Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) Evaluation

Acer’s bread-and-butter Nitro 5 gaming laptop computer begins at simply $699, which was the worth of the bottom mannequin we reviewed final 12 months. This time, although, the corporate despatched us a decidedly not entry-level $1,699 model to indicate off 2021’s greatest tech, together with an eight-core AMD Ryzen 7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Collection graphics, and a pointy 15.6-inch WQHD display. Although not a foul purchase, its plastic construct is extra palatable in base variations at a grand much less, and its gaming efficiency does not stand as much as that of our present high picks, the Alienware m15 Ryzen Version R5 and Lenovo Legion 5 Professional. That mentioned, regardless of the worth of our particular check mannequin, do not write off the Nitro 5; as a household, it stays considered one of our high funds gaming laptops due to the worth it affords in its extra reasonably priced configurations. And in our tester, that highly effective AMD CPU makes it different to Acer’s personal Predator Helios 300.

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Entry-Degree Exterior, High Tech Inside

Our Nitro 5 evaluate unit (mannequin AN515-45-R7S0) combines an eight-core, 3.2GHz (4.4GHz turbo) Ryzen 7 5800H processor, an 8GB GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, 16GB of reminiscence, a 1TB solid-state drive, Home windows 10 Residence, and a one-year guarantee. Lenovo’s Legion 5 Professional prices about the identical however with half the storage (512GB). On the Intel aspect, Amazon affords the MSI GL66 Pulse for $1,499 with an eight-core Core i7-11800H chip and a 144Hz 1080p show.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) left angle

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Acer’s on-line retailer(Opens in a brand new window) shares extra reasonably priced Nitro 5 fashions such because the $949 AN515-45-R0FN, which packs a six-core Ryzen 5 5600H, a 4GB GeForce RTX 3050, and a 144Hz 1080p display, however simply 8GB of RAM. (Thankfully, this laptop computer’s reminiscence is upgradable.) The $1,299 mannequin AN515-45-R92M is the candy spot, combining a Ryzen 7 5800H like my unit’s, a 6GB GeForce RTX 3060, and 16GB of reminiscence.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) rear view

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

As I famous, the catch with the Nitro 5 is that you simply get the identical plastic chassis whether or not you purchase the cut price mannequin or the $2,299 AN515-45-R9QH flagship with its blistering Ryzen 9 5900HX. It is not a disadvantage for the $1,299 and cheaper fashions—the unit is clean and durable, and the crimson accent on the again offers it a little bit aptitude. It distinctively says “gamer” with out being polarizing.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) hinge

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

However the design does not impress north of that worth, particularly as soon as it reaches my check unit’s $1,699. At 0.94 by 14.3 by 10 inches (HWD) and weighing 5.07 kilos, it is flabby subsequent to premium fashions just like the Gigabyte Aero 15 XC (0.78 by 14 by 9.8 inches, 4.4 kilos) and Razer Blade 15 (0.78 by 9.25 by 13.98 inches, 4.6 kilos). These two additionally combine in loads of steel, which the Nitro 5 lacks. The Acer does provide a superior display and extra storage, nevertheless, so it boils all the way down to purchaser desire.

A Dazzling Show

My Nitro 5’s vibrant and vivid WQHD (2,560-by-1,440-pixel) display is its ace within the gap. It has 50% extra pixels than full HD (1080p) for a sharper image, much less scrolling, and extra room to dock apps aspect by aspect, but it isn’t so high-resolution that the GeForce RTX 3070 cannot produce fluid body charges (as it might be at 4K or UHD).

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) front view

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The display additionally affords a sensible anti-glare floor and, due to its IPS panel, vast viewing angles. All I can complain about is a scarcity of variable-refresh-rate expertise (corresponding to Nvidia G-Sync), although its 165Hz refresh price does not need assistance to supply a clean gaming expertise.

Lesser Nitro 5 fashions have 1080p decision in 60Hz or 144Hz flavors, of which esports gamers ought to goal the latter for a smoother image. The 165Hz WQHD show continues to be appropriate for esports, although its larger decision signifies that even with a GeForce RTX 3070 it is unlikely to realize larger body charges than a 1080p mannequin with an RTX 3060.

The Nitro 5’s keyboard has 4 RGB backlighting zones, which you’ll configure within the Nitro Sense app. Some lesser-priced fashions keep on with a single crimson zone.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) keyboard

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) Nitro Sense

The keys have a brief, linear really feel and work nicely. The numeric pad keys are two-thirds-size, however the remainder of the format is on level, together with devoted Residence, Finish, Web page Up, and Web page Down keys. Under, the buttonless touchpad is abundantly sized however clicks require extra effort than you would possibly count on.

No-Frills Enter and Output

The Nitro 5’s concise port choice consists of two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Kind-A ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Kind-C port, a Killer E2600 Ethernet jack, an HDMI 2.1 video output, and a headset jack. As that is an AMD laptop computer, the USB-C port does not help Thunderbolt 4 (or 3).

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) left ports

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) right ports

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The facility adapter connects round again. It should click on in to work, one thing I did not determine till I nearly ran out of battery energy. Inside, this Acer makes use of a MediaTek MT7921 community card for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5. Like most gaming laptops, the Nitro 5 lacks built-in biometrics; I would at the very least prefer to see an infrared webcam for Home windows Hiya face recognition. The 720p webcam centered over the show delivers the soft-focus video that is regular for like-priced laptops.

