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Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review

Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review The Acer Nitro 5 is a gaming laptop with a difference. Instead of pushing the boundaries when it comes to design and components, this notebook is supposed to be affordable and easy to live with. It’s got a top-notch Intel processor and a current-generation Nvidia graphics card, and it’ll cost you £899 in the UK and $899 in the US. Read our Acer Nitro 5 laptop review to find out if this should be your next gaming notebook.

Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review – Design

The Acer Nitro 5 uses a familiar design, with many touches that have been included on numerous Acer notebooks. The hinge has an attractive burnt orange finish, and that deep colour is complimented by the keyboard’s red backlight and a red ring around the trackpad.

The keyboard squats inside a lowered section decorated with subtle angles, and the lid is made from glossy black metal and boasts a conventional Acer logo. The crimson touches mark the Nitro out as a laptop that can handle games, then, but it’s not ostentatious. It’d easily find a home in an office, too.

The Acer Nitro 5 weighs 2.7kg and is 27mm thick. That’s entirely expected from a mid-range machine like this – it’s not going to prove unduly heavy or chunky, but there’s no room in the budget to make this laptop particularly slim.

 Acer Nitro 5 laptop review 1Build quality is similarly middling. The aluminium around the keyboard moves too much, and the plastic base panel also flexes. The lid is sturdier, but we’d recommend that you be careful when carrying this machine around.

It’s got a middling port selection, too. There are single USB 3 and USB 3.1 Type-C connectors, but the two additional USB ports use the slower 2.0 standard. There’s an HDMI port, but no DisplayPort and only one audio jack.

The Acer’s mid-range status brings it into competition with many mid-range rivals. The MSI GV62 7RC is more affordable, at £649, and it’s lighter than the Acer. It’s a bit thicker, though, and it suffers from a lack of build quality.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 now costs £1,222/$1,400, and it has a larger 17.3in screen. It’s got middling design and build quality and it’s a little heavier than the Acer Nitro 5. In the UK you get a GTX 1050 Ti, and in the US it comes with a GTX 1060.

There’s also the Asus ROG Strix GL702VM, which now costs £1,000/$1,139. That’s another 17.3in machine, and it’s got louder gaming design and middling build quality. Impressively, it’s just as light as the Acer and is also slimmer, despite the larger screen.

Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review – Components

The Nitro 5’s £899/$899 budget means that Acer has had to be clever with its components. Graphical grunt comes from the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, which is a modest part from the Pascal range.

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review 2Despite the mid-range status, it still rattles along at 1,354MHz with a Turbo peak of 1,493MHz. It’s got 640 stream processors, and 4GB of memory is the bare minimum that’s now required to play today’s top games.

It’s a step ahead of the affordable MSI GV62 7RC, which made do with an Nvidia GeForce MX150 – a weaker graphics card designed for esports. However, the Acer laptop served up a GTX 1050 Ti, while the Asus had a GTX 1060. They both ramp up the clock speeds and core counts, which is no surprise – those two GPUs represent the next two steps in Nvidia’s mobile range.

Buyers in the US get a better deal with the Acer Nitro 5. On that side of the Atlantic you pay $899 and get a GTX 1050 Ti graphics core, rather than the standard GTX 1050.

The mid-range graphics core is paired with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ. It’s a quad-core chip with Hyper-Threading, and it’s got a base clock of 2.8GHz with a Turbo speed of 3.8GHz. That’s enough to handle every game, and it also means multi-tasking and work software will run well on this machine.

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review 3In a mid-range gaming laptop, though, it’s a bit of an odd choice. A Core i5 processor would handle every game at 1080p, and it would have also freed up space in the budget for a beefier graphics card. The processor is also from the Kaby Lake range, which means it misses out on performance and efficiency improvements from Coffee Lake – something we got a glimpse of in the Acer Aspire 5.

Those key components sit alongside 8GB of memory and a 128GB Kingston SSD. They’re the bare minimum that we expect in a gaming laptop. The memory is single-channel, so performance will suffer. The SSD’s capacity doesn’t leave much room for games, and its read and write speeds of 516MB/s and 450MB/s are mediocre.

Two small panels on the base of the Acer Nitro 5 can be removed to give access to the hard disk and the memory slots. Pleasingly, there’s a free memory slot, which makes it easy to upgrade to a dual-channel setup.

Want to know more about processors? Check out our guides to Intel Coffee Lake or AMD Raven Ridge APUs and Ryzen CPUs!

Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review – Ergonomics

The keyboard has a numberpad, but the layout is a mixed bag. The cursor keys, for instance, are crammed up against the rest of the keyboard and come in different sizes. The Return button shares space with the hash key, and the Function keys are small. The WASD buttons have subtle highlighting, but no practical improvements.

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review 4Elsewhere, the red backlight isn’t RGB, so the colour can’t be altered. The brightness level can’t be adjusted either – you can just have it on or off.

It’s a chiclet keyboard, which means it’s better for typing than gaming. The buttons have a middling amount of travel and their typing action is quiet and consistent, but they don’t have a particularly firm base. They don’t respond too quickly, either.

The soft, quiet action is fine for typing and for casual gaming, but if you’re playing competitively or a particularly fast pace then you’ll want something snappier. Sadly, this is an issue that afflicts many gaming notebooks, including the all of the rival machines that we’ve mentioned here. They’re all in the same ballpark, and they all suffer.

