Acer Helios 300 vs Lenovo Y540 – Gaming Laptop Comparison
But what are the differences and which one should you get In this detailed comparison? Ill? Look at pretty much everything to help you decide which one is right for you.. First lets cover the differences in specs between the two units. Im testing with., Both are pretty similar. Theyve got the same: Intel i7, 9750H CPU, Nvidia, GTX, 1660, Ti graphics and 16GB of memory in dual channel.. Both have M.2 NVMe SSDs. My Helios 300 happens to have a 256GB one, while my Y540 has a 512GB one, but this will vary based on where youre buying. Both have a 15.6 1080p screen available with either 144Hz or 60Hz refresh rates, and both have gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5. For network connectivity., Both laptops are available with different specs, though you can find examples and updated prices linked in the description.. Both have black lids matte black aluminium for the Helios with blue accents around the predator logo, in the middle and black plastic, with a grooved finish and subtle Legion branding on the side for the Y540., The interior of the Helios was the same matte black metal. With more blue accenting, while the Y540 was also matte black but seemed to be coated in some sort of rubberised material. Overall, the build quality of both machines felt good Ill, give a slight edge to the Helios for using more metal though. In terms of weight. My Helios 300 was around 200g heavier. However, it does also have a 2.
5 inch drive installed, while the Y540 does not.. Once we include power bricks. The total weight of the Y540 is now around 200g, more meaning its large 230 watt power. Brick alone must weigh around 400g more than the 180 watt, brick that comes with the Helios.. As for size differences, the Y540 is slightly larger in every dimension, though I wouldnt consider either large for a 15 inch machine.. As for screen differences, both of my laptops had 1080p 60Hz IPS panels so expect different results with the 144Hz options that most people are likely to buy for gaming., The Helios 300 had better colour. Gamut was brighter and had a higher contrast ratio. So was all round. Just a little better., It was the same deal when it came to backlight bleed. The Helios 300 looks quite fine when we compare it against the panel. In the Y540, though, that said, I didnt have issues with either while viewing darker content, and this will vary between laptops anyway.. Neither laptop has G Sync. However, the Y540 does give us the option of enabling or disabling hybrid mode through the Lenovo Vantage software, which is their control. Panel., Enabling hybrid mode will give us better battery life with Nvidia Optimus, as this will use the Intel graphics outside of gaming, while disabling hybrid mode will give us better performance in games by bypassing Optimus, but at the expense of worse battery life outside of gaming.. It just takes a reboot to swap between the two modes.
, Both had some screen flex, but I found them pretty sturdy, as the lid of the Helios is metal, while the Y540 is plastic but was also thicker.. The screen on the Y540 also goes all the way back. If thats important to you., Both machines could be opened up easily, with one finger demonstrating that weight is somewhat evenly distributed and not all up the back. Both felt stable sitting on my lap. While both have thin screen bezels. The Helios 300 was able to keep its camera up the top of the panel while the Y540 has it down the bottom below the screen.. The 720p camera is about average. It looks ok, but still a bit blurry and the microphone sounds about average too. Here's. What typing sounds like and here's what it sounds like when you hit the turbo button and boost the fan speed.. The 720p camera just isnt, very good, its a nose cam. So when you type your fingers kind of get in the way – and if I want to be properly in the frame, Ive got to move it right back and its just not very good.. The keyboards were fairly similar. The Helios has a shorter right shift, key and blue accented WASD and arrow keys and mine also had RGB backlighting, but that varies between models.. I thought the Y540 looked cleaner in comparison. It only has white backlighting, but there were no coloured accents.. Both laptops light up. All keys, including secondary functions, and you can turn off lighting if you prefer.
Heres. What typing sounds like with both to give you an idea of what to expect.? If I had to pick Id say I liked typing on the Y540 a little more, the keys just felt a bit nicer to me.. The Helios also has a dedicated button to enable turbo mode above the keyboard on the left more on this later.. Both touch pads use precision drivers were smooth to the touch and worked well. The one on the Helios clicks down anywhere, while the Y540s does not as it instead has dedicated, left and right click buttons which make audible clicks.. I liked that the touchpad on the Helios was larger. However, in the end, I think I liked using the one in the Y540 more. There was some flex while pushing down on both, perhaps just a tiny bit more with the Y540 as its plastic rather than metal. Like the Helios, however, this wasnt an issue for either during normal everyday use.. Both machines show up fingerprints quite easily, and although they both have smooth surfaces, they were easier to clean off the Helios 300, as the Y540 has that rubberised texture., The IO is quite a bit different, at least in terms of layout. On the left. The Y540 just has a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type, A port and 3.5mm audio jack, while the Helios 300 has a kensington, lock power input, status, LEDs, gigabit, ethernet, two USB 3 Type, A ports and 3.5mm audio jack.
