Dell G5 vs Acer Predator Helios 300 Review and Benchmarks
The Dell G5 vs Acer Predator Helios 300 review and Benchmarks. The Dell G5 and Acer Predator Helios 300 are fairly similarly specced gaming laptops at a similar price point, but which should you buy? Let’s compare the features of the two and run some gaming benchmarks and find out which laptop is worth it.
The Dell G5 vs Acer Predator Helios 300 review
First let’s check out the differences in specs, the G5 I’m testing with is the highest specced model, so keep in mind that it’s also available with lower specs too.
Both of these laptops have the same Intel i7-8750H CPU, although the G5 is also available with the i5-8300H, which is still faster than the i7 from the 7th gen in the previous models.
Both laptops have 16GB of memory in dual channel running at DDR4-2666 speeds, so no differences there, although both are also available in 8gb configurations too. As for graphics both laptops the have the Nvidia 1060 with 6GB of memory, however the one in the G5 is the Max-Q version while the Helios has the regular 1060, so the G5 should run at lower clock speeds and perform slightly less.
Both laptops have a 15.6” 1080p IPS panel, in my case both are 60Hz, however the Helios is also available with a faster 144Hz panel which will be nicer for gaming, although the G5 is also available with a 4K screen. For storage both laptops have a single M.2 slot which supports NVMe storage, and single 2.5 inch drive bay.
In both of my laptops I’ve got SATA based SSDs and 1TB hard drives, but both are available with different storage configurations. For network connectivity both have gigabit ethernet ports, support for 802.11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth.
Both laptops have an overall black and red theme, although the Helios has a brushed metal on both the lid and interior, while the G5 is a matte metal. Overall I’d say the G5 had slightly better build quality, but both were fairly solid. The Helios does have this metal edge though which felt a little sharp, while the G5 was all smooth.
As for size differences they’re quite similar, the G5 is a little thinner but also has a bit more depth to it. The G5 weighs about 250 grams more than the Helios, and with their 180 watt power bricks and cables for charging the difference lowers to 230g with the G5 still heavier.
The I/O on the left hand side has some similarities, the G5 has a noble lock slot while the Helios has a Kensington lock, gigabit ethernet port, USB 3 Type-A port, and SD card slot, while the G5 has its power input here and HDMI output, and the Helios 300 has a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C port, but no Thunderbolt here though.
On the right both have a 3.5mm audio combo jack, two USB Type-A ports, although the ones on the Helios are USB 2.0 while the G5s are 3.1 Gen1. The G5 has its HDMI 2.0 port here, and USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port with Thunderbolt support while the Helios has its power input on this side.
On the back there’s just some air exhaust vents, the G5 has thicker plastic vents while the Helios has a red plastic trim. Up on the lids both have a logo in the center, the G5 was a little less unobtrusive compared to the Predator logo though. Nothing too interesting on the front of either, the G5 has a grill with its speakers on the left and right hand sides, while the Helios is just smooth plastic.
The speakers on the Helios are found underneath toward the front left and right corners, and both sounded about average, no major difference. Underneath both have rubber feet that prevented sliding while in use, and air intake vents towards the back. The base of the G5 can be removed by simply removing one screw, giving us easy access to the 2.5” drive bay, M.2 slot, wifi card, battery and two memory slots.
The Helios on the other hand has two separate panels that can be easily removed with one screw each, giving us easy access to the 2.5” drive bay and two memory slots. The rest of the panel needs to be removed if you want access to the battery, wifi card and single M.2 slot.
Both were quite simple to access to perform basic upgrades, but the G5 was a little easier to get into as the whole bottom panel can be removed with just one screw, especially if you want to access more than just the disk and memory. As mentioned the screens here are fairly similar, 15.6” 1080p 60Hz IPS panels, although most of the Helios 300 laptops come with faster 144Hz screens which aren’t an option with the G5, for a gaming laptop I personally think a higher refresh rate screen is an advantage, so that’s a nice positive with the Helios.
I’ve measured the colour gamuts of both displays using the Spyder 5 pro, and I found that the results of the Helios were just slightly better than the G5, although there was little difference, the contrast ratio was a little better with the Helios although the brightness levels were around the same. If I had to pick between them just looking at them, I’d say I liked the one in the Helios more, but again remember I didn’t have the 144Hz panel so that will likely also be a little different.
The bezels on both laptops are fairly thick, the ones on the G5 are maybe just a little thicker, and both have a 720p camera placed at the top, and I’d say that the quality of the G5’s camera was a little better. There was very minor backlight bleed detected with both laptops, but this was in a dark room with a long exposure photo, a worst case scenario. To my own eyes I honestly couldn’t see the bleed myself in either, but this will vary between laptops.
