Acer Nitro 5 overview: A Espresso Lake-flavored gaming laptop computer that will not empty your pockets

Acer’s Nitro 5 gaming laptop computer says you’ll be able to have a modest finances of $800 or much less and get a good quantity of horsepower for enjoying AAA video games. Whereas many of the Nitro 5’s elements are midrange at greatest, it takes issues up a notch with its new Espresso Lake CPU, providing stable cell gaming efficiency in an reasonably priced, if considerably hefty bundle. 

Avid gamers who insist on maxing out their graphics must accept middling body charges on the Acer Nitro 5, and battery life is on the brief facet. However even with these caveats, the Nitro 5 is an efficient worth.

Observe: This overview is a part of our greatest laptops roundup. Go there for particulars about competing merchandise and the way we examined them. 

Nitro 5 specs and worth

We examined the $750 model of the Acer Nitro 5 (Mannequin AN515-53-52FA), which comes with an Intel Core i5-8300H processor and 8GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch FHD show, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics with 4GB of devoted GDDR5 VRAM, and a 1TB 7,200rpm SATA onerous drive.

The Espresso Lake CPU that powers the Nitro 5 marks the primary Core i5 chip to boast Hyper-Threading, a characteristic that serves up two threads per processor core. This permits the quad-core i5-8300H to ship eight threads of processing energy. Whereas few present video games reap the benefits of Hyper-Threading (a characteristic that was previously discovered solely in Core i7 CPUs), it’ll nonetheless come in useful for multitasking avid gamers who (for instance) need to stream whereas they shoot. (Need to study extra? Take a look at our story on one of the best CPUs for laptops.)

Whereas the Nitro 5’s Espresso Lake Core i5 CPU qualifies as cutting-edge, its GTX 1050 graphics card—whereas on no account a slouch—sits close to the underside of Nvidia’s GeForce 10 Sequence line. As we’ll see in a bit, which means crushing avid gamers’ goals of silky-smooth body charges at Extremely settings. Nonetheless, cut price hunters who can stay with one thing nearer to 30 fps can crank up their graphics settings all the way in which. See our story on how to decide on a gaming laptop computer GPU to study extra about selecting this important half.

There’s some excellent news in case your finances can stretch a bit extra, too. For about $100 extra, you’ll be able to step as much as a mannequin (particularly, the AN515-51-55WL) with GTX 1050 Ti graphics and a 256GB solid-state drive, plus a 2.5-inch bracket, a SATA cable, and sufficient screws to put in a second drive. Nothing in opposition to the finances mannequin we’ve examined, however as you’ll see in our efficiency part, shifting as much as a GTX 1050 Ti would make a noticeable distinction within the Nitro 5’s gaming prowess. 


acer nitro 5 lid Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The Acer Nitro 5 is all plastic, however the texture on its lid helps it rise above the atypical.

There’s nothing small about Acer’s Nitro 5 finances gaming laptops, and this new Espresso Lake model isn’t any exception. Measuring a reasonably cumbersome 15.4 x 10.5 x 1 inches and tilting the scales at a hefty 5.4 kilos, the Nitro 5 barely squeezes into my 15-inch laptop computer backpack. It’s as heavy because it appears, too, though, to be honest, that’s extra compared to a mainstream laptop computer than to a gaming laptop computer, the place hefty is the norm. Pack within the charging twine and energy brick (and sure, you’ll want them, given the Nitro 5’s comparatively meager battery life), and also you’ll wind up with a greater than 6.5 kilos of {hardware} to lug round.

Hulking although it’s, the Nitro 5 manages to look fairly smooth due to the brushed end on its lid, its crimson hinge and matching backlit keyboard, full with highlighted WASD keys. Whereas it’s fairly an eye-catcher in comparison with business-minded laptops, the Nitro 5 is definitely a bit low-key so far as gaming laptops go.

acer nitro 5 internal detail Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The Nitro 5 has a single drive bay, so you must lose your previous drive so as to add a brand new one. 

Flip the Nitro 5 on its again and also you’ll discover a pair of detachable panels. One is for the drive bay (there’s room for just one drive, that means you’ll have to switch the present drive to improve your storage), and a second for upgrading the RAM. You possibly can open every panel by loosening a single screw and pulling on a thumb tab.


The Nitro 5’s 15.6-inch, 1920×1080-pixel show appears comparatively sharp and vivid given the laptop computer’s finances worth. Measuring simply 251 nits (or calendas), the non-touch show is considerably dim, simply barely exceeding our minimal commonplace for snug indoor viewing. In different phrases, good luck making out the motion when you’re gaming close to a brilliant window or outside.

