The Acer Aspire Nitro 7 is a gaming laptop that offers great value for the price. It has a powerful processor and a large hard drive, and it comes with a number of pre-installed games. The laptop’s display is also excellent, and it features a backlit keyboard that makes it easy to play in low-light conditions.
Acer Aspire Nitro 7 Review
- This price includes a lot of SSD storage
- Decent display
- Simple and clean styling
- GTX 1650 is a sub-par GPU at this price
- Loading is one of the biggest problems with CPU throttling
- Acer’s Predator Helios 300, which is made by Acer, offers better value for money
- Screen: 15.6″ 1920×1080, 144Hz
- CPU: 10th-gen Intel Core i7 10750H
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX2060
- Memory: 16GB RAM
- Storage: SSD 2 TB
- Size: 14.2×8.9×19.9 inches
- Weight: 5.5 pounds
- Battery life: 8 hours
1. Exterior and design
The Acer Aspire Nitro 7 is entirely made of metal. There are only a few black branding elements under the screen and on the lid. The only things that hint at the powerful specs beneath the Nitro 7 are the RGB keyboard and red framing around the click pad. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Let’s first get to the point: The design and build quality make this Nitro 7 unique in its class. Acer has rounded the corners and the front lip of the Acer Aspire Nitro 7 to make it more comfortable for daily use. While the bezel around your screen is plastic, everything else is metal.
It feels solid and light, weighing in at just under 2.2 kilos. The main chassis and keyboard deck are concrete and have very little give. However, the lid is less sturdy and still gives way a bit. I would recommend that you take this bag with you when traveling.
While we are nitpicking, it is essential to mention that black surfaces are prone to finger oil and smudges, so you must wipe them clean constantly. Acer also places the status LEDs right under the screen, distracting when you watch a movie at night.
All other functions work fine. The screen can be lifted easily and adjusted with one hand. It can rotate at 160 degrees on its back. Acer placed grippy rubber feet on its bottom and lined the sides with USB-A and USB-C. However, it did not include Thunderbolt or a card reader. Without biometrics. Also, the video outputs are located on the right side. This will cause clutter in your mouse area if an external monitor is connected.
The thermal design is identical to the Nitro 5 or other higher-tier Acer laptops. Two fans draw in fresh air through the well-ventilated back and exhausts on both the laterals and the back. The following section will discuss its performance with high-demand loads and games.
2. Trackpad and keyboard
Acer’s Nitro 7 series is available with either an RGB or red keyboard, just like the Nitro 5 line. We have the latter RGB variant, usually reserved for higher-tier configurations.
It looks and feels very similar to the keyboard on the Helios 300 Series. This keyboard has 4-zone RGB backlighting and uniform LEDs but is not very bright. Acer keyboards are known for their lack of a Caps Lock indicator.
This is an excellent typer and should appeal to most people. It’s not as soft and stiff as I was used to, but it’s still a great thing. It should become more fluid with time, I think.
It is pretty standard with a complete set of primary keys and full-size Arrows. There is also a NumPad section to the right. The Power button/key can be found in the corner.
The clickpad is a medium-sized plastic surface with a sparkly finish, red-framing, and smooth. Although it isn’t as beautiful as the Predator click pads, it is acceptable for everyday use. Although the clicks are quiet and smooth, the implementation rattles with taps. I’m not sure if that is a problem with final retail units.
Biometrics are not available on this laptop.
Acer did not skimp on quality and offered a high-quality IPS FHD panel with an impressive 144 Hz refresh rate. This Acer Aspire Nitro 7 also has a reasonably fast response time.
This panel is an excellent choice for gaming and everyday use. It has 100% sRGB color coverage and pleasing contrast. There are wide viewing angles and a good view angle. However, it only produces a little more than 300-nits brightness. This is quite surprising considering that we measured nearly 400-nits brightness using the same panel in our Nitro 5 review unit. However, blacks appear darker on this variant.
This is what we found in our tests with an XRite i1 Pro sensor.
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO82ED, (B156HAN08.2)
- Coverage: 92.8% sRGB, 66.8% AdobeRGB, 70.2% DCI P3;
- Measurable gamma is 2.24
- Maximum brightness at the center of the screen: 312.27cd/m2 with power
- On power, min brightness at the center of the screen is 20.13 cd/m2.
- Contrast at maximum brightness: 1173.1
- White point: 8200 K
- Maximum brightness for black: 0.26 cd/m2
- PWM: No
- Response: tbd.
We need to calibrate the panel, with the White Point tilted toward blue from the box. However, we haven’t observed significant light bleeding or luminosity/color homogeneity issues.
4. Hardware and performance
So far, so good. The Acer Aspire Nitro 7 gets top marks for its build quality and display. These are the components Acer valued most.
But then we get into performance, and the value proposition gets more questionable–particularly at the $1,200 list price. Our Nitro 7 review vehicle came with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor and an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card, a slightly improved GTX 1050 Ti.
Throttling is the problem with the CPU. We have looked at a few Core i7-9750H laptops and compared them with the 8750H. The point is that we know what to expect. The Nitro 7 performs well in short bursts, with Cinebench scores in line with our expectations. They are slightly below average but not too serious.
HandBrake is a different story. This test is more complex and takes longer. The machine must encode a 30GB MKV file to HandBrake’s Android Tablet preset. This process usually takes between 30 and 35 minutes for the 9750H and 8750H. Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal, the Nitro 7 took 37 minutes. This is an outlier in all of our 8750H/9750H tests.
