I’ve tested gaming laptops for nearly a decade and always look forward to seeing what the latest models have to offer. The newest addition to my test bench is the Acer Nitro 5, a budget gaming laptop that starts at $600 and can cost as much as $1,400. The Nitro 5 series offers models with 15.6- or 17.3-inch displays powered by AMD or Intel processors with GeForce GTX or RTX graphics, such as the Intel Core i5-8300H processor with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card in our review unit. To learn how well this machine does playing the latest games, watch the video above and read on for more details.
Acer Nitro 5: Gaming Benchmarks
77 FPS@ Mid Settings
72 FPS@ Mid Settings
85 FPS@ Mid Settings
74 FPS@ Mid Settings
81 FPS@ Mid Settings
82 FPS@ Mid Settings
107 FPS@ Mid Settings
92 FPS@ Mid Settings
105 FPS@ Mid Settings
The $600 Acer Nitro 5 budget gaming laptop is no powerhouse. But it can play many modern titles well at 1920×1080 resolution settings. Our configuration of the notebook reached a respectable 60 fps in Fortnite and 66 fps in Overwatch on high or ultra quality settings.
The Acer Nitro 5 under £800 (AMD Ryzen 5 4600H + GTX 1650) laptop is easily one of the best price-to-performance gaming laptops today. While a lot of the similarly priced competition debuted in late 2019 with new AMD Ryzen processors and revamped Cooler Boost thermal management, the $600 14-inch Acer Nitro 5 actually arrived in 2017. It continues to be available and updated with faster components, so if you prefer Nvidia graphics to Microsoft’s integrated options or don’t need a larger screen, it’s still our Editors’ Choice midrange gaming laptop.
Acer has been plugging away at its gaming laptop lineup for years now. The company has a solid reputation for producing budget devices that won’t strain your wallet.
When I first reviewed the Acer Nitro 5, the budget gaming laptop’s combination of style, rich audio and gaming performance that came in under $650 (about £530, AU$970) was a big hit. Now, just seven months later, Acer is back with an updated version of its sub-$700/£749/AU$1,000 laptop – except this time, it’s even more affordable. We’ve been kicking the new Nitro 5 around for several days now and it’s excellent news for bargain seekers.
Acer Nitro 5: CPU and GPU
If you’re not an avid desktop-PC gamer, chances are that last year’s Acer Nitro 5 (AN5154) will remain etched in your memory more than any other laptop you’ve owned. The 15.6-inch started at just over $700 or £750 offered a significant performance leap over similarly priced mid-range machines, courtesy of its 10th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU or Ryzen 5 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics.
Acer Nitro 5: Performance and Gaming
Our Acer Nitro 5 test system features the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics.
So, why did I choose this processor and graphics card? The Ryzen 5 4600H offers six cores and 12 threads, which is ideal for a CPU in the entry-level gaming category. This means that both high-performance games and multitasking will be catered for simultaneously on one machine. The GeForce GTX 1650Ti is then a low-end GPU which means that it won’t drain too much power when running most current games.
The Acer Nitro 5 performs admirably, delivering playable performance without any apparent graphical compromises. In fact, the Nitro 5 flirted with the 60fps mark at the games’ finest quality settings, and even came within spitting distance at low-to-medium quality. We’ve put the new Acer Nitro 5 through its paces in a wide range of modern games to find out if its GeForce GTX 1650 GPU – a recent addition to Nvidia’s product line – stands up to the company’s gaming standards.
It has done reasonably well.
Tested with Far Cry 5 at Mid settings gave @ 65 FPS and for Tomb Raider at mid settings ran 80 FPS and 58 FPS for very high maximum settings.
Acer Nitro 5: Design and Features
The Nitro 5 is made almost entirely of plastic, and this gives it a look and feel that’s somewhere in between that of premium laptops and budget models. The all-plastic enclosure comprises matte and glossy surfaces. The bottom panel and screen bezels have a matte finish, while the lid and wrist rest below the keyboard feature glossy finishes that are magnets for fingerprints.
Acer’s Nitro 5 has a simple and clean design that takes a little effort to stand out. The lid and other areas around the keyboard are finished with glossy plastic that attracts fingerprints. It has a top-of-the-line red backlight for its WASD keys and touchpad, but it is really hard to tell that they light up at a glance.
The Nitro 5 is a great-looking laptop, with an all-plastic enclosure that gives it the look of gaming. It’s shiny, smooth, and elegant at the same time.
Even so, there’s no mistaking the Aspire for anything but an Acer. It shares much of the same DNA as other Aspire laptops, so it looks and feels very similar to the Aspire gaming laptop we reviewed earlier in the year.
When you buy a laptop, you would hope that the keyboard is comfortable to use and responsive. The Acer Nitro 5 doesn’t disappoint in this respect, with a smart layout that feels natural to use and large keys that offer a firm feedback when pressed. The touchpad integrates the mouse buttons so there are just two clickable items in the centre of the pad, which takes a little getting used to but once you are over it, it feels natural and comfortable to use.
The Nitro 5 keyboard is well equipped with media buttons, six G-keys that you can customize by pressing the “G” key and then the button (F1 – F4), and a wide touchpad with two dedicated mouse buttons. The keyboard creates a comfortable typing experience, with responsive keys that are quiet when pressed but not mushy.
As is the case with ultra-budget systems, Acer’s Aspire Nitro 5 does come with its fair share of compromises. The biggest is RAM: at just 8GB of memory on my test unit, you’ll be lucky to play high end AAA games, at maximum settings.
For under $700 (UK: £750) the latest edition of Acer’s Nitro 5 is a fantastic value mid-range gaming laptop that can play most modern games at comfortable frame rates at 1080p resolution with high detail settings.
Acer’s Nitro 5 is a well balanced laptop that brings solid gaming performance into a price range more suitable for the budget gamers under the price of 800 to 1000.
With similar gaming performance, better battery life, and better aesthetics, the Nitro 5 competes with the Asus ROG Strix GL503VS without matching its premium build. It’s a great choice if you want gaming performance on a middle-of-the-road budget.