With the recent release of the RTX 4060 and RTX 4060 TI – the latest generation of NVIDIA Graphics Cards – consumers now have a whole array of the best cards to choose from, offering improved power efficiency alongside better performance.
But not everyone would want a full PC, owing to their inability to move around conveniently. This is where laptops come in; more specifically, gaming laptops. With power comparable to that of a PC but in a smaller form factor and portability, gamers sometimes prefer them.
Given how lucrative the market is, it is no surprise that so many gaming laptops are on the market now. Take, for example, Acer and their newly revamped “Predator” lineup, equipped with the NVIDIA 4000 series Graphics Cards inside them — specifically the all-new Predator Helios Neo 16, which I was recently offered to test out.
Design and Build
The first thing you’d realise about the laptop is its sleekness – finished in an anodised “abyssal-black”. There are also laser-etched encrypted codes on the laptop’s cover that have a hidden message, but I couldn’t figure out what it meant, but maybe you can?
The laptop isn’t bulky and would fit snugly in many bags. Weight-wise however, is where I was a little taken aback. Officially, the Predator Helios Neo 16 weighs approximately 2.8kg, making it quite a heavy machine, especially compared to other offerings.
As for the lighting, RGB fans can rejoice. The keyboard allows for quite a fair bit of customisation via the Predator Sense application. For example, you can choose a colour from the entire colour spectrum, change the colour of different zones on your keyboard, and change the lighting effects to however you want it to be!
In terms of the typing feel, the keyboard feels great to type on, though don’t expect the typing experience to mirror that of those expensive mechanical keyboards; it is a laptop keyboard, after all. Lastly, there is also a Numpad for convenience, so you no longer have to traverse the entire keyboard to type out the number 10.
Next up, the Predator Helios Neo 16 has 5 USB Ports in total – x2 USB-A Gen 2, x1 USB-A 3.2 Gen1 and x2 USB-C Thunderbolt™ 4 Ports, meaning that most cables would work together perfectly with the laptop without the need for additional adaptors.
The Predator Helios Neo 16 is an entry-level gaming laptop, but while you might expect it not to be as good as other units, it still more than manages to hold its own.
With a 16-inch, 165hz WUXGA screen that uses an IPS panel, it has all the elements for some buttery-smooth gameplay or just regular web browsing.
As for the display quality, expect your overall viewing experience to be crisp and clean. Images on the WUXGA screen are great, and colours pretty much pop out right at you. Brightness-wise, the laptop doesn’t disappoint too, with the overall brightness neither too dark nor too bright that it blinds you.
By default though, the factory settings already work great for gaming. However, if you want to tweak your settings, you can do so via the Predator Sense application, which can be handily accessed via the Predator button beside NumLk on the Numpad.
Classic FPS games all run perfectly fine on it, with VALORANT and CS:GO both being able to consistently average above 200 FPS, sometimes even going beyond 300 fps, meaning that you get that fast-paced gameplay experience combined with the smoothness of the 165Hz refresh rate.
But those were the less intensive games. What about those that demand the maximum amount of power from the machine? I tried out two games – Forza Horizon 5 and Cyberpunk 2077 – on it, and here’s how the Helios Neo 16 fared.
For Forza Horizon 5, I tried bumping the graphics up to Ultra (second highest graphical setting), since the laptop couldn’t handle higher graphics because of its small memory size of just 6GB. Unfortunately, with Ray Tracing (RTX) turned on, the best setting the laptop could accommodate was High.
Even then, when using the Frame Generation feature, RTX somehow managed to make the graphics look worse with the AI-generated frames, and by simply leaving the settings on “High” and turning RTX off, it made the gameplay smoother and the graphics surprisingly crisper.
That said, the laptop can run Forza Horizon 5 at a decent performance but not amazing quality. It constantly averages above 100 FPS, meaning exploring Mexico is most certainly doable!
Cyberpunk 2077, though, was where the laptop surprised us. Without RTX turned on to Ultra Performance, the laptop could barely run the game at 60 FPS, but when it was turned on, it was even able to hit frame rates of 100 FPS and up, which was surprising to see.
Once again however, the laptop could not handle any graphic presets of Ultra and up, owing to the small memory size of the RTX 4050, but on the High setting preset with RTX turned on, it could smoothly handle action-packed scenes without much hassle.
After all that though, I have to point out that the laptop fans are LOUD, and that is with the default factory settings. There’s even a turbo mode for the fans inside the PredatorSense app if you desire to let the entire room know that you’re using a gaming laptop, but that’s something you should note when considering this laptop.
So overall, while it is no RTX 4090, the Predator Helios Neo 16 is more than capable of handling most games without much fuss. It is most definitely a laptop to consider if you are looking for a gaming laptop.
In truth, it is no secret that gaming laptops rarely run well on battery alone, constantly needing the laptop to be plugged in for the laptop to be able to run at its maximum potential. The Predator Helios Neo 16 is no different, with it being able to last for roughly 4 hours straight without charging the laptop.
Furthermore, gaming performance is also hindered while on battery, so you’d typically just use the laptop for daily work or school if you just rely on the battery. Regardless, you can still bring it out and about, but you’d have to lug along the large charger and look for somewhere that has an outlet for you to charge your laptop.
The Predator Helios Neo 16 is one hell of an entry-level machine, with specs that can even put some PC users to shame. It can run many demanding games at an acceptable frame rate. But, while the specs may be great, the weight isn’t, meaning that carrying the laptop around might end up becoming more of a chore.
Furthermore, the battery isn’t quite the best, but as is the case with most gaming laptops. The fans are also extremely loud, though there is a Quiet fan setting inside the PredatorSense app that somewhat regulates the sound, but I know I won’t be bringing the laptop to the library to study anytime soon.
You can visit Acer’s Official Website or their Official Online Stores on Lazada and Shopee to purchase the laptop. As of now, you can also get a free gaming chair with every purchase of the Predator Helios Neo 16, so do act fast!
Photos by Ryan Wong of the DANAMIC Team. Additional screenshots were taken on the Predator Helios Neo 16.
- Great specs that can run virtually any PC game
- Rather future-proof
- Pretty decent customisation options
- Heavy as part of its gaming laptop class
- Pretty Loud Fans that might not be public friendly
- Battery Life is not the best of its series
- Small Memory Size of the GPU means that certain game settings are limited