The Acer Nitro 5 is a great gaming laptop for budget-conscious gamers. It has a fast processor and a good graphics card, making it capable of running most games smoothly. The screen is large and bright, and the keyboard and touchpad are both comfortable to use. The battery life could be better, but overall, the Acer Nitro 5 is a great value for the price.
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop
- Intel CPU with eight cores
- Storage that is expandable
- Battery life is adequate.
- Inadequate gameplay performance
- A low-contrast keyboard is almost illegible.
- There is no Thunderbolt 4 port, no flash-card slot, and no biometrics.
- Wi-Fi 6, not Wi-Fi 6E
Acer Nitro 5 Specifications
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 8GB GDDR6 with 95W TGP and a boost clock of 1,245 MHz.
- 16GB DDR4-3200 memory
- 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD storage
- 15.6-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and a refresh rate of 165Hz
- Networking: 802.11ax Bluetooth 5.1, Intel Wi-Fi 6
- 3 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, 1 HDMI 2.1 port, 1 RJ-45 Ethernet port, and 1 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack
- 57.5 Wh battery
- 180W Power Adapter
- Windows 10 Home Edition
- Size (WxDxH): 14.31 x 10.04 x 0.94
- 4.85 pound weight
1. Design of the Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop
The Acer Nitro 5 hasn’t had much of a makeover since the previous one we examined. Still, as the bezels on the best gaming laptops become narrower and the aesthetics get sleeker, this Nitro design appears garish in contrast. It has chamfered edges and red highlights to convey power, but features like the laptop’s cheap plastic cover, which seems addicted to fingerprints, expose its low-cost origins.
That shell is emblazoned with logos and bland sci-fi theming on the lid and a genuinely toy-like red fan grill around the rear. The typography on the keyboard has a similar low-rent sci-fi vibe to it, with enormous blocky characters that may become overpowering when combined with the white borders on the arrow and WASD keys. In addition, the WASD keys have their typeface. It’s safe to say that the appearance of this laptop is a lot to take in.
The horizontal bezels are around 1 centimeter long, while the bezel above the screen is over 1.5 inches tall. These are slimmer than other Nitro models, but they don’t quite live up to the competition, and they make the screen seem less generous than it usually would, which is a pity considering the 2560 x 1440 resolution.
Compared to similarly specced competitors, this laptop is also on the hefty and thick side. It’s longer and wider than the three laptops we tested it against, measuring 14.31 x 10.04 x 0.94 inches. The Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 (14.02 x 10.73 x 0.9 inches), the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (13.98 x 9.59 x 0.78 inches), and the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition are among them (13.94 x 10.2 x 1.07 inches).
On the bright side, this laptop has a plethora of well-distributed connectors. It has two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports on the left side, an RJ-45 ethernet connection, a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combination connector, and a Kensington lock slot. On the right side, there is a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port that allows power-off charging, a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connector, and an HDMI port. My only concern is that the power connection connects to the back of the laptop, which is uncomfortable since it is the only input there.
2. Gaming Performance on the Acer Nitro 5
Our Acer Nitro 5 setup included mid-range current-gen hardware, including a Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, an RTX 3070 laptop GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. That’s a more consistently mid-range collection of components than the Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 (Ryzen 7 5800H/RTX 3060), Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (i9-11900H/RTX 3060), and Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition (Ryzen 9 5900HX/Radeon RX 6800M) PCs we tested it against. In general, this resulted in a solid, if not always leading, performance for the Nitro 5 throughout our suite of test games.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s in-game test at its maximum settings, the Nitro 5 achieved 75 frames per second at 1080p and 51 frames per second at 2560 x 1440. That’s much higher 1080p performance than the ROG Zephyrus M16’s 69 frames per second and somewhat more frames per second than the Alienware’s 73 frames per second. At 2560 x 1600, which is undoubtedly a bit more demanding resolution than 1440p, the ROG Zephyrus M16 manages 42 frames per second, much less than the Nitro 5 at 1440p. Meanwhile, the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition was the only laptop to outperform the Nito 5, achieving 88 fps on the 1080p test.