On the right. The Y540 is keeping things simple again with just a second USB 3.1 Gen1 Type, A port while the Helios 300 has a USB 3 Type C port, no Thunderbolt, though a third USB 3 Type, A port mini DisplayPort, 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 outputs.. On the back. The Helios just has air exhaust vents, while the Y540 also has the rest of its IO. From left to right. Its got a USB Type C port, again no Thunderbolt here either mini DisplayPort 1.4. Third, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type, A port HDMI, 2.0 output, gigabit ethernet power input and kensington lock.. The Y540 also has icons above all of the ports, so you can easily see where you need to plug a cable in when standing over it from the front, without the need to turn the machine. Around. Theres, nothing on the front of either machine. For those keeping track. Weve got essentially the same IO on both machines just placed in different locations.. Personally, I prefer the layout of the Y540. The sides are kept clean, so no cables get in the way of your mouse hand. All the thicker cables run out the back and out of the way.. For instance, the head of the charger on the Helios does slightly obstruct the side air exhaust vent, though I didnt find this to do anything when testing thermals., Underneath both have air intake vents towards the back of the machine and the design of the Y540 looks a Bit cleaner.
: We can also see the speakers here both are towards the front left and right corners actually on the front for the Y540 and towards the sides on the Helios.. Unfortunately, I didnt listen to them side by side, so cant directly. Compare them, however, when looking at max volume the Helios seems to get louder.. I found the Latencymon results on the Y540 to look quite good, while some issues were detected on the Helios in this test.. The Helios 300 also plays this sound by default on boot.. You can turn it off through the predator sense software or in the BIOS though. Speaking of the BIOS heres, a super quick run through of each of them both are quite basic and locked down with not really many advanced options available to the user.. The bottom panels can be removed by taking out 10 Phillips head screws for the Helios and 11 for the Y540.. The overall layout isnt, too different single 2.5 inch drive bay down the front left an M.2 slot. Next to it, however, the Helios has two M.2 slots for storage, while the Y540 just has the one. Both have two memory slots in the center and a WiFi card found on the left for the Helios and right for the Y540., While the 57 watt hour battery. In the Y540 looks a little bigger due to the L shape its slightly smaller compared to the 58 watt hour, one in the Helios. Ive tested both machines with the screen at 50 brightness background apps, disabled and keyboard lighting off.
, While just watching YouTube videos. I actually found the Y540 to last 21 minutes or 6 longer.. The Y540 allows us to disable hybrid mode, which uses Optimus to swap to the Intel graphics for improved battery life and, as expected, it burns battery much faster in this mode, as were using the Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti the entire time, which is less power efficient., While Playing the Witcher 3 with Nvidias battery boost set to 30 FPS, the Helios lasted a little longer, however. The Y540 dipped to 10 FPS 48 minutes in with 25 charge remaining. So, in terms of gaming on battery, the Helios 300 seems to do better. Its worth, noting the Helios 300 undervolts, the CPU by default, which would help improve its battery life. A little. Now lets take a look at thermals.. Both laptops were tested in an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius with the same settings, so this should be a fairly apples to apples comparison, or at least as close as we can get. By default out of the box. The Helios 300 has a 0.125v undervolt applied to the CPU, while the Y540 does not. In the upcoming tests. Ive tested the Helios 300 with turbo mode and Y540 in Performance mode and both are the highest option you can set through their respective control panels.. With the Helios turbo mode maxes, the fan speed raises power limits and overclocks. The graphics. With the Y540 performance mode boosts the power limit and Ive manually applied the same GPU overclock and CPU undervolt to match the Helios for a fair comparison.
