Acer Predator Helios 16 Review (PH16-71-74UU)

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8.5 Total Score
EXCELLENT

The Acer Predator Helios 16 (PH16-71-74UU) is a gaming powerhouse that packs the latest Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia RTX GPU, offering the best gaming and productivity experience without denting your bank account.

PROS
  • Powerhouse GPU and CPU combo
  • Superb mini-LED, WQXGA screen
  • Excellent connectivity
  • Cheaper than some high-end rivals
CONS
  • Noisy in Turbo mode
  • A little heavy

Acer has finally pulled the plug on our favorite Predator Helios 300 in 2023 and is replacing it with the Acer Predator Helios 16 and Helios 18. The new numbering model, of course, refers to the display size on each laptop model.

One of the biggest trends coming out of the 2023 CES wasn’t something people would necessarily notice at first glance unless they look closely. After years of putting up with cramped “widescreen” laptops, it looks like we’re finally starting to say goodbye to the 16:9 aspect ratio.

With the Helios 16, Acer is finally offering something to compete with the Dell XPS 13 and Apple MacBooks that are already 16:10, and we can’t be happier. But traditionally, Windows laptops like this have been few and far between, but in the past few months we’ve reviewed a couple and we’re seeing more drop into the market.

Acer Predator Helios 16 Review (PH16-71-74UU) screen

16:9 screens are cramped and quite limiting – at least compared to other options. On the other hand, 16:10 displays offer a lot more room, and it’s a clever and efficient use of screen space. And as shown during CES, 16:10 and 3:2 displays are inching closer to the mainstream; and for the first time, most of the biggest laptops announced at the show are offering non-16:9 display options.

Moving away from the display, the Acer Predator Helios 16 packs a punch, thanks to a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700HX processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB Gen 4 SSD, and a 16-inch (2560 x 1600) G-Sync display. Of course, there are other variants of the Helios 16, but the PH16-71-74UU model we’re reviewing is the most affordable in that line. All models share the same processor, but the GPU can be upgraded to an RTX 4070 or 4080, as needed.

And with the new design for 2023 and new hardware, I’ve been excited to see how the Helios 16 performs, keeping in mind it is replacing an already popular Helios 300 line.

About the Acer Predator Helios 16

The Predator Helios 16 (PH16-71-74UU model) is the most affordable gaming laptop in Acer’s Helios 16 lineup. It is not, however, the most affordable gaming laptop made by Acer, as the company’s most affordable gaming hardware is sold under the Nitro brand. Still, the Predator Helios 16 offers decent specifications for its price:

  • Processor: 13th Generation Intel Core i7-13700HX 16-Core processor 2.1 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 5 GHz
  • Memory: 16 GB DDR5 SDRAM
  • Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 with 8 GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
  • Display: 16″ WQXGA (2560 x 1600) widescreen LED-backlit IPS display, 240 Hz refresh rate
  • Battery: 90-watt-hour 4-cell lithium-ion
  • Ports: 2x USB Type-C ports supporting USB 3.2 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps) & charging, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Port (with power-off charging), 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Ports, 1x HDMI 2.0 port with HDCP Support
  • WiFi: Wireless Wi-Fi 6E 1675i
  • Dimensions: 14.1” wide, 11” deep, 0.98” thick
  • Weight: 6.39 pounds

The configuration we’re reviewing is the most affordable Helios 16 available. Acer offers other configurations with more RAM, storage, or more powerful CPU and GPU options. There’s even a Cote i9 model with an RTX 4080 GPU, so you have lots of choices that match your budget.

Keep in mind that older models of the Helios 300 are still available and supported. There is even a Predator Helios 300 model with an intel Core i7-12700H, 14-core, 32GB DDR5, and an RTX 3070 Ti graphics card. There’s nothing wrong with older models, but we noticed most people are jumping onto the 16:10 displays over the 16:9 models.

What we like

Gaming performance is outstanding

For this Acer Predator Helios 16 review, I have the fairly base specification, with an RTX 4060 and Intel Core i7-13700HX, 16GB RAM, and 1TB SSD storage. With these specs, you’re getting a gaming laptop that will power through most triple-A titles at 1080p (highest settings), and it will have no trouble troubleshooting.

The Helios 16 PH16-71-74UU impresses with the kind of performance it offers, and while it can’t crack 4K resolutions for most AAA, it has no trouble when it comes to the built-in WQXGA display. It plays a good amount of Redfall on the Epic graphics presets, and it surprisingly maintains a solid 86fps at 2560 x 1600, never even once dipping below the 60fps.

In Cyberpunk 2077 played at the Ultra preset at 2560 x 1600 with ray tracing disabled and DLSS enabled, the Helios 16 maintains an average of 70 fps, which is nothing short of impressive. If you don’t mind dropping below 60, you can activate ray tracing on Ultra settings, and that garners an average of 40 fps.

Acer Predator Helios 16 Review (PH16-71-74UU) back ports

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 (Codename GN21-X4) used in the Acer Predator Helios 16 is a high-end laptop GPU, based on the AD107 chip and uses the Lovelace architecture. The RTX 4060 mobile GPU offers 3072 shaders and uses 8GB GDDR6 dedicated graphics memory with a clock speed of 16 Gbps on a 128 Bit memory bus. With 80 tensor cores that enable DLSS 3 including frame generation for supported games, this GPU delivers solid gaming performance, much more stable than the RTX 3060 it replaces.

