The Acer Nitro series has always been known for their exceptional bang for the buck when it comes to making good and budget laptops. And in 2020, they have gotten even better by bringing the all-new Ryzen 4000 series processors in their Acer Nitro Series laptops to make it more appealing to laptop gamers. Starting at only $670, is the Acer Nitro 5 the best entry-level gaming laptop out there?
let’s find out in our in-depth review.
Our Short Review
+ Most affordable price tag among the competitors
+ Decent Battery Life
+ Great Performance and Thermals
+ Very good port selection
+ Good Upgradability
-Average Build Quality
– “OK”ish Display
– Keyboard & Trackpad is not up to par
– Somewhat Older Design Asthetics
– Poor Sound Quality
Design & Build
Immediately after taking the device on a closer look, you can see why this device is called a “Budget” gaming laptop. Though it has a gaming look to it, Acer had to cut some corners in the build quality in order to make it more cost-effective. Also, The bezzles are significantly larger compared to their pricy siblings.
While other premium devices feature metal build, this device has a plastic chassis which gives a good amount of flex to both the body and the screen lid. Also, this device has a red and black color scheme with a red keyboard as well as red backlighting. However, if you opt to get the higher-end model, you will have the ability to take a 4-zone LED-backlit keyboard.
Overall, it can be said that the build quality is average, with the keyboard deck and display flexing under pressure. The dimensions are 15.4 in x 10.5 in x 1.1 in, weighing 5.2 lbs (2.4Kgs).
Surprisingly this thing comes with a webcam featuring a 720P resolution and located at the top of the display.
Acer has released this years’ Acer Nitro 5 with both AMD and Intel processors on board. You can buy The AN515-55 equipped with an Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake processor or the AN515-44 featuring an AMD Renoir processor. Our review unit came from the one from Red Team Featuring a Ryzen 5 4600H with 8GB of RAM. But, It can be configurable upto Ryzen 7 4800H and 16GB or 32GB of RAM.
As for the pricing, the base model from both teams starts from $670 only, which is in my opinion quite a steal.
Here is a quick glance at the specs:
|Processor||Ryzen 5 4600H/ Ryzen 7 4800H|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650/1650 TI|
|Storage Option||512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6-Inch 60Hz 1920×1080 144Hz Non-Glare IPS Display|
|Other Connectivity||IEEE 802.11ax, USB Type C (No Thunderbolt) Gigabit EthernetHDMI|
The display takes the biggest hit for the Acer Nitro 5’s low price point. It features a 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display. Acer has shrunk the bezels to give it a more modern look. The display brightness is low with 270 nits of brightness and the color gamut is also poor. It covered only 63% of sRGB and 48% aRGB color gamut. The low brightness might become an issue for gamers in shooting games. If you have the budget we recommend you getting the higher end model which comes with a 144 Hz 3-millisecond panel.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The Acer Nitro 5 has a full-size keyboard with a decent trackpad with red color scheme on it. Excel users Will be happy to know that the keyboard features a number pad. But because of that number pad the WASD buttons are crammed to the left side of the device which can be a bit inconvenient for gamers. The plastic trackpad is also shifted too much on the left side which ruins the design aesthetic for people who like the symmetric design. But the typing experience is quite good on this device and windows 10 gestures also work well. The higher-end models come with a four zone RGB keyboard.
Ports & Audio
Port selection is very good on this device. The left side has an ethernet port, two USB-A ports and a headphone jack. The right side features an HDMI port, another USB-A port, and a USB-C port. The power connector is located at the back which is a convenience.
On the audio side of things, Acer Nitro 5 utterly fails when it comes to the audio department. The device has bottom-firing speakers that can’t get much loud (around 70 db in our test) and sounded muddy in our test. Get a decent pair of headphones if you’re planning to purchase this device.
Performance is good considering it has a 6 core 12 thread Ryzen 5 processor and GTX 1650 for the base model. However, if you want good gaming performance you should get the updated model but at that price point there are so many good options for other brands that the Acer Nitro 5 loses its appeal.
Having the latest Ryzen processors from AMD with higher core and thread count Acer Nitro 5 beats the Intel counterparts by a significant margin. But due to its somewhat inferior screen, you’ll have to be careful about editing the photos and video editing. However, it is perfectly fine for a part-time content creator and light gamer like me.
Battery & Thermals
The Nitro 5 Has a 55Wh battery inside. The new advanced Ryzen processors with 7nm manufacturing technology increase the efficiency of this device and provides a good battery life.
In our test, it lasted up to seven hours of continuous web surfing and video watching using Power saving mode and brightness around 40%. The battery life could be improved by removing the hard drive bay (located on the left side of the battery) completely and putting a bigger battery. Users are advised to keep the device plugged in for long gaming sessions to avoid battery damage.
Acer has improved the cooling system with two heatsinks on either side of the laptop. We love the symmetric design inside the laptop. In our experience, the CPU temperature remains around 70° and the GPU temperature remains around 60° while gaming. Fan noise is also good, remaining under 50 dB. The new efficient RYZEN processors with Acer’s better cooling design keep the internal temperature well under control and the chassis also didn’t feel much warm in our test.
Upgradability is great considering you have access to two rams slots, two m.2 slots, and a removable intel Wifi-6 card. You also have a hard drive bay for putting 2.5-inch drives.
The Acer Nitro 5 2020 Ryzen model is one of the best value gaming laptops we have seen so far. It had to cut some corners in build quality and display to meet this price point. If you are on a tight budget and want to get the best gaming experience possible we highly recommend this laptop under 700 bucks. But, if you want a decent gaming laptop under 1000 there are some good laptops other than Acer Nitro 5 like the Asus TUF A15 or MSI G5SE etc.