Playing without breaking the bank: this is the goal of most consumers. And it is to them that the new Predator Helios Neo 16 is mainly aimed.
Talking to PC gamers can sometimes give the impression that you absolutely have to have an ultra-high-end setup worth several months’ salary to get by. This is obviously not true, and the gaming laptop is often the right option for accessing a complete configuration, including peripherals, without breaking the bank. The Predator Helios Neo 16 embodies Acer’s new game to get the new processors and graphics cards for 2023, without breaking the bank too much. But what is this new config really worth?
|Model||Acer Predator Helios Neo 16|
36.01 cm x 27.99 cm x 28.25 mm
2560 x 1600 pixels
|Graphics chip (GPU)|
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070
|Operating system (OS)|
Microsoft Windows 11
The machine is on loan from Acer for this test.
When a machine targets the performance/price ratio, we know straight away that its design will not be made of the finest materials available. But although the Predator Helios Neo 16 is definitely made of plastic, it does not lack any trappings, starting with the small badges on its hood. We are not following the current trend in the gaming world which is towards more sobriety, but rather towards a balance between the lines of yesteryear and today, with symbols and numbers reminiscent of the military aspect, but which are coming all the same to blend into the crowd.
It is especially the rear part of the device and its blue accents which recall the Predator brand, for which it is now the preferred color. But here it is: without that, we are really on a “gaming PC” as we imagine it, thick and with large ventilations to be able to make the powerful configuration it integrates sing. The Predator Helios Neo 16 is, as its name suggests, a device with a diagonal of 16 inches, and it doesn’t hide it. At 2.8 cm thick and weighing 2.8 kilograms, it is clearly one of the computers that is more “transportable” than portable.
Keyboard and touchpad
Opening the device, we find the familiar keyboard of the Predator range. This one is still of good quality, with classic switches which still have a very good activation distance and a pleasant rebound. We’re a long way from mechanical keyboards, but portable gamers will still be delighted. We also have the right to a complete numeric keypad, although a little narrower, on the right of the device.
And as almost always with Acer, it’s the touchpad side that we’re not particularly impressed with. In plastic, the latter offers a satisfactory diagonal, but the glide has a little grip that is not particularly comfortable in use. For a PC designed to accommodate an external mouse, this isn’t a big problem, that being said, and it does its job without difficulty.
On the left of the Predator Helios Neo 16, we find an Ethernet port, a USB A 3.2 Gen 1 port, a micro SD card reader and a combo jack port. On the right, we can benefit from two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports. But it is obviously at the back that we find most of the connectivity, with the power port, an HDMI 2.1 port, and 2 ports USB-C 3.2 Gen 2.
We feel that here, the manufacturer has gone economical by ignoring Thunderbolt 4 support, even though its configuration is naturally compatible. We would also have appreciated finding a full-format SD card reader, but let’s not be too harsh: the integrated connectivity is vast and will allow it to interact with many modern peripherals.
Webcam and audio
New economy, which is far from shocking: the integrated webcam is only in 720p, and obviously offers very noisy shots that Acer doesn’t even smooth out a bit. But above all, the webcam is not compatible with facial recognition, and the Predator Helios Neo 16 does not integrate any other means of biometric verification. Security is old-fashioned, as is often the case with accessible gaming configs from 2023.
Nothing very attractive to say about the speakers integrated into the machine either. The sound provided by the Predator Helios Neo 16 is not particularly loud, even at full volume, but at least has the advantage of not saturating. So much the better, since it is not particularly well defined, with highs which largely take precedence over lifeless mids, not to mention of course a non-existent bass. Again, nothing shocking for this category.
In our test model, the Predator Helios Neo 16 benefits from a 16-inch IPS LCD panel supporting a maximum definition of 2560 x 1600 pixels, or a 16:10 ratio. This panel is matte treated, and supports a maximum refresh rate of 165 Hz for a GTG response time of 3ms.
Under our probe and with the DisplayCal software, we measure 103.5% coverage of the sRGB space for 73.3% of the DCI-P3 space. The maximum brightness is increased to 544 cd/m², for a slightly weak contrast ratio of 1051:1. The color temperature is 6247K, slightly warmer than the NTSC standard at 6500K, for an average delta E00 measured at 2.04.