To the left lower of the display, there’s a handy little physical toggle switch, which allows you to switch between quiet, balanced, performance, and turbo presets; which can be controlled from the Acer Predator Sense utility too. In turbo mode, the fans can get uncomfortably loud, but it certainly helps the frame rates. In performance mode, the fans are reasonably loud, and they do their job well – exhausting hot air via the vents on the rear of the chassis. The vents are well placed, too, ensuring that hot air is blown away from the user, meaning you’re not likely to get a hot mouse hand.

The laptop features Nvidia Advanced Optimus, meaning it will use the integrated GPU for simple tasks like office work and web browsing only launching the RTX 4060 when you boot up a game. The concept here is to prolong battery life without sacrificing power when needed.

A butter-smooth 240Hz G-Sync display

The Helios Predator 16 uses a Mini LED display, offering a spacious 16 inches of viewable space alongside excellent black levels and decent brightness. While it’s not going to quite match the inky blacks on an OLED panel, it’s still the next best thing in gaming laptops. Plus, it’s much brighter than most OLEDs, able to push up to 1000 nits at peak.

As mentioned before, it’s a 16:10 panel, meaning it offers some extra height compared to a traditional 16:9 display. I find this aspect ratio comfortable, as it allows for seamless productivity and fits well with gaming, too.

Acer Predator Helios 16 Review (PH16-71-74UU) ports

The 2560 x 1600 resolution panel covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color space, so it makes for an excellent machine for creative work. Away from gaming, you can use the Helios 16 for productivity tasks, and since the display provides rich vibrant colors, it’s a perfect fit for watching Netflix movies among other favorite streams. Additionally, the 240Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync support mean games will always look buttery smooth and free from tearing.

Overall, the Helios 16’s display is attractive in most situations and smooth in motion. You can pay much, much more for a gaming laptop and not see much improvement in the display.

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There are plenty of ports

When it comes to I/O ports, the Helios 16 has a healthy selection, there are ports on the rear of the device, as well as down both sides. This laptop has a total of five USB ports, a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, two USB 3.2 Gen 2, and two USB-C ports that support DisplayPort over USB-C and Thunderbolt 4.

There’s also an HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a headphone/microphone combo socket, and even a microSD card reader. There’s no denying this laptop is hefty, especially for something rocking an RTX 4060 GPU, but it does leave ample room for cooling, and you’ll take advantage of that if you choose the RTX 4080 variant.

What we don’t like

Simple styling and keyboard

I’m a big fan of the Helios 16’s design. It’s modest enough for use even at work, it has RGB backlighting on the keyboard as well as a cool illuminated graphic bar behind the screen. But as with most gaming laptops, it has a mostly plastic body, and the lid and keyboard are styled from a black powder-coated alloy. Still, with a ‎14.15 x 0.98 x 10.88 inches footprint and 5.73 pounds weight, it’s a heft behemoth, with vents on both sides, the rear, and the base to help with cooling.

Acer Predator Helios 16 Review (PH16-71-74UU) keyboard

On the other hand, the keyboard and touchpad are decent for daily use, but I find the number pad with its slimline keys, the shrunk-down function keys in the top bar, or the size of the Shift and Ctrl keys on the left to be off.

All said, I can live with those because the keyboard has a nice, crisp action, just enough travel, and a really solid feel. That said, you’ll still need a mouse for gaming, but for creative apps or productivity, the touchpad is usable.

Bottom Line

The Acer Predator Helios 16 is an excellent laptop, and only a few laptops can match its value. This laptop is going to be popular for many reasons: beyond the large, 16-inch Mini-LED (2560 x 1600 resolution) display with a fantastic 16:10 aspect ratio, the Helios 16 delivers a powerful Hexadeca-core (16 Core) Intel processor and an Nvidia RTX 4069 GPU that’s optimized for gaming and productivity.

More importantly, our complaints here are standard traits of affordable gaming laptops and they don’t affect gaming performance at all. The Helios PH16-71-74UU is large and hefty, and its battery life in gaming is middling, but its performance in these areas is no worse than its competition. And despite its value, the Helios 16 is a sturdy laptop with a beautiful design that’s like to win accolades.

What’s the competition? Lenovo has the Legion Pro 5i for a few hundred dollars more, but packs in a more solid feature set than the Helios 16. The Legion Pro 5i shares the same 16-inch, 240Hz refresh rate screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio, but maxes out with Nvidia’s RTX 4070 GPU, a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900X processor, 64GB DDR5 RAM, and 2TB SSD storage. Acer also offers the Acer Predator Helios 16 (PH16-71-72YG model), with similar features as the base model we’ve reviewed but tops out with an RTX 4070; it’s incredible value worth checking out too.

That said, the Acer Predator Helios 16 (PH16-71-74UU) excels in gaming performance, is fantastic for creative tasks, and impresses as a productivity machine; and that’s what counts. It’s an excellent value for the sub-$2000 price and a meaningful investment for midrange gamers on a budget. And with a speedy 240Hz refresh rate and all the benefits of Mini LED technology, the Helios 16 is a cut above the competition.

Last update on 2024-07-15 at 22:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Acer Predator Helios 16 Review (PH16-71-74UU)
Acer Predator Helios 16 Review (PH16-71-74UU)
$1,349.99
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