The Nitro 7 is hot. It’s that simple. San Francisco is blessed with mild temperatures, even during the peak of summer. The Nitro 7’s Core I7-9750H runs at 7 percent usage and maintains temperatures between 55- to 60 degrees Celsius even when idle. It will begin to suffer performance loss when it is under load.
Is it important? It probably doesn’t. Gaming and browsing the Internet are not CPU-intensive. Most people who buy an entry-level laptop don’t do anything that demands the CPU’s full potential. It’s not surprising, however, that Acer hasn’t provided the Nitro 7 with better cooling capabilities.
The GTX 1650 is the biggest disappointment in the Nitro 7, however. It will be obvious. The GTX 1650 is still available in Nvidia’s product line. It’s not a bad card, and we recommend plenty of laptops with the GTX 1050Ti, its predecessor. It is a solid entry-level choice.
Our benchmarks show that $1,200 for a 1650-equipped laptop is relatively high. I have included examples with Acer’s Predator Helios 300 to allow direct comparisons. It lists at $1,200 but has a faster GTX 1660, which is 1060 at review.
3DMark’s FireStrike Extreme benchmark shows the difference immediately. The Predator Helios 300 races laps around the Nitro 7 and MSI’s GS65stealth and GTX 1660 Ti.
This pattern is also evident in real-world benchmarks. The rise of the Tomb Raider and Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor show significant gaps between the Nitro 7 GTX 1650’s GTX 1160 and the Helios 300 review’s GTX 1060. Remember: The Helios 300 model with its GTX 1660 score would be slightly higher than 1060 that we reviewed.
As I mentioned, the Predator Helios 300’s display has been dimmed since its inception. The smaller 256GB SSD is also available but unsuitable for serious gaming. It is slightly heavier and bulkier than the larger model and has shorter battery life.
Entry-level gaming laptops require a lot of compromises. I don’t think Acer’s best interest was to compromise the graphics card for the laptop’s primary purpose. Although the Nitro 7 is well-built, its gaming performance is minimal. It also competes dollar-for-dollar against Acer’s better-equipped gaming laptop.
The Nitro 7 is an attractive alternative for buyers on a budget who want a better display or a more appealing design. For most people? Predator Helios 300 may be the better choice. It is more efficient and will not let you feel restricted.
5. Other topics include noise, heat, connectivity, speakers, and other things
Acer did not skimp on the thermal design for the 2020 Nitro7 configuration. Acer used four heat pipes, four radiators, and enough thermal plates to cool the components and secondary electronics. This cooling solution is a significant improvement over the one used on the 2019 Nitro 7 line, and it’s closer to the cooling that Acer uses on their Predator Helios 300 line.
This type of thermal design is quite surprising. You might find something wrong with the sample, so make sure you check out other reviews.
We found similar results in Nitro 5. Another aspect of being aware of the Nitro 7 is that the metallic chassis heats up faster than the Nitro 5’s plastic shell and has a more significant effect on internal temperatures. This is why the laptop feels significantly lighter when raised from the desk. We measured a minor impact on the Nitro 5 plastic-made in this scenario.
It would help if you remembered that the Nitro runs relatively quietly by default. The fans spin at 43-44dB at the head level. This restrained Auto fan profile is also responsible for the high CPU/GPU default temperatures.
They are very active when the laptop is light, but they are almost inaudible in quiet rooms. I haven’t noticed any electronic noises or coil winning. The fans will be audible when the laptop is plugged in.
The fans can increase their game volume to between 43-44 dB and 51-52 DB when using Auto. Let’s take a look at the basics, head-to-head.
Fans with high performance, Max – 51 to 52 dB for games;
High-Performance fans on Auto – 43 to 44 dB with video games, 40 to 41 dB using Cinebench loop test
Balance, fans on Auto: 43-44 dB, 40-41 with Cinebench loop testing, 33-37 with Daily use.
The Nitro’s outer shell temperature is very cool for daily use but warms up when gaming. We measured temperatures with the fans on Auto in the high-40s near the WASD keys, mid-50s close to the arrows keys, and low-60s at the hottest keyboard area. The back temperature is consistently in the 60s, even 70s for those around the thermal plates. The Max fan profile reduces the heat by a few degrees, but it doesn’t significantly change the situation.
Remember that measurements are taken in controlled conditions with the AC on 24C. Results could be affected by temperature changes in warmer rooms.
This unit has Gigabit Lan, Wireless 6 + Bluetooth through Realtek/Intel chips for connectivity. The laptop has been mostly wireless-enabled and performed well in all tests, including at distances of 30+ feet and between obstacles.
You can expect the speakers to fire through cuts in the underbelly. Using the Nitro Sense Music profile, we measured volume at a head-level of about 73-75 dB and had average to poor sound quality. The lower end was quieter. This will most likely lead you to want to connect headphones.
6. Battery life
The Acer Nitro 7 series notebooks come with a 58Wh lithium-ion battery. This is pretty standard for this class of laptops.
The Nitro 7 configuration includes a compact 180W power brick. This is also what you will get with the RTX2060 models—the battery charges in approximately 2 hours. USB-C charging is not possible.
The Nitro 7 combines premium notebook design and gaming-ready performance. Its all-metal chassis and three-drive capability are rare for gaming notebooks at this price, but its gaming performance is not up to par.