Two small disappointments for this Predator Helios Neo 16: the fact that it does not support the DCI P3 space, and that its contrast rate is a bit too low for our taste. But here it is: it must also be seen in the context of its rivals, which also often ignore the DCI P3 and generally settle for a maximum brightness of around 300 cd/m². At 544 cd/m² and with its matte treatment, the Predator Helios Neo 16 will remain readable whatever the conditions of use, even in direct sunlight. This is a real plus for this gaming PC in its category.
We already know the Acer software suite well, and it has not really seen an update for the Predator Helios Neo 16. We therefore find software from another age, which does the job without being particularly pleasant or easy to use. use, coupled with the eternal pre-installed McAfee.
But above all, the Predator Sense gaming suite which, like all its friends, allows you to fine-tune the computer’s performance. It all smells a bit like a 90s robot, but fortunately it’s competent at what it does and relatively easy to use. The best asset of the Predator Helios Neo 16 is above all being able to change its modes using a dedicated key on the device, while the one used to directly launch Predator Sense will only rarely be used.
Our test configuration is equipped with an Intel Core i7-13700HX, a 13th generation Intel SoC with 16 cores – 8 performance and 8 efficient – and 24 threads, capable of turbo up to 5 GHz. It is coupled with 32 GB of DDR5 RAM, but above all an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 with 8 GB of VRAM, which is well at its maximum TGP of 140W in this configuration. On storage, we find 1+1 TB of PCIe 4.0 storage, configured in RAID 0.
Who said that i9 was mandatory to have a powerful SoC? The integrated i7 13700HX is clearly a very good player, with a score of 18713 points in multi core to 1865 points in single core for an overall PCMark 10 score of 7182 points.
It is perhaps on the graphics card side that it would deserve to have a 1080p panel or an RTX 4070. In 1440p, the scores of 2621 points on Speed Way, 5853 points on Port Royal and 5218 points on Time Spy Extreme are not particularly impressive, although they still promise good performance. Above all, the score of 24.90 FPS on the DirectX Raytracing test shows to what extent NVIDIA has evolved its chips dedicated to ray-tracing, which on a 60 version were far from reaching a playable framerate until generation 40. As a bonus, the stability of the Predator Helios Neo 16 is impeccable.
The native definition integrated into our test model is far from being the most optimized for the RTX 4060. Choose an RTX 4070 or a 1080p screen. That being said, we can see rather good scores on native definition games, with an average around 40 to 45 FPS on very recent titles.
But above all, it is in this context of use that DLSS 3 shows its interest. With frame generation, single-player experiences manage to provide a smooth image even when pushing all the settings to the max. We’re not really taking advantage of 165 Hz, but the heart is there. Still, as it stands, the 1080p panel will be the most optimized for this GPU. Our tests show above all that this test configuration is not the most balanced of the lot.
Cooling and noise
This is the biggest weakness of the Predator Helios Neo 16. We find temperatures consistent with a classic gaming PC, with a peak at 57°C at the bottom of the machine for 43°C at the top of the device, away from the fingers. But here it is: to maintain these temperatures, the PC sends its fans to full blast, and they make a lot of noise. We are in the helicopter takeoff category; Remember to plug in headphones to play comfortably.
The Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 has a large 90 Wh battery, almost at the limit of the 99 Wh allowed on an airplane. To make the most of the computer’s capabilities, you will need to connect it to its large 330W power supply.
In terms of autonomy, there are no surprises with such a configuration. In our tests, it only lasts between 2 to 3 hours of office use, which places it below the average of 3/4 hours found on its competitors.
Nothing particularly surprising or disturbing this being said, since these configurations are intended to be transported more than to be used far from a power outlet. But if you were looking for a more versatile device, the Predator Helios Neo 16 will not be your ally.
Price and availability
The Predator Helios Neo 16 is already available in France, at a starting price of 1,999 euros for the 1200p screen, Core i7 and RTX 4060 configuration. Our test configuration is not available in France.
Where to buy
Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 at the best price?