Upgradability is without doubt one of the Nitro 5’s strengths. Behind the underside panel are two M.2 slots (one occupied by the 1TB solid-state drive) plus a 2.5-inch drive bay; screws for the latter are within the field. As I famous, the reminiscence can be upgradable; each SO-DIMM slots are occupied in my unit by DDR4-3200 modules.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) underside

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Quite a few perforations on the underside of the chassis provide air to the 2 cooling followers, which channel their exhaust out the again and sides. This is without doubt one of the quieter gaming notebooks I’ve examined—even the laptop computer’s average-sounding audio system are audible over the followers whereas gaming.

Efficiency Not on a Price range: Testing the Nitro 5

I pitted the Acer Nitro 5’s benchmark outcomes in opposition to these of 4 mainstream 15.6-inch gaming laptops; their primary specs are listed beneath. The Predator Helios 300 is the one one with out an eight-core CPU, sticking with an older “Comet Lake” Intel Core i7. The remainder of the specs line up, so this ought to be a detailed race. (See extra about how we check laptops.)

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) comparison chart

Storage, Media, and CPU Checks

The Nitro 5 completed in the course of the pack in PCMark 10, which we use to evaluate general productiveness efficiency for office-centric duties corresponding to phrase processing, spreadsheet work, internet shopping, and videoconferencing—none of which is a problem for these laptops. The Lenovo did exceptionally nicely, for causes that can seem within the following assessments. In the meantime, the laptops’ zippy SSDs stored them on an excellent keel in PCMark 8’s storage check.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) PCMark

Subsequent up is a pair of CPU-crunching assessments: Cinebench R15 stresses all out there processor cores and threads whereas rendering a fancy picture, whereas in our Handbrake check, we time techniques whereas they transcode a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) Cinebench

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) Handbrake

The Lenovo took high marks once more right here, by a big margin over the Nitro 5 and the Alienware. Given that each one three techniques use the identical Ryzen CPU, it seems the Legion 5 Professional maintains its clocks a bit higher for power-delivery or thermal causes (or each).

The ultimate check on this part is photograph modifying. We use an early 2018 launch of Adobe Photoshop Inventive Cloud to use 10 complicated filters and results to a regular JPEG picture, timing every operation and including up the overall. This check will not be as CPU-focused as Cinebench or Handbrake, bringing the efficiency of the storage subsystem, reminiscence, and GPU into play.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) Photoshop

Excluding the Predator, this can be a tight grouping, with the Nitro 5 appropriately inside just a few seconds of the lead.

Graphics and Gaming Checks

We use two gaming simulations to measure the 3D efficiency potential of a PC. In UL’s 3DMark, we run two assessments: Sky Diver (light-weight, able to operating on built-in graphics) and Fireplace Strike (extra demanding, for high-end gaming PCs), each of them DirectX 11-based. Unigine Corp.’s Superposition is the opposite; it makes use of a distinct rendering engine to supply a fancy 3D scene.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) 3DMark

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) Superposition

The Lenovo crushed the Nitro 5, as did the Predator to a lesser however nonetheless notable diploma. These two laptops have larger most energy scores for his or her GeForce RTX 3070 CPUs; the Nitro 5’s is capped at simply 85 watts, a minimal score for the cardboard. This allowed even the RTX 3060-based Alienware to nip at its heels. Our primer on GeForce RTX 30 Collection GPU wattages in laptops is a must-read for those who’re shopping for a GeForce RTX 30 Collection laptop computer.

Our closing efficiency assessments contain actual video games. We use the built-in 1080p benchmarks in Far Cry 5 (at its Regular and Extremely image-quality presets) and Rise of the Tomb Raider (at its Medium and Very Excessive presets). Far Cry 5 makes use of DirectX 11, whereas we flip the Lara Croft journey to DirectX 12.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) Far Cry 5

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) Rise of the Tomb Raider

These video games have change into largely CPU-limited even on the extra demanding presets, so the variations amongst this group are minimal. That mentioned, the numbers recommend that the Nitro 5 may have efficiency to spare for operating video games at its native 1440p decision.

Battery Rundown Check

Lastly, we measure laptops’ unplugged runtime by taking part in a regionally saved video with display brightness at 50% and audio quantity at 100%. We use Home windows’ energy-saving relatively than balanced or different energy profile the place out there, disable Wi-Fi, and even flip off keyboard backlighting to squeeze as a lot life as doable out of the system.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) battery life

Simply over seven hours is an efficient quantity for a strong 15.6-inch gaming laptop computer lately, offering sufficient freedom for a day journey sans energy adapter. (That mentioned, take the adapter for those who plan on truly gaming; like practically all its opponents, the Nitro 5 cannot ship peak efficiency on battery.)

Keep on with the Decrease-Priced Fashions

Although the Acer Nitro 5 might be had in an admirably wide selection of configurations, our $1,699 evaluate unit did not carry out in addition to it ought to have in opposition to the Alienware m15 Ryzen Version R5 and the Lenovo Legion 5 Professional, our high picks for mid- to high-end 15.6-inch gaming rigs. Thus our kick-down from 4 stars in 2020’s examined mannequin to our 3.5-star score on this one.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch) right angle

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

In its $1,299-and-under guises, nevertheless, the Nitro 5 ought to ship the anticipated options and good battery life to stay considered one of our high funds gaming laptops, and it could actually even problem Acer’s Predator Helios 300 in general efficiency due to its sturdy AMD CPU. Few laptops provide as a lot worth for the cash.

Acer Nitro 5 (2021, 15-inch)

The Backside Line

Acer’s Nitro 5 gaming laptop computer, refreshed for 2021, delivers pleasant options at an affordable worth in its entry and mid-level configurations.

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