The Acer Nitro 5, the company’s most recent attempt to get into the portable gaming PC market, has all the features you need at a reasonable price. This gaming laptop is a great addition to the market of affordable machines capable of running modern PC games, making it an excellent choice for frugal gamers.
Due to its high value-to-cost ratio, the Acer Nitro 5 can be had for as little as $749 (£899, around AU$1009). It has a user-controllable dual-fan cooling(opens in new tab) system, a respectable 1080p screen, and a keyboard comfortable enough for hours of gaming, on top of its rocking Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card and mid-tier 8th-generation Intel Core processor.
The Acer Nitro 5 is one of the finest value laptops because it combines a low price with respectably good specifications and a nice feature set. No laptop is perfect, and there are compromises to be made, but the ones that come with this one don’t hurt the experience nearly enough to justify the money you’ll save.
Price and Availability
In terms of gaming laptops, the Acer Nitro 5 is among the most reasonably priced options available right now. The model we examined starts at $749 and comes in its most basic form. In the UK, you can have this exact setup for roughly £335 extra.
However, in Australia this specification is not offered. According to Acer’s website, the cheapest option costs AU$1,999 and features an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, a 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 128GB solid-state drive.
There are a variety of alternative available configurations for the US market, the priciest of which is priced at $1099. At that cost, you get a laptop with a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), 16GB of RAM, and an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, though the graphics processing unit (GPU) and hard drive are identical.
The Nitro 5 competes with other gaming laptops like the Dell G3 15 and Lenovo Legion Y530 in terms of pricing and configuration, yet it’s the first of its kind to offer customizable cooling for the user.
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The Acer Nitro 5’s design leaves a lot to be desired. But it doesn’t mean it’s completely without merit; on the contrary, there are aspects of it that we find appealing.
The red highlights on the keyboard, backlight, trackpad and top rear bar create a stealthy gaming aesthetic that we approve of. The screen’s hinges feel solid, and there are plenty of connectors available, which is a plus. The laptop’s cooling system is also adjustable by the user, and the keyboard is rather nice to type on (more on those two topics later.)
The Acer Nitro 5‘s design, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not very impressive, and being a cheap laptop means that the cost-cutting measures are obvious. In this case, the screen cover is fabricated from low-cost plastic.
Having nearly an inch of bezel around the screen and a top cover and area surrounding the keyboard that picks up fingerprints like a magnet transports us back to the early 2000s when we were PC gamers.
The trackpad on the laptop is the worst part. Though it might be argued that a trackpad isn’t the best way to play games, we have to mention that the one on this model is insane.
Rewinding for a second, the Acer Nitro 5’s keyboard is a huge plus. Nothing about it jumps out as particularly noteworthy. Sure, the symbols are red, the backlight is red (and only turns on when the keyboard is plugged in, making the WASD keys difficult to see in the dark), and the WASD keys are highlighted in red.
In sum, this is a rather standard keyboard. Overall, it’s convenient and pleasant, and we’ve had no problems with it. We haven’t encountered any delays, missed buttons, or unintentional presses, and it responds quickly. That’s all that really matters, whether you’re typing or playing a video game.
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This is when we finally uncovered a serious issue with the service. We both agree that first-person shooters, role-playing games, and action games aren’t really made for laptop trackpads. The trackpad on this laptop, though, is so poor that you won’t even want to use it for casual computing.
As you have to press somewhat firmly on the trackpad for it to record your input, your fingers will tire quickly. Unfortunately, the trackpad’s first and second buttons—located in the upper left and right corners, respectively—are the most difficult to press. After a day of trying, we ditched it for a real mouse.
Display, Camera, and Sound
The three items listed above are ones about which we feel indifferent. At its top setting, the camera can only record grainy 720p 30fps video. It works great for online chitchats, but don’t expect any masterpieces to be crafted.
Even with the equalizer in the included Dolby Audio software, the laptop’s sound is a little overemphasized on the high-end and rather echoey. It’s just another laptop with mediocre sound quality, which is standard for the course (unless you’re Origin).
Last but not least, while the 1080p display is bright and clear, it is still a tad on the dim side, even at full brightness, and is far from being bezel-free. For this price point, we would like to see a bit more attention paid to the display, as we have seen on other gaming laptops.