. If you want to see the full results for both machines without undervolting check the links to the full reviews in the description., These are the CPU temperatures of both machines, while under combined CPU and GPU loads, well check the GPU results in the next graph. So for now just keep in mind. These are CPU only results, but for combined loads., The stress test results are from running Aida64 and the Heaven benchmark. At the same time, while the gaming results are from playing Watch Dogs 2.. In this case, the Helios was 3 4 degrees cooler.. When we look at the GPU results for these same combined, CPU and GPU workloads, the Helios is again cooler this time by 4 5 degrees, though no thermal throttling, with either machine in these tests. So not the end of the world.. These are the CPU clock speeds while running those same tests.. For the most part, the results were quite close, especially while running the stress test. As we know, thats performing the same workload while the gaming results can vary a little simply based on whats going on in the game at the time, even though I do perform the same test run., These are the GPU clock speeds in these same tests, and I Found both machines were extremely close together here again, keep in mind, both machines have the same GPU overclocks applied for this test. Heres. What were looking at in terms of Cinebench R20 scores from both machines.
At stock. The Helios 300 is ahead due to its default undervolt. However, once we also undervolt the Y540, it takes the lead.. This is because, while under a CPU only workload, the Y540 actually allowed the CPU to run up to 60 watts, so the power limit for CPU only load is higher.. Basically, this means higher performance for the Y540, for CPU only work where the Nvidia graphics is not being used so outside of games for instance.. As for the areas where youll actually be putting your hands at idle, the Y540 was noticeably warmer. While under combined CPU and GPU stress test, the Y540 was again warmer to the touch than the Helios 300, though, as youll hear next theres. Quite a difference in fan. Speeds. At idle, it was possible to run the Y540 completely silent in quiet mode, which explains the warmer idle results., Even at stock settings on the Helios its louder than performance mode on the Y540, and when we enable turbo mode on the Helios, the fans get significantly Louder when compared to the highest possible from the Y540. Overall, there arent too many differences in terms of thermals once both have the same undervolt applied to the CPU.. The Helios 300 was cooler, though, due to the faster fans, but that does come at the expense of a louder system. Its a trade off., At least the Helios allows you to adjust the fan speed, though you dont get the option with the Y540 at the moment.
. I say at the moment because Lenovo seem to update fan curves regularly with BIOS updates. Next let's compare some games., As both laptops were tested at different times. Different Nvidia drivers were in use, however, Ive explicitly not included results in games. That Nvidia noted the newer drivers improved, such as The Division, 2. Ive also included results with the Y540, both at stock and while undervolted and overclocked, so that we can attempt a more apples to apples comparison with the Helios 300.. The main differences between them in this customized state is that the Helios 300 has a higher CPU power limit under combined CPU and GPU load and higher fan speeds. However, the Y540 has the option to disable hybrid mode, and I utilized this here.. It requires a reboot, but this means the Nvidia graphics is connected directly to the screen, which can boost game performance compared to using Optimus, which is what the Helios is. Using. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, so the exact same test run was done for each result.. Ive got the Helios 300 results in the top bar, then the Lenovo Y540 in the two bars below.. The middle bar represents the custom settings I put in place for the Y540, so same CPU undervolt and same GPU overclock as the Helios out of the box, though, as discussed earlier, the Helios 300 does still have a higher CPU power limit.. The bottom bar shows the Y540 at stock out of the box settings.
As I thought it would be useful to show the difference. These changes are making, especially if you dont plan on customizing your Y540. In this test. With our custom settings in place, the Y540 was ahead of the Helios 300, both in average FPS and 1 low. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark and this time the Acer Helios 300 was scoring the highest coming in 9. Ahead of the stock Y540, but only 3 ahead of it once we put those custom settings in place, so the gap does close a fair bit if youre willing to tweak the Y540 a little. Assassins. Creed Odyssey was also tested with the built in benchmark, and this is a fairly CPU heavy test. In this test. The Y540, with the same modifications in place as the Helios is only just slightly behind for the 1 low, but about 1 FPS ahead in terms of average result. Overall, quite close. Fortnite was tested using the replay feature and full disclaimer as I tested the Y540 after the Helios. I didnt use the exact same replay file as the game updates. Frequently. However, I did perform the same pass through the game, so it should still be quite comparable. In this test. The average frame rate between the two is basically the same with the tweaks in place. However, the 1 low from the Y540 is still behind, which I suspect may be due to the lower CPU power limit on that machine, but honestly still good performance from either at max settings.