Viewing angles on the Nitro 5’s IPS panel had been nice, if not significantly awe-inspiring. There’s no proof of inverted colours when viewing the matted show from excessive angles, as we’ve seen on some cheaper laptops. That stated, the display dims noticeably when considered from the facet, beginning at about 50 levels or so. Wanting from above or under, the display is at its dimmest when considered from about 45 levels, earlier than brightening a tad as we edge nearer to 90 levels.

acer nitro 5 keyboard detail Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The trackpad facilities underneath the letter part of the keyboard (there’s a numeric keypad to the best). The keys are backlit.

The Acer Nitro 5’s keyboard feels stable and snappy, with a tactile bump in the course of every keystroke and a satisfying, springy rebound. The marginally concave keys boast first rate journey for a laptop computer and discovery is comparatively straightforward, however the keyboard would really feel even roomier had Acer distributed with the 10-key numeric keypad. Certainly, the arrow keys look needlessly squished due to the devoted keypad, which appears misplaced on a gaming-centric laptop computer like this one.

The Nitro 5’s mid-sized trackpad sits a bit of left of middle, immediately under the primary keyboard. The trackpad requires a good quantity of strain to click on, and I additionally observed a number of unintentional inputs as my palms grazed the trackpad whereas typing. Given that the majority avid gamers will choose utilizing a mouse, my trackpad quibbles shouldn’t be a lot of an issue for the Nitro 5’s core viewers.

The Nitro 5’s built-in audio system are surprisingly good for a finances gaming laptop computer, boasting comparatively sturdy, dynamic sound—nothing a set of devoted audio system couldn’t do higher, thoughts you, however not dangerous in comparison with the tinny audio you generally get from laptop computer audio system. My normal take a look at tracks, together with “Stay and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings, together with Mozart’s Symphony No. 26, sounded detailed and roomy, with a slight trace of bass. I used to be additionally happy by the fragile crunch of snow and ambient forest sounds in Rise of the Tomb Raider, in addition to the fantastic cacophony of exploding demons in Diablo 3. You possibly can sweeten the audio with Dolby sound processing in addition to crank up the amount to impressively loud ranges, helpful for drowning out the Nitro 5’s roaring followers.

The Nitro 5’s 720p webcam movies look expectedly tender and grainy, however it’s nonetheless serviceable for video chat.

Sadly, the Nitro 5 lacks a fingerprint sensor for signing in along with your fingertip, nor does it embrace an IR digital camera for facial recognition.


acer nitro 5 left side ports Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The Nitro 5’s left facet contains USB-C, HDMI, USB-A, and an SD card slot.

The Nitro 5 comes with a good collection of ports for a finances gaming laptop computer, beginning on the left facet with ethernet, USB 3.1 Kind C Gen. 1 (as much as 5Gbps), USB 3.0 Kind A (with power-off USB charging), a full HDMI 2.0 port, and an SD card reader. Additionally on the left facet: a Kensington safety lock.

On the best, you’ll discover a barrel-shaped charging port, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, and a combo audio jack.

We might have most well-liked extra USB 3.0 ports and perhaps a Thunderbolt 3 port or two, however once more, the Nitro 5’s port lineup isn’t dangerous contemplating its sub-$800 price ticket.

acer nitro 5 right side ports Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The Nitro 5’s proper facet contains two extra USB-A, an audio jack, and the charger port.

Common efficiency

Relating to a $750 gaming laptop computer just like the Acer Nitro 5, it is advisable handle your expectations. Its efficiency was competent or higher in our gaming-focused assessments, however it hung again noticeably in some conditions, most certainly due to thermal throttling. You must nonetheless get pleasure from speedy productiveness and multitasking, and max-settings gaming, offered you’ll be able to accept 30-fps visuals. Oh, and maintain that charging cable helpful.

Cinebench R15

We begin with Maxon’s Cinebench, which assessments a CPU’s uncooked energy—and the extra threads, the higher.

Right here’s an opportunity for the Nitro 5’s 4-core, 8-thread i5 Espresso Lake processor to shine. Within the single-threaded take a look at, it jumps proper into the combination with Core i7 CPUs and simply bests pre-Espresso Lake Core i5 chips. It is a good indication that it’ll carry out simply nice on most mainstream purposes and video games. 

acer nitro 5 cinebench single thread Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

Acer’s Nitro 5 fares nicely on the Cinebench single-threaded CPU take a look at. 

The story modifications after we run Cinebench in multi-threaded mode. The laptops with 6-core, 12-thread CPUs get to strut their stuff, leaving all of the quad-core chips jostling for second place. The Acer Nitro 5 lags behind its friends, with solely a Seventh-gen Core i5 laptop computer mentioning the rear. Simply keep in mind that there nonetheless aren’t many purposes that assist multi-threaded CPUs, so the rating right here doesn’t have an effect on how most individuals will expertise the Nitro 5.

acer nitro 5 cinebench all threads Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

Acer’s Nitro 5 brings up the rear amongst quad-core CPUs on this multi-threaded take a look at. The three main laptops all have 6-core, 12-thread CPUs.  