Both laptops were really solid and had minimal keyboard flex while pushing down hard, no real difference there, both were quite sturdy. As for the keyboards I personally preferred typing with the G5, although it did have smaller arrow keys which was annoying at times.
My G5 had no key backlighting, just painted on red keys which made it difficult to see in a dark room, although it is available with backlighting in some regions. The Helios on the other hand only seems to be available with red backlighting, and both had highlighted WASD keys.
Both touchpads were alright, although I personally preferred the one on the Helios. They were smooth to the touch and can be pressed down anywhere. In my G5 I did have this strange double tap issue, where if you lightly press it it would feel like a click and sometimes register, but it wasn’t a full click, you could still press again for the full click, here’s a demonstration.
In my recent G5 vs G7 comparison most people said that they didn’t have this issue with their G5, although a couple did, so your mileage will vary. The batteries in both laptops were fairly similar, 4 cell although the G5s is a 56 watt hour battery while the Helios has slightly smaller 48 watt hour battery, and this difference shows in the battery testing.
In my gaming test the G5 lasted around 50% longer, while just watching YouTube the G5 lasted around 25% longer. I’m guessing the difference is due to the Max-Q graphics in the G5 using less power in gaming, so there’s a larger difference between them there.
Both laptops were tested with an ambient room temperature of 18 degrees celsius, they were tested in winter so expect warmer temperatures in a warmer environment.
Both also have shared heatpipes, so a temperature change in either CPU or GPU will affect the other. Starting at the bottom of the graph in the light blue and green bars, at idle the G5 was just a little warmer than the Helios on both the CPU and graphics.
Moving up into the gaming tests, the Helios was just 3 degrees warmer on both the CPU and graphics, shown by the yellow and orange bars respectively. With the same -0.150v undervolt applied to the CPU the temperatures don’t change much in the red and pink bars, but we’ll see how this affected performance in the next graph.
Moving up into the stress tests which were done by running Aida64 and the Heaven benchmark at the same time to try and fully utilize both the processor and graphics, again the Helios was a little warmer than the G5 on both the CPU and graphics, shown by the purple and dark blue bars.
With the same CPU undervolt applied, the CPU temperatures on the Helios drop back quite a bit but no change on the G5 which is now higher with the same stress test running, although the graphics in the Helios are warmer than the G5, which should be expected as the G5 has the lower specced Max-Q graphics.
These are the average clock speeds for the same temperature tests just shown, you might need to pause and refer back to the previous graph to get the full picture.
The gaming results in the bottom yellow, orange, red and purple bars unfortunately aren’t directly comparable here, as I tested the G5 with PUBG and then the Helios with Watchdogs 2, I made the change as Watchdogs 2 used more resources and seems better for this test, but still wanted to include the data I had for completeness.
The stress tests were the same though, the purple and black bars show us that the CPU clock speeds of the G5 were coming out ahead with the Helios, however the GPU speeds in the Helios were ahead, shown by the dark blue and white bars, as it’s got the more powerful 1060 over the G5’s Max-Q one.
Here are the average CPU clock speeds while under a CPU only load, and yet again with all cores utilized we’re seeing very similar results in both laptops with the G5 just slightly ahead again. Neither reached the full 3.9GHz turbo boost speed due to power limit throttling though, even with the undervolt applied although both got close.
To demonstrate how this affects performance I’ve got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks here, at stock the G5 is a little ahead of the Helios, and then once undervolted the results are extremely close together, both were still being power limit throttled, without any throttling the 8750H should be able to pass 1200 points so both laptops aren’t too far behind the mark once undervolted.
Single core workloads were about the same regardless, as no throttling takes place there, so less threaded workloads, many games for instance, will likely be just fine and get full performance, it just depends on the game and the resources it needs.
Although the G5 is slightly ahead in multicore here, keep in mind this may vary a little between laptops based on the silicon lottery.
Here are the average GPU clock speeds while under a graphical only workload, and we’re seeing that the Helios 300 was running at higher speeds as expected, the G5 is lower as it’s running the Max-Q version of the 1060, I thought it was interesting that even at stock speeds the Helios was above the G5 even while overclocked, but also goes to show that even while overclocked the Max-Q graphics was close to the Helios’s 1060.
As for the areas where you’ll actually be putting your hands at idle the G5 was just slightly warmer. While gaming the Helios got a little warmer, and both heated up towards the center of the keyboard and up the back.
Under the full CPU and GPU stress test the G5 was just a little warmer, although the Helios also had the option of maxing out the fans which cooled it a bit more, fan control wasn’t an option with the G5. Acer’s Predator Sense Software actually lets you easily independently control the fan speed of the processor or graphics. As for the fan noise produced by the laptops, I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests.
At idle both were fairly silent, the G5 was just a little louder, which was interesting as it had warmer idle temperatures. While gaming the Helios was just a little louder, although it was close, and then under stress test and with the fans maxed out the Helios was still louder, likely as it was running hotter as shown before, possibly due to the slightly more powerful graphics.
