Acer Nitro 5 Laptop Review
This Acer laptop packs a punch, but is it worth the money?
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Whether you're into first person shooters or mind-boggling puzzlers, I'd wager you probably know a thing or two about gaming computers. But if it's a souped-up machine you're after, you can expect to shell out thousands of dollars. Luckily, budget-conscious buyers are in luck, as mid-range gaming laptops are rising in popularity. Not only is the Acer Nitro 5 (available at Amazon for $814.99) affordable, it's powerful too.
From stable frame rates to minor fan noise, there's a lot to like about the Nitro. In addition to powerful internals, the starting price on the base model is super reasonable. Plus, the subdued design is a welcome departure from the flashy gaming aesthetic. While it has a lot to offer, there were still a couple of shortcomings.
The display appears dull and washed-out and battery life is subpar. And, if you're a particularly oily human being, the lid is one hell of a fingerprint magnet. While the Nitro is great for casual gaming and the day-to-day tasks, we feel there are better options out there. The Dell 15 7000 Gaming, for example, has a better graphics card and a bigger battery.
About the Acer Nitro 5
The Nitro comes in dozens of configurations. Some models have Core i5 processors while others have AMD Radeon RX 550 graphic chips. Depending on your needs, you can get up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage space.
The best thing about these models is that they're all pretty inexpensive too, with prices ranging from $899.99 to $1,099.99. If anything, you're getting a really wide selection here. Our loan unit ($899.99 on Best Buy) is armed with a NVIDIA 1050 Ti GPU and 16GB of RAM.
CPU: Intel 7th Generation Core i5-7300HQ
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Display: 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) IPS display
Memory: 16GB RAM
Storage: 256GB SSD
Ports: Ethernet, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card reader
Battery: 48 Wh
Weight: 5.95 lbs
What We Like
It can play any game at 1080p
Powered by a NVIDIA 1050 Ti GPU, you can expect to play most triple-A games on high to very high settings. While Overwatch isn't the most visually-demanding game, I was able to run it on high settings with an average of 60fps. Gameplay was as smooth as butter. Plus, I got best play of the game in my first match.
When we put the Nitro through our Metro benchmark, which is more rigorous, it managed 49fps on high settings. That's well above the playable 35fps, but depending on the type of game you're playing, you may need to forgo high and ultra settings. This machine can blitz through games like Fortnite and League of Legends on high settings, but that's about it.
The subdued design is really nice
So, I'm going to be honest with you. Flashy designs really aren't my cup of tea. I mean, the tiniest bit of neon sends me into a rage. But this Acer really strays from the traditional gamer aesthetic, which is why I like it. From the brushed metal lid to the burgundy accents, it would fit in well in an office environment. It has just the right amount of pop.
The starting price is reasonable
If you're looking for a portable powerhouse that won't burn a hole in your wallet, the Acer is a good choice, as the base configuration has a starting price of $899.99. For a mid-range gaming laptop that offers high processing power, that's not too shabby. The one trade-off is the subpar display. But if you can live with it, then the Nitro is definitely worth considering.
Fan noise is barely audible
The Nitro is one of the quietest gaming laptops I've ever used. In other words, it doesn't sound like a rocket ship about to blast off. When the machine is idle, you won't hear any fan noise at all. The fans will whir a little under heavy loads but the sound isn't super noticeable. This is good because it won't be a distraction in a classroom environment.
What We Didn't Like
Colors aren't very vibrant
When I watched the trailer for Incredibles 2, Elastic Girl's berry-red motorcycle had an orange tint to it. In fact, everything looked pretty washed-out and kind of sad. While colors aren't as vibrant as they are on other screens, I wouldn't say it's a deal-breaker. For the price, you're not going to get brilliant 4K color. It's fine for casual gaming, but it's not the best screen for YouTube or Netflix.
Battery life is unimpressive
When we put the Nitro through our primary battery test, which cycles through a bunch of power-hungry tasks, it fizzled out in a little over three hours. That's not a surprising result, really. This machine is designed for gaming, so it's all about power. You'll definitely want to keep your eyes peeled for an outlet.
It's a fingerprint magnet
If you're a naturally oily person like me (gross, I know), you're going to want to keep a microfiber cloth on you because this lid is a real smudge magnet. After spending a few days with it, the exterior had so many fingerprints it could've passed for some indecipherable alien language. It's annoying, for sure, but not the worst thing in the world.
Should You Buy It?
You should pass on this one
The Nitro is fine for casual gaming or general-purpose use, but we there are better options out there. That's not to say it's a bad machine (far from it, actually). Not only can it play most triple-A games at 1080p, fan noise is hardly audible. We also really like the sophisticated look and the reasonable starting price. That said, there were a number of trade-offs.
Colors appear dull and washed-out on the display, so it's not the best for marathoning a Netflix. In addition to the mediocre display, battery life is pretty unimpressive as well. You'll definitely want to keep the power adapter with you because it's not going to last a full work day. The lid is also a smudge magnet, which means you'll need to keep wiping it down with a microfiber cloth.
As for an alternative option, we'd recommend the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming. It's similarly priced to the Nitro, but you're getting more bang for your buck. The base configuration has a better graphics card and a bigger battery.
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