And I doubt youd notice. A difference. PUBG was also tested using the replay feature again different replay files were used. However, I performed the exact same run through the game for this testing, so I believe the results are comparable. In this case. The Y540 was already performing closely to the Helios 300 at stock, but then, with the modifications to the Y540, it pulls out slightly ahead. Dota 2 was tested in the middle lane, with an average amount of action going on.. In this case, even the stock Y540 was ahead of the Helios 300, and I believe this is a good example that shows the improvement we can see with hybrid mode disabled.. Once you start hitting really high frame rates, the Intel integrated graphics becomes more of a bottleneck compared to having the screen connected directly to the Nvidia graphics. So the Y540 has an advantage here in average FPS., As this game seems to rely more on. Cpu than GPU were seeing a nice boost to 1 low, with the undervolt in place with the custom settings on the Y540. CSGO was tested with the Ulletical FPS benchmark and is another example that shows the advantages of being able to disable the Intel graphics. Again. The Y540 was outperforming the Helios 300, at least in terms of average FPS, due to the option of disabling hybrid mode, and only using the Nvidia graphics.. The 1 low result was also ahead of the Helios 300 once we undervolt the Y540 and put them on even footing.
Overwatch was tested in the practice range and, despite the fairly high frame rate here, I wasnt really seeing a big improvement like before, with hybrid mode Disabled., That said, once we put the same changes in place on the Y540 that the Helios 300 has out of the box. The results are much closer together with a very small edge to the Helios. But again I doubt its a difference. Youd actually notice practically. Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built in benchmark and theres. No major differences between either of these machines, regardless of the settings. Ive, found this to be more of a CPU heavy test. So it makes sense that the Y540 is seeing a little improvement with the custom settings, and this puts it just slightly ahead of the Helios 300, but again its such a small amount. It hardly matters in the real world. Watch. Dogs 2 is another game, thats heavy on the CPU, which is why I believe were seeing a nice improvement to 1 low and average FPS. Once we put the custom settings in place. Its still just behind the Helios 300. But again, I think its close enough to the point where youre not really going to be able to tell.. The Witcher 3 is a fairly GPU demanding game and, with the custom settings on the Y540 were able to boost up the average frame rate to match and actually slightly beat the Helios 300. However, the 1 low is a fair bit lower in comparison.
. The undervolt did improve this slightly, but the higher power limit on the CPU with the Helios 300 must be making more of a difference. Here. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark and while the average frame rate increased with the custom settings to be quite close with the Helios, the 1 low did actually drop back a little bit here, giving an overall edge to the Helios in this Title. DOOM was tested as a Vulkan title to see if they behave much differently and it doesnt really seem to matter. At stock. The Y540 was already very close to the Helios 300 likely due to hybrid mode being disabled, as were running at quite high frame rates. Here but the custom settings allow it to take the lead with a 6 higher average frame rate. On average over these 13 games tested. When we compare the stock out of the box results from the Helios 300 against the stock results from the Y540 were seeing the Helios getting 4.4 higher average FPS at the highest setting presets.. The results look good for the Helios only losing out in three of the 13 games. That is until we also apply the same CPU undervolt and GPU overclocks to the Y540 that the Helios 300 has by default, making things fairer. When we do this, the Y540 is now actually outperforming the Helios in 9 of the 13 games, most likely due to its Ability to disable hybrid mode and avoid the limitations associated with Optimus, which should give it an advantage.
Ive, also got the overall scores for the 3DMark Fire Strike and Time Spy benchmarks. Like the games. The custom settings with the Y540 are closing the gap, though the Helios 300 did still have a slight lead in both tests. Ive tested storage with Crystal disk mark.. My Helios 300 came to me with a 256GB NVMe SSD, while the Y540 came with a 512GB NVMe SSD, though storage sizes will vary., With the specific drives that my machines had. The Y540 was clearly ahead, both in terms of reads and writes., While both machines have a 2.5 drive bay. Only my Helios 300 came with a hard drive installed, but again this will vary depending on where you buy. For updated pricing check the links in the description. As prices will change over time. At the time of recording the Acer Helios 300 is going for 1200 USD while the Lenovo Y540 is 1260 USD assuming you get the 144Hz screen its actually 1100, with the 60Hz panel. Anyway, assuming same panel CPU memory and graphics. The Y540 is 60 USD more, although it does also have 4 times the SSD space, which to me seems justified for that extra cost.. Both do regularly have sales, though, for instance, on Prime day, the Helios 300 was 999 USD on Amazon, an excellent deal. Here in Australia. The Y540 is much better value compared to the Helios 300. So a perfect example showing that it varies by region.. I got my Y540 on sale for 1570 AUD, while the Helios 300 currently goes for 2200 AUD.