The Dell G5 vs Acer Predator Helios 300 Benchmarks
Now let’s check out some gaming benchmarks! All tests were run at 1080p, as this is the resolution of the screens. Also remember that the Helios has a regular 1060, while the G5 has the Max-Q 1060 which has lower clock speeds, all other specs like the CPU and memory are the same so we’re expecting the Helios to come out slightly ahead in games due to the GPU difference.
Starting out with Fortnite I was just seeing a 4% improvement to the average frame rates at epic settings with the Helios, although this difference increases significantly as we drop down in settings.
Overwatch was tested playing with the bots, and epic settings the Helios was performing over 20% better in average frame rates, but a larger 27% improvement to the 1% low, although there’s less of a difference at the lower settings.
PUBG was tested with the replay feature, and the Helios 300 was coming out ahead in all tests except ultra, not too sure why the G5 was winning there though.
CSGO was tested with the Ulletical benchmark, and at max settings the Helios 300 was almost 13% better at average frame rates, but more importantly a 30% improvement to the 1% low.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was tested using the built in benchmark, and at max settings the Helios was around 10% better than the G5, but just a 7% improvement at the lowest settings.
Ghost Recon was also tested with the built in benchmark, and just a 6% improvement to average frame rates at ultra settings with the Helios, and this rises to just under an 8% boost at low settings.
Shadow of War was another tested with the built in benchmark, and at ultra settings the Helios was close to 10% better in terms of average frame rates.
Far Cry 5 was again tested with the built in benchmark, and the results weren’t too different, just 6% better average frame rates at ultra settings with the Helios.
In Watchdogs 2 there wasn’t very much of a performance different in the average frame rates, just a 3% boost at ultra settings, but a much larger 60% increase to the 1% low, although these get closer together at lower settings.
Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark, and at ultra settings there was a 16% improvement to the average frame rates and a 22% boost to the 1% low, and this rises more at lower settings.
Dota 2 was tested using an intensive replay, these results are not the same as actually playing the game and should be considered as a worst case. The Helios was around 10% better at ultra settings and 12% better at minimum settings.
DOOM was tested using vulkan, and yet again the Helios was ahead of the G5, performing around 8% better at ultra settings, rising to a 9% improvement at low settings
I’ve also got the results from some benchmark tools:
As expected the Helios 300 is coming out ahead in all tests as it’s got slightly better graphics. At maximum settings in these games tested on average the Helios was performing 9% better than the G5, which matches up with the 10% or so I got from the last time I compared the 1060 and 1060 Max-Q, but it really depends on the specific game.
Realistically both are great gaming options, but keep in mind this is with the highest specced G5, if you get one with the 8300H CPU, 1050 or 1050Ti graphics then expect lower results. I’ve also just briefly retested PUBG with the CPU undervolted and graphics overclocked in both, and we’re just seeing a little performance increase, in this game at least it doesn’t look like overclocking the Max-Q graphics in the G5 was enough to get it to perform at the Helios stock levels.
I’ve used CrystalDiskMark to test the drives, both have M.2 SATA SSDs installed in their single M.2 slots. The G5 had better write speeds, although this will probably vary between regions based on the specific SSD in use, both do support faster NVMe storage too.
They both also have a single 2.5 inch drive bay which was populated with a 5,400RPM hard drive, and the one in the G5 was performing a little faster, but again this will vary based on specific drive configuration. The SD card slots were both tested with the same V90 rated card, so the card shouldn’t be a bottleneck, and the reader in the Helios was performing a fair bit better than the one in the G5.
Important differences – The price of Dell G5 and Acer Helios 300
Now for one of the most important differences, the price. You can check up to date pricing, but at the time of recording both were available for $1200 USD with the same 16GB of memory, 256GB SSD, and 1TB hard drive configuration, although that’s with the G5 on sale at the moment which may change in the future.
So which laptop should you pick? If you’re just after better gaming performance today, then the Helios 300 is the clear winner, especially as it’s available with the 144Hz screen, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the G5 has a Thunderbolt port while the Helios doesn’t, so you’ve got the option of using an external GPU enclosure in the future with the G5, a great upgrade option as you can’t swap out the graphics cards in either laptop.
Otherwise the G5 had slightly better build quality in my opinion, and also better battery life, so overall it does seem to be a little better outside of gaming performance.
Personally I’d probably pick the G5 as it just has a more professional look and I’d prefer the battery improvements at the expense of the slightly lower gaming performance, but that’s just me, if you’re after the best gaming experience then the Helios 300 is the winner.
So which of these two laptops would you guys pick? The Dell G5 or Acer Predator Helios 300? Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, and let me know what other laptops you want to see compared.