The trackpad isn’t great, either. The two buttons push down too far, and they depress into a spongy base. It’s fine for day-to-day computing, but we’d recommend that every gamer invest in a USB mouse. Even an affordable rodent will be better.

Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review – Gaming Performance

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review 1080p gamingThe mid-range Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 was a solid chip in gaming benchmarks. It’s able to handle most of today’s top games, and if it doesn’t hit a playable framerate then it’ll get there with some relatively minor settings tweaks.

It returned averages beyond 30fps in four of our gaming tests, and in Witcher 3 it stumbled to 23fps. However, that score can easily be improved with a few modest settings alterations.

That doesn’t just bode well for today’s toughest single-player games. It also means that the Acer Nitro 5 will run any popular esports title. If you’re a regular in League of Legends, DOTA, CS:GO or Overwatch, this laptop will handle it.

There’s a solid gap between the Acer Nitro 5 and its GTX 1050 and the MSI GV62 7RC and its GeForce MX150 GPU. In many tests the Acer was almost twice as quick as its rival – and when we’re talking about relatively modest results, that’s a huge difference.

However, the Acer did fall behind other rivals. The Acer Predator Helios 300 had a GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, and the Asus ROG GL702VM served up a GTX 1060. Those machines are more expensive, but they’re a step or two ahead of the Acer in every test.

Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review – Application Performance

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review 1080p applicationsThe Acer Nitro 5 fell into the middle of the pack in gaming tests, but it is a slightly better performer in application benchmarks. That’s hardly a surprise, because this laptop has a Core i7-7700HQ processor – while some rivals make do with Core i5 silicon.

It’s only a little way behind the Acer Predator Helios 300 in most of our tests. That’s no shock, because the Acer machine paired the same Core i7-7700HQ processor with 16GB of dual-channel memory.

Acer’s machine is comfortably ahead of the MSI and Asus machines in the same benchmarks, too. It’s enough processing ability to handle any game, and general-purpose computing task and a lot of work applications, too. However, tougher software will be hindered by the single-channel memory.

The Acer paired this good performance with solid thermals. The processor and graphics card peaked at totally fine temperatures 71°C and 63°C, and none of the heat made its way to the external surfaces. The fan noise was consistently low, so it’s easy enough to block out the noise with a headset.

The Acer Nitro 5 lasted for almost three hours in the PC Mark 8 battery test and for around 90 minutes in a gaming test. That’s similar longevity to the MSI, and a little behind the Acer Predator and Asus ROG systems in the application test. It’s not terrible, but make sure you’re near a plug socket if you want a prolonged gaming session.

Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review – Screen and Sound

We have no issues with the screen’s 1080p resolution, and we’re happy that the Acer’s screen uses IPS technology. This kind of screen technology usually delivers the most accurate colours alongside solid contrast.

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review 6The Acer’s panel certainly nailed the brief when it came to contrast. The brightness level of 285cd/m2 is excellent, and means that the Acer’s screen will be visible beneath bright lights. The black level of 0.29cd/m2 is similarly good. It’s a solid result for a mid-range laptop, and it creates dark areas that are satisfyingly deep and absorbing. Those figures combine for a contrast result of 979:1, which is high enough to deliver vibrancy across the range.

The Acer Nitro 5’s screen is more middling when it comes to colours. Its Delta E of 5.37 is mediocre, and its 7,224K colour temperature is too cool. It also only renders 55.8% of the sRGB colour gamut.

Those latter figures mean that colours look a little underwhelming, but it’s not enough to ruin gaming. MSI’s machine had better colours, but dreadful contrast – so we prefer the Acer Nitro 5 for overall usability. The Acer Predator Helios is better overall, and the Asus panel offers good benchmarks and G-Sync too – but both of those laptops are more expensive than the Nitro 5.

The speakers are underwhelming too. The top-end is tinny, and there’s almost no bass. Use a headset instead.

Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review – Conclusion

Acer Nitro 5 laptop review 7The Acer Nitro 5 is a good deal when compared to the MSI GV62 7RC. It’s only a little more expensive, but it delivers a leap in gaming performance, a Core i7 processor and a better screen.

It compares well to the pricier Acer Predator Helios 300 and Asus ROG Strix GL702VM, too. Those laptops are quicker in games and have better screens, but they’re also several hundred pounds or dollars more expensive.

The Nitro 5 doesn’t have the best build quality, keyboard or speakers, but those are issues that affect most mid-range laptops. It’s got enough power to handle 1080p gaming, the screen is solid, and it’s not too light or heavy.

If you’re searching for a gaming laptop with a mid-range price – and if you’re willing to accept the inevitable compromises that come with its affordable price-tag – then you could do a lot worse.

The Acer Nitro 5 costs £899 in the UK and $899 in the US.  Discuss our Acer Nitro 5 laptop review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our Acer Nitro 5 laptop review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or click here to read about the best desktop PCs.  

The Good

  • Decent 1080p gaming performance
  • Core i7 processor
  • Reasonable aesthetic design
  • Good screen contrast and brightness

The Bad

  • Rivals offer more gaming power
  • Underwhelming keyboard
  • Middling build quality
  • Average colour accuracy

The Specs

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ
Memory: 8GB 2,400MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4GB
Screen: 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS
Dimensions: 390 x 266 x 27mm (WxDxH)
Weight: 2.7kg
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
Ports 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x audio jack, HDMI, SD card reader
Hard disk: 128GB Kingston SDDNow SSD, 1TB hard disk
Warranty: 1yr RTB

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Acer Nitro 5

About Author

Mike Jennings

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