The Acer Nitro 5 grabbed the top in Grand Theft Auto V’s extremely high benchmark, clocking in at 93 frames per second at 1080p and 55 frames per second at 1440p. The Alienware only managed 82 frames per second at 1080p, while the Zephyrus managed 86 frames per second at 1080p and 50 frames per second at 1600p. The ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition came in last, with a frame rate of 71.
The Nitro 5 also took the top position in Far Cry: New Dawn’s extreme benchmark. The 1080p performance was 84 frames per second, whereas the 1440p version was 55 frames per second. The Alienware operated at 82 frames per second at 1080p and 50 frames per second at 1600p, while the Zephyrus ran at 86 frames per second at 1080p and 50 frames per second at 1600p. The ROG Strix G15 Advantage scored 81 frames per second, placing it towards the bottom of the performance scale.
In Red Dead Redemption 2, the Nitro 5 fell back to mid-tier performance compared to competitors with the game at” condition. It achieved 57 frames per second at 1080p and 39 frames per second at 1440p. The Alienware was slower, clocking in at 53 frames per second. The Zephyrus performed somewhat better, with 58 fps at 1080p and 39 at 1600p. The ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition, on the other hand, blasted it out of the water with 70 frames per second.
Except for the ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition, the Nitro 5 came out marginally ahead of all competitors on the Borderlands 3 test at badass settings. It achieved 68 frames per second at 1080p and 49 frames per second at 1440p. The Alienware operated at 66 frames per second at 1080p and 43 frames per second at 1600p, while the Zephyrus ran at 64 frames per second at 1080p and 43 frames per second at 1600p. The ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition reached 79 frames per second.
The Acer Nitro 5 proved astonishingly consistent across resolutions in my anecdotal tests. In both 1080p and 1440p, I averaged between 55 and 60 frames per second when playing Control on the high setting. When I enabled ray tracing, the frame rate decreased to between 35 and 40 frames per second in 1080p and 1440p. During games, fan noise was negligible; however, the side vents sometimes blew hot air on my hands, and the casing might become warm if I played for long enough.
We also ran the Acer Nitro 5 through the Metro: Exodus benchmark 15 times in a row on RTX settings to see how it performs throughout a gaming session. Across these runs, the Nitro 5 averaged 51.21 fps. The CPU ran at a clock speed of 3,556.28 MHz on average and at a temperature of 75.84 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, the GPU averaged 492 MHz clock speed and 77.29 degrees Celsius.
3. Productivity Performance on the Acer Nitro 5
The Ryzen 7 5800H CPU in the Acer Nitro 5 we evaluated means it benefits from AMD’s high productivity power. The same processor was used in the Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 configuration we evaluated, while the ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition went a step further with the Ryzen 9 5900HX. The only Intel competitor we considered was the ROG Zephyrus M16, which has a similarly high-specced Core i9-11900H.
Despite the stiff competition, the Acer Nitro 5 was only defeated by one device in Geekbench, a simulated test for general PC performance. It scored 8,073 on multi-core tests and 1,469 on single-core tests. The Alienware, which used the same CPU, performed the worst here, with scores of 7,288 and 1,427. The Zephyrus easily defeated the Nitro 5 with a score of 8,495/1,636. Finally, the ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition fell short of the Nitro in multi-core testing, scoring 7,746 points, but outperformed it in single-core tests, scoring 1,519 points.
In our file transfer performance test, which measures how rapidly a computer can transport 25 GB of data, the Nitro 5 came in a considerably closer second place. It cheered data at a pace of 754 MBps, which was only slightly slower than Alienware’s 874 MBps. In contrast, the Zephyrus reached just 567 MBps, while the Strix was considerably slower at 340.86 MBps.
Finally, Nitro 5 shone in our Handbrake test. This test shows how long it takes a computer to convert a 4K movie to FHD. This work was done in 6:42 by the Nitro 5, which lived up to its name. The Alienware was marginally slower, clocking in at 7:05, while the Zephyrus was slower at 7:58. With a time of 6:57, the Strix narrowly lost to the Nitro.
4. Display of Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 sports a 15.6-inch IPS screen and the model we tested had a 2560 x 1440 resolution and a refresh rate of 165Hz. Unfortunately, this laptop still maintains a 16:9 aspect ratio since 16:10 is becoming more widespread in the laptop industry. Still, the image itself was excellent in a range of lighting settings.
