Acer Nitro5 Review : Gaming Laptop at Affordable Price
The Acer Nitro 5 is half the price of most gaming laptops, but don’t expect those savings to pay off.
While Acer is capable of making terrific kit for gamers, the Nitro 5 is a misstep, both as a gaming machine and as a budget option.
Its performance is lacking, the design flawed and the touchpad almost unusable.
Surely this £750 laptop is capable of doing something right? Let’s start with the design.
this can be described as clunky: it weighs 2.7kg, measures 26.8mm thick and has a large footprint of 390 x 266mm.
Acer attempts to brighten up the boring red-and-black colour scheme with a chevron pattern on the lid
and palm rest, but there’s no hiding behind its sub-standard build materials.
The chassis is plasticky and feels cheap, while the thick bezels bordering the screen aren’t flush with the rest of the device. Which brings us to the display.
The 15.6in Full HD panel is only capable of a 259cd/m2 maximum brightness, so you can forget about playing games by a window or in a brightly lit room.
Meanwhile, sRGB colour gamut coverage of 56.7% means that colours appear undersaturated, and the screen looks washed out as a result.
This matters because a game such as Metro: Last Light Redux, with the majority of levels set in dark environments,
Is difficult to play due to the lack of vibrancy, and the low contrast between dark and light colours makes it difficult to see important details.
Finally, because this is a 60Hz panel, all of the games will be capped at a maximum frame rate of 60fps.
Despite its many problems, the Nitro 5’s keyboard and touchpad are the worst of the lot.
Typing is mushy, regardless of whether you’re hammering the WASD cluster or writing an email, with spongy key presses and a compromised keyboard layout.
The laptop’s volume and brightness controls are incorporated into the arrow keys instead of the top row, which isn’t ideal, and the number pad takes up a lot of space to the right of the keyboard.
Likewise, the blood-red backlight can only be turned on or off.
Typing is hindered by the laptop’s overall sluggishness, so much so that it often failed to keep up and missed key presses.
This is incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to achieve that elusive chicken dinner on PUBG because even a single key press is the difference between life and death.
Things aren’t much better when it comes to the Nitro 5’s touchpad.
It failed to keep up with my finger flourishes most of the time.
It also feels poorly fitted – press down and the touchpad drops much further than is ideal.
- Quad-core 2GHz AMD Ryzen5 processor
- 4GB AMD Radeon RX560Xgraphics
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 6in 60HzIPS screen,
- 1,920 x 1,080 resolution
- 128 GB SATA SSD
- 1TB hard disk
- webcam 2×2 802.11ac
- Bluetooth 4.2
- HDMI2 mini-Display Port
- USB-C 3.1 USB-A3 2 x USB-A2 Gigabit Ethernet SDcard reader
- Windows 10 Home 3,
- 320mAh battery
- 390x 266 x 26.8mm(WDH)
- 1yr RTB warranty
Can performance rescue the Nitro?
A Ryzen 5-powered laptop is never going to compete in the same ring with four-figured gaming machines, but you would still expect it to be reasonably adept at playing the latest titles.
Sadly, the Nitro 5’s dedicated AMDRadeon RX 560X graphics chip isn’t up to the task,
only managing an average of 14fps in the Dirt: Showdown benchmark at Full HD resolution at high graphics settings.
Dropping the resolution down to 720p helps.
With medium settings applied, Dirt: Showdown returned an average of 58fps.
Switching to the more demanding Metro: Last Light Redux at the same resolution, however, the Nitro 5 only managed 17fps.
Tinkering with Acer’s NitroSense software actually made things worse when I decided to switch the laptop from “High performance” to the “Maximum performance” setting.
In fact, there are only two areas where this machine performed well.
First was our in-house media-creation benchmark, where the Nitro 5 achieved a commendable total score of 99.
Second, it lasted for a respectable 5hrs 21mins in our video rundown test. Not amazing, but better than you might hope for a “gaming” laptop.
The combination of a 128GB SSD – albe it a slower, SATA unit – and 1TB hard disk also make sense, while there are plenty of ports on either side of the chassis.
The left edge holds a regular-sized SD card reader, USB-A 3 slot, HDMI 2 output, USB-C 3.1, Gigabit Ethernet port and a Kensington Security slot.
On the right, you’ll find a pair of USB 2 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack and the power cable socket.
But it’s a shame that there are no connections on the back edge, as these are far more convenient if you’re trying to prevent cables clogging up your desk.
You have to be careful when shopping for a budget gaming laptop.
If you spend half as much as a top-end notebook you might expect half the performance, but the Acer Nitro 5 doesn’t provide anything close.
Not only does this budget gaming laptop fail to run games at playable frame rates, but the Nitro 5 falls short in every other area – and that’s a serious problem.
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