After Cinebench’s dash, we ship the CPUs on a marathon. The free HandBrake utility lets us measure how nicely the CPU performs over time with the intensive process of changing a 40GB video file into Android pill format.

Twin-core laptop computer processors usually want greater than 6,000 seconds (an hour and 40 minutes) to finish our Handbrake benchmark. The quickest cell quad-core CPUs can end in fewer than 3,000 seconds (about 50 minutes, underneath an hour).

acer nitro 5 handbrake2 Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

The Acer Nitro 5 labored by way of the HandBrake take a look at, in all probability due to thermal throttling. 

The Nitro 5’s Handbrake rating of three,119 seconds, or rather less than 60 minutes, is respectable for a quad-core system. Frankly, we had been anticipating a bit of extra from this new Espresso Lake-era cell efficiency chip. Our guess is that the Nitro 5 faucets the brakes on efficiency to maintain issues cool underneath the hood.

(By the way, customers who need to tinker with the Nitro 5’s cooling followers can achieve this with NitroSense, an Acer utility that comes with a “CoolBoost” mode that ups the utmost fan speeds.)

Gaming efficiency

The Acer Nitro 5’s gaming efficiency is dictated by its lower-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, and its benchmark outcomes fell proper in step with our expectations. In brief, whereas the Nitro 5 delivers body charges comfortably north of 30 fps at “Extremely” settings for typical AAA video games, you’ll must downshift your graphics settings to spice up these body charges into the 60-fps vary.

3DMark’s Hearth Strike Excessive is an artificial benchmark that focuses on pure GPU efficiency. The Nitro 5’s rating of 5,476 is definitely first rate. The rationale it’s on the backside of this chart, is as a result of each different laptop computer proven has a GTX 1050 Ti or higher. 

acer nitro 5 3dmark firestrike overall Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

3DMark FireStrike exhibits what a distinction a GPU makes. The Acer Nitro 5’s GTX 1050 is competent, however if you need max settings you’ll must dial again the body charge.

We’re not making an attempt to make the Nitro 5 look dangerous. In comparison with different GTX 1050 laptops, just like the i7-7700HQ-powered Dell XPS 15, the Nitro 5 finally ends up wanting fairly good. We’re simply displaying the trade-off of going with a lower-end GPU in a cut price gaming laptop computer. 

Shifting on to some precise video games, we first examined the Acer Nitro 5 with the oldie-but-goodie Tomb Raider at its Final graphics preset, with the show set at 1920×1080 (and V-Sync off). The Nitro 5’s GPU could also be on the backside of this chart, however that’s nonetheless logging an excellent 53.7 frames per second. 

acer nitro 5 rise of the tomb raider2 Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

In Tomb Raider at Final settings, the Acer Nitro 5 logged an excellent 53.7 frames per second. 

Now for one thing a bit of tougher: Center-earth: Shadow of Mordor at 1920×1080 and Extremely settings. The Acer Nitro 5 struggles a bit extra, managing 47 fps and once more mentioning the rear in comparison with laptops with huskier GPUs. 

acer nitro 5 middle earth shadow of mordor Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

Acer Nitro 5’s 47 fps in Center-earth:Shadow of Mordor is a good rating. 

We may present you the Nitro 5 on Rise of the Tomb Raider, as we often would, however the development is identical. Pushed even tougher by this graphically intensive sport, the Acer Nitro 5 tries its greatest, reaching 39.2 fps and trailing all of the better-equipped competitors. 

That’s nonetheless stable gaming efficiency from a finances gaming laptop computer, albeit shy of 60-fps nirvana. For these craving buttery visuals on the Nitro 5, a bit of optimization by way of the GeForce Expertise app managed to do the trick with just some minimal compromises.

Battery life

You possibly can’t anticipate all-day battery life from a gaming laptop computer, and whereas the Acer Nitro 5 isn’t any exception, we’ve seen a lot worse.

We take a look at battery life in a laptop computer by looping a 4K video with display brightness between 250-260 nits—which, for the Nitro 5, meant cranking its brightness setting all the way in which up—and with the amount set at 50 %, headphones on.

acer nitro 5 battery lire Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

The Acer Nitro 5’s battery life is about what you’d anticipate for a gaming laptop computer. 

The consequence: about 291 minutes, or simply underneath 5 hours. That’s not too shabby given the Nitro 5’s gaming focus and its middling 48Whr battery. Certainly, we’ve seen gaming laptops with bigger batteries that might barely make it previous the 90-minute mark. However, you received’t need to neglect the Nitro 5’s hefty energy brick when you’re taking it past your loved ones room.


Price range gaming laptops don’t get as a lot of a break as their mainstream cousins. They nonetheless face intense strain to ship. The Acer Nitro 5 is huge and heavy, with so-so battery life and a reasonably dim display. However when you’re searching for a gaming laptop computer that may deal with AAA titles with out breaking the financial institution, the Acer Nitro 5 delivers the products.


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