more features in here. What can you tell me about the screen? – It is 1080p, kept it simple. Kept it a good fit for
the 144Hz refresh rate, because if it was a 1440p screen, I don’t even think you
would even see frame rates that approach 144 frames per second, so that’s a good combination. For the graphics card that’s included, that’s also a good combination, because the 2070 Max-Q
is gonna push above 100, or at around 100, so any higher resolution and you’d be causing an issue for yourself rather than enjoying
a high-refresh screen. – Yeah, and I love how it’s matte. – Yes, it’s matte finish, not reflective. – We have a pretty decent
selection of ports, do we? Okay, so I see there’s two– I’m not gonna move this around. I guess I should, people are watching. – It’s a laptop Sascha, remember? – It’s a laptop. So we got our two USB-A’s, (groaning) and full size ethernet. – Getting his workout in. – And, oh yeah, we’ve got our
headphone, microphone ports. What do we have on the other side? – USB-C, USB-C, and another USB-A. – Okay, and on the back we
have HDMI and a display port. – Yeah, that’s where all the video lives, and for our particular skew with all of that, 16 gigs of RAM, and it is about $2200 actually. – How far can you spec this up? – High, I don’t think
ours is the top model. I think you can continue
to bump, even the storage. It probably has a Max-Q 2080
version of this, I imagine, so this isn’t the max model, but it’s a good combination
for what the screen offers. – How ’bout the audio? – Pretty booming, out of this size thing, which is good, ’cause
sometimes you get kinda wimpy– – Yeah, sometimes I find
the 17-inch laptops, especially because they’re
trying to go thin and light, they go thin and light, they’re
using dinky little speakers, there’s no audio cavity. As a result, everything sounds tinny, because they’ve subordinated everything else in the
system to the screen. – It’s all about the thinness. – Yes. – Yeah, it’s good to have something that’s a little more robust, and it’s
what you’ve come to expect out of the 17 inchers, and then you, like you said, kinda disappointed. – Yeah, something else I
wanted to point out here, something else I wanted to point out, which is kind of relevant
for gaming, I guess, is that I was impressed to
see that it has Wi-Fi 6. – Yes, that’s becoming
increasingly common, still not very common, but
I’ve seen a number of laptops in the past month or
two, now that it’s here, and it’s moving onto systems. So another high-end feature
that will slowly but surely become pretty commonplace. – Okay so, I’m gonna
load another benchmark, while we play with this. Here, let’s pull up 3DMark. So what is this compared to? What else is out there that’s like this? – There’s nothing quite
like this, which is good. I am seeing now, a big upswing
in unique gaming laptops. I think, I don’t wanna
call them all gimmicks. Some are gimmicks; this
adds some utility, I think. But there’s a number,
there’s laptops adding a second screen above the keyboard. There’s laptops that are
giant, 17-inch, two-in-ones with removable keyboards. There is a lot of attempts to add value in non-traditional ways,
in the past couple months, which is good, ’cause I think the graphics card hardware
has kinda topped out, and, for the time being,
performance parity is all about the same, everyone’s thin, so they’re
starting to think about what other ways can we add
value or unique features. You get things like this. You get things like a
screen that goes here. So, whichever of those gimmicks seems the most appealing to you, and this is one of the better ones. – Yeah, and we have a whole
bunch of benchmark charts in the review for this laptop, and that was one thing that struck me, that a lot of the performance
seems to have plateaued. – Yes, they’re all
similar, so on that basis, if you’re looking at
this, or best Alienware, or best from other competitors, then you’re like, “Well,
what do I decide between “if they’re all this far apart
on the benchmark charts?” And it’s stuff like this
that differentiates. Obviously, price goes a long way as well. – So, anything else I missed here? Anything else we need to talk about? – I think you covered
all the bases Sascha. It’s huge, it’s got
macro keys turbo button, it’s got all the gaming features, the full numpad, the Predator’s software, I do want to mention, that’s
over here on the number pad. The Predator software suite
of component monitoring and customization is one of
the better built-in softwares that gets included in
these types of laptops. So that allows you further customization. – And I would like to point out, if you’ve been hearing
the air conditioning noise through this entire video, take a moment. It got a lot quieter,
because we ended the game, we folded up the keyboard, so those fans are not always running. The fans are just running
when they need to be, and they don’t need to be anymore. – Yes, and I do wanna mention the fan, it’s not just a kickup in fan speed. Pulling that out does enable
the GPU auto-overclock, so that is what it’s doing, and when you close it, it calms down. – Okay great, so this is the
Acer Predator Helios 700. We gave it four stars. Is it an editor’s choice? – It’s an editor’s
choice for its uniqueness in trying something new. It’s also a good gaming laptop. It’s not overly expensive, considering that rather
ridiculous kind of addition, they’re not charging too
much of a premium that. So, yes, you can get a less
expensive version of this, but the performance parity
is up there with the others. It is big and heavy, obviously, it’s a con if you’re gonna travel a lot, but this unique keyboard is a cool idea, and they actually executed it really well, so for that, editor’s choice. – Great, thanks a lot. This has been One Cool
Thing with PCMag.com. Please like and subscribe, and we will give you more cool
things from the PCMag labs. (rhythmic music)

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