The newest Acer Nitro 5 ($999) is a decently powerful gaming laptop that won’t break the bank. It has a 15.6-inch screen that is perfect for gaming and viewing videos. 16 GB of RAM and a 12th generation Intel Core CPU make routine computer chores easier and gaming more enjoyable. You won’t be disappointed if you do not even mind playing at low to medium settings.
The Nitro 5 in this generation has all of the drawbacks of a low-cost gaming laptop. You won’t be able to ramp up the settings without sacrificing performance unless you’re playing indies or less graphically demanding games. Though a gaming laptop’s thickness and size aren’t uncommon, products like the Alienware x14 show that a decently capable “cheap” gaming laptop may be as thin as a notebook.
Despite its flaws, the Acer Nitro 5 is a good pick for budget-conscious gamers looking for a reliable, albeit unimpressive, laptop. Is this gaming laptop suitable for your needs?
What you will see here?
This Nitro 5 is marketed by Acer as a gaming laptop that won’t attract attention in classrooms and coffee shops. While it isn’t as eye-catching as an Alienware gadget, it is far from inconspicuous. With dimensions of 14.19 x 10.67 x 1.06 inches but a weight of 5.51 pounds, it is clearly a gaming laptop.
Because of its size, the Nitro 5 reminds us of previous computers. It’s the polar opposite of Alienware’s ultra-thin x14. The lid, bezels, hinges, and keyboard base are all substantial on the Nitro 5. While it’s theoretically portable, you won’t forget it’s in your bag when you’re carrying it around.
Vents and ports can be found on the sides and back of the vehicle. The Nitro 5 sports an all-black chassis with red accents around the rear vents, giving it a sophisticated look. In that sense, Acer’s claim that it’s a low-key laptop isn’t wholly false.
With a large laptop comes a similarly large monitor. The 15.6-inch Full HD display brings out all of the fine details present in today’s visually demanding games. It’s also ideal for movies and video on demand. But not every game can benefit from the 144Hz refresh rate, if you’re playing at 60 frames per second or greater, the extra headroom assures smooth frame rates.
It also discovers that the Nitro 5’s screen can achieve an overall brightness level of 314 nits. This is somewhat higher than the promised 300 nits, which puts it on par with the Dell G5 15 SE (301) but below the Alienware x14 (377).
When you used a colorimeter to test how effectively the Acer Nitro 5 displayed colors, you discovered that it can reach 64.1 percent of the sRGB color spectrum and 45 percent of the DCI-P3 color range. This is less spectacular than Alienware x14 (109.7%, 77%), and it implies this won’t be an excellent display for color-conscious photo/video editors.
The display quality was typically satisfactory. Whether you play video games or view the latest Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness teaser, the colors are true and the screen is appropriately bright. The contrast is lacking, and what you really want is the precise separation between bright and dark colors that an OLED display provides, which the Nitro 5 lacks.
Some people feel that gaming laptops should have a minimum resolution of 1440p. 1080p is adequate for laptops with displays smaller than 15 inches. A 1440p display here on Nitro 5 would have been wonderful, but given that it’s a cheap tablet with a 1080p resolution that’s good enough for gaming, this isn’t a big deal.
Going back a step, the Acer Nitro 5‘s keyboard is a huge plus. There’s nothing really noteworthy about it. Sure, the symbols are red, the illumination is red (which, by the way, is also only on when the device is plugged in, making the keys difficult to see in the dark when it isn’t), and the WASD keys are red-painted.
In general, this is a standard, middle-of-the-road keyboard. However, I found it to be both comfy and dependable. You haven’t had any delays, missed buttons, or inadvertent pushes because it’s quick and responsive. Whether you’re typing or gaming, all that matters.
On most gaming laptops, webcams are an afterthought. In general, people utilize these gadgets to play games rather than for video conferencing. To such end, the Nitro 5 sports a very basic 720p camera that performs admirably in regular circumstances. It’ll suffice if you need to utilize the camera for a business meeting and to check in on pals.
If you want to appear presentable during video conversations or when streaming on Twitch, as you mentioned in the Alienware x14 review, you’re better off utilizing somewhat like the Logitech C920s Pro HD Webcam.
Here’s where you will discover a huge issue. Because gaming laptop trackpads often are frowned upon in PC gaming, particularly in a first-person shooter, role-playing, and action titles. However, the trackpad on this laptop is so bad that you won’t want to use it for typical computer chores.
The trackpad has a lot of motion and is rigid, so you have to do a lot of hard pushing to get anything to register, which leads to early finger fatigue. Buttons 1 and 2, which are positioned in the trackpad’s front left & right regions, respectively, have the worst of it, resulting in several missed pushes. After a day, we gave up and switched to a genuine mouse.
For a laptop, the audio quality of the Nitro 5 is adequate. The mids and highs are definitely audible, but you wish the lows and bass were more prominent. However, this is a problem you experience with practically all computers.
Nonetheless, the noises are well separated. Also when things became wild in Doom Eternal, the blasting techno-metal music let you hear every shotgun fire and demonic shriek. Content like the new Obi-Wan teaser seemed promising if a little weak.