I used this screen to view a video for F9: The Fast Saga and found the bright reds and yellows on the vehicles to be appealing and not dreary. The blacks were also deep, and viewing angles of up to 75 degrees were not washed out. The screen was also reasonably bright, if not spectacularly so, throughout the process. The most significant downside was a modest degree of glare that became less evident when I watched in low light.
Our brightness and color lab tests essentially confirmed my observations. In our tests, the Acer Nitro 5 covered 84.5 percent of the DCI-P3 spectrum, behind only the Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5. That laptop covered 87.3 percent of the DCI-P3 color space. The DCI-P3 coverage of the ROG Zephyrus M16 was substantially lower at 75.8 percent, while the ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition was just marginally higher than the Zephyrus at 76.7 percent.
In our testing, the Nitro’s screen reported an average brightness of 271 nits, the lowest of our test candidates. The only laptop that came close was the ROG Strix, which had a brightness of 280 nits, while the Alienware had a brightness of 328 nits. The Zephyrus was the brightest laptop we examined, with a 479 nit brightness that was surprisingly high (for this price bracket).
The 165Hz screen was ideal for the 165 fps gaming I experienced when playing Overwatch on high settings.
5. Keyboard and Touchpad on Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop
The Acer Nitro 5 has one of the worst keyboards I’ve ever seen on a laptop. Its typeface seems to be an Instagram sci-fi filter applied to Arial, and the particular treatment given to the arrow and WASD keys is so busy that it is distracting. The keycaps have white sides and black tops, giving the keyboard a somewhat confusing pop-out impression.
Despite its appearance, the keyboard is entirely functional. The keypresses were neither harsh nor cushiony, and the keycaps seemed stable rather than slippery. I also consistently reached my 10fastfingers.com average of 77 – 78 words per minute. And 4-zone RGB may be able to assist you in fine-tuning the aesthetics to your liking just a little.
The 4.2 x 3.1-inch precision touchpad had more friction than I’d prefer. Nonetheless, I was able to make multi-touch motions like two-finger scrolling and three-finger app switching with ease.
6. Audio on the Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop
The Acer Nitro 5 includes two bottom-firing speakers with no partner branding but excellent quality. Volume is the compromise here.
To put these speakers to the test, I listened to Lil Nas X’s Montero (Call Me By Your Name), and the first thing I noticed was how quiet the music was. This improved somewhat as the beat fell, but I still had to turn the volume to 70 percent to have a comfortable experience. Even at total volume, the music wouldn’t reach much beyond my workplace.
Even still, that’s a lot of volume for one individual. The words and highs were both influential in terms of the music, and all of the bass aspects were there. The song’s bass, which includes synth, clapping, and voice sounds, did blur together more on the Nitro than on headphones, where it was more distinct. But it’s still better than some of the other computers I’ve tested, which may have skipped one of those songs.
The Acer Nitro 5 also features a plethora of audio post-processing preset settings in its NitroSense software. However, most are geared toward specific game genres. Predictably, I discovered that the music preset worked best for Montero. But, if I wanted, I could use the movie preset to enhance sound effects, the voice preset to emphasize voices, the shooter preset to emphasize directionality, etc.
The Acer Nitro 5 is simple to open and offers many configuration options. Loosen the 11 screws (we used a Phillips head PH0 bit) and peel the case off carefully. Inside, you’ll find two DIMMs of RAM that can be swapped out at will, an M.2 slot already in use, and the networking card. There seems to be an HDD drive bay next to the battery, but we couldn’t discover a SATA connector for it. This isn’t unusual since manufacturers often re-use chassis from other models or provide different configuration choices that may use bays that are no longer in use elsewhere.
8. Acer Nitro 5 Webcam
The Acer Nitro 5 has a 720p camera in the top bezel that captures the texture and details in optimum lighting but struggles in low-light and saturated light. There are some artifacts here, as with practically every 720p camera, but it should be sufficient for video conversations with colleagues.