Granted. I did buy my Y540 with single channel memory and upgrade it myself, but even factoring in that cost theres still a huge difference between the two. Lenovo, give you the option to pay 125 AUD to get two 8gb sticks and while a bit pricey, even if you Take this path, so you dont have to do it yourself, its still 500 AUD cheaper than the Helios.. This is just a straight up. Amazing deal here in Australia, removing our tax and converting to USD that puts the single channel Y540 in at around 966 USD just for comparison., So both laptops are priced similarly and competitively.. Lets summarise the good and the bad aspects of each machine and find out which is worth it.. The Helios 300 clearly has more of a gamer looking design aesthetic. Personally, I prefer the cleaner professional design of the Y540, but thats always going to come down to personal taste.. The Y540 has the mux switch a nice advantage that I wish all laptops had, as this gives the user the choice of running the machine with Optimus for improved battery life or rebooting to swap to the Nvidia graphics only for improved gaming performance.. The Helios had a slightly better screen compared to the Y540, at least when comparing the 60Hz variants of each machine expect different results with the 144Hz panels.. The Helios also seemed to be a bit sturdier overall, due to the metal build. The Y540 was more plastic.
. The Helios is also a little smaller than the Y540 in all dimensions, though, in terms of laptop only, I did find it to weigh a little more than the Y540. Once we add in the power bricks, though, the Y540 is the heavier overall package, as its got A massive power brick potentially making it a little less portable.. Both machines get great battery life for gaming laptops, though so maybe you wont, need the charger that often. Outside of gaming. The Y540 lasted 6 longer than the Helios. However, while gaming on battery power, not only did the Helios last longer, but it was able to keep the frame rate higher for longer. So if you plan on actually playing games on battery power, the Helios seems to do better in that area. In terms of upgradeability. The Helios has the option of two M.2 drives in addition to the single 2.5 inch drive bay, while the Y540 only has space for a single M.2 drive, but does also have the 2.5 drive spot. In terms of thermals theres. Not really that much difference once we undervolted the Y540., The Helios 300 was cooler, however thats mostly going to be down to the faster and louder fans in turbo mode. In terms of clock speeds, while under the same tests, we were seeing similar results from either machine.. For CPU only workloads, the Y540 has the advantage as its configured with a higher power limit, as was seen by the higher Cinebench results.
Lenovo arent. Currently, allowing you the option to manually set the fan, speed to maximum something that was possible with the older Y530 and, as this can be done in the Helios 300, were seeing better temperatures. While under the same levels of load. The Y540 was noticeably quieter. Due to this, especially once you enable turbo mode on the Helios which boosts the fan speed., Given I didnt see thermal throttling on the Y540. I think most people would be happier to run quieter with similar performance, but it would still be better if they added the option to manually set max speed in future. Once we put the same CPU, undervolt and GPU overclock on the Y540. The game performance is quite similar. In the 13 games that I tested at max setting levels. The Y540 was ahead in 9 of them likely due to the option of disabling hybrid mode, that the Helios does not offer.. To me. This appears to make the Y540 the better platform, if youre willing to undervolt and overclock yourself. We can always do these things on our own, but we cant make the Helios run without the Intel graphics unless we plug in an external monitor., If youre willing to make these changes yourself, theres no real difference between the two in terms of game performance that youd Actually practically notice., If youre not willing to follow some basic overclocking and undervolting guides, then the Helios 300 does perform better out of the box as Acer are already doing these things for you by default.
, I preferred that the majority of the IO on the Y540 was Out the back and out of the way of your mouse hand – and I also like typing, with the keyboard more and using the touchpad. Overall, it looks like Im, leaning towards picking the Y540 myself as the winner. In the US. It does cost about 60 USD more at the moment, but I think thats worth it if youre willing to undervolt and overclock yourself. Prices will vary by region, though, as covered earlier. The Y540 is significantly cheaper in my country, so that makes it an easier choice.. If you just care about gaming performance, to summarise, if you arent willing to work out how to tweak the Y540, the Helios 300 is tuned better out of the box and will give you better performance in most games. Just hit the turbo button and youre good to go. So which of these two gaming laptops? Would you pick the Lenovo Y540 or Acer Helios 300? Let me know which, and why down in the comments Im really interested to see which you would prefer and if youre new to the channel consider getting subscribed for future comparisons and tech.