There are several ports on the Acer Nitro 5 gaming laptop. An Ethernet port, a headphone jack, a USB-A port, and a Kensington lock key are located on the left side. While two USB-A ports are located on the right side. There’s a single Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C port as well as an HDMI port on the back.
The fact that there is just one USB-C connector may be a disadvantage for some. You’ll need an adaptor if you wish to utilize more than one USB-C device. With that said, many gaming accessories, like the top mouse and keyboards, still use USB-A. So the absence of USB-C might not be an issue.
Is the Gaming performance good or not?
Because the Acer Nitro 5 is a cheap gaming laptop, expecting it to run all games at maximum settings is unrealistic. This is crucial to remember, particularly for those of us who seek one of the most cutting-edge gaming experiences possible. Even so, if you adhere to modest settings, you can achieve decent or better than the average results.
Games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Borderlands 3, DiRT 5, and Far Cry 6 played at 44 to 51 frames per second. Grand Theft Auto V averaged a little under 60 frames per second, whereas Far Cry New Dawn averaged 79 frames per second. In the vast majority of the aforementioned titles, the Alienware x14 outperformed the Nitro 5, frequently by 5-15 frames per second. Apart from Far Cry New Dawn, which reached an astounding 94 frames per second, the Alienware x14 failed to attain 60 frames per second in those titles.
Doom Eternal averaged between 114 & 130 fps on medium settings. Cyberpunk 2077, but on the other hand, failed to attain 30 frames per second, settling in the mid to upper 20s. Doom Eternal is a well-optimized game, but Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t.
Aside from Cyberpunk 2077, the Nitro 5 gives an admirable performance that most people would find acceptable, especially on a budget machine.
Its NitroSense UI does more than adjust the illumination on the keyboard. The menu shows the temperature of the Nitro 5’s components, loading performance, and more. Its Acer TrueHarmony sub-menu also allows you to choose from six distinct sound styles. This contains everything from game-specific modes like “Shooter,” “RPG,” and “Strategy” to the more basic movie, music, and speech options. If you don’t want to worry about selecting a specific sound setting, set this to automatic.
In terms of performance options, you may use NitroSense to enable LCD Overdrive, which reduces the display time to 3 milliseconds. While the ordinary player may not notice the slower response time while playing, pros will.
NitroSense also features three performance modes: Quiet for light usages like web surfing, Default for daily use, and Performance, it overclocks the CPU & GPU to help you get the most from whatever game you’re playing.
Battery life and heat
Gaming laptops aren’t known for having long battery life when they’re not connected, and the Nitro 5 is no exception.
It lasted 5 hours & 33 minutes while surfing the web indefinitely on Wi-Fi with the display set to 150 nits of brightness. This compares to the Alienware x14, which lasted 5 hours & 32 minutes. But falls well short of the Dell G5’s 7 hours and 13 minutes.
While surfing the web, the Nitro 5’s battery lasts for that long. It has a gaming time of 1 hour & 11 minutes. It’s recommended to have this gaming laptop plugged in when playing, as it is with all gaming laptops.
They determined the hottest area on the Nitro 5 to be the back underside, which reached 94 degrees Fahrenheit after streaming 15 minutes of Full HD films on it. Most individuals find temperatures exceeding 95 degrees unpleasant to hold in their laps for lengthy periods of time. The Nitro 5 is only one degree away from reaching that pinnacle.
When playing Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition, though, it gets much hotter, with the back underside hitting 122 degrees. It’s advisable to keep the Nitro 5 on a desk or other flat surface when gaming because it’s approximately 20 degrees beyond the comfort level.
Price and availability
This Acer Nitro 5 is one of the most cost-effective gaming laptops currently available. You get the most basic option for $749.This precise configuration is also available in the United Kingdom, however, it costs £335 more.
However, this specification is not accessible in Australia. According to the Acer website, the most basic setup comprises an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 featuring 4GB, 16GB of RAM, 1TB HDD, and a 128GB SSD for AU$1,999.
For the US market, there are several additional configurations available, the most costly of which is $1099. The laptop comes with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD for that price, however, the GPU and hard drive are identical.
In general, the Nitro 5 competes with similarly priced and equipped gaming laptops like the Dell G3 15 & Lenovo Legion Y530, albeit this laptop offers user-controlled cooling for the first time in this area.
For the money, the Acer Nitro 5 is a good gaming laptop. You can’t expect amazing performance from every game if the settings are maxed out. But you can obtain reasonable results by lowering a few graphical settings. At 1080p, the display is adequate for gaming, however, an OLED option would’ve been preferable. If you’re on a tight budget, you can overlook these flaws. Because this laptop is still a capable mid-range gaming machine.
This Alienware x14 is a fantastic pick if you don’t mind spending a bit extra. It’s not only more powerful, but it’s also much lighter than the Nitro 5. This Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 seems to be another excellent (although more costly) option that presently tops the list of the best gaming laptops.