9. Battery Life
In our benchmark, which continuously runs OpenGL tests, browses the web, and streams video at 150 nits of brightness, the Acer Nitro 5 lasted 5 hours and 9 minutes. That’s adequate for a gaming laptop. On the same test, the Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition had a battery life of 3:29. The ROG Zephyrus M16 had a slightly longer battery life (6:22), while the ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition had an extraordinarily long battery life for a gaming laptop (10:14).
The Acer Nitro 5 stayed relatively calm during our non-gaming heat test, in which we watched 15 minutes of streaming video before taking temperatures. Still, it could get warm during our gaming heat test, in which we took temperatures during the sixth consecutive run of the Metro: Exodus Ultra benchmark.
The Nitro 5’s touchpad recorded 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit in our non-gaming test; the middle of its keyboard (between the G and H keys) registered 85.1 degrees Fahrenheit. The bottom of the laptop was typically 90.3 degrees Fahrenheit. 1 inch from the laptop’s underside’s center, towards the rear, did reach 91.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Our gaming test raised the temperatures of the touchpad, keyboard, and general underbelly to 85, 109, and 125.6 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Closer to the laptop’s rear, the bottom of the computer was once again hotter, reaching 132.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Software and Warranty on the Acer Nitro 5
Acer’s laptops are known for cramming a lot of software into them, and the Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop is no different. In addition to the standard Windows pre-installations like Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Spotify, it includes promotional installs of Dropbox, ExpressVPN, privacy provider FigLeaf, and Planet9, a proprietary athletics social networking site. Planet9 is particularly obnoxious in that it is also part of your taskbar by default, and the service’s logo is your default background. There are also odd programs like Acer Product Registration, which might have been included in other software. Worse are “apps” like Acer Jumpstart, which redirect you to the Acer website.
I could go on— Cyberlink’s Acer-branded picture and video editing programs are back, in case you’d instead study them than Photoshop or Premiere. Even an app called App Explorer allows you to add even more junk! However, there are a few useful apps included.
The most apparent one out of the box is NitroSense, and here is where you’ll conduct most of your device configuration. This covers music, power plans, fan speed, and lighting settings. As an added benefit, you may launch GeForce Experience from this menu.
Acer Care Center is also available, where you can update drivers, see your serial number, and free up disk space. DTS:X Ultra is unnecessary since it provides the same audio control features as NitroSense. However, DTS Sound Unbound allows you to activate DTS:X for your headphones. That’s a great feature. However, it could likely have been enabled from the start or wrapped into another software.
We also discovered AMD Radeon Software on this device, which is odd because it has an Nvidia GPU. However, you can still monitor performance and adjust graphics settings for specific games from this page. According to Acer, this software is offered on the device to control the CPU’s integrated Radeon graphics if you want to utilize them.
The Acer Nitro 5 is backed by a one-year limited warranty.
12. Acer Nitro 5 Configurations
As of this writing, we are aware of three configurations for the new AMD Acer Nitro 5. Ours had a Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, an RTX 3070 laptop GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 15.6-inch 1440p, 165Hz IPS display. It is $1,699. This laptop is also available in a 17-inch form with almost identical internals but an RTX 3080 GPU. The 17-inch model comes with a 17.3-inch 1080p @ 360Hz IPS screen and costs $2,099.
Finally, a 15-inch Acer Nitro 5 has a Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, an RTX 3080, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. It has the same screen as our setup and costs USD 2,299.
If you want something less expensive, there’s a current-generation Intel Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop with a Core i7-11800H and an RTX 3050 Ti for $1,099 in Acer’s shop, as well as a slew of 10th generation and Ryzen 4000 series laptops with the same chassis for costs around or below $1,000. However, these workstations often contain 1080p displays in addition to the older hardware.
The Acer Nitro 5 is a good gaming laptop. It’s strong enough to run most recent games, but you’ll probably need to play at reduced graphics settings to get 60 frames per second in very visually demanding games. Unfortunately, the screen has a drab appearance and is restricted to 60Hz with no VRR functionality.
You can update the screen to a higher refresh rate, but it may not be worth it since the GPU may be unable to keep up. The keyboard may not detect keystrokes at times, which may be a deal-breaker for some. On the plus side, the laptop does not overheat or become noisy while under stress, and it does not lose much performance with time.