[In-Depth Comparison] Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) vs Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) – The Predator becomes the Prey

Acer has elevated its gaming notebooks in 2022, introducing a new and improved version of the Nitro 5, with a different design and a lot of changes on the inside, including higher power limits for its hardware, which certainly elevate its image and standing in the market, targeting the mid-range Legion and TUF laptops from Lenovo and ASUS, respectively.

However, it also enters the domain of the already-established Predator lineup, with laptops like the Predator Helios 300. Can it offer more features and performance to justify its higher price tag, or does the Nitro 5 make more sense with its 2022 refresh?

Today we’re presenting you with an in-depth comparison between the Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) and the Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55).

Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) configurations:

Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) configurations:


Design and construction

Just from first glance, you can see that Acer uses the same mold for both devices. This results in them looking very similar, with only a difference in the build materials. The Predator laptop is entirely made from aluminum, resulting in a very rigid structure. Both the lid and the base have a matte finish with a Predator logo on the back, which is illuminated in blue.

The Nitro 5 uses plastic, however, it’s just as durable, with next to no flex from the lid and base. As you can see, the two laptops have a more minimal design, with sharp edges, rounded corners, and a more square-ish appearance. However, the back reminds us of the old Nitro, with some pretty aggressive hinges. Due to the plastic chassis, the Nitro 5 is a bit thicker, but it’s nothing to start fussing about.

Weight Height
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) 3.00 kg 26.9 mm
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) 3.00 kg 28.6 mm

Keyboard and touchpad

The two laptops have a similar base layout and design, with a full-sized keyboard with a NumPad and large arrow keys. The typing experience is great on both devices, offering long key travel and clicky feedback. An RGB backlight comes as standard as well. The Predator has a larger touchpad and also uses glass for its surface, while the Nitro uses plastic. However, the pads are very smooth and super accurate.


The Predator Helios 300 has its I/O split on the left and right, as well as the back. It’s got a total of three USB Type-A ports, with two 10-gigabit and one 5-gigabit port, one USB Type-C 10-gigabit port, an HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort, a LAN port, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

The Nitro 5 splits its ports in the same matter but lacks the Mini DisplayPort. What it get’s in its place is Thunderbolt 4 support on the Type-C connector.

Disassembly, upgrade options

Both laptops have great upgradeability, offering two SODIMM slots. However, the Predator Helios uses DDR5 memory, while the Nitro 5 comes with DDR4, due to targeting the low and mid-range market. Storage-wise, both devices have two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for Gen 4 SSDs. If you get a Nitro 5 with a smaller battery, you can also place a 2.5-inch SATA SSD inside, however, we aren’t certain that Acer sends the mounting hardware inside. It does so in the 15-inch model, so you’d likely get them here as well.

Spec sheet

Display quality

Both laptops have the same display selection, with a base configuration that features a 144Hz FHD IPS panel. You can upgrade to either an FHD 165Hz display or a QHD IPS display. On both the Predator and the Nitro, we tested the QHD versions, which come with a pixel density of 170 PPI, a pitch of 0.15 x 0.15 mm, and a Retina distance of 51 cm.

Both laptops have comfortable viewing angles. Here are images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

Despite sharing the same panel down to the model number, the unit on the Predator gets significantly brighter, with a peak brightness of  374 nits in the middle of the screen and 347 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 15%. The contrast ratio measures at 1110:1.

As for the Nitro 5, it reaches a max brightness of  320 nits in the middle of the screen and 302 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 10%, but has a slightly higher contrast ratio of 1160:1.

Color coverage

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows the color coverage of both the Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) and the Nitro 5 (AN517-55), which both show 100% sRGB coverage and 99% DCI-P3 coverage.

Color accuracy

Color accuracy

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results in factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can check the results from the test of both laptops, with both the factory settings (left) and with our “Design and Gaming” profile applied (right).

Both laptops get a lower dE value with our profile, but it still doesn’t go below 2.0. With that said, they are close enough, so you can still use them for Creator work.

Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56)

Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55)

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

Both laptops have the same  Fall + Rise time of 9.1 ms.

Health Impact – PWM / Blue light

PWM – Screen flickering

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Both laptops show no PWM usage across all brightness levels.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) 17.3″ Quad HD IPS BOE NE173QHM-NY6 (BOE0A1A): Buy our profiles

Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) 17.3″ Quad HD IPS BOE NE173QHM-NY6 (BOE0A1A): Buy our profiles


Despite having grills on the base, both laptops have their speakers on the bottom, with cutouts on the left and right side. The sound quality was similar on the two devices, with loud audio and no deviations across the entire frequency range.


