Acer Nitro 5: Effective laptop gaming on a budget

MOST of the laptops I review are at the high-performance end of the scale, with the latest graphics cards, advanced processors, heaps of RAM, and high performance tuning.

They also have a pricetag to match, often going for over $3000 and most of us (including me) don’t have that sort of money to spend on a laptop (or anything, really) so are chasing something a bit more affordable.

The Acer Nitro 5 fits that bill very nicely, with (as reviewed) an RRP of $1499 – still not “fish it out of the coin tray” cheap but neither it is into “This is more than a cheap second-hand car” territory either.

The Acer Nitro 5 is a competent gaming laptop, offering a solid experience provided you don’t want the game settings maxed out.

The review unit (in NH.QBZSA.004 configuration) had an Intel i5 3.7ghz processor, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD, and a 4GB Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card.

It doesn’t sound particularly impressive – but amazingly, it performs surprisingly well.

I ran 3D Mark’s TimeSpy test on it, scoring 3662 – which is nothing to be ashamed of, and that was backed up with actual gameplay tests too.

What really surprised me was how well it handled ‘demanding’ games including Control and Doom Eternal – I was getting 60fps on the former at medium settings, and 90fps on the latter, and the games still looked great.

It handled a range of games quite happily, and as someone who doesn’t get too hung up on frame rates, the games looked absolutely fine and were completely playable. The main thing is you don’t get raytracing because it doesn’t have an RTX card, but as much as I like RTX it’s still really a “nice to have” rather than a “games are unplayable without it” feature.

The SSD returned good results too, with a read speed of 2467MB/s and a write speed of 1824MB/s.

The laptop has a 57wh battery and I found the battery life for general internetting was very good too; running around 5 hours with gaming dropping that significantly depending on brightness and settings – based on my experience, you’re looking at maybe two and a bit hours of AAA experience gaming, which is the high end of about average for a gaming laptop.

The screen is a 1080p IPS display with a 144hz 3ms refresh – I doubt you’ll be playing anything at 144mhz on the unit, though. It was perfectly serviceable, but I thought some colours lacked some of the vibrancy you’d find on a more expensive screen.

The unit is well built and combines gaming laptop style without being showy or flashy.

It all comes in a well-built chassis, too, complete with obligatory RGB keyboard lighting. The keys themselves were comfortable to use and responsive, too.

Design wise the Nitro 5 is nothing remarkable, except for a curious choice regarding the power connector, which needs a second “click” to push it into place once it’s positioned. I’m not sure why Acer implemented this feature; it does nothing except make it harder to plug the laptop in.

It’s minor quibble over what is otherwise a respectable laptop with something that would be considered a relatively affordable price, and that’s the reason this review isn’t incredibly long – if you’re after a sensibly priced gaming laptop and aren’t really hung up on bleeding edge performance and the like, the review configuration Acer Nitro 5 may be just what you’re looking for.

The conclusion: For $1500, this is a surprisingly capable laptop that can turn in respectable “average person” gaming performance on a range of titles and will suit the needs (and budgets) of a large number of gamers, making it a respectable choice as a result.

More like this
Biomutant Review