The Predator and Nitro machines have a 90Wh battery pack. While the size is the same, the Nitro 5 has a slightly longer battery life, lasting for 55 minutes more in web browsing and 23 minutes more in video playback. These results were accomplished using the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.


Both devices arrive with the Alder Lake H-series and RTX 30-series graphics. However, the Predator can be purchased with the RTX 3080, while the Nitro 5 goes up to an RTX 3070 Ti, which to be fair is still more than enough power for 1440p.

CPU benchmarks

Here we tested the Core i7-12700H inside the two systems. The Predator Helios 300 offers more performance in both 3D and 2D Rendering, scoring 22% higher in Cinebench 20 and has a 0.8-second lead in Photoshop.

Results are from the Cinebench R23 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

GPU benchmarks

Here we tested the 150W RTX 3070 Ti inside both laptops. Here we see fairly even scores across the four benchmarks that we tested. The Predator machine is 2% and 1% more powerful in 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike, while the Nitro 5 is 1% and 4% quicker in 3DMark Fire Strike and Unigine Superposition.

Results are from the 3DMark: Time Spy (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Gaming tests

Metro Exodus Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) – RTX 3070 Ti (150W) 163 fps (+18%) 97 fps (+8%) 49 fps
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) – RTX 3070 Ti (150W) 138 fps 90 fps 49 fps

Borderlands 3 Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) – RTX 3070 Ti (150W) 138 fps (+16%) 116 fps (+14%) 97 fps (+10%)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) – RTX 3070 Ti (150W) 119 fps 102 fps 88 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) – RTX 3070 Ti (150W) 141 fps (+8%) 124 fps (+12%) 83 fps (+8%)
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) – RTX 3070 Ti (150W) 130 fps 111 fps 77 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Acer uses the same cooling setup for both laptops, with a total of four heat pipes. Two of them are shared between the CPU and GPU, while each of them gets an additional separate heat pipe. The one on the GPU curves around the fan casing so its two ends are on top of it.

Max CPU load

Intel Core i7-12700H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) 3.39 GHz @ 2.84 GHz @ 64°C @ 103W 3.53 GHz @ 2.76 GHz @ 71°C @ 100W 2.66 GHz @ 2.86 GHz @ 87°C @ 102W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) 2.22 GHz @ 3.27 GHz @ 83°C @ 115W 3.43 GHz @ 2.71 GHz @ 82°C @ 100W 1.58 GHz @ 3.27 GHz @ 93°C @ 95W

Both laptops use their CPUs in a weird way, maximizing the use of the E-cores, instead of the E-cores. The Nitro 5 is much more aggressive about it, as the P-cores run at just 1.6 GHz, while the E-cores go way above 3.00 GHz. With that said, the Predator reaches higher wattage and lower temperatures.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) 1637 MHz @ 70°C @ 149W 1628 MHz @ 72°C @ 149W 1646 MHz @ 67°C @ 150W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) 1663 MHz @ 73°C @ 149W 1655 MHz @ 74°C @ 149W

The Nitro 5’s RTX 3070 Ti clocks slightly higher, but also generates some extra heat.

Gaming comfort

The two devices are exceptionally cool on the outside, not going above 40°C, with the Predator Helios 300 going as high as 36°C. Noise levels are up there, especially if you toggle the Turbo setting.


From the variety of tests that we conducted, we can safely say that the two devices offer a lot of the same, which will always favor the more affordable device. The Predator Helios 300 shines with its aluminum chassis, which gives it a more premium feel and the glass touchpad that it uses is phenomenal. While lacking Thunderbolt 4, it adds a separate DisplayPort.

Both laptops have great keyboards and upgradeability while offering the same display panel means that you’ll generally be getting the same experience when using them. The panel on the Helios is a tad brighter, so in well-lit conditions, it will be more readable. The Nitro 5 has slightly higher battery life, while the Predator runs away with the win in terms of CPU performance, thanks to the weird power management that both laptops use, but is much more prevalent on the Nitro. GPU performance is pretty even, so gaming is very good on both machines. The TGP on the GPUs that are offered is the highest available and the cooling can actually sustain them.

Comfort-wise, noise can get a problem during prolonged high-load sessions, but that’s pretty much it since temperatures are really low and you can’t really feel any heat radiating from the base. Now the question about which one should you choose. It all depends on how pricing is in your country, but if the Nitro 5 is cheaper than a similarly specced Helios 300, you should get that laptop. If pricing is similar or with just a minimal increase, you might want to pay extra for the Predator, as you’re getting an aluminum build and some other nice things.

Why choose the Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56)?

  • Aluminum body
  • Better touchpad
  • More CPU performance

Why choose the Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55)?

  • Longer battery life
  • Thunderbolt 4 support
  • Can be found for less money

Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-56) configurations